Albert Einstein 1Running head: THE LIFE OF ALBERT EINSTEIN The Life of Albert Einstein Jason L. McLaughlin Strayer University Introduction to College Mathematics MAT - 105 036016 June 12, 2009 Albert Einstein had a unique talent of thinking visually. He could see through amathematical formula to reveal the true physical world it represented and explained.Einstein asked questions about the universe and the world around him. He wanted to
Albert Einstein 2know how things worked and how the world came to be. He was truly born to be verycurious and longed to figure out the universe that God had created. He would studycommon everyday objects and known facts about everyday life and question how theycame to be and how they relate to one another. Einstein would utilize his imagination topose new problems that needed solving. He analyzed the cosmos to reveal newdiscoveries about space, time, energy, and the speed of light. Following Einstein’sfindings that challenged those of Sir Isaac Newton, he arose to become one of the mostwell known and famous physicists of all time. When asked of his secret for success,Einstein himself said that he was merely passionately curious. Albert Einstein was born on March 14, 1879 in the small town of Ulm in Germany tothe parents Hermann and Pauline Einstein. When Albert was born he had an elongatedhead and at the time this startled his parents. Little did they know that this was the headof a future genius. Later, when he was a toddler he was so late learning to speak that hismother feared that he may be mentally retarded. Albert even displayed some unusualbehavior when he did begin to speak, such that resembled that of autistic children. Also,as a young child Albert was known to display temper tantrums which became ratherviolent. Einstein loved to play alone as a child instead of with playmates. He would learnabout heat and force by running a small steam engine he was given as a gift. He builtelaborate models out of stone building blocks. One of his life long passions that began atchildhood was playing the violin, as he loved music. Einstein’s mother ironicallycommented on his childhood experimentation by saying that he may one day become an
Albert Einstein 3excellent professor. Throughout his life Albert Einstein retained a child like quality thatsome say contributed to his discoveries and his way of looking at the world. Overall Albert Einstein did very well in school, which gave much hope for his futuresuccess. In high school he was ranking in the top of his class, however he was a failure atsports as he was not adept at being physically competitive. Instead Einstein loved to bealone and read; improving and developing skills he felt were significant to his education.He was often content to work quietly alone without others noticing him; in fact hepreferred it this way. Einstein had a habit of becoming completely absorbed in the workhe was doing, seldom being distracted by others around him. Albert’s uncle Jakob Einstein introduced him to algebra at an early age, while he wasstill in grade school. He coached him on the theorems and equations in an easy mannerthat a child could understand. Jakob, who was an engineer, exposed him to many newtechnologies in their home work shop. Also, Albert gained much experience exploringand asking questions in his father’s factory. He was able to see many electrical andmechanical devices that were new and cutting edge at the time, which was a tremendousopportunity for a curious and budding young man. It is speculated that much ofEinstein’s development was due to his parents allowing him to learn and growintellectually in his own unique and solitary way. Einstein wanted to escape from the authoritarian methods of his high school inMunich, Germany so he developed a plan to leave for Switzerland, even beforegraduating and receiving a diploma. He managed to get a letter stating he had anequivalent of studies to graduate and got a doctors notice stating he was moving for
Albert Einstein 4health reasons. He desired to attend The Zurich Polytechnic School in Switzerland. Afamily friend called in a favor from the school for Einstein since he was several years tooyoung to yet enroll. He was described as a child prodigy and of the importance of himattending so skeptical school officials finally approved his application. Since he hadtrouble with subjects such as French and Chemistry Einstein failed to pass the entranceexam. As it turns out Albert had some trouble with memorization of words. Afterinitially failing the entrance exam at Polytechnic he went to Aaran, Switzerland tocomplete his secondary education and strengthen his studies in the subjects he waslacking in. He attended a cantonal school, which was an easy going liberal school thathad a low pressure approach to a student’s learning process. This school and the teachersthere opened new doors for young Albert and gave him the spring board he needed totake his education to the next level. It was here that he improved his proficiency inFrench and sciences. However, he became bored with his math and physics classes andhe felt he had little to gain since he surpassed his classmates. He often challenged hisprofessors and their methods and often performed his work in his own unorthodoxmanner. Also this time allowed him to enjoy his youth in a way he could not in Germany. In October 1896 a 17 year old Einstein finally enrolled at The Zurich PolytechnicSchool. He had signed up for a program that groomed students to become an authority inphysics and mathematics. Albert’s field, theoretical physics was still growing anddeveloping in the academic world. Only a handful of scientists and mathematicians werecombining physics with math in their work. Much of theoretical physics was in theexperimental stage. Einstein was more adept at physics than math; however a
