"I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious." said a man whose life was steered by his unquenchable thirst for knowledge.
Albert Einstein is a name that is synonymous with genius, whose almost surreal personality every mathematician and physicist has tried to equal.
His brain, which was posthumously removed by a pathologist, has traveled around the world in a jar. Several scientists have scrutinized his preserved brain to try and find out the biological reasons for his ingenuity.The scrutiny Einstein’s brain has endured is astounding – the lack of a certain wrinkle in his brain that supposedly enhanced communication between his neurons, the abundance of glial cells, and other minute details.
But without Einstein’s curiosity and persistence to have his questions answered, all the unusual aspects of his brain would be nothing more than scientifically unimportant abnormalities, and no one would care.
What is it that motivated Einstein take to intricacy of mathematics and physics over climbing trees like other 10-year-olds?
Why is it that Einstein immersed himself in drafting science papers instead of courting ladies like other youngsters his age?
The answer to these high voltage questions and more is a single word: curiosity.
Albert Einstein Story
Albert Einstein was born on March 14, 1879, in Ulm, Germany to a salesman-cum-engineer Hermann Einstein.
At the tender age of 5, a pocket compass did to Einstein what a falling apple did to Newton.
Albert was bedridden at age 5 when his father presented him with a pocket compass to entertain him. The child was captivated by the fact that the compass needle pointed in the same direction no matter how he held the compass.
His childhood curiosity about the unseen force that held the compass needle in a specific direction propelled his long term work on magnetic fields.
At the age of 10, Albert Einstein was the proud owner of his first set of books on mathematics and physics. The boy performed well in school, excelling in the subjects he was passionate about.
He did fail in a university examination, securing top marks in mathematics and physics, but performing miserably in geography, history and other subjects.
At the age twenty-six, Albert came up with his two most famous scientific discoveries – the theory of relativity, and the equation e=mc2. 1905 has been dubbed Einstein’s “wonderful year” by his biographers as he published 4 papers that year, with the theory of relativity and the equation being among them.
Deeming Newtonian laws to be insufficient in explaining the interplay of forces, Einstein applied his special theory of relativity to mass, energy and gravity.
His scientific career is bejeweled with a number of groundbreaking discoveries and research, including thermodynamics, quantum theory, photoelectric effect, atoms, cosmology, unified field theory, and wormholes.
Albert Einstein was presented with a variety of awards for his work; a Nobel Prize in Physics, a Matteucci Medal, a Copley Medal and a Max Planck Medal being the most notable ones. He was also declared Person of the Century by Time in 1999.
Einstein was also a pacifist. He renounced his German citizenship the second time (he renounced his citizenship before to be able to study in another nation) because he was overwhelmed by the sheer violence enacted by Hitler.
When Einstein migrated to United States of America, where he was later granted honorary citizenship by F. D. Roosevelt, he warned the country that Germany was developing nuclear weapons, and contributed his research on nuclear fission to help US beef up security.
He worked with Bertrand Russell on nuclear technology. However, when he later realized the terrors that a nuclear bomb could unleash, the two scientists signed the Russell-Einstein Manifesto that highlighted the danger of nuclear weapons.
His scientific career is too magnanimous (300 scientific and 150 non-scientific papers are no mean feat) to be conveyed in a single article, and all one can hope to do is to gently scratch the surface.
Einstein was also offered the Presidency of the State of Israel, which he denounced..
Lessons from Einstein's story
“Dare to dream, and live to achieve those dreams” may sound like a line composed by someone giving a pep talk, but fact remains that the secret to success (if ever there was one) is as simple as that.
Failure, after all, is a term that refers to the state when you stop allowing yourself to accept that you have the ability to attain what you seek.
Albert Einstein progressed by never ceasing to pose questions, and more importantly, by always forging ahead to answer those questions. Every paper he wrote unleashed more questions and his efforts to answer them had him stumble across more discoveries.
Einstein is recorded to have suffered speech impediments as a child, and was unable to speak fluently until the age of 9. He was known to be absent-minded and was ridiculed liberally for the same. However, he paid no heed to these comments and went about his work. This is a trait that one must emulate, as popular opinion has become everything in this glitzy, insubstantial world.
Trace the life of any person who has gone down the history of the world, and you will find that a couple of thought that flitted across their minds, as they let their imaginations loose, that defined them.
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world,” said Albert Einstein during an interview.
It is imagination – call it dreams, if you wish – that prepares the mind for healthy growth.
Let your imagination go wild, pose a million questions, and hunt down answers to find the one mystery whose answer will motivate you to explore and discover.