Portrait of Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein

Theoretical Physicist
March 14, 1879 – April 18, 1955

Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of relativity, one of the two pillars of modern physics (alongside quantum mechanics). His work is also known for its influence on the philosophy of science. He is best known to the general public for his mass–energy equivalence formula E = mc2, which has been dubbed "the world's most famous equation". He received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics "for his services to theoretical physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect", a pivotal step in the development of quantum theory.

Einstein published more than 300 scientific papers and more than 150 non-scientific works. His intellectual achievements and originality have made the word "Einstein" synonymous with "genius". Eugene Wigner wrote of Einstein in comparison to his contemporaries that "Einstein's understanding was deeper even than Jancsi von Neumann's. His mind was both more penetrating and more original than von Neumann's. And that is a very remarkable statement."


4 Documents






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Cover image for Letter to Dr. Robert Marcus

Letter to Dr. Robert Marcus

Einstein wrote this letter of condolence to a grieving father named Robert S. Marcus, whose son had succumbed to polio a few days earlier.

On Nuclear Weapons and World Government

Addressing a federal world government rally via radio from his home in Princeton, Einstein talked about his personal views on the proliferation of nuclear weapons and the need for a global human government.

Cover image for The Nature of Reality

The Nature of Reality

Einstein invited Rabindranath Tagore to his home in Caputh, near Berlin, for a stimulating intellectual conversation on the topic of science and religion. According to Einstein's step-son-in-law Dmitri Marianoff, “it was interesting to see them together—Tagore, the poet with the head of a thinker, and Einstein, the thinker with the head of a poet. It seemed to an observer as though two planets were engaged in a chat.” The conversation was recorded and subsequently published in the January 1931 issue of Modern Review.

Cover image for Why Socialism?

Why Socialism?

An essay written for the first issue of Monthly Review. In it, Einstein addresses problems with capitalism, predatory economic competition, and growing wealth inequality. He highlights control of mass media by private capitalists making it difficult for citizens to arrive at objective conclusions, and political parties being influenced by wealthy financial backers resulting in an "oligarchy of private capital". Einstein concludes that these problems can only be corrected with planned economies to maintain a strong democracy and protect the rights of individuals.