In June of 1902, Einstein was offered a job as a technical expert (third class) at the Bern Patent Office. For an annual salary of 3,500 francs, he was responsible for deciding whether submitted inventions were deserving of patent protection, whether they infringed on existing patents, and whether the products actually worked. Einstein could complete his tasks so quickly and so well that he had ample spare time in which to pursue his scientific work, and was even granted a raise of 400 francs soon after being hired. While living in Bern, Einstein met regularly with a close circle of friends who shared his interests in physics and philosophy. These individuals included the Romanian student Maurice Solovine, his old friend Conrad Habicht, an electrical engineer Lucien Chavan, and Einstein's closest friend from the Polytechnic, Michele Angelo Besso. These men
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