Albert Einstein was born in 1879 in Germany. He grew to be one of the most famous and clever scientists ever to have lived.
Even as a young boy, Einstein showed he had a great mind for maths and physics. During his lifetime, Albert Einstein came up with some amazing theories about light, matter, gravity, space and time and soon enjoyed world-wide fame!
Top 10 facts
- Albert Einstein was born in Germany on 14 March 1879.
- Einstein’s parents were both Jewish and he had a younger sister called Maja.
- Although he apparently didn’t like school, Einstein showed he had a great mind for maths and science from a young age.
- When he was just five years old, his father bought him a compass. His enquiring mind immediately started trying to work out just why the needle always pointed north!
- When Einstein was 15, his family moved to Milan in Italy. From there he attended the Polytechnic Academy in the Swiss city of Zurich.
- In 1900 Einstein graduated with a degree in physics and maths.
- Einstein began to make his mark after he took a job at the Patent Office in Bern, where he looked into other people’s inventions. While he was there he worked on his own discoveries and found out many things that became of great importance in the world of physics.
- Einstein is probably most famous for his ‘theory of relativity’ and the equation he made famous, e=mc², which proved that even the smallest amount of mass (basically the stuff that’s in everything!) can be turned into a huge amount of energy.
- Einstein lived in Germany during World War 1 but he was a pacifist – this meant he didn’t believe in war and violence and wanted disagreements to be settled peacefully. In 1933 he moved to the USA.
- On April 18 1955, Albert Einstein died at the age of 76 from heart failure.
- 14 March 1879Albert Einstein was born in Germany.
- 1894The Einstein family move to Italy in search of better work.
- 1900Einstein graduated from the prestigious Polytechnic Academy in the Swiss city of Zurich with a degree in maths and physics.
- 1903Einstein marries his longtime girlfriend, Milena Maric.
- 1914Einstein was appointed director of a new research institute in Berlin.
- 1915Einstein completes his General Theory of Relativity.
- 1919Albert divorces his first wife and immediately remarries his cousin Elsa Lowenthal.
- 1921Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics.
- 1933Einstein moved to America.
- 1945World War II ended.
- 18 April 1955Einstein dies from heart failure.
- 1999Einstein was named ‘Person of the Century’ by Time magazine.
Did you know?
- It’s hard to believe but Einstein was very slow with his speech and didn’t really talk until he was four years old. In fact, his grandmother thought he was stupid!
- He might have had an amazing mind but Einstein was apparently quite disorganised, often forgetting appointments and his socks! You only have to look at pictures of him with his uncombed hair and you think mad scientist!
- Einstein married twice and had three children. His first wife was Mileva Maric, one of his classmates, but they later divorced and Einstein then married his cousin Elsa Löwenthal.
- Einstein was a huge lover of music and he was an excellent violinist. He apparently once said, ‘A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit and a violin; what else does a man need to be happy?’
- After Einstein graduated from the prestigious Polytechnic Academy in the Swiss city of Zurich in 1900 with a degree in maths and physics, he tried to find a teaching job, but couldn’t get work!
- Einstein thought the way people understood gravity was wrong and he worked on a new theory to prove it – he was later able to test he was right with a solar eclipse!
- Soon Einstein became a very famous name! After publishing his Theory of Relativity and correctly predicting the effects of a solar eclipse, Albert enjoyed world-wide fame.
- With such an amazing mind, it's hardly surprising that Einstein became a world-famous scientist. In 1914 he was appointed director of a new research institute in Berlin.
- In 1933 Einstein moved to America. This was because it was very difficult to be a Jewish man living in Germany as Hitler and the Nazi Party were very much against Jewish people. He accepted a position at the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton and took US citizenship.
- World War II ended in 1945 and Einstein continued to make further discoveries about heat, gravity and relativity. He published over 300 scientific reports.
See if you can spot the following in the gallery below:
- Einstein in the classroom
- The famous formula
- Albert Einstein receiving his certificate of American citizenship from Judge Phillip Forman
- Einstein as an old man
- Statues of Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein was an incredibly clever man with a very enquiring mind. Most people would agree that he remains the most famous and talented scientist ever to have lived. All those discoveries he made years ago still help us understand our universe and the events that happen in it today.
Einstein showed great promise from an early age – although he apparently wasn’t keen on school! At just 5 years old he became intrigued by a compass his father had bought him, trying to work out just why the needle always pointed north.
Einstein got a job checking out other people’s inventions because he couldn’t find work as a teacher but at the same time he was working on his own scientific ideas. He came up with some amazing theories about light, matter, gravity, space, and time.
The group of papers he wrote while working at the Patent Office in Bern showed just what a great scientific thinker Einstein was. He discovered new ways to work out the size of molecules, explained how particles move and made new discoveries about light.
Einstein probably remains most famous for his ‘theory of relativity’ and perhaps the most famous mathematical equation ever written, E = mc² – which means Energy (e) equals mass (m) times the speed of light, squared (c²). His theory is even difficult for grown-ups to fully understand! But the equation shows that mass (the amount of stuff in something!) can be turned into energy and vice versa. Because the speed of light squared is such a huge number, it means that even a small amount of mass can be turned into a huge amount of energy!
In 1921, Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics.
Albert Einstein died at the age of 76 from heart failure on 18 April 1955. He had hoped to pull all his ideas together into one big theory before he died but he didn’t achieve that goal.
After he died, Einstein’s brain was removed and preserved and research was carried out on it to see if there was a reason for his genius!
He was named ‘Person of the Century’ in 1999 by Time magazine.
Just for fun...
- Try some of these American Museum of Natural History hands-on experiments based on Einstein's ideas
- Have a go at these Einstein-inspired cryptography activity sheets
- Can you think like Einstein?
- A dancing, quirky Albert Einstein becomes your own personal tutor in an interactive app from Human Heroes
- Lots of fantastic riddles and puzzles are associated with Einstein's name. Try to solve a few!
- A step-by-step guide to solving "Einstein's riddle"
Children's books about Albert Einstein
Find out more
- Albert Einstein factsheet on Newsround
- The Kiddle encyclopedia guide to Einstein
- More Albert Einstein facts
- Read an explanation of general relativity
- Einstein's brain was studied by scientists
- Relativity for kids: see videos and science lessons to help you understand the theory of relativity
Albert Einstein: famous quotes
- "At any rate, I am convinced that He [God] does not play dice."
- "If A is a success in life, then A equals x plus y plus z. Work is x; y is play; and z is keeping your mouth shut."
- "Equations are more important to me, because politics is for the present, but an equation is something for eternity."
- "I never think of the future. It comes soon enough."