Thursday, March 14, 2013
Theoretical physicist Albert Einstein was born on March 14, 1879, in Ulm in Württemberg. He grew up in Munich and later Zürich, where he trained to teach physics and mathematics. But in 1901, diploma in hand, unable to find a teaching post, he became a technical assistant in the Swiss Patent Office. Much of his work there related to questions about transmission of electric signals and electrical-mechanical synchronization of time – two technical issues that led him to revolutionary theories about the nature of light and the connection between space and time. Einstein’s childhood influences included marveling, at age 5, at invisible forces turning a compass needle; reading Euclid’s Elements at age 12, which he called the "holy little geometry book"; and imagining himself riding alongside electricity inside a telegraph wire, wondering what a light beam would look like if he could run alongside it at the same speed.