1867: Parents Hermann and Pauline marry. 1879 Born 14th March, Ulm, Germany. 1880 Move to Munich. Hermann and brother Jakob establish an electrical engineering firm. 1881 Sister Maria (Maja) born. 1884 Sense of wonder at a compass given to him by his father. Private tuition. 1885 Starts catholic school and violin lessons (until 14.) Jewish religious instruction at home. 1888 Passes entrance exam for Luitpold Gymnasium, Munich. 1889 Meets 21 year old student Max Talmud, introduces Einstein to key science and philosophy texts including Kant’s "Critique of pure reason"
1891: 2nd major sense of wonder with Euclidean geometry. Wrote later: “If Euclid fails ...view middle of the document...
Described by Einstein as an oasis, has a happy year at this enlightened school. They share his mode of thought; that understanding concepts, theories and laws are more important than knowledge.Moves in with family of Jost Winteler, Aarau. Calls hosts “mama” and “papa”.Wonders what you would see if you travelled with a light wave, a crucial early thought experiment. Einstein often returns to this thought and it later leads him to investigate the paradox between Newtonian mechanics, in which such motion is easily conceivable, and Maxwell’s equations in which the light wave must always travel at the speed of light.
1896: Released from Wurttemberg/ German citizenship. This allows him to avoid military service. Falls in love with Marie Winteler.
September - passes school leaving exams with flying colors, 5.5 out of 6. Einstein is top of class, even though a year younger than his classmates. Full marks in algebra and geometry.He now plans to study maths and physics with a view to being a teacher. October – Starts at Zurich polytechnic in the school for specialized teachers in mathematical and science subjects. Courses in philosophy, politics, economics, geology, physics and math. Initially finds Weber’s physics lectures masterful, later annoyed that they don’t go beyond 1850’s, not even including Maxwell’s electromagnetic equations. Mileva Maric and Marcel Grossmann are classmates.
Lives frugally, “Beer makes a man stupid and lazy.” Frequents coffee houses discussing science and philosophy.[Nobel prize established, Zionism founded.]
1897 : Meets Michele Besso at a musical soiree when Einstein played violin. [J.J Thompson discovers electron.]
1898 : October – passes intermediate diploma exam, top of class. Studies closely with Mileva. Private study of theoretical physics. Reads Helmholtz, Boltzmann and Mach (recommended by Besso, and who’s sceptical and independent viewpoint resonates with Einstein.) Maxwell’s equations with EM waves travelling at the speed of light was “like a revelation” to Einstein. Waves were detached from matter, just oscillating fields in empty space. Skips some lectures. Meticulous notes of Grossmann help to fill gaps. Professor Weber says (at some point in 1898/99) “You’re extremely clever…but… you’ll never let yourself be told anything.” A lack of respect develops between Einstein and Weber and Einstein later fails to gain a position as Weber’s assistant, even suspecting him of conspiring to block all his physics job applications. [Marie Curie discovers radium]
1899 Applies for Swiss citizenship
March – Officially reprimanded for poor attendance by Jean Pernot, professor of experimental physics. His enthusiasm for experimental work begins to diminish; instead he increasingly relies on the published results of others.
July – Injures hand in a small explosion in the lab.
Maths professor Herman Minkowski describes Einstein as a lazy dog. Einstein later regrets not studying more maths.
Einstein reads of Wilhelm...