Scientist, Social Reformer. Widely considered the most influential scientist of the twentieth century, he was born in Ulm, Germany and spent his youth in Munich. He showed an acute interest in science and nature from an early age, but seemed to have only a mediocre aptitude for schoolwork, with the exception of mathematics. He did manage to graduate from the Swiss National Polytechnic in Zurich, Switzerland in 1900, but did not secure recommendations from his professors because of his negligible work habits. Einstein continued to work in theoretical physics on his own, finding employment as a patent clerk in Bern, Switzerland. In 1905, the University of Zurich granted him a doctorate for his dissertation on molecular dimensions. More importantly, 1905 also saw Einstein publish three academic papers that changed the course of physics. The first of these papers made significant predictions about particle movement in fluid dynamics; these predictions were later confirmed by experiment. The second paper postulated what has come to be known as the "photoelectric effect," the principle that light consists of particles called photons that traveled in packets known as "quanta." This contradicted established views and was openly scoffed at in 1905, but experimental trials would later prove Einstein correct, much to the chagrin of the researchers conducting the experiments who had hoped to prove Einstein wrong. The third and arguably most influential paper of 1905 proposed what has come to be known as the special Theory of Relativity. This theory held that the same physical principles held true for both matter and energy, and that, given equivalent inertial states, physical events could be described without differentiating between matter, radiation, or the interation of the two. These theories were championed by leading physicist Max Planck and would later gain grudging acceptance by the rest of the scientific community, and Einstein was appointed director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics in Berlin, Germany in 1913. In 1916, he published his General Theory of Relativity. Among other things, this held that time must be taken into account in the dimensional modeling of phenomena. The speed of time was relative to other conditions in space-time, and interaction of bodies in space-time provided better explanations of many celestial events than gravitation. He would be awarded the Nobel Prize for physics in 1921, and would eventually become an international celebrity, perhaps the best-recognized scientist of all time (though this recognition was based as much on his very eccentric personal habits as on his theoretical accomplishments). As revolutionary as his work was, however, he would not acquiesce to the next movement in physics, quantum theory, saying that it's inherent uncertainty was unacceptable and that "God does not play dice with the world." Einstein would lend his personal popularity to several pacifist and Zionist movements, raising the ire of the ascendant National Socialist party in Germany. He would flee Germany in 1933, accepting a position at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. In 1939, Einstein put aside his pacifist principles and collaborated on a letter to United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt urging the development of an atomic bomb project, pointing out that the Germans were probably pursuing similar goals. Following World War II, he worked for international disarmament. He was offered the presidency of the new state of Israel but declined, continuing to work on a "unified field theory" that remained unfinished at the time of his death.
Bio by: Stuthehistoryguy