Albert Einstein’s work was vital in the development of modern physics and quantum mechanics, as a large part of what we know today uses his theory of relativity as well as other parts of his work. Where was Einstein from?
Albert Einstein was German – being born in what is now Baden-Württemberg, in Germany, on March 14, 1879. Einstein was a citizen of many different countries over the years and was at different points in his life a German citizen, a Swiss citizen, and an American citizen.
Read on to find out more about Einstein’s travels around the globe for his education and work, all the while making world-changing discoveries.
Einstein’s Early Life
Einstein was originally a German citizen, as he was born in Germany. He and his family were non-practicing Ashkenazi Jews, so Einstein ended up going to a Catholic elementary school in Munich and got some of his primary and secondary schoolings in the area as well.
When Einstein was 15, his father sold his company and his family moved to Italy in search of work. Einstein originally stayed with his secondary school in Munich, but didn’t like how they discouraged creative thought and disagreed with their methods of teaching.
He eventually convinced the school to let him go to Italy to join his family by using a doctor’s note. When he was 16, Einstein took the entrance exam for the Swiss Federal Polytechnic School in Zurich.
While he did not pass the general part of the exam, he got outstanding marks in the mathematics and physics part of the test. Instead, he attended the old cantonal school in Aarau, Switzerland, to complete his schooling.
When Einstein was 17 and with his father’s permission, he renounced his citizenship in the German Kingdom of Wurttemberg to escape the required military service and enrolled in the Swiss Federal Polytechnic School’s four-year math and physics teaching diploma program.
Beginning Teaching Years and Academic Career
Einstein graduated in 1900 and gained Swiss citizenship, which he kept for the rest of his life. He became an assistant examiner in the federal patent office after being unable to find a teaching position after two years.
His work in the office on machine technology helped him come to his conclusions on the connections between time and space, as well as the nature of light.
In 1905, he re-entered the academic world with many revolutionary papers on different subjects, and by 1908, he was acknowledged as a leading scientist and got a job at the University of Bern.
As the years went on, Einstein’s work gained more and more attention and he became an international symbol. In the 1920s, Einstein traveled the world to give lectures on his discoveries.
Emigration to America
While in the United States in 1933, Einstein knew he couldn’t return to Germany with the rising threat of the Nazi party. In March of 1933, he renounced his German citizenship in Belgium’s German consulate after learning that his properties had been raided by Nazis.
In April, he learned that the German government passed laws prohibiting Jews from holding official positions like teaching at universities. For a few months, now without a home, Einstein stayed in various places worldwide before returning to the US and taking a position at the Institute for Advanced Study, which became a popular place for scientists fleeing Nazi Germany to go.
In 1940, Einstein became an American citizen, which he kept until his death in 1955 at 76 years old. Einstein is revered for his groundbreaking work in physics today as well as his participation in the NAACP and is often quoted in posts like this one.
To learn more about Einstein, watch this YouTube video at the link below.