Albert Einstein was so smart
that scientists studied his brain after his death.
在他死后 科学家们研究了他的大脑 企图发现其中的奥秘
He was such an icon
that Time magazine named him “person of the century” in 1999.
But despite his fame, the world’s best-known scientist had his secrets.
然而 抛开名誉 这位伟人也有着不为人知的秘密
The FBI kept a clandestine file on him.
举两个例子 其一 美国联邦调查局保存了爱因斯坦的秘密档案
And he had an illegitimate child, to name just two.
This is the story of Albert Einstein in full.
Einstein was born in Ulm in southwestern Germany on March 14,1879.
The family moved to Munich just a few weeks later where he grew up with his younger sister.
几周后 一家人搬到慕尼黑 他和妹妹在那里一起长大
When he was five years old, he fell ill one day,
his father gave him a compass to cheer him up.
Einstein was amazed that
the needle always pointed
to the magnetic north no matter which way he turned the compass.
In his Autobiographical Notes, he recalled: “I can still remember—
在他的自传里 他曾回忆说 “我仍然记得–
or at least believe I can remember
that this experience made a deep and lasting impression upon me.
Something deeply hidden had to be behind things.”
So began a lifelong fascination with physics.
He later said that if he hadn’t become a physicist
he’d probably be a musician.
He loved music, especially Mozart sonatas,
and played the violin.
Unlike many geniuses, Einstein wasn’t a child prodigy.
He didn’t speak full sentences until he was five, according to his biographers.
His parents were understandably worried.
But when he got into school, Einstein came into his own.
His family was Jewish but he attended a Catholic elementary schoo
l where he excelled as a student.
There was a rumor going around that he flunked math
but to the contrary, Einstein said
that he had already mastered differential and integral calculus before the age of 15.
For a while, his father, Hermann, ran a small electrochemical plant
but he struggled to keep it going.
Eventually, he moved his family to Italy in the hopes of finding new opportunities.
Young Albert stayed behind to finish high school.
He hated school where success depended on
memorization and obeying authority.
He was a rebel and apparently threw temper tantrums.
One exasperated teacher even said he would never amount to anything.
Einstein dropped out at age 15.
He also renounced his German citizenship
which got him out of mandatory military service.
For a few years, he belonged to no country,
and loathed nationalism,
preferring to be a citizen of the world.
When he did eventually become a citizen again, it was Swiss.
最终 他加入新国籍 成为一个瑞士公民
When he moved to Switzerland,
he tried to get admitted to the prestigious Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.
He did well in the math and physics section of the entrance exam
but is said to have done horribly in language, zoology, and botany.
It didn’t help that the exam was in French.
So he didn’t get in and instead,
continued his high school studies.
He was a good student,
scoring the highest possible grade of 6 in many subjects, including in math and physics.
With this under his belt,
he was automatically admitted to the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology,
where he had originally flunked the entrance exam.
He enrolled in a four-year teaching program in math and physics.
That’s where he met his future wife Mileva Maric
the only female student in his physics class.
Einstein’s private letters discovered in the eighties
caused a sensation
because they revealed the couple had a child out of wedlock,
a daughter named Lieserl.
According to their correspondence, Lieserl was born in 1902,
a year before her parents married.
She was cared for by her mother
while staying with her family in her native Serbia
while Einstein worked in Switzerland.
Maric would later join Einstein without the child.
It’s unclear what happened to their daughter.
Historians believe she either died in infancy, probably from scarlet fever
or was given up for adoption.
Maric and Einstein would have two sons after they married.
The eldest, Hans Albert, said Einstein wasn’t a good father,
remarking: “Probably the only project he ever gave up on was me.”
In 1901, Einstein received his diploma to teach physics and math.
But, he struggled to find an academic position after two years of searching.
He is said to have even applied to teach high school.
Eventually, he worked at the Swiss patent office in Bern for seven years.
This job would be a blessing in disguise.
It wasn’t mentally challenging,
and he found that when he was done evaluating patents for the day,
he could use the rest of his time to work on scientific research
his real passion.
1905 was Einstein’s year of miracles.
He wrote four papers in a German scientific journal
that changed the way we see the universe.
I’ll try to explain them as simply as possible
. Einstein is believed to have said:
“If you can’t explain it simply,
you don’t understand it well enough.”
The first was his theory of light.
Physicists at the time believed light was a wave.
But it didn’t make sense that light could create an electric current.
Einstein proposed that
light was actually made up of a stream of particles called photons,
and these photons could knock an electron off an atom
to create a current.
This is the Photoelectric Effect.