Albert Einstein 5considerable portion of his class load at the Polytechnic would include math classes.Einstein would soon realize how closely related physics and math were in his studies.Throughout his tenure there he was a prominent student who earned high grades in mostof his classes. Einstein married his first wife Mileva Maric on January 6, 1903 soon after graduatingfrom The Zurich Polytechnic. They had known each other for several years and went toschool together. Mileva was very instrumental in his early work with checking hisequations and math for him as she too was a scholar of mathematics. Despite Albert’sfamily’s initial disapproval, Einstein and Mileva were determined to make the best oftheir lives. They soon had two sons Hans Albert and Eduard. Between 1902 and 1909while waiting for a professorship Einstein began working at a patent office in Berne,Switzerland. There he was able to analyze and see first hand the inventions that came tohim for approval. This was very important experience that helped fuel his inventivenessand problem solving need. Later, he would develop some inventions of his own as well.Constant working and solitary habits coupled with many disagreements began to erodethe marriage. Einstein and Mileva separated and eventually divorced bitterly. Einsteinmarried his cousin Elsa whom he had been in a relationship with for some time prior tohis divorce. Over the years Einstein’s relationship with his children wavered, often to thepoint of alienation. Eduard developed mental illness and Hans Albert became bitter withhis father because of his extended absences. Over the years Einstein and his sons hadrocky relations, but when his sons were grown they began to return to him and rekindletheir relationships.
Albert Einstein 6 Einstein wanted to unravel the mysteries that shaped and explained the universe andnatural world around us. He felt it was science that held the key to discovering the realityof our existence. Albert Einstein had many discoveries and breakthroughs; the notableone’s he is known for include the theory of relativity, unified field theories, and thequantum theory. He was curious and fascinated about the perplexity of space and time.One of his most famous equations E=mc2 came from study and connections betweenmass and energy. Einstein came to believe that energy and mass were each one and thesame. He declared that an object’s mass is a direct measurement of the energy it holdswithin. The equation that he initially used to explain his theory was L/V2 or L=mV2,whereas L represented energy and V represented light’s velocity. Eventually, at a laterdate this was changed to the more familiar E=mc2, replacing the L and V with E and Crespectively. The resulting equation explains how energy equates to mass multiplied bythe speed of light squared. This explains how a very small particle of matter can equal anextremely large amount of energy if transformed. General relativity explains geometrically how space time is actually curved andhow matter moves when affected by gravity. According to Einstein, space time and itscurve or warp affects an object’s motion through space. In turn these objects cause thevery curve in space time. This discovery brought about a completely advanced method ofviewing and reality. Einstein’s quantum theory of light proved that atoms truly do exist.Also, the theory changes how we think of space and time. Instead of testing his theories in a laboratory as many other scientists, Einsteinperformed tests and calculations in his mind. These thought experiments resulted in
Albert Einstein 7solutions and discoveries that further baffled his colleagues and the world. He, forexample, would suggest the bending of light and how space could actually be curvedinstead of flat plane. Other scientists and mathematicians were developing their owntheories as well and it is these views that Einstein later built upon. His theory ofrelativity was based on the works of Lorentz, who developed equations that explainedmovement. Einstein valued simplicity, which is ironic given the theories and concepts heposed in his work. He wished to explain everything in nature in a consistent andintelligent way. Albert Einstein received the Nobel Peace Price in 1922 for work on the production andtransformation of light in 1905. He was also honored for his theory of the photoelectriceffect or the process of “the quantum leap”.
Albert Einstein 8 ReferencesGoldsmith, D., & Bartusiak, M. (Eds.). (2006). E=Einstein: His life, his thought, and his influence on our culture. New York: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.Highfield, R., & Carter P. (1993). The private lives of Albert Einstein. New York: St. Martin’s Press.Isaacson, W. (2007). Einstein: his life and universe. New York: Simon and Schuster.Neffe, J. (2005). Einstein. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.