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