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This article was prepared for the April 13, 2005 issue of U.S. 1

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Einstein Chronology

These dates and most of the quotations have been taken from "The New

Quotable Einstein" by Alice Calaprice.

1879. Albert Einstein is born on March 14 in Ulm, Germany.

1881. His sister, Maja, is born.

1885. He begins violin lessons and enters a Catholic primary school.

1894. He quits high school to join his family, which has moved to

Italy.

1900. After attending a prep school, he graduates from the

Polytechnical Institute in Zurich, Switzerland.

1902. Having failed to find an academic job, he goes to work at the

Swiss Patent Office in Bern. A daughter is born out of wedlock to his

first wife, Mileva.

1903. He marries Mileva, and the daughter dies, probably of scarlet

fever.

1904. His son, Hans Halbert, is born. (Hans died at Woods Hole,

Massachusetts, in 1973).

1905. Four seminal papers, including his doctoral thesis, are

published in the "year of miracles."

1910. Son Eduard is born (who died in a psychiatric hospital in Zurich

in 1965).

1919. Divorced from Mileva, he marries his cousin Elsa Loewenthal (who

has two daughters, Ilse and Margot) and becomes interested in Zionism.

1921. In his first trip to the United States, he lectures at Princeton

and raises money for the planned medical faculty of the Hebrew

University of Jerusalem.

He describes Americans, writing of their "joyous positive attitude to

life. The smile of the people in photographs is symbolical of one of

the American’s greatest assets. He is friendly, optimistic, and –

without envy" (The World As I See It).

1922. He learns he has won the 1921 Nobel Prize for Physics (though

not the citation does not mention the theory of relativity, which is

still controversial). He writes his first paper on unified field

theory, on which he will work for the rest of his life.

1928. Confined to bed for several months with a heart problem, he

hires Helen Dukas as secretary.

1929. He makes friends with Queen Elisabeth of Belgium. Continuing to

work for Zionist causes, he recommends reconciliation with the Arab

population of Palestine. "If we do not succeed in finding the path of

honest cooperation and coming to terms with the Arabs, we will not

have learned anything from our two-thousand-year-old ordeal and will

deserve the fate which will beset us."

1933. He moves to Princeton to be the first faculty member at the

Institute, formed in 1930, and uses his celebrity to raise funds for

Israel and promote anti-militarism.

1938. He publishes "Why Do They Hate the Jews" in Collier’s Weekly:

"The bond that has united the Jews for thousands of years and that

unites them today is, above all, the democratic ideal of social

justice, coupled with the ideal of mutual aid and tolerance among all

men . . . The second characteristic trait of Jewish tradition is the

high regard in which it holds every form of intellectual aspiration

and spiritual effort."

1939. He moves his office to the new Fuld Hall and in a letter urges

President Franklin D. Roosevelt to begin an American nuclear research

program.

1940. He becomes an American citizen.

1943. Though he is asked to do research for U.S. Navy ordnance, he is

deemed a security risk and is excluded from A-bomb research.

1946. He chairs the Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists,

headquartered at 90 Nassau Street.

1948. He develops a large aneurysm of the abdominal aorta.

1951. His sister Maja dies in Princeton.

1952. He declines the offer to be president of Israel, to everyone’s

relief.

1953. He famously opposes McCarthyism, advising what to do if called

to testify. "Frankly, I can see only the revolutionary way of

non-cooperation in the sense of Gandhi’s. Every intellectual who is

called before one of the committees ought to refuse to testify, i.e.,

he must be prepared for jail and economic ruin, in short, for the

sacrifice of his personal welfare in the interest of the cultural

welfare of his country.

"If enough people are ready to take this grave step they will be

successful. If not, then the intellectuals of this country deserve

nothing better than the slavery which is intended for them."

1954. He develops hemolytic anemia.

1955. Albert Einstein dies in Princeton hospital on April 15 of a

ruptured arteriosclerotic aneurysm of the abdominal aorta, caused by

hardening of the arteries. Though he had refused surgery, it would not

have helped.

1982. Helen Dukas, his lifelong secretary and housekeeper, dies.

1986. Margot Einstein, his stepdaughter, dies and wills the house and

the furnishings to the Institute.


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