9 Things You May Not Know About Albert Einstein (2023)

1. Einstein didn’t fail math as a child.

9 Things You May Not Know About Albert Einstein (1)

Underachieving school kids have long taken solace in the claim that Einstein flunked math as a youth, but the records show that he was actually an exceptional, if not reluctant, student. He scored high grades during his school days in Munich, and was only frustrated by what he described as the “mechanical discipline” demanded by his teachers. The future Nobel Laureate dropped out of school at age 15 and left Germany to avoid state-mandated military service, but before then he was consistently at the top of his class and was even considered something of a prodigy for his grasp of complex mathematical and scientific concepts. When later presented with a news article claiming he’d failed grade-school math, Einstein dismissed the story as a myth and said, “Before I was 15 I had mastered differential and integral calculus.”

2. No one knows what happened to his first daughter.

9 Things You May Not Know About Albert Einstein (2)

In 1896, Einstein renounced his German citizenship and enrolled at the Swiss Federal Polytechnic School in Zurich. There, he began a passionate love affair with Mileva Maric, a fellow physicist-in-training originally from Serbia. The couple later married and had two sons after graduating, but a year before they tied the knot, Maric gave birth to an illegitimate daughter named Lieserl. Einstein never spoke about the child to his family, and biographers weren’t even aware of her existence until examining his private papers in the late-1980s. Her fate remains a mystery to this day. Some scholars think Lieserl died from scarlet fever in 1903, while others believe she survived the sickness and was given up for adoption in Maric’s native Serbia.

3. It took Einstein nine years to get a job in academia.

9 Things You May Not Know About Albert Einstein (3)

Einstein showed flashes of brilliance during his years at the Zurich Polytechnic, but his rebellious personality and penchant for skipping classes saw his professors give him less than glowing recommendations upon his graduation in 1900. The young physicist later spent two years searching for an academic position before settling for a gig at the Swiss patent office in Bern. Though menial, the job turned out to be a perfect fit for Einstein, who found he could breeze through his office duties in a few hours and spend the rest of the day writing and conducting research. In 1905—often called his “miracle year”—the lowly clerk published four revolutionary articles that introduced his famous equation E=mc2 and the theory of special relativity. While the discoveries marked Einstein’s entrance onto the physics world stage, he didn’t win a full professorship until 1909—nearly a decade after he had left school.

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4. He offered his wife his Nobel Prize as part of their divorce settlement.

9 Things You May Not Know About Albert Einstein (4)

After his marriage to Mileva Maric hit the rocks in the early 1910s, Einstein left his family, moved to Berlin and started a new relationship with his cousin, Elsa. He and Maric finally divorced several years later in 1919. As part of their separation agreement, Einstein promised her an annual stipend plus whatever money he might receive from the Nobel Prize—which he was supremely confident he would eventually win. Maric agreed, and Einstein later handed over a small fortune upon receiving the award in 1922 for his work on the photoelectric effect. By then, he had already remarried to Elsa, who remained his wife until her death in 1936.

5. A solar eclipse helped make Einstein world famous.

9 Things You May Not Know About Albert Einstein (5)

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In 1915, Einstein published his theory of general relativity, which stated that gravitational fields cause distortions in the fabric of space and time. Because it was such a bold rewriting of the laws of physics, the theory remained controversial until May 1919, when a total solar eclipse provided the proper conditions to test its claim that a supermassive object—in this case the sun—would cause a measurable curve in the starlight passing by it. Hoping to prove Einstein’s theory once and for all, English astronomer Arthur Eddington journeyed to the coast of West Africa and photographed the eclipse. Upon analyzing the pictures, he confirmed that the sun’s gravity had deflected the light by roughly 1.7 arc-seconds—exactly as predicted by general relativity. The news made Einstein an overnight celebrity. Newspapers hailed him as the heir to Sir Isaac Newton, and he went on to travel the world lecturing on his theories about the cosmos. According to Einstein biographer Walter Isaacson, in the six years after the 1919 eclipse, more than 600 books and articles were written about the theory of relativity.

6. The FBI spied on him for decades.

Shortly before Hitler rose to power in 1933, Einstein left Berlin for the United States and took a position at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. His support for pacifist, civil rights and left-wing causes had already drawn suspicion from J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI, and after his arrival on American shores, the Bureau launched what would eventually become a 22-year surveillance campaign. Agents listened to the physicist’s phone calls, opened his mail and rooted through his trash in the hope of unmasking him as a subversive or a Soviet spy. They even investigated tips that he was building a death ray. The project came up empty handed, but by the time Einstein died in 1955, his FBI file totaled a whopping 1,800 pages.

