Albert Einstein is everyone’s idea of a genius and a favorite template for fictitious mad scientists or absent-minded professors. So it’s befitting that we dedicate this gallery to the man behind the Theory of Relativity. There are many interesting sides about the smartest man on the planet that you need to know!
Some people, like the great Einstein, are more a visual thinker than verbal. This thought process is called Gedankenexperiment.
Einstein called himself an agnostic while distancing himself from the tag as an atheist. Having been raised by non-religious Jewish parents, he lost his faith at an early age. He used other labels such as “religious nonbeliever,” “pantheistic” and a believer of Spinoza’s God (defined by Danish philosopher Baruch Spinoza as a singular self-subsistent substance).
It seems unlikely, but Einstein didn’t learn to speak until he was two years old. (Some child development ‘experts’ believe it’s common knowledge that boys are generally slower than girls especially in learning speech and reading. This raised concern from his parents who even consulted a doctor about his speech delay. He was so poor in class that his teacher once threw a board eraser at him, hitting his head, and called him stupid. Did you also know that this genius was also a rebel during his youth? His rebellious attitude led his headmaster to expel him. Einstein’s disdain for authority made him challenge conventional wisdom.
His sluggish verbal improvement led him to be curious about many things, such as space and time, that adults took for granted.
Thomas Stoltz Harvey, a pathologist at Princeton University, was the one who conducted an autopsy on Einstein’s body. Without permission from Einstein himself or his family, Harvey stole his brain from his body, and preserved it in a jar with chemicals. He hoped that scientists in the future would study his brain and be able to decipher what made Einstein such a genius.
Einstein and his wife, Serbian physicist Mileva Maric, divorced in 1919 where Einstein also remarried. When he won the Nobel Prize two years later, he transferred the money to Maric mainly as financial support to their sons, Hans Albert and Eduard.
Although Einstein was a Jew, he wasn’t an Israeli citizen. Despite that, he was invited to run for the country’s presidency which he tactfully turned down, saying that he didn’t “have the head for solving problems.”
This is a bit strange, but even a genius like Einstein had his share of disappointments. He failed in his university exam at the Swiss Federal Polytechnical School, although he excelled in the math and science sections. Because of this, he had to go to a trade school before re-taking the entrance exam a year later. This time, he was finally admitted.
People thought that Einstein won the Nobel Prize for physics for his famous Theory of Relativity. However, he won the award for his work on the photoelectric effect, as his then-new discovery of the relativity was still deemed controversial.
His memory was so feeble that he often forgot names, dates and phone numbers. And that’s probably the reason why he’s a favorite model for fictitious absent-minded professors.
Einstein’s private letters were discovered in the 1980s, and from this correspondence a secret was finally revealed about him: a year before he and Mileva Maric were married, in 1902 she gave birth to a girl named Lieserl. What happened to Lieserl isn’t certain, but there were many theories surrounding her fate. The baby may have died from scarlet fever, or have been adopted by Maric’s close friend who raised her.
In Einstein’s case, he began a relationship with his first cousin Elsa Einstein, while he was still married to Mileva Maric. Following his divorce from Maric in 1919, he married Elsa, who had the previous surname of Lowenthal from her own first marriage.
This may shake Einstein’s fans, but there are in fact two brains who share the credit for this famous equation. A recent study revealed that little-known Austrian physicist Friedrich Hasenohrl uncovered the equation which was exceptionally close to Einstein’s.
Hansenohrl did a study of cavity radiation or blackbody radiation, which refers to a physical body that absorb all radiation (such as infrared light, ultraviolet light, etc.) that falls upon it, and then radiates at all frequencies that heat energy generates in it. From his study Hasenohrl came up with the equation E=3/8 mc2 in 1904, only a year before Einstein published his theory of relativity.
You may or may not know of this fact, but Thomas Stoltz Harvey, the Princeton pathologist who took Einstein’s brain while doing an autopsy on his body, also removed his eyeballs (still without permission from him or his family). He then gave the eyeballs to Henry Abrams, Einstein’s ophthalmologist. They’re still in a safebox in New York City. And there are rumors that these eyeballs would also go under the hammer one day.
Aside from being a great influence on the field of science, Einstein is also a big influence on pop culture. For one, the creation of Star Wars’ Yoda was inspired by the scientific genius. Stuart Freeborn, the makeup supervisor of the original film, incorporated Einstein’s eyes and wrinkles to complete the “wise” look of the Jedi master.
Yes, for all his own brilliance and prominence, if he had to ride in a car, he was mostly accompanied by a chauffeur or driven by his friends or relatives.
Einstein used to wear socks before, but one day he found out that the big toe always ended up making a hole. After that he never wore them again.
Based on the pictures taken of his brain, a study revealed that Einstein’s parietal lobe — located on the upper back of the brain — is 15% bigger than the average size. This area is linked to solving mathematical problems and visuospatial processing.
Einstein said of Galileo: “Galileo – the father of modern physics – indeed of modern science.”
Einstein was a staunch anti-racist and in fact was a member of the Princeton chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, championing the civil rights of the blacks.
There are four fundamental forces of nature — the strong force, the electromagnetic force, the weak force and gravity. While theory of general relativity covers gravity, the field of quantum mechanics analyzes the other three forces.
Even on his deathbed Einstein was still trying to figure out a single theory that will explain all forces. Since then scientists have inherited what Einstein left, still continuing the quest of achieving the theory of everything.