Learning something new... - Albert Einstein

Real Estate Agent with HomeSmart Realty West CalBRE #01458572

Today is the day when one of the most famous figures in history came to America from his native Germany: Albert Einstein (1879-1955).

In fact, Time magazine voted him the Person of the Century for the 20th Century. Additionally, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921 at the tender young age of 42, the Copley Medal in 1925, and the Max Planck Medal in 1929.

Einstein was almost a man without a country since his citizenship changed often, usually due to wars:

  1. Kingdom of Württemburg, German Empire, 1879-1896
  2. Stateless, 1896-1901
  3. Switzerland, 1901-1955
  4. Austria, 1911-1912
  5. Germany, 1914-1933
  6. United States, 1940-1955

He arrived in the United States on October 17, 1933, and obtained citizenship seven years later. When he died in 1955, he had dual citizenship in Switzerland and the United States.

Einstein probably is most famous for what appears on its surface to be a very simple equation explaining the relationship between mass and energy:

Einstein's theory of special relativity

Interestingly, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics not for his most famous equation but for subsequent work explaining the photoelectric effect whereby electrons are cast off by matter in response to absorbing energy, even though the effect was first observed by Heinrich Hertz in 1887.

What does the photoelectric mean to you and me? Solar heating for your swimming pool. Semiconductors for our computers and smart phones. Electric current to make everything work. Vacuum tubes for our older radios and televisions. Image sensors for our digital cameras and plasma televisions. Night vision devices.

So modern technology is all his fault!

Albert Einstein in 1921 when he was awarded the Nobel Prize in PhysicsHere are some other interesting items about Albert Einstein:

  1. Considered the Father of Modern Physics.
  2. Failed his entrance examination to the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich -- ETH Zurich -- one of the top universities in the world.
  3. Renounced his citizenship in the Kingdom of Württemberg to avoid military service. Hmmm. A draft dodger!
  4. He and his wife, Mileva, also a physicist, had two sons and one daughter. Their daughter, Lieserl, is known only from correspondence between Albert and Mileva, and her date of birth and her fate after 1903 are unknown.
  5. Albert and Mileva married in 1903 and divorced in February 1919. Just four months later, Albert married Elsa Löwenthal with whom he had been having an affair since 1912. Else was his first cousin maternally and his second cousin paternally. Figure that one out. Doesn't sound romantic to me.
  6. After graduating from ETH Zurich, Einstein was unemployed for two years before finding employment at the Bern, Germany, patent office.
  7. Although most of his published work was about physics, he also has published works expressing leftist political leanings about pacificism, socialism, and zionism.
  8. 1905 is called Einstein's "Miracle Year" because four of his papers were published by the German physics journal Annalen der Physik. Those four papers are now recognized as revolutionary.
  9. Einstein's work is directly responsible for the knowledge that light waves can be bent, such as during a solar eclipse.
  10. His work in 1917 was responsible for the development of masers and lasers.
  11. After World War II, Einstein wrote, "I do not know how the third World War will be fought, but I can tell you what they will use in the Fourth - rocks!"
  12. Thomas Stoltz Harvey, pathologist of Princeton Hospital where Einstein died, removed Einstein's brain for preservation, without the permission of his family, hoping that future neuroscientists will be able to discover what made him so intelligent.
  13. Einstein's association with great intelligence has made the name Einstein synonymous with genius, often used in expressions such as "Nice job, Einstein!"
  14. For many decades it was reported that Einstein gave the Nobel prize money directly to his first wife, Mileva, in compliance with their 1919 divorce settlement. Personal correspondence made public in 2006 shows that he invested most of it in the United States and saw much of it wiped out in the Great Depression.
  15. Einsteinium, chemical element 99, is named after him.


  1. "Person of the Century: Albert Einstein," Time magazine
  2. "Person of the Century: Why We Chose Einstein," Time magazine
  3. "The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History," by Michael Hart
  4. "The Complete Idiot's Guide To Understanding Einstein," by Gary Moring
  5. "Einstein's Brainchild," by Barry Parker
  6. "The Universe in a Nutshell," by Stephen Hawking.
  7. "Albert Einstein: Philosopher-Scientist," by Paul Schilpp, editor
  8. "The Einstein Syndrome: Bright Children Who Talk Late," by Thomas Sowell
  9. "Albert Einstein: A Biography," by Albrecht Folsing
  10. "Einstein for Beginners," by J. Schwartz and M. McGuinness
  11. "Einstein: A Life," by Dennis Brian
  12. Wikipedia
  13. Arago: People, Postage, and the Post
  14. 1847USA: Knowledge is Power

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Marchel Peterson
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro

Russell, I learned some new things about Einstein.  I did already know about his brain though. 

Oct 17, 2009 02:03 PM #1
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Russel- I always tell people that you can learn so much on AR.  Thanks for the history on Einstein.  What you provided gives added dimension to a man I knew only for his brain-power.

Oct 17, 2009 02:32 PM #2
Matt Listro
National Credit Fixers - Matt Listro - Vernon, CT
Your Credit Repair Expert

Hi Russell: As always a fact filled post!  Thanks for the knowledge!


Oct 17, 2009 02:34 PM #3
Debi Boucher
Real Estate Showcase Photography - Woodland Park, CO
"Realtor Showcase" - Real Estate Photography/Virtual Tours

Hey Russel - I know what a laser is - but what is a maser? And I love the quote on line 11!


Oct 17, 2009 03:56 PM #4
Larry Bettag
Cherry Creek Mortgage Illinois Residential Mortgage License LMB #0005759 Cherry Creek Mortgage NMLS #: 3001 - Saint Charles, IL
Vice-President of National Production

Cool history, but I never knew that he was such a nomad.

Oct 17, 2009 04:44 PM #5
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

Thanks for the history lesson.  Teacher's grade you:  A  You put a lot of thought and effort into this too!  thanks

Oct 17, 2009 05:44 PM #6
Carra & Shae Riley
Brokers Guild Cherry Creek Ltd - Westminster, CO
Helping people Transition at all ages!


Again, learned a lot! I had no idea he was a citizen of so many countries. Thanks for another history lesson.

Your friend in the Cosmic Cow Pie.

Oct 19, 2009 11:42 AM #7
Russel Ray, San Diego Business & Marketing Consultant & Photographer
Russel Ray - San Diego State University, CA

Hey, Marchel - I'm wondering why the family never got his brain back. Seems like they would have had a right to it.

Hey, Kathy - I learned some stuff myself. I had no idea that he was a citizen of so many different countries throughout his life.

Hey, Matt - As always, thanks for bringing your little kitty cats by.

Hey, Debi - Maser is actually an acronym for Microwave Amplification by Stimulation Emission of Radiation. Laser is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulation Emission of Radiation. A laser is actually a higher-frequency maser.

Hey, Larry - That was the most interesting thing I learned while doing this post.

Hey, Carla - What do I have to do to get an A+? LOL

Hey, Carra - I've always found it interesting that people can maintain citizenships of two or more countries. Where, then, does one's loyalty lie? Actually, though, I wish we just had membership in the world, or the universe. Might prevent a lot of unnecessary border and land wars.

Oct 20, 2009 09:28 PM #8
Suzanne McLaughlin
Sabinske & Associates, Inc. (Albertville, St. Michael) - Saint Michael, MN
Sabinske & Associates, Realtor

Einstein is greatly admired, and I, for one, have had an ongoing admiration for him all these years.  There were aspects of his life that left much to be desired, but we all have the skeletons in the closet, don't we?  Thanks for giving me even more insight. 

Oct 25, 2009 04:55 AM #9
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Jim Frimmer

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