Albert Einstein (14 March 1879 - 18 April 1955) was a German-born theoretical physicist. A leading figure in scientific thought throughout the early-mid 20th century, he is now one of most well-known and respected scientists of all time.
Einstein independently developed the theory of relativity, the backbone of modern physics, and received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921 both for discovering the photoelectric effect and for his overall contribution to theoretical physics. Einstein is often remembered for discovering the equation E = mc2, the formula for mass-energy equivalence which shows that mass is directly related to energy.
Another myth that's often spread about Einstein is that he didn't start talking until he was about 4 (most kids start talking before their 1st birthday). While it's still possible that he didn't start speaking until later in his life, a published story from his grandparents show his curious mind already at work by age 2. After meeting his new baby sister for the first time, little Albert, imagining her as some new toy to play with, said, "But where are its wheels?"
In 1952, Einstein was offered the ceremonial position of becoming the second President of Israel, then a relatively new country. He reluctantly decided to turn down the offer, stating that he had, "Neither the natural ability nor the experience" for the job.
Though Einstein is often mistakenly added to the list of famous left-handed figures, there are many photographs that prove his right handedness. Sorry, lefties!
Einstein championed civil rights, calling segregation "a disease," and promising that he did, "not intend to be quiet about it."
Partly because of stomach problems and partly because of his compassion for animals, Einstein made the decision to give up meat later in his life.
It's often mentioned that Einstein was a poor student and that he failed his university entrance exam. In reality, however, he took the test 2 years before most students—and failed only the parts that were given in French.
Einstein spent quite a lot of energy inventing and applied about 50 patents in his lifetime. One such patent was for a silent refrigerator that could supposedly last up to 100 years.
At age 12, Einstein taught himself algebra and geometry with a textbook given to him by his tutor. Soon after, he started to teach himself calculus, which he mastered at 14.
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