Albert Einstein : In a different light

Albert Einstein (14 March 1879 – 18 April 1955) was a theoretical physicist, philosopher and author who is widely regarded as one of the most influential and best known scientists and intellectuals of all time.

 He was born at Ulm, in Württemberg, Germany. His family later moved to Munich, where he began his schooling at the Luitpold Gymnasium. It’s actually astonishing that he learned to speak at the age of five. And when he started going to school, he proved to be a very average student whose mind was haunted by a simple question “ Why should we need to memorize something that we can find in books?” Later, this question will emerge out as one of the best prophecies on educational system “Never memorize what you can look up in books.” There is no better quote in the world on our faulty education system. In our system, the wineer is the one who can memorize faster and better. But the truth is, study is not about memorizing, rather about opening up your inner soul so that you can intrude the nature to crack its codes.

 All through the period of his study, he remained an annoying and mysterious student who failed to memorize easiest of the things written in books (due to lack of interest in memorizing) and studying higher physics at the same time.

 While studying diploma in Switzerland, he fell in love with fellow student Mileva Maric. Love for music brought them together. They used to go for music concerts together and would literally starve for a few days after that. But they were both to pay dearly for that passion. Desperate for work, having ruled himself out of a post at his old university by his maverick method of learning only what he chose – in one physics practical he recorded the lowest possible mark – he had just landed the promise of steady employment in the Swiss patent office in Bern. And at the same time he got the devastating news of Mileva being pregnant. In 1902 Switzerland, the revelation that Einstein was a father out of wedlock would have cost him the job. He should have heeded his mother. “You’ll be in a pretty mess if she has a baby,” she warned. The letters show how ruthlessly he hid the indiscretion. Mileva could not even be seen in the same town as him. She went back to her parents and gave birth to a daughter, Lieserl. For a time, Einstein played the doting father, showing tenderness that he was to jettison in favour of his towering scientific agenda. “I love her,” he wrote to Mileva. “Does she cry?”

But he never saw his daughter. Foster parents were found for Lieserl and she is believed to have died of smallpox as a baby. Two years later, Einstein married Mileva but abandoning Lieserl had been devastating for him. From now on he locked away his emotions: “My essence is what I think, not what I feel.” He started facing the biggest challenge of the geniuses, loneliness, from this incident.

During his job at the Patent Office in Bern, and in his spare time, he produced much of his remarkable works. He had a stable career in teaching in Switzerland and Germany till 1933. But in 1933 he renounced his German citizenship for barbaric rise of Nazism and migrated to America to take the position of Professor of Theoretical Physics at Princeton. He became a United States citizen in 1940. This incident of fleeing his country for belonging to the Jews community left a permanent scar in him. This actually provoked him to promote world love and peace. His famous quote “Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands It.” is another prophesies for which world might be thankful to him. He was very specific about what he is primarily. At the time of second world war, when world was going under a whirlpool of patriotism, nationalism and all positive stuff used in negative way, he was not at all afraid to say “I am by heritage a Jew, by citizenship a Swiss, and by makeup a human being, and only a human being, without any special attachment to any state or national entity whatsoever.”

He used to declare very vehemently “I am not only a pacifist but a militant pacifist. I am willing to fight for peace. Nothing will end war unless the people themselves refuse to go to war.” After his retirement in 1945 he continued to work towards the unification of the basic concepts of physics, taking the opposite approach, geometrisation, to the majority of physicists. He bacame a world peacenik who gave us the famous prophecy which might have contributed a lot to avoid the third world war till now “I do not know how the Third World War will be fought, but I can tell you what they will use in the Fourth—rocks!”

 His take on Religion and spirituality:

“God always takes the simplest way.”

“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.”

“All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man’s life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom.”

 There’s a saying in physics circuit that if you want to understand theory of relativity, understand Einstein first. It’s he who made the world understand

“If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.”

“I, at any rate, am convinced that He does not throw dice.” 

“The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible.”

And the best one being-

“When a man sits with a pretty girl for an hour, it seems like a minute. But let him sit on a hot stove for a minute and it’s longer than any hour. That’s relativity.”

He had his share of good and bad things in life. A noble prize and two failed marriages, loss of his first child and going through the trauma of world war, and still he remained a child at heart till his last day. Till his last day, his greatest passion after physics was playing violin. Whenever he joined a new office, he always asked for a bigger waste-paper basket. He would tell “Please don’t mind. This is for the amount of wrong calculations I do while I work. My faults are greater than my correct ones.”

He used to come back home drenched after rain with his straw hat carefully protected in hand. Would tell to his daughter “I can dry my hair, but the straw hat can’t. It’ll be gone forever if exposed to rain.”

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is.”

This is probably all the knowledge on life summarized in a one-liner.