7. Einstein urged the building of the atomic bomb—and later became a proponent of nuclear disarmament.

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In the late-1930s, Einstein learned that new research had put German scientists on a path toward creating the atom bomb. The prospect of a doomsday weapon in the hands of the Nazis convinced him to set aside his pacifist principles and team up with Hungarian physicist Leo Szilard, who helped him write a letter urging President Franklin D. Roosevelt to conduct atomic research. Though Einstein never participated directly in the Manhattan Project, he later expressed deep regrets about his minor role in bringing about the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. “Had I known that the Germans would not succeed in producing an atomic bomb, I never would have lifted a finger,” he told Newsweek. He went on to become an impassioned advocate of nuclear disarmament, controls on weapons testing and unified world government. Shortly before his death in 1955, he joined with philosopher Bertrand Russell in signing the “Russell-Einstein Manifesto,” a public letter that stressed the risks of nuclear war and implored governments to “find peaceful means for the settlement of all disputes between them.”

8. He was asked to be president of Israel.

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Though not traditionally religious, Einstein felt a deep connection to his Jewish heritage and often spoke out against anti-Semitism. He was never a staunch Zionist, but when head of state Chaim Weizmann died in 1952, the Israeli government offered to appoint him as the nation’s second president. The 73-year-old wasted little time in declining the honor. “All my life I have dealt with objective matters,” Einstein wrote in a letter to the Israeli ambassador, “hence I lack both the natural aptitude and the experience to deal properly with people and to exercise official function.”

9. Einstein’s brain was stolen after his death.

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Einstein died in April 1955 from an abdominal aortic aneurysm. He had requested that his body be cremated, but in a bizarre incident, Princeton pathologist Thomas Harvey removed his famous brain during his autopsy and kept it in the hope of unlocking the secrets of his genius. After winning a reluctant approval from Einstein’s son, Harvey later had the brain cut into pieces and sent to various scientists for research. A handful of studies have been conduced on it since the 1980s, but most have either been dismissed or discredited. Perhaps the most famous came in 1999, when a team from a Canadian university published a controversial paper claiming Einstein possessed unusual folds on his parietal lobe, a part of the brain associated with mathematical and spatial ability.

FAQs

What you didnt know about Albert Einstein? ›

Einstein was born with a misshapen head.

Upon first seeing him, his grandmother even exclaimed that he was “much too fat!” His physician didn't worry too much about it, however, and his head started taking a normal shape a few weeks later.

What was unusual about Einstein? ›

Perhaps the most striking is that Einstein had an extra ridge on his mid-frontal lobe, the part used for making plans and working memory. Most people have three ridges but Einstein had four. She also found Einstein's parietal lobes were dramatically asymmetric, and he had a knob on his right motor strip.

What did Einstein say was his biggest regret? ›

Fearful that the Germans would beat WWII Allies to a nuclear weapon, physicist Albert Einstein wrote to FDR, urgently pushing America's A-bomb development. But after the devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, he and many scientists on the project publicly expressed deep regret.

What did Albert Einstein dislike? ›

Although he got generally good grades (and was outstanding in mathematics), Einstein hated the academic high school he was sent to in Munich, where success depended on memorization and obedience to arbitrary authority.

What is the question that Einstein couldn't solve? ›

Because it is so old, it cannot drive the first mile— the ascent —faster than with an average speed of 15 miles per hour. Question: How fast does it have to drive the second mile— on going down, it can, of course, go faster—in order to obtain an average speed (for the whole distance) of 30 miles an hour?

What was Einstein's IQ level? ›

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist and philosopher of science whose estimated IQ scores range from 205 to 225 by different measures.

Who is the highest IQ in the world? ›

Marilyan vos Savant. Vos Savant has one of the world's highest IQs (228), and she is known as the smartest person in the comment. Her name is recorded in the Guinness World Record for smarts.

What did Einstein consider his biggest mistake? ›

When it became clear that the universe wasn't actually static, but was expanding instead, Einstein abandoned the constant, calling it the '"biggest blunder" of his life.

What is considered Einstein's biggest mistake? ›

When he called the cosmological constant his "greatest blunder" it really was a blunder; if he had instead listened to what the equations told him, he could have predicted the expanding Universe! Instead of adding in a cosmological constant, modern dark energy is treated as just another...

What was Einstein's famous question? ›

One more bit of Einstein/questioning lore: From my understanding, Einstein's theory of relativity began with an early “beautiful question” he posed, along the lines of “What if I rode a beam of light across the universe?” and then set out to answer.

