Einstein’s mother, who was a talented pianist, got him playing the violin at an early age, but Einstein hated it. It wasn’t until Einstein was 13-years old when he discovered he actually liked it after listening to Mozart. Einstein continued to play the violin for the rest of his life and even used it to help himself think over problems.
Einstein took an entrance exam to gain admittance to the Federal Polytechnic Academy in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1895, and he was only 16 at the time when the other applicants were 18. While he did well in the math and physics parts of the test, he did poorly in the non-science areas, especially French. Einstein failed the test because of it and had to continue at his current school. He passed the entry exam after he took the test a second time.
Einstein had a banner year in 1905. As he was working for a Swiss patent office, since he couldn’t get a job in academics at the time, he wrote four papers that turned the physics world upside down.
Einstein won a Nobel Prize in 1921, but it wasn’t for his general theory of relativity. It was for his explanation of the photoelectric effect where Einstein theorized that light is composed of tiny particles called quanta. It was the first paper he had published in his magical year of 1905.
While in Switzerland attending school at Zurich Polytechnic, Einstein fell for another student named Mileva Maric, the only woman in one of his physics classes. He didn’t have the money at the time to marry her, and in addition to that, his parents were firmly against his choice. The pair had an illegitimate daughter named Lieserl in 1902 after a trip to Lake Como in Italy, but there was little known about his first child since both Einstein and Maric kept it a secret.
Things were tumultuous in Einstein’s love life. Einstein wanted to divorce Maric in 1914 and offered her a deal if she would agree. He offered her the prize money from the Nobel Prize he was confident he would win from one of his 1905 papers. She agreed after thinking it over for a time, and the couple eventually divorced in 1919. Maric had to wait until 1922 for Einstein to make good on his promise when he was awarded the Nobel Prize.
After divorcing Maric, Einstein had a relationship with another woman named Elsa Loewanthal, whom he married in 1919. The strange part was, Loewanthal was his cousin. Elsa Loewanthal was related to Einstein on both sides of his family. Einstein’s father and Loewanthal’s father were cousins, and Einstein’s mother and Loewanthal’s mother were sisters. They had known each other since they were young, but the relationship didn’t begin until Loewanthal had married and then divorced her husband. Loweanthal passed away in 1936, and Einstein never married again.
Before the Nazis took power before the start of World War II, Einstein emigrated from Germany. He found a job in Princeton, New Jersey, and stayed there for the rest of his life. He never returned to Germany.
Even though his famous equation, E=mc2, was essential in developing the atomic bomb, Einstein didn’t work on the Manhattan Project (the project that developed the atomic bomb in World War II). He didn’t receive security clearance by the U.S. Army based on his pacifist views. He did, however, write to President Franklin D. Roosevelt about the development of the atomic bomb because he didn’t want Germany to be first to succeed in developing it.
Einstein had a trademark look that he was known for, and it was relatively sloppy in his later years. He had uncombed and wild hair and never wore socks because they would get holes in them, opting for sandals much of the time. He preferred a gray sweatshirt as opposed to wearing a suit or tie, which he didn’t care for.
Einstein loved to sail, but he wasn’t particularly apt at it. While spending his summers on Long Island in New York, people recalled fishing Einstein from the water or helping him get his boat back upright after he capsized it.
Einstein really enjoyed smoking. He was often seen around Princeton as he puffed away on his briar pipe. He even accepted a life membership in the Montreal Pipe Smokers Club in 1950.
After Chaim Weizmann, the first President of Israel, died in 1952, Einstein was offered the position to be the second president of Israel. He was 73 at the time and declined, saying he didn’t have the “natural aptitude and the experience to deal properly with people.”
Einstein invented a refrigerator with a former student which ran on compressed gases and did not require electricity to operate. It was patented in 1930 but was never produced because of the emergence of new technology in refrigeration, specifically freon systems. Einstein helped create the refrigerator because he had read a story about how a Berlin family had been killed because their sulfur dioxide refrigerator (the refrigerant used at the time) poisoned them.
Albert Einstein died in 1955 because of an aortic aneurysm, and per his wishes, his body was cremated, and his ashes were scattered. But before the cremation, a pathologist who was on-call at Princeton Hospital after his death named Thomas Harvey conducted an autopsy where he removed Einstein’s brain. Harvey didn’t put Einstein’s brain back, and instead, kept it to study. He never had permission to keep the brain.