What would it be like to meet amazing people who have changed our world? That was the question I set myself. As a result, I have created BioViews of many famous people. Bioview is new word for a biographical interview and the series will be published in 2010. Here is an excerpt about Albert Einstein. It is what I imagine he would have said in a BioView with me and I have written it and trust that he would approve.
Charles – How did you develop your interest in science?
Albert – From an early age, I wanted to explore. Some do so by touring from one country to another. My interest lay in comparing one galaxy with another. Maybe, it started when I was about five years of age. My parents gave me a compass. It was like a teddy bear, always with me. A guide in more senses than one
Charles – How would you describe your early years?
Albert – I was born in Ulm, Germany, to a strong Jewish family. Education was important. Being more introverted than my parents, I did things my way. Preferring my own company, for long periods, I read many books. To finish high school, I went to a Aarau, Switzerland. In 1896, I graduated and enrolled at the Federal Polytechnic in Zurich. It was the year that I decided to renounce my German citizenship. For the next few years, I was stateless. Also, I renounced Judaism. I did not believe in artificial authority. It was important for me to chart my own path
Charles – How did you see your future at that time?
Albert – In an essay, I wrote about my inclinations to be a scientist. I noted my individual disposition for abstract and mathematical thought. Also, I wrote about – ‘My lack of imagination and practical talent. My inclinations have also led me to this resolve. That is natural; one always likes to do things for which one has talent.’
Charles – You then made some important decisions?
Albert – I became a Swiss citizen in 1901, at the age of 22. I also had a girl friend called Mileva. It was a shock when Mileva said she was pregnant. She returned home to give birth, as we were not married and had little money. Our daughter, Lieserl was born in 1902. Neither of us was prepared for parenthood. Despite the anguish, we decided to have her adopted. Maybe, we rushed the decision, but we were under pressure. At the time, I did not have a full time job.
Charles – You then got a job as a Patent Examiner?
Albert – Yes, my qualifications were not sufficient to become a Physics teacher. In the evenings, I worked on my research. It was peculiar that I should be recognized for a theory of relativity. Indeed, amazing that I should be recognized at all. For in 1894, I had failed my entrance examination for a diploma course. Since then, I had studied mainly by myself and worked hard.
Charles – But, events where to change your life.
Albert – I married Mileva and we had a son. Sadly, it did not work out. On July 1st 1914, Mileva left home with our son. The next day, the German Government declared war on France. Their vicious army sent its murderous forces through Europe. As a Jew, and Swiss citizen, it was time to leave Berlin where I was working at the time. Life was becoming more complicated in more ways than one
Charles – You continued with your work and remarried, but also had some affaires?
Albert – Yes, one was a friend of my niece. We were attracted to each other and she became my mistress. Elsa, my second wife, knew of the arrangement. In an adult way, she asked me to only have two liaisons a week. She did not want any gossip or scandal.
Charles – Eventually, you went to work in the USA. Why was that?
Albert – They invited me to do research there. Continuing my work, I listened with horror to the 2nd World war reports. The collapse of civilization, once again through German atrocities. In Europe millions died by calculation, in gas chambers and on war fields. What could be done from afar? One way was research to find ways of defeating the country of my birth. Another was to raise money for Jewish charities.In 1944, I re-wrote my 1905 theory and raised six million dollars
Charles – Reflecting on your amazing life what were the main points?
Albert – It was a turbulent life with some improbable events and achievements. I won a Nobel Prize in science, even though I left school at 15. I made a scientific breakthrough on relativity theory while working in a patent office. I renounced my Judaist upbringing and escaped from anti – semitic murderers. I gave up my German citizenship to live in Switzerland and the USA. I found love and hate in my first marriage. I became a father, but hardly saw my sons/ There were also three major affaires while I was married a second time. My research led to the edge of the unknown. En route, I advised USA Presidents on weapons of mass destruction and provided a theory of relativity that changed perceptions. These led to many changes and set the agenda for a new age.
Charles – Thank you for your contribution to the Amazing People Club Series.
Appreciation to http://www.flickr.com/photos/nostri-imago/3007483608/ for flickr photo.