What theory did Einstein reject? ›

DARK ENERGY. Einstein thought his biggest mistake was refusing to believe his own equations that predicted the expansion of the Universe. Yet we now know he actually missed out on predicting something even bigger: Dark Energy. The trouble began when he first applied General Relativity, to the entire Universe.

What is Einstein's best quote? ›

To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” “The important thing is to not stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” “I believe in one thing—that only a life lived for others is a life worth living.”

What was Albert Einstein accused of? ›

The world-famous physicist was outspoken against racism, nationalism, and nuclear bombs, prompting deep suspicion from J. Edgar Hoover. Albert Einstein was already a world-famous physicist when the FBI started keeping a secret dossier on him in December 1932.

Who did Einstein disagree with? ›

It was one of the most famous scientific meetings in all of history. Seventeen of the twenty-nine attendees had either received or would receive Nobel prizes. But what made the conference so memorable was a disagreement — a disagreement between two of the titans of physics: Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein.

Did Albert Einstein not talk? ›

Einstein, a certified genius, was also a late talker (according to some biographers). He didn't speak full sentences until he was 5 years old. Einstein's speech delay clearly wasn't an impediment to his intellectual prowess and awe-inspiring accomplishments.

What is the world's hardest math question? ›

Today's mathematicians would probably agree that the Riemann Hypothesis is the most significant open problem in all of math. It's one of the seven Millennium Prize Problems, with $1 million reward for its solution.

What was missing in Einstein brain? ›

In 1999, further analysis by a team at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario revealed that his parietal operculum region in the inferior frontal gyrus in the frontal lobe of the brain was vacant. Also absent was part of a bordering region called the lateral sulcus (Sylvian fissure).

Can only 2% of people solve Einstein's riddle? ›

Albert Einstein wrote a complicated logic puzzle when he was a young man, and he estimated that only two percent of the people who tried to solve it would be successful.

Who has 400 IQ? ›

Marilyn vos Savant (/ˌvɒs səˈvɑːnt/; born Marilyn Mach; August 11, 1946) is an American magazine columnist who has the highest recorded intelligence quotient (IQ) in the Guinness Book of Records, a competitive category the publication has since retired.
...
Marilyn vos Savant
SpouseRobert Jarvik ​ ( m. 1987)​
Children2
2 more rows

Who has a 300 IQ? ›

William James Sidis has the World's Highest IQ. Anywhere from 250 to 300 is his IQ score, almost twice the score of Albert Einstein. At the age of eleven, William famously entered Harvard University, becoming the youngest person to enter.

What is a normal IQ? ›

Psychologists revise the test every few years in order to maintain 100 as the average. Most people (about 68 percent) have an IQ between 85 and 115. Only a small fraction of people have a very low IQ (below 70) or a very high IQ (above 130). The average IQ in the United States is 98.

What IQ is genius? ›

Notably, the average IQ score falls between 85 and 115. A score above 140, meanwhile, is considered to be genius level.

Did Einstein think the universe was infinite? ›

In contrast to this model, Albert Einstein proposed a temporally infinite but spatially finite model as his preferred cosmology during 1917, in his paper Cosmological Considerations in the General Theory of Relativity.

What is Einstein's paradox? ›

The EPR paradox shows that a “measurement” can be performed on a particle without disturbing it directly, by performing a measurement on a distant entangled particle. Today, quantum entanglement forms the basis of several cutting-edge technologies.

What are Einsteins failures? ›

He was thought to be a complete failure in his childhood. He didn't learn to speak until he was 4 and at the age of 16, Albert failed to pass the entrance exam into the Swiss Federal Polytechnic School located in Zurich (later the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule ETH).

What did Einstein say about thinking? ›

On thinking:

"I very rarely think in words at all. A thought comes, and I may try to express in words afterwards."

What did Einstein say about the future? ›

Albert Einstein once wrote: People like us who believe in physics know that the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion. Time, in other words, he said, is an illusion.

What did Einstein say was more important than knowledge? ›

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution."

Is E mc2 always true? ›

On paper at least, he showed that while E=mc2 always holds true for inertial mass, it doesn't always for gravitational mass. “What this probably means is that gravitational mass is not the same as inertial,” he said. According to Einstein, gravitation is a result of a curvature in space itself.

Did Einstein believe in quantum? ›

Einstein saw Quantum Theory as a means to describe Nature on an atomic level, but he doubted that it upheld "a useful basis for the whole of physics." He thought that describing reality required firm predictions followed by direct observations.

Did Einstein predict black holes? ›

Black holes are regions of spacetime where gravity's pull is so strong that nothing, not even light, can escape from being dragged in and "eaten." Einstein's theory of general relativity predicted the existence of black holes and that, no matter what such an object "eats," black holes are characterized only by their ...

