There’s story about a little conversation that took place between two legends, Charles Spencer Chaplin and Albert Einstein, at a public event. It went somewhat like this:
Einstein: What I most admire about your art, is your universality. You don’t say a word, yet the world understands you!
Chaplin: True. But your glory is even greater! The whole world admires you, even though they don’t understand a word of what you say.
It’s true that not all of us laymen understand Einstein’s elobaroate theories but we all realize that the paradigm shift in the perception of theoretical physics and the subsequent research, studies and revelations, owe a lot to this German born genius. The man who proposed the theory of relativity, proposed the existence of photon, contributed with path breaking studies in the fields of electromagnetism and gravitation and set the ball rolling for the scientists to follow forever, had quite a frolicsome childhood. Today, on his birthday, let’s take a look at Einstein’s life while growing up.
1. He wasn’t much of a talker at the beginning
Born on March 14, 1879, in Ulm, Germany, little Einstein couldn’t really pick up our language as early as children normally do. Till the age of 4 Einstein’s struggled to articulate himself with ease and fluency.
However, some say Einstein started speaking full sentences by the time he was 2. When he saw his sister, Maja, for the first time in 1881, an excited little Einstein took her for a toy and asked “Yes, but where does it have its small wheels?”
2. He was a thoughtful little toddler
There’s always something about kids who don’t speak much. Einstein, showed a deep affinity towards nature very early in life and spent his time observing the invisible forces of nature, often with a little help of the movement of the compass needle that fascinated his young mind at the age of 5.
It was the beginning of his engrossment in the mysteries of the ways of nature which later evolved into scientific breakthroughs of quantum physics.
3. The little genius had a problem with authority
If there’s one thing common among the greatest men in the world, it’s the fact that society always struggled to contain their greatness within the tiny cages of closed-mindedness. So was the case with young Einstein as well whose cocky wit and subtle rebellion rubbed his teachers off in the wrong way.
Annoyed by his blatant insubordination, his seventh grade teacher had once said that he would never amount to much in his life – a slight misprediction on the part of the teacher.
4. He always had the music
Einstein’s love affair with his violin began at the tender age of 5. Lina is what he used to call his violin. However, like most great love stories, this one, too, began with trouble. The boy didn’t really appreciate drills of violin exercise and one fine day at violin class, the young student, frustrated by the routine threw his chair at the music teacher who left the house in tears.
Then, Einstein’s ears were introduced to Mozart’s sonata when he was 12 and thus began his love for music that lasted forever.
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5. His attempts to finish school as soon as possible
The young rebel hated school and wanted to get over with it as early as possible. However, at the same time Albert needed to make sure that his chances of getting into Universities are not ruined. Therefore, in 1895, 16 year old Albert decided to test himself out of school, skip over the part he felt redundant and get himself admitted to ETH Zurich, the reputed Swiss University of Polytechnic.
However, he failed.
6. His faith in religion
Einstein had a deep rooted belief in Judaism as an 11 year old. He would observe the Koser, the religious dietary laws of the Jews, read the Bible and even compose hymns on his way to school. However, his religious inclinations turned out to be short lived as by the time it was time for his Bar mitzvah, Albert had already grown out of religious faith, almost disillusioned.
By the time he was 13, he was resentful of religion and the dogmas associated to it.
7. How Einstein found his way to Italy
It was 1893, and Albert’s family were moving to Pavia, Italy, leaving him behind in Munich to finish his studies. Albert wanted, by all means, to be in Pavia and after six more months of dealing with taxing gym classes at Lutipold, clashes with the teachers and withstanding noisy landlords, he finally managed to get away to Italy.
He managed to persuade a doctor to write a note which compelled the authorities to let him go because apparently, the sly young genius was suffering from “neurasthenic exhaustion.”
8. His first paper
It was in 1894 that Einstein began his first paper ever – ‘On the Investigation of the State of the Ether in a Magnetic Field’. Hardly 15, Albert sent the paper to his uncle, Caesar Koch for his expert opinion. He slipped in a letter along with the paper which read…
“If you are not going to read this stuff I will not be annoyed at all; but at least you have to recognize it as a shy attempt to fight against my being a bad letter writer, which I inherited from both my beloved parents.”