Albert Einstein: His Life and Times: This 4-page essay gives a brief overview of the life of Albert Einstein. There is a bibliography.
According to biographers, there was nothing in Einstein's formative years to indicate that he would become a famous scientist. Born to Hermann and Pauline Einstein on March 14, 1879, in the city of Ulm, Bavaria, he was soon joined by a sister, Maja. His mother loved literature and music, and his father had various electrical businesses and moved the family frequently as his shops failed. Albert was slow to talk and even slower to read (Cahn, 1955, p.14). Schools of the time were very strict, towards the end of the Bismarck era, and Albert did not like the discipline. He wanted to ask questions instead of listen to lectures.
At a very young age he was fascinated by a compass and thought that there were invisible forces in the universe that controlled the direction of the needle. Albert excelled in mathematics in school, and he had an uncle who also taught him mathematics outside of school. This uncle called mathematics "a merry science. . . When the animal that we are hunting cannot be caught, we call it X temporarily and continue to hunt it until it is bagged" (Cahn, 1955, p.18). The Einstein family was Jewish, but the young Albert attended Catholic school some of the time because it was less expensive. At age thirteen, Albert had mastered calculus (Life and Mind, 1996).
Because of the growing German militarism, Albert completed his schooling in Switzerland, graduating from the Swiss Federal Polytechnic School in 1896 at Zurich (Cahn, 1955, p.22). He hoped to find a job as a teacher in mathematics and science, but jobs were scarce, and he finally accepted a low-paying job as a patent clerk at Berne. The job was dull, and the hours were long, but it exposed him to the world of invention, and he pored over the diagrams and written proposals of scientists who applied to the patent off...