What is the most famous line of all time? ›

Famous Movie Quotes
  • “ May the Force be with you.” - Star Wars, 1977.
  • “ There's no place like home.” - The Wizard of Oz, 1939.
  • “ I'm the king of the world!” - ...
  • “ Carpe diem. ...
  • “ Elementary, my dear Watson.” - ...
  • “ It's alive! ...
  • “ My mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. ...
  • “ I'll be back.” -
21 Sept 2018

What are the 3 laws of Einstein? ›

I begin the discussion by offering the following three laws: ▸ The laws of physics are identical in all non-accelerating (that is, inertial) frames. ▸ The vacuum speed of light, c, is the same for all inertial frames. ▸ The total energy E of a body of mass m and momentum p is given by E=√m2c4+p2c2.

Who failed 1000 Times quote? ›

Edison Quote: “I will not say I failed 1000 times, I will say that I discovered there are 1000 ways that can cause failure.” Thomas A. Edison Quote: “I will not say I failed 1000 times, I will say that I discovered there are 1000 ways that can cause failure.”

What was Einstein's punishment? ›

His eyes got cold and cruel. He said that he didn't want a lecture from him. He punished Albert by making him stay in for an extra period that day.

What was Einstein's personality? ›

As an INTP, Albert tends to be extremely analytical, objective, and logical. Albert is likely to approach interactions with others in a logical way, rather than relying on emotion.

Why Einstein was a genius? ›

Albert Einstein is widely regarded as a genius, but how did he get that way? Many researchers have assumed that it took a very special brain to come up with the theory of relativity and other stunning insights that form the foundation of modern physics.

What does Albert Einstein say about life? ›

Albert Einstein wrote: "A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness." His quote on a piece of paper sold for $1.3 million.

What is quantum theory? ›

Quantum theory is the theoretical basis of modern physics that explains the nature and behavior of matter and energy on the atomic and subatomic level. The nature and behavior of matter and energy at that level is sometimes referred to as quantum physics and quantum mechanics.

How many words should a 2 year old say? ›

Between the ages of 2 and 3, most children: Speak in two- and three-word phrases or sentences. Use at least 200 words and as many as 1,000 words.

What were Einstein first words? ›

His first words were actually a sentence spoken when he was 2 ½ years old. The sentence was - Yes, but where are its wheels?

How many words should a 2 year old know? ›

By age 2, milestones for speech and language include having a vocabulary of 50 or more words, even if they aren't pronounced perfectly or understood by strangers.

What are 5 interesting facts about Albert Einstein? ›

Interesting Facts About Einstein
  • Einstein was a hard-headed child. ...
  • Young Einstein had a hard time speaking. ...
  • A compass sparked his interest in science. ...
  • Einstein did not pass his college entrance exam. ...
  • He urged the US to build an atomic bomb.
23 Mar 2022

Did Einstein say anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new? ›

A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” (Albert Einstein.)

What are the amazing facts? ›

Interesting Unknown Facts
  • Hot water will turn into ice faster than cold water. ...
  • The Mona Lisa has no eyebrows. ...
  • The strongest muscle in the body is the tongue. ...
  • Ants take rest for around 8 Minutes in 12-hour period. ...
  • "I Am" is the shortest complete sentence in the English language. ...
  • Coca-Cola was originally green.

Did Einstein have a poor memory? ›

Einstein's memory was notoriously poor. He was unable to remember dates and could not remember his own phone number. As a student, one of his teachers claimed that he had a memory like a sieve.

Why is Einstein considered a genius class 9? ›

He received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics "for his services to theoretical physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect", a pivotal step in the development of quantum theory. His intellectual achievements and originality resulted in "Einstein" becoming synonymous with "genius".

What is Einstein's warning? ›

“It may become possible,” he warned, “to set up a nuclear chain reaction in a large mass of uranium, by which vast amounts of power and large quantities of new radium like elements would be generated.

What invention did Einstein regret? ›

It's not unusual for inventors, researchers, and developers to rue their creations. Although Einstein didn't work directly on the atomic bomb, he regretted his role in encouraging its development.

What did Einstein say the hardest thing in the world to understand was? ›

The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax, said Einstein.

Who said geniuses are made not born? ›

Albert Einstein himself insisted that, he had not been born with any special gift." All Children are “gifted” for nothing in particular; they are gifted for “everything”.

What was Einstein's best quote? ›

To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” “The important thing is to not stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” “I believe in one thing—that only a life lived for others is a life worth living.”

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