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Albert Einstein

One of the smartest people ever to live, Albert Einstein, changed our society's development forever with his views, theories, and developments. Einstein was born in Ulm, Germany on March 14, 1879. He was the only son of Hermann and Pauline Kech Einstein. He spent his youth in Munich, where his family owned a small electrical equipment plant. He did not talk until the age of three and by the age of nine, was still not fluent in his native language. (Discovering World History) His parents were actually concerned the he might be somewhat mentally retarded.

His parent's concerns aside, even as a youth Einstein showed a brilliant curiosity about nature and an ability to understand difficult mathematical concepts. At the age of 12 he taught himself Euclidian Geometry. Einstein hated the dull regimental and unimaginative spirit of school in Munich. (Albert Einstein's Early Life) His parents wisely thought to transfer him out of that environment.

Although Einstein's family was Jewish, he was sent to a Catholic elementary school from 1884 to 1889. He was then enrolled at the Luitpold Gymnasium in Munich. In 1894, Hermann Einstein's business failed and the family moved to Pavia, near Milan, Italy. Einstein was left behind in Munich to allow him to finish school. Such was not to be the case, however, since he left the gymnasium after only six more months. Einstein's biographer, Philip Frank, explains that Einstein so thoroughly despised formal schooling that he devised a scheme by which he received a medical excuse from school on the basis of a potential nervous breakdown. He then convinced a mathematics teacher to certify that he was adequately prepared to begin his college studies without a high school diploma. Other biographies, however, state that Einstein was expelled from the gymnasium on the grounds that he was a disruptive influence at the school. (Discovering World History)

In 1895, Einstein thought himself ready to take the entrance examination for the Eldgenossiche Technische Hochschule (ETH: Swiss Federal Polytechnic School, or Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), where he planned to major in electrical engineering. When he failed that examination, Einstein enrolled at a Swiss cantonal high school in Aarau. He found the more democratic style of instruction at Aarau much more enjoyable than his experience in Munich and soon began to make rapid pro...

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...ensively on many topics, especially on peace. The growing fascism and anti-semiticism of Hitler's regime convinced Einstein to sign his name to a letter written by American physicist Leo Szilard informing President Franklin D. Roosevelt of the possibility of an atomic bomb. This letter led the formation of the Manhattan Project for the worlds first nuclear weapons. Einstein himself did not participate in the project. (Discovering World History) We can only assume that this was due to ethical concerns.

His highly principled nature was evident again in 1952. After the death of Israel's first president Einstein was invited to succeed him as president. He declined the offer. Despite the many other honors given to Einstein, he died a humble man. At the time of his death he was the world's most widely admired scientist and his name was synonymous with genius (Discovering World History). Einstein was truly one of the most fascinating figures of the twentieth century and his contributions to science and mathematics have yet to be fully explored.

Work Cited
"Albert Einstein." Microsoft Encarta 97 Encyclopedia. Online. 1993-1996.
"Albert Einstein's Early Life." 1998

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