A Truly Beautiful Mind
Albert Einstein was born on March 14, 1879 in the German city of Ulm. He had no signs of greatness. His mother thought that he was a freak. For about two and a half years he could not speak and when he learned to speak he uttered everything twice. He was ‘Brother boring’ for other children. So he played by himself much of the time.
Education and School Life
At school his headmaster considered him stupid and good for nothing. But he proved them all wrong. When he joined high school in Munich, where his family had moved, he scored good marks in almost all the subjects. He did not feel at ease with the school regimentation and left it for good at the age of 15. He showed great interest in Mathematics and Physics. Later on, for higher education, he joined the university at Zurich.
Einstein was attracted to a fellow student, Mileva Maric- equally intelligent and clever, whom he wanted to marry after finishing his studies. Without paying attention to his mother’s opinion that Mileva was too old for him and too intelligent, the pair got married in January 1903.They had two sons but unfortunately the marriage did not survive and they divorced in 1909. Einstein married his cousin Elsa the same year.
Professional Life and Works
After completing his education Einstein worked as a teaching assistant, gave private tuitions and finally became a technical expert at the patent office in Bern. There he secretly developed his own ideas. In 1905 Einstein published his paper on Special Theory of Relativity followed by the world famous equation E=mc2. In 1915 he rose to world fame after the publication of his General Theory of Relativity, which was considered a ‘ scientific revolution’. Einstein received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1921.
Emigration to the U S
Einstein emigrated to the United States when the Nazis came to power in Germany. When Germany discovered the principle of nuclear fission, Einstein wrote a letter to the American President Franklin Roosevelt about the dangers of atomic bomb. In 1945 when America dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Einstein was deeply hurt. He wrote a public missive to the United Nations proposing the formation of a world government, but it made no impact. Einstein spent his later days in politics advocating peace and democracy. He died in 1955 at the age of 76. He was celebrated as a visionary and world citizen as much as a scientific genius.
Read the extracts given below and answer the questions that follow.
1. This young Serb had come to Switzerland because the university in Zurich was one of the few in Europe where women could get degrees.
a) Who is the ‘young Serb ’referred to here?
b) Why did the young Serb come to Switzerland?
c) What was Einstein’s attitude towards the ‘young Serb’?
2.”She is a book like you”, his mother said. Einstein put the wedding off.
a) Who is ‘she’ in the above lines?
b) Explain ‘a book like you’.
c) What happened to their marriage later?
3. Unlike the letter to Roosevelt this one made no impact.
a) Which letter made no impact?
b) What did Einstein propose in the letter?
b) What warning did Einstein’s letter to Roosevelt contain?
Short Answer Questions
1.Why did Einstein’s playmates call him ‘brother boring,?
2. What was the headmaster’s opinion about Albert Einstein?
3. Why did Einstein leave school?
4.Why was Einstein’s mother against his marriage to Mileva?
5. What was the impact of the publication of General Theory of Relativity on Einstein’s life?
1.Einstein was an unusual child with no indication of his potential greatness. Comment.
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