Interesting Facts About Albert Einstein



  • Albert Einstein (1879-1955) was the most famous and influential scientist of the 20th century.
  • Einstein was half German and half Swiss, but when Hitler came to power in 1933, Einstein made his home in the USA.
  • Einstein’s fame rests on his two theories of relativity (see Relativity).
  • His theory of special relativity was published in 1905 while he worked in the Patent Office in Bern, Switzerland.
  • In 1905 Einstein also explained the photoelectric effect. From these ideas, photo cells were developed. These form the basis of TV cameras, burglar alarms and other devices.
  • Einstein completed his theory of general relativity in 1915 while Germany was at war.
  • Einstein was not satisfied with his theory of general relativity because it did not include electromagnetism. He spent the last 25 years of his life trying to develop a ‘unified field theory’ to include it.
  • Einstein was once reported to have said that only 12 people in the world could understand his theory. He later denied saying it.
  • Einstein suggested to the US government that Germany was almost certainly developing an atomic weapon as World War 2 started. The US began developing one too.
  • Einstein was married twice. His first wife was Mileva Maric. His second wife, Elsa, was also his first cousin.
  • The great scientist Albert Einstein (1879-1955) is most famous for creating the two theories of relativity.
  • Special relativity (1905) shows that all measurements are relative, including time and speed. Time and speed depend on where you measure them.
  • Light, the fastest thing in the Universe, is the same speed everywhere. It always passes at the same speed no matter where you are or how fast you are going.
  • Special relativity shows that as things travel faster, they seem to shrink in length and get heavier. Their time stretches too – their clocks seem to run slower.
  • The theory of general relativity includes the idea of special relativity, but also shows how gravity works.
  • General relativity shows that gravity’s pull is acceleration (speed) – gravity and acceleration are the same.
  • When things are falling their acceleration cancels out gravity, which is why astronauts in orbit are weightless.
  • If gravity and acceleration are the same, gravity must bend light rays simply by stretching space (and time).
  • Gravity works by bending space (and time). ‘Matter tells space how to bend; space tells matter how to move.
  • General relativity predicts that light rays from distant stars will be bent by the gravitational pull of stars they pass.