Newsletter March 2011 – The Faces of US Immigrants: Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein 1921

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The Faces of US Immigrants: Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein was born at Ulm, in Württemberg, Germany on 14 March 1879. He was a theoretical physicist who discovered the theory of general relativity that resulted in a revolution in the field of physics. For this reason, Einstein is often referred to as the father of modern physics.

In 1896 he entered the Swiss Federal Polytechnic School in Zurich to be trained as a teacher in physics and mathematics. He obtained his diploma in 1901 and since he could not find a teaching position, he accepted a position as technical assistant in the Swiss Patent Office. By 1905 he obtained his doctoral degree. It was during this time in the Patent Office, and in his spare time, that he produced much of his remarkable work that would later result in his receiving the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics “for his services to theoretical physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect”.

He escaped from Nazi Germany in 1933, settled in the United States and became a U.S. citizen in 1940. It was Einstein that made President Franklin D. Roosevelt aware of the fact that Germany might be developing an atomic weapon and he strongly recommended that the U.S. begin similar research. Later on, after seeing the devastation that a nuclear weapon can do, he worked together with Bertrand Russell to create the Russell–Einstein Manifesto, which highlighted the danger of nuclear weapons. Einstein taught physics at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University in New Jersey and continued to do so until his death on 18 April 1955.

His E=MC2 is one of the most recognized scientific formulas ever. I guess that’s all relative.