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Albert Einstein

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Education, the Patent Office, and Marriage

Portrait of Einstein age 25
Albert Einstein age 25
Author: Lucien Chavan

Einstein's Education

After three years attending the local Catholic school, eight-year-old Albert changed schools to the Liutpold Gymnasium where he would spend the next seven years. Einstein felt that the teaching style at Liutpold was too regimented and constraining. He did not enjoy the military discipline of the teachers and often rebelled against their authority. He compared his teachers to drill sergeants.

While there are many stories telling about how Einstein struggled in school and even failed in math, these are not true. He may have not been the ideal student, but he scored high in most subjects, especially math and physics. As an adult, Einstein was asked about his failure in math and he replied "I never failed in mathematics. Before I was fifteen I had mastered differential and integral calculus."

Leaving Germany

In 1894, Einstein's father's business collapsed. His family relocated to northern Italy, but Einstein remained in Munich to finish school. This turned out to be a difficult time for Albert. He became depressed and began acting out even more in school. He soon discovered that he could not remain in Germany away from his family. He left school and moved to Italy where he spent some time helping out with the family business and hiking in the alps.

A year later, Einstein enrolled in a school in the nearby town of Aarau in order to prepare for university. He loved his new school where the education process was much more open. The schoolmasters in Aarau allowed Albert to develop his own concepts and unique way of thinking. He was also able to pursue his love of music and playing the violin while at school. By the end of the year, Einstein was ready for university. He had also renounced his German citizenship, deciding that he wanted nothing to do with the nationalist ideals of the current government.

The three founding members of the Olympia Academy
Einstein and his friends formed the Olympia Academy.
They got together and had intellectual discussions.

Author: Emil Vollenweider und Sohn

The Zurich Polytechnic

Einstein was seventeen when he enrolled in Zurich Polytechnic, a technical college in Switzerland. It was at Zurich Polytechnic where Einstein made many of his lifelong friendships. Einstein felt that some of the teaching in the school was out of date. He often skipped class, not to goof around, but to read up on the latest theories in modern physics. Despite his apparent lack of effort, Einstein scored well enough on the final examinations to earn his diploma in 1900.

Working in the Patent Office

After college, Einstein floundered about for the next two years looking for work. He wanted to teach at a university, but couldn't get a job. Eventually, he settled for a job at the patent office examining patent applications. Einstein worked at the patent office for the next seven years. He enjoyed the work because of the diversity of applications he reviewed. Perhaps the greatest benefit of the job was that it allowed Einstein time to form his own unique scientific concepts away from academia. It was during his time at the patent office that he formed some of his most important scientific concepts.

Marriage and Love

Einstein met Mileva Maric while at the Zurich Polytechnic. She was the only woman in his section at school. At first the two students were intellectual friends. They read the same physics books and enjoyed discussing modern physics concepts. This friendship eventually developed into a romance. In 1902, Mileva had a daughter, Lieserl, who was likely given up to adoption. They continued with their romance, however, and were married in 1903. They had their first son, Hans Albert Einstein, a year later in 1904.

Portrait of Einstein and Mileva Maric
Einstein and Mileva
Author: Unknown

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Albert Einstein Biography Contents
  1. Overview
  2. Growing up Einstein
  3. Education, the Patent Office, and Marriage
  4. The Miracle Year
  5. Theory of General Relativity
  6. Academic Career and Nobel Prize
  7. Leaving Germany and World War II
  8. More Discoveries
  9. Later Life and Death
  10. Albert Einstein Quotes and Bibliography
Back to Biographies >> Inventors and Scientists

Other Inventors and Scientists:
Alexander Graham Bell
Rachel Carson
George Washington Carver
Francis Crick and James Watson
Marie Curie
Leonardo da Vinci
Thomas Edison
Albert Einstein
Henry Ford
Ben Franklin
Robert Fulton
Jane Goodall
Johannes Gutenberg
Stephen Hawking
Antoine Lavoisier
James Naismith
Isaac Newton
Louis Pasteur
The Wright Brothers

Works Cited

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