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Einstein 2 - Of all the scientists to emerge from the...

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Of all the scientists to emerge from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries there is one whose name is known by almost all living people. While most of these do not understand this man's work, everyone knows that its impact on the world of science is astonishing. Yes, many have heard of Albert Einstein's General Theory of relativity, but few know about the intriguing life that led this scientist to discover what some have called, "The greatest single achievement of human thought." d Einstein was born in Ulm, Germany on March 14, 1874. Before his first birthday, his family had moved to Munich where young Albert's father, Hermann Einstein, and uncle set up a small electro-chemical business. He was fortunate to have an excellent family with which he held a strong relationship. Albert's mother, Pauline Einstein, had an intense passion for music and literature, and it was she that first introduced her son to the violin in which he found much joy and relaxation. Also, he was very close with his younger sister, Maja, and they could often be found in the lakes that were scattered about the countryside near Munich. t As a child, Einstein's sense of curiosity had already begun to stir. A favorite toy of his was his father's compass, and he often marvelled at his uncle's explanations of algebra. Although young Albert was intrigued by certain mysteries of science, he was considered a slow learner. His failure to become fluent in German until the age of nine even led some teachers to believe he was disabled. o Einstein's post-basic education began at the Luitpold Gymnasium when he was ten. It was here that he first encountered the German spirit through the school's strict disciplinary policy. His disapproval of this method of teaching led to his reputation as a rebel. It was probably these differences that caused Einstein to search for knowledge at home. He began not with science, but with religion. He avidly studied the Bible seeking truth, but this religious fervor soon died down when he discovered the intrigue of science and math. To him, these seemed much more realistic than ancient stories. With this new knowledge he disliked class even more, and was eventually expelled from Luitpold Gymnasium being considered a disruptive influence. d Feeling that he could no longer deal with the German mentality, Einstein moved to Switzerland where he continued his education. At sixteen he attempted to enroll at the Federal Institute of Technology but failed the entrance exam. This forced him
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