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The Life and Influences of Albert Einstein

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Ryan Hebson, Ryan McCormick, Sarah Wilkinson, Natalie Spradlin

Scientific Methods

Professor Heaton

19 October 2004

The Life and Influences of Albert Einstein

        Sometimes in history, ironically, the greatest contributions to society come from the most inconceivable places.  Undoubtedly, Albert Einstein contributed not only innovative thought to his time, but also aided in revolutionizing science especially in physics.  His efforts, however, would not have been expected by historians if only his childhood was examined.  

        Einstein was born March 14, 1879 to Herman and Pauline Einstein.  Albert was the first child born to this young, Jewish couple.  After a year, the couple moved to Munich where Einstein would spend the remainder of his childhood (Schulmann, par. 1).  Like many children during this time, “Einstein's childhood was a normal one, except that to his family's irritation, he learnt to speak at a late age” (Schulmann, par. 1).

        His childhood was fortunate in that he was able to receive a high quality of education.  By the age of five he was enrolled in a private school and by six he was receiving a full scale education at Petersschule, a Catholic school in Munich (Schulmann, par. 1).  Einstein never shined in school and when attempting to apply to ETH, a school in Zurich, he was turned down because his exam results were “insufficient” (Schulmann, par. 2).  Therefore, Einstein followed the advice of his rector and “attended the "Kantonsschule" in the town of Aarau in order to improve his knowledge” (Schulmann, par. 2).

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A different study he did was discovering the principle of equivalence.  He found out that “the force of gravity was equivalent to the force produced by acceleration.”  (Parker p.19).         According to Einstein, there are two way to measure mass.  “One is the force by which gravity pulls on it – the familiar ‘weight’ here on Earth.  The other is the force needed to make it accelerate” (Parker p.19).  These two ways are known today as gravitational mass and inertial mass.  “Einstein reasoned that the mass of a large object such as the Sun would attract the energy in something ‘weightless’ like light” (Parker p.19).

Albert Einstein has been one of the few scientists to totally change man’s view of the world (The New Book of Knowledge pg.104).  "His face stares out from posters, mugs, and magazine ads—a somber, time-worn face beneath a wild mane of silvery hair.  He’s a cartoonist’s dream—the model for the brilliant but dreamy professor, wrapped in complex thoughts, oblivious to the everyday world.”(Heinrichs pg.4)    “During the first half of this century Einstein set forth a number of theories about the physical world.  These theories dealt with everything from the inside of an atom to the farthest regions of the universe.”(The New Book of Knowledge pg.104)  Einstein’

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Truly Albert Einstein was a remarkable scientist whose contributions to the scientific world continue to revolutionize the way we think. Einstein, although not a renowned inventor, has influenced many modern day inventions including: smoke detectors, x-rays, GPS, roads, computer monitors, fiber optic cable, and many pharmaceuticals just to name a few (Bodanis 2004, 32). His theory of relativity stretched much farther then just the scientific realm according to Walter Isaacson when he wrote “Einstein’s theory of relativity not only reshaped physics, it also jangled the underpinnings of society” (Isaacon 2004, 14). Albert Einstein contributed so much to the scientific realms but he has influenced our society with his image being associated with the term “genius” and his name being forever engraved into history. His examples of abstract thinking, unmovable resolve, learning from mistakes, and his desire for knowledge produce a near perfect formula for a revolutionary.


Bodanis, David. "Tinker, Thinker, Inventor of the Modern World." Discover Sept. 2004: 32-35.

Goldberg, Jake.  Albert Einstein.  Danbury, Connecticut:  Franklin Watts, 1996.

Isaacson, Walter. "No Mere Genius." Discover Sept. 2004: 12-14.

Parker, Steve.  Albert Einstein and Relativity.  New York:  Chelsea House Publishers,


 Schulmann, R., ed. “The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein.”  Princeton.  Hans-Josef

        Kupper, 2004.

“Science Timeline.”  National Science Education Standards.  <http://www.howe.k12.ok.us/~jimaskew/bhistory.htm>

Swisher, Clarice.  The Importance of Albert Einstein.  San Diego, CA:  Lucent Books, 1994.

Wishinsky, Frieda.  What’s the Matter with Albert?  Toronto, Ontario:  Maple Tree Press,

Inc., 2002.

Wright, Karen. "The Master's Mistakes." Discover Sept. 2004: 50-53.

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