Albert Einstein (14 March 1879 - 18 April 1955) was a German born Physicist, Labour Zionist and member of the Jewish left wing. He is best known for his ground breaking work in Physics, such as the Theory of Relativity and E = MC² (now synonymous with Algebra and Math). Einstein was considered a genius. He published over 300 scientific works and over 150 non-scientific works such as "Why Socialism?".
He was born in 1879 to a Jewish family in South Germany. Einstein did not observe Jewish religious practices and went to a Catholic Elementary School. In his early days he worked at a Patent office and married to Mileva Marić. They had a child but its fate(date of death) in unknown. They divorced in 1919 after being apart for years. During his time in the Patent office he had no contact with the Physics Community and thus he thought more radically about Physics.
In 1905, while he was working in the patent office, Einstein had four papers published in the Annalen der Physik, the leading German physics journal. These are the papers that history has come to call the Annus Mirabilis Papers. Most Physicists did not notice them as being important. Einstein received a PhD at the age of 26.
Contributions to Science
Einstein made massive contributions to Physics as well as light and general relativity. He radically changed the accepted Scientific doctrine and expanded on Newton's work. In 1922 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics. He also attempted to unify the laws of Physics or at least make them simpler.
Einstein on Religion
In 1929 he wrote "I believe in Spinoza's God, who reveals Himself in the lawful harmony of the world, not in a God Who concerns Himself with the fate and the doings of mankind.
Einstein's stances on Religion can be somewhat confusing but many agree that he was an Agnostic, and in the strongest form. While he thought that the bible was "a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish". He was very respectful of the Jewish community but did not think them to be "chosen" in any way.
He repeatably denied being an Atheist and called the question of god "The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds". This is seen as further evidence that he was a strong Agnostic. Einstein's exact religious thought is a cause of controversy for many. He is often quote mined by Preachers, about him stating that the universe is to complex not to be created by a god. It is noted that Einstein was disdainful of organized religion.
Einstein on Politics
Einstein was a Labour/Socialist Zionist. He supported the mandate for the creation of Israel. When President Chaim Weizmann died in 1952, Einstein was asked to be Israel's second president, but he declined, stating that he had "neither the natural ability nor the experience to deal with human beings." During the formation of Israel he tried to be a voice of moderation.
He also spoke out against the militaristic Nazi Germany. While Hitler's cronies tried get his literature abolished for being "Jewish" Albert continued to be a voice against Nazis while he lived in America.
In August 1939, Roosevelt received the Einstein-Szilárd letter and authorized secret research into the harnessing of nuclear fission for military purposes. He later expressed regret about writing the letter. He thought that America should not pursue nuclear monopoly but equip the UN with them to serve as a deterrent.
He was a member of the NAACP. Due to his links to Zionism, Socialism and some Communist figures the FBI kept as file on him which grew to over 1,400 pages.
Albert Einstein was a Socialist and even wrote an article called "Why Socialism". Some accused him of being a Communist spy.
Einstein's remains were cremated and his ashes were scattered after he died in 1955. Einstein's brain was removed for preservation, without the permission of his family, in hope that the neuroscience of the future would be able to discover what made Einstein so intelligent. Einstein bequeathed the royalties from use of his image to The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Sources and More Reading
- Why Socialism? By Albert Einstein
- Einstein and Zionism
- List of his Contributions to Science
- FBI and Einstein
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