Albert Einstein

Physicist, Academic

1879 – 1955

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Who was Albert Einstein?

Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the general theory of relativity, one of the two pillars of modern physics. While best known for his mass–energy equivalence formula E = mc², 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". The latter was pivotal in establishing quantum theory.

Near the beginning of his career, Einstein thought that Newtonian mechanics was no longer enough to reconcile the laws of classical mechanics with the laws of the electromagnetic field. This led to the development of his special theory of relativity. He realized, however, that the principle of relativity could also be extended to gravitational fields, and with his subsequent theory of gravitation in 1916, he published a paper on the general theory of relativity. He continued to deal with problems of statistical mechanics and quantum theory, which led to his explanations of particle theory and the motion of molecules. He also investigated the thermal properties of light which laid the foundation of the photon theory of light. In 1917, Einstein applied the general theory of relativity to model the large-scale structure of the universe.

Famous Quotes:

  • Imagination is more important than knowledge.
  • Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.
  • Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.
  • This is what the painter, the poet, the speculative philosopher, and the natural scientists do, each in his own fashion.
  • The ideals which have always shone before me and filled me with the joy of living are goodness, beauty, and truth.
  • In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.
  • Creating a new theory is not like destroying an old barn and erecting a skyscraper in its place. It is rather like climbing a mountain, gaining new and wider views, discovering unexpected connections between our starting points and its rich environment. But the point from which we started out still exists and can be seen, although it appears smaller and forms a tiny part of our broad view gained by the mastery of the obstacles on our adventurous way up.
  • Technological progress is like an ax in the hands of a pathological criminal.
  • If men as individuals surrender to the call of their elementary instincts, avoiding pain and seeking satisfaction only for their own selves, the result for them all taken together must be a state of insecurity, of fear, and of promiscuous misery.
  • Most of the fundamental ideas of science are essentially simple, and may, as a rule, be expressed in a language comprehensible to everyone.

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Mar 14, 1879
Also known as
  • Einstein
  • Judaism
  • Agnosticism
  • Deism
  • Jewish people
  • Ashkenazi Jews
  • Germans
  • German American
  • United States of America
  • Germany
  • Switzerland
  • Weimar Republic
  • German Empire
  • Austria-Hungary
  • Kingdom of Württemberg
  • Primary school, Luitpold Gymnasium
  • Bachelor of Science, ETH Zurich
    Mathematics and Physics
    ( - 1901)
  • PhD, University of Zurich
    ( - 1905)
  • High school, Aargau Cantonal School
    (1895 - 1896)
  • Charles University in Prague
  • University of Zurich
    (1909 - )
  • Leiden University
  • Institute for Advanced Study
    (1933 - 1955)
  • Patent examiner, Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property
    (1902 - 1906)
  • ETH Zurich
Lived in
  • Germany
  • Princeton
  • Bern
  • Munich
Apr 18, 1955

on July 23, 2013


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