The making of a scientist: Einstein


Utter the word genius these days and some people immediately think of Albert Eistein who was born at Ulm Germany on March 14 1879. It is said that his work transcended physics to change the way we view the universe.

His beginnings were not suspicious. He graduated from the Polytechnic in 1900 as fourth in order of merit in a class of five. He was weak in mathematics but good in physics. Realising this, he decided to concentrate on the study of physics.

In 1899, he applied for Swiss citizenship. He then got a job as a technical expert (class three) at the Swiss Paterl Office in Berma where he spent seven years and left in 1909 having stormed the world with his theory of relativity.


It was during this time when, in spare time, he started studying the universe having read the work of Galileo and Isaac Newton. A hard worker like Newton, he sometimes forgot to have his lunch. In 1905, he completed four papers in which he rewrote the foundation of physics. In the papers, he challenged centuries of received wisdom that went back to Newton.

He stated that his scientific work was motivated by an irresistible longing to understand the secrets of nature and by no other feelings.

“All great achievements of science must start from intuitive knowledge, namely in axioms from which deductions are then made. Intuition is the necessary condition for the discovery of such actions,” he said.


Despite his startling discoveries, Europe’s great institutions at first ignored him. All the same, he remained dedicated to researches. In 1922, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics.

Einstein read books on subjects other than physics. He read the works of great philosophers such Kant, Lessing and other German philosophers and the classic Spanish novel Don Quixote. He was thus a man of wide intellectual accomplishment and made valuable comments.

Einstein argued that history should be taught through the wide discussion of personalities who benefit humankind through independence of character and judgement. He asserted that only the individual can produce the new idea.

How should teachers teach?

“The most valuable thing a teacher can impart to children is not knowledge and understanding perse but a longing for knowledge and understanding and an appreciation for intellectual values whether they be artistic, scientific or moral,” said the 20th century greatest sage.

There are some people in the world having read commentaries on the writings of Charles Darwin about evolution go about saying that there is no such a thing as God; they say one day, with the advancement of science, religion will disappear.

Einstein asserted that religion and science were not incompatible; that science without religion is lame and religion without science is blind. A spirit, he said, is manifested in all the laws of the universe; a spirit vastly superior to that of human being. Einstein believed in a deterministic world where everything happens for a reason.

“God does not play dice,” he said.

He was obsessed by the unseen forces that influence our universe.

The invention of the atomic bomb has been traced to the researches of Einstein but he did not take part in the invention of the American atomic bomb. By 1930, he had become a champion of peace and disarmament. He was a great admirer of the Indian sage Mahatma Gandhi.

“Time will come when people will not believe that such a man really existed,” he said after he visited India.

In 1932, he went on a visit to the United States not knowing that he would never go back to Germany. The following year, Adolf Hitler became the chancellor (prime minister) of Germany and set about purging Jews from all positions of authority. His persecution of Jews culminated in the notorious Holocaust. He died on April 18 1955.

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