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Einstein a-go-go; Einstein was changing our view of the universe 100 years ago. Marion McMullen finds out more about the colourful life of the Nobel Prize winner.

Byline: Marion McMullen

HE did not like to wear socks, never learned to drive and failed his university entrance exam the first time around, applying again a year later. Albert Einstein was notoriously absentminded and insisted: "I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious." The German-born physicist and mathematical genius published his famous general theory of relativity 100 years ago and a few years later was awarded the Nobel Prize for physics for services to theoretical physics. He gave part of the prize money to his first wife Mileva Maric as a divorce settlement.

His 1905 E=mc2 theorem dealing with mass-energy equivalence has been called the world's most famous equation and he once said: "It should be possible to explain the laws of physics to a barmaid." His theory of relativity explains that what we perceive as the force of gravity in fact arises from the curvature of space and time. Legend has it that Einstein did not talk until he was four and his interest in science was sparked by a compass that his father gave him to cheer him up when he was sick when he was five years old.

He began his early career working as a junior patent examiner in Switzerland and was 26 when he first started publishing papers that would reshape physics and change the way people viewed the universe.

His paper on the General Theory of Relativity in 1916 proved a major breakthrough and he once explained: "Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." Einstein was Jewish and was in America when Hitler came to power in 1933. He did not return to Gemany, but settled in the USA and eventually became an American citizen.

He published more than 300 scientific papers during his lifetime and more than 150 non-scientific works. About 1,400 of letters he wrote to his wives and children were also made public 10 years ago. He was candidly open with his second wife Elsa about his string of affairs and never tried to hide them. In fact, he wrote to her and his step-daughter Margot almost every day.

It is believed he was involved with at least six women, including his "Russian spy lover" Margarita. She was the wife of sculptor Sergey Konenkov who was commissioned by Princeton University to make a bronze bust of Einstein in 1935. Einstein was also a great lover of music and began playing the violin when he was five.

"If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music," he declared.

Einstein's scientific work saw him awarded honorary degrees from universities across Europe and America and his untameable hair made him instantly recognisable. He once said: "Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning."

The1985 film Insignificance was an account of a fictional meeting between Einstein, film star Marilyn Monroe, her husband and baseball player Joe DiMaggio and Senator Joseph MacCarthy. Lord Of The Rings and Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes actor Andy Serkis also played Einstein in the 2008 TV movie Einstein And Eddington with David Tennant as British scientist Sir Arthur Eddington - the first physicist to prove Einstein's ideas.

Einstein died in 1955 from a burst blood vessel. He was 76 years old.

His brain was removed by Princeton pathologist Thomas Stoltz Harvey during an autopsy and he kept it pickled in a jar for 43 years. Later studies on the brain showed that the parts dealing with mathmatical ability were much larger than normal brains.

Harvey even once drove with the brain from New Jersey to California to meet Einstein's granddaughter. Freelance writer Michael Paterniti also went on the road trip and wrote about the journey in his book Driving Mr Albert: A Trip Across America with Einstein's Brain. The brain was eventually donated to Princeton University in 1998. Einstein himself famously pointed out: "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity... and I'm not sure about the former."

CAPTION(S):

Einstein, aged 50, at home in Berlin with his family

Professor Albert Einstein

Einstein gives a lecture at Princeton and, above, the professor at home in his study

Einstein arrives at London Victoria station before attending a banquet in 1930
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Mar 10, 2016
Words:735
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