Albert Einstein was born on March 14, 1879 in Ulm, Germany. He was the first child born to Hermann and Pauline, a bourgeois Jewish couple married three years earlier. Hermann began work as a merchant in the featherbed industry, but when his business collapsed, he moved his family to Munich to start an electrical-engineering business with his brother Jakob. This venture was largely supported by the Kochs, Pauline Einstein's parents. Pauline, a talented musician, introduced her son to the piano when he was a small boy and encouraged his passion for the violin, an instrument he studied from ages six to thirteen. In 1881, Hermann and Pauline had a second child, Maria. Called Maja by all who knew her, she was Albert's closest childhood friend. Her biography of Einstein, written in 1924, is the source of much of the lore about Einstein's early years. For instance, Maria
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