This much acclaimed genius and Noble Prize winner was born on March 14, 1879 in Ulm, Germany. Via a flurry of papers and research, Einstein developed theories that effectively turned classical physics on its head. He gave an in-depth understanding of everything from gravity and energy to space and time. It is with such groundbreaking achievements that his name has become the synonym for genius. But what are the 5 facts that you may think you know about him but in essence you don’t?
Check them out below:
- Einstein was a Math pro even as a child
School kids performing not so well in Math and other subjects have always found solace in the myth that Einstein used to flop as a youth. However, records indicate otherwise. In fact, his performance was more than above average. His days in Munich saw him get high grades and the only point of frustration came in at the “mechanical discipline”. Due to this misunderstanding with his teachers, at the age 15, the future Nobel Laureate chose to leave school and also left Germany where military service was mandatory. Einstein himself dismissed this myth saying that before he was 15, he “mastered differential and integral calculus.”
- Einstein spent 9 years before getting an academia job
In his early years at Zurich Polytechnic, Einstein already emerged as a brilliant student. But as a result of tendency to skip classes, his professors gave him less glowing recommendations during his 1900 graduation. He would then spend the rest of his 9 years trying to get an academic position until he landed a gig at a Swiss patent office. To his surprise, Einstein would later on learn that this is the kind of job he wanted for it allowed him to alternate between working and writing reports and conducting researches. 1905 is branded his “miracle year” because it’s a time when the lowly clerk published four life changing articles introducing the famous E=mc2 as well as the theory of special relativity. These discoveries may have introduced him into the world of physics but it was until 1909 when he won full professorship.
- He divorced his first wife and offered her his Noble Prize
Einstein’s first marriage to Mileva Maric wasn’t a success but he always knew he would succeed in doing one thing – win the Noble Prize. As a result, as the two drafted their divorce agreement, the legendary scientist offered her a portion of what he would make from the Noble Prize even before winning it. Mileva agreed and true to his word, Einstein gave her a small fortune he made out of his 1922 award for his work in photoelectric effect. By then he had already remarried Elsa with whom they stayed until her death in 1936.
- He was spied on by the FBI for over two decades
Just before Hitler took over power in 1933, Einstein left Germany for the U.S. to teach at Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. He had strong pacifist opinions and always supported left-wing and human rights, triggering the FBI to pay a close attention on him. The Bureau wasted no time launching investigations on him for a whole 22 years. His phone calls were closely monitored and his mail constantly opened as they went through his trash, hoping to get evidence of links with the Soviet Union. By the time he died in 1955, the FBI had a whopping 1,800 pages on him.
- He advised building of atomic bomb only to disqualify it after U.S. Japan bombing
As the 1930s came to an end, Einstein learnt that the Germans were working on an atom bomb. Fearing for what would happen if such a tool fell in the hands of the Nazi, he teamed up with Hungarian physicist Leo Szilard to write a letter urging President Franklin D. Roosevelt to initiate an atomic research. The project would later on be called the Manhattan Project, which Einstein didn’t take an active participation. But after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing, Einstein said had he known, he would have never lifted his finger. He would later on begin to advocate for nuclear disarmament, controls on weapons testing and unified world government. He even joined hands with philosopher Bertrand Russell to write a public letter “Russell-Einstein Manifesto” just before his death. In the letter, the two urged governments to consider settling their disputes peacefully.