Albert Einstein is born, March 14, 1879
Einstein published more than 300 scientific papers along with more than 150 non-scientific works in his lifetime. His intellectual achievements and originality are so well known that his name has become synonymous with genius.
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."
Einstein is perhaps best known for his most famous formula, E = mc2, and his involvement in the Manhattan Project. To be true, Einstein was in support of defending the Allied forces during World War II, but largely denounced using the new discovery of nuclear fission as a weapon.
While Einstein was in the United States in 1933 for a visiting professorship at the California Institute of Technology, the appointment of Adolf Hitler as chancellor took effect and the Jewish physicist decided he would not return to his home in Germany, where he had been a professor at the Berlin Academy of Sciences. After denouncing his German citizenship, Einstein’s name was soon on a list of assassination targets. He became a US citizen in 1940.
In the fall of 1933, he took a position at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, an affiliation that would last until his death. In April 1955, Einstein experienced internal bleeding caused by the rupture of an abdominal aortic aneurysm, which had been reinforced surgically in 1948. Einstein refused further surgery that could have prolonged his life, saying: "I want to go when I want. … I have done my share, it is time to go. I will do it elegantly." He died in Princeton Hospital at the age of 76, having continued to work until near the end.
Famed Einstein quotes:
"If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?"
"Everything should be as simple as possible, but not simpler."
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
"People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion."
"The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once."
"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction."
"As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality."
"Science is a wonderful thing if one does not have to earn one's living at it."
"The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible."
"The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."
"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
"I never think of the future. It comes soon enough."
"I am neither especially clever nor especially gifted. I am only very, very curious."
March 14, or 3.14, is also National Pi Day. Read more about the math-centric holiday here.
- Einstein’s relatively funny photo
- Einstein moves to US, October 17, 1933
- Einstein wins 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics, November 9, 1922
- Einstein paper outlines E=mc2, November 21, 1905
- Einstein’s theory of general relativity is tested, May 29, 1919
- Detecting gravitational waves: Why did it take so long?
For more moments in tech history, see this blog. EDN strives to be historically accurate with these postings. Should you see an error, please notify us.
Editor's note: This article was originally posted on March 14, 2013 and edited on March 14, 2017.