March 14, 1879March 14, 1879
Albert Einstein was born
in Ulm, Germany
1884Einstein saw a wonder when he was four or five
years old: a magnetic compass.
The needle's northward swing, guided by an
invisible force, impressed him.
The compass convinced him that there had to be
"something behind things, something deeply
Einstein knew, from then on, that
he wanted to teach math and
Science at a University someday.
The problem was, he wasn’t a
very good test-taker and could
not get a job at a University
because of it.
Rumor has it that he had even failed a Math
test, but some people question that
because of the way grades were assigned
Albert Einstein develops his Special
Theory of Relativity.
He did this while working as a Patent
Clerk in Germany.
He wasn’t really even a scientist at the
Einstein Continued his Genius in
Einstein uses the idea that light exists as tiny
packets, or particles, that we now call photons.
His work anchors the most shocking idea in
twentieth century science: we live in a universe
built out of tiny bits of energy and matter.
Next, in April and May, Einstein publishes two
In one he invents a new method of counting and
determining the size of the atoms or molecules in a given
In the other he explains the phenomenon of Brownian
The net result is a proof that atoms actually exist - still an
issue at that time.
And then, in June, Einstein completes special relativity - which
adds a twist to the story: special relativity sees light as
particles and a continuous field of waves.
And of course, Einstein isn't finished. Later in 1905 comes
the most famous relationship in physics: E=mc2
The energy content of a body is equal to the mass of the body
times the speed of light squared.
At first, even Einstein does not understand the full implications
of his formula.
In 1907, Einstein begins to apply the laws of
gravity to his Special Theory of Relativity.
In 1911, he finally gets a job as a Professor of
Physics at the German University.
In 1910, Einstein addressed a basic question: "Why is the sky
blue?" He approached the problem by looking at the effect of
the scattering of light by individual molecules in the
In 1913, Einstein begins work on his new Theory of Gravity.
Einstein completes his General Theory of Relativity.
Einstein challenged the way the world thought about
gravity – and Sir Isaac Newton himself - by describing
gravity as the warping of space-time, not a force
acting at a distance.
A solar eclipse proves Einstein right, and he
becomes an overnight celebrity.
An experiment had confirmed that light rays from
the sun were deflected by the gravity of the sun in
just the amount Einstein had predicted in his
theory of gravity, General Relativity.
Albert Einstein is awarded the Nobel Prize "for his
services to Theoretical Physics, and especially for
his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect"
Einstein begins pursuing his idea of a unifying
theory that ties everything in the universe
Einstein and his wife, Elsa, escape Nazi Germany and
set sail for the United States.
World War II begins.
Einstein writes a now famous letter to President
Franklin D. Roosevelt urging nuclear research and
warning him of Germany’s building of an atomic
Between 1905 to 1925, Einstein changed the world’s
understanding of nature on every scale, from the
smallest organism to the whole universe.
Now, a century after he began to make his mark, we are
still exploring Einstein's universe.
The problems he could not solve remain the ones that
define the cutting edge, the most tantalizing and
Einstein continued to his dying days, trying
to figure out a single central theory that
explained everything in the universe.
An extension of his work has become known
as String Theory, which says that everything
in the universe is made up of tiny strings of
April 18, 1955
Albert Einstein dies of Heart Failure.
This is a picture of his last blackboard.
Famous Einstein Quote
"Anyone who has
never made a mistake
has never tried