Albert Einstein

Identification: German-born American physicist

Born: March 14, 1879; Ulm, Germany

Died: April 18, 1955; Princeton, New Jersey

Significance: The greatest physicist of the twentieth century, Albert Einstein found refuge from Nazi threats in the United States, where he became a symbol of scientific genius and internationalism.

Albert Einstein was born into a middle-class Jewish German family in 1879. He found German schooling stultifying and in 1895 went to study in Switzerland. He renounced his German citizenship in 1896, when he was only sixteen. During the first two decades of the twentieth century, Einstein transformed modern science with his theoretical work on the photoelectric effect, Brownian motion, quantum energy, light, gravity, relativity of space and time, and conversion of matter into energy (E = mc2).

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein. (Library of Congress)

In 1914, Einstein returned to Germany as a professor at the University of Berlin, winning the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics. Einstein’s fame brought him lectureships throughout the world; it also made him the focus of attacks in an increasingly anti-Semitic and militaristic Germany. Fearing for his safety, he and his wife, Elsa, immigrated to the United States on October 17, 1933, where Einstein accepted a position at the Institute for Advanced Study in New Jersey. Although some Americans opposed Einstein’s immigration for his "radical” views, Einstein embraced the opportunities and freedom of his new nation. He cowrote a famous letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939 advising him of the possibilities of developing an atomic bomb. On June 22, 1940, Einstein took his American citizenship test and gave a talk for the government’s I Am an American radio series; he was naturalized on October 1, 1940. After World War II, Einstein advocated nuclear disarmament and international cooperation. He died in 1955.

Howard Bromberg

Further Reading

Isaacson, Walter. Albert Einstein: His Life and Universe. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2007. 

Sayen, Jamie. Einstein in America: The Scientist’s Conscience in the Age of Hitler and Hiroshima. New York: Crown, 1985. 

Schweber, Silvan. Einstein and Oppenheimer: The Meaning of Genius. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2008. 

See also: Anti-Semitism; Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S.; Congress, U.S.; German immigrants; Jewish immigrants; Naturalization; New Jersey; Science; Swiss immigrants; World War II.

Add comments

question0 answers 12 January 2016 05:38

what were some reasons Einstein left his home

------------------------:30 answers 26 January 2016 21:08

woooo cool a heck OMG

woob0 answers 25 February 2016 21:23

Quote: question
what were some reasons Einstein left his home

Probably because of the Nazis pressuring him into making nukes.

question awnser0 answers 26 February 2016 22:03

He left after WWII because he was a jew

Quote: woob
Quote: question
what were some reasons Einstein left his home

Probably because of the Nazis pressuring him into making nukes.

So it was cuz he was in germany in WWII and it was dangerous 4 jews

He was a jew and was dangerous in WWII

lol0 answers 6 April 2016 22:56

What did he leave on?

yoes0 answers 19 September 2016 13:03

is he migrating?

Tyrone0 answers 29 November 2016 20:14

How did he die ?!

Quote: yoes
is he migrating?

No he is a polar bear

Rachel0 answers 11 January 2017 21:34

Why did Albert Einstein want to come to America

Lindsey0 answers 7 February 2017 01:42

Quote: Rachel
Why did Albert Einstein want to come to America

Quote: Rachel
Why did Albert Einstein want to come to America

Because he and his wife were fleeing the Nazis in Germany.

bruh0 answers 14 February 2017 00:38

gas jewwwws

abi0 answers 16 May 2017 17:45

why did he immigrate 2 america

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