On March 14, 1879, Albert Einstein was born in Ulm, Germany. Einstein became the most prominent scientist of the 20th century, winning the Nobel Prize for physics in 1921 and authoring the most famous equation in history—E=MC2.
Einstein was a theoretical physicist, meaning he used and formulated mathematical models to understand the way the universe works. In particular, Einstein was interested in the way different sets of physical laws—gravity, magnetism, electricity, energy—relate to each other. His most famous accomplishments reflect this. His Nobel Prize recognized Einstein’s work in explaining the photoelectric effect—the way atoms emit electrons when they absorb energy from light. His famous equation explains that an object’s mass (M) is a measure of its energy (E) and its motion (measured by the speed of light, C).
Einstein was a lifelong humanitarian. He supported civil rights for African Americans and protection for religious minorities in Europe (he himself fled Germany and Switzerland as Nazis gained power). He was also a committed socialist who supported strong education for all students: “The education of the individual, in addition to promoting his own innate abilities, would attempt to develop in him a sense of responsibility for his fellow-men in place of the glorification of power and success in our present society.”
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