Einstein’s Life

The Time When Einstein Lived Makes His Work That Much More Impressive and Important


While Albert Einstein's scientific contributions are immense, we cannot fully understand him and why his work was so revolutionary without also looking at the way he lived his life.


Einstein was born on March 14th, 1879 in Germany. He grew up in a secular, middle-class home, and was immediately curious about the world. His love of science grew from his fascination of how invisible forces could move a compass as a child. He never let his fascination wane and devoted his life to physics because of this.


As he grew up, Einstein steadily became more religious. This religiousness was only enforced as he felt the world's judgment from around him. Einstein lived through both World Wars, which means that for his entire life, he felt anti-Semitism, resentment, and alienation from those around him and around the world. In 1933, thousands of Jewish scientists were forced to give up their jobs by the Nazis and many of them had their work burned. There was a bounty on Einstein's head, and he was forced to leave his home and become a refugee. Einstein wrote a correspondence about the events and said, "... I must confess that the degree of their brutality and cowardice came as something of a surprise."


World War II pushed him more and more toward his support of Zionism. He says in an interview, “Until one generation ago, Jews in Germany did not consider themselves as members of the Jewish people…They have attended mixed schools and have adapted to the German people and to their cultural life. Yet, in spite of the official equal rights they enjoy, there is a strong social Antisemitism.” He was vocal about what he believed in, whether it be science or social. This makes all of Einstein's contributions that much more important because of the circumstances under which they were made and defended. Einstein was not only able to change the world, but he was able to do as the world seemed to root against him.