Discover the scientist whose ideas and theories about time and space changed the world and what we think about the universe in our 10 facts about Albert Einstein…

Albert Einstein Facts

Full name: Albert Einstein

Born: 14 March 1879

Occupation: Scientist specialising in physics, also known as a theoretical physicist*

Died: 18 April 1955

Best known for: His theory of relativity*

1. Albert Einstein was born in Germany, but lived in Italy, Switzerland and Czechia (which was then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire), until he eventually moved to the United States in 1933.

Albert never went back to Germany after moving to the USA. He didn’t feel safe in Germany because of the events that led to World War 2, and instead settled down to life in the American town of Princeton, New Jersey.

2. When Albert was a boy, he fell in love with physics when his father gifted him a compass.

He was fascinated by the way the magnets moved inside of the compass, and thought about this when he was older and coming up with his theories around relativity.

Albert Einstein facts | an old compass with brass rim, white face, and black arrows and markings

3. Albert hated the strict discipline of the grammar school he attended as a teenager, and left aged 15…

While at school, he excelled at maths, physics, and philosophy, but struggled with other subjects like languages.

4. …but he still managed to write his first scholarly paper at just 16 years old!

The paper was inspired by his compass, and discussed the force of magnetism.

Albert Einstein facts | a magnet sits among iron fillings. one end is red and labelled N, the other blue and labelled S. Each end has an area of blank space in front of it, where it has repelled the metal filings.

5. Rather than becoming a physicist straight away, Albert first trained as a teacher.

In 1896, he was accepted into the Swiss Federal Polytechnic School in Zürich, Switzerland. He originally failed the entrance exam, but was let anyway due to his exceptional maths results! However, this was on the condition that Albert also went to high school and finished his formal schooling.

6. After failing to find work as a maths and physics teacher, Albert decided to obtain a Ph.D. in physics.

He obtained this degree in 1905 – a year that came to be known as Albert’s “year of miracles“, because he published four groundbreaking papers in just 12 months!

a chalkboard with lots of different mathematical equations on it. one larger equation is in the centre, it reads E = m c-squared. A white hand holding a piece of chalk is pointing to this equation

7. One of the discoveries Albert announced in 1905 was his famous formula: E=mc2

Albert figured out that matter – the tiny particles that make up everything in the world – can be turned into energy. The equation, E=mc2 , describes how this conversion can be achieved. This amazing breakthrough made the 26-year-old Albert Einstein a star!

8. The formula formed part of Albert’s ‘general theory of relativity’, which he worked on over the next ten years.

Other scientists, for example Dutch physicist Hendrik Lorentz, had already been forming pieces of the theory. However, Albert was the first one to put the whole thing together. He published the complete theory in 1915, where it wowed the world!

Einstein stands in front of a chalkboard. He is a middle-aged man, with long neat hair and a mustache. He is dressed smartly in a suit jacket and tie.

9. Albert’s theory of relativity helped scientists understand how the universe works.

Albert’s theory showed that the effects of gravity result from the ways that objects affect space and time. These interactions can only been seen on enormous objects like the planets. As a result, Albert’s general theory of relativity describes the way that amazing phenomena like the movement of planets, the birth and death of stars, black holes, and evolution of the universe, are possible.

Check out our space facts article to learn more about these out-of-this-world places!

10. He went on to win The Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921.

The Nobel Prize is an award for major scientific accomplishments – and by the time Albert won it, he and his discoveries were famous around the world. He continued working on theories until his death in 1955, aged 76.

Albert Einstein facts | Albert shakes hands with a tall white man, who is handing him a piece of paper. They are both formally dressed in suits. Albert's hair is long and grey.

*A theoretical physicist is a scientist who try to figure out how the world and universe works.

Thanks to Jordan Madrid and JEShoots for images used in this article.

Did you learn something new from our Albert Einstein facts? Let us know in the comments!

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