His second paper made a case for the existence of atoms.
He observed what seemed like the random movement of particles in water
and reasoned that it’s not so random
if the water is actually made up of invisible atoms
that cause the particles to jiggle.
This was called Brownian Motion
after the botanist Robert Brown
who had observed the phenomenon earlier.
His third and most famous discovery is his Special Theory of Relativity.
if those events are separated in space.
A, B, and C all happen at the same time, however,
然而 如果A B C三个事件同时发生
they appear to occur in a different order
depending on the location of the observer.
Or let’s say someone in London starts running at the same time as someone in New York.
They would appear to start running at different times if the observer
is on a plane flying between London and New York.
Relativity is the basis of the world’s most famous formula.
E = mc squared.
His fourth paper gave us this equation
which shows how energy equals mass times the speed of light squared.
In case you’re feeling somewhat intellectually challenged at this point,
Einstein once said:
“Do not worry about your difficulties in Mathematics.
I can assure you mine are still greater.”
So under the right conditions,
energy can become mass and mass can become energy.
Here’s an example. Take a paper clip.
To find out how much energy is inside of it,
you’d multiply its mass by the speed of light squared.
If you could turn every one of the atoms in this paper clip
into pure energy leaving no mass,
then this paper clip would be as powerful as the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.
Indeed, physicists began to consider
whether his equation might actually make an atomic bomb possible.
As Einstein gained greater prestige,
his wife gained more household work.
Maric was also passionate about math and science
but gave up her own ambitions to care for their children.
There is even some evidence she helped her husband
develop some of the concepts in his famous papers.
In Einstein’s letters to her,
he referenced “…bringing our work on relative motion to a successful conclusion!”
The papers would transform him
from an unknown patent office
to a renowned genius.
He would go on to teach physics at universities in Prague, Zurich,
and Berlin where he reacquired German citizenship and spent his time during World War I. War,
by the way, disgusted him.
Although his professional life was going well,
his personal life suffered.
Einstein would write to his first love.
Marie Winteler whom he met as a teenager.
He spilled his heart to her,
saying how much he missed her
and how he thought of her whenever he had a free moment.
It was perhaps no surprise when he and his wife eventually split up.
Maric took the boys back to Zurich while Einstein remained in Berlin.
They divorced in 1919 and immediately after,
Einstein married his first cousin, Elsa Lowenthal,
with whom he had been having an affair for years
he would later end up cheating Elsa as well.
As part of the divorce agreement with Maric
she would receive money from a Nobel prize if he were ever to win one.
And he did, in 1921, for his theory of light – not his theory of relativity.
1921年 爱因斯坦的光理论 而非相对论摘得奖项
There was something about his relativity theory that kept nagging at him
because it didn’t acknowledge the existence of gravity.
So he tinkered with it for ten years before
coming up with his General Theory of Relativity which completed the picture.
200 years before Einstein, Sir Isaac Newton provided the world
with insight into gravity
but didn’t explain how it worked.
How is it that the sun pulls on the Earth?
Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity says something heavy, like the sun,
causes a warp or a dent in space.
The Earth is impacted by the dent and rolls around the sun
like a marble rolling in a bowl –
in other words, orbits.
His theory also suggested that light from another star would be bent by the sun’s gravity.
If this were true, then starlight passing by the sun would be bent
so that we on Earth would think that the apparent location of the star
is different than it really is.
This theory was considered to be preposterous at the time
and could only be proven during a total solar eclipse
when the moon blocks out the bright light of the sun.
And that’s exactly what happened in 1919.
English astronomer Sir Arthur Eddington
traveled to the coast of West Africa to photograph the total solar eclipse.
The sun had in fact deflected the light.
Recently, Einstein was proved right once again.
Stanford University astrophysicists saw light behind a black hole for the first time
which is strange because black holes have such a strong gravitational pull
that light cannot escape them. The reason we can see light is that the
black hole is warping space and bending light
as predicted by general relativity.
Einstein became a celebrity overnight.
Instantly recognizable thanks to immense press coverage
even though his theory meant very little to the average person.
The world needed something to celebrate
after a long and horrifying war.
He began traveling abroad, going to Asia, the Middle East,
他开始周游世界 走过了亚洲 中东
and the U.S. where he gave lectures at Columbia University and Princeton.
He published an essay on his first impression of America in 1921,
noting: “what strikes a visitor is joyous, positive attitude to life.
The American is friendly, self-confident, optimistic, and without envy.”
他们友好 自信 乐观 心胸开阔”
He would make more trips to the U.S.,
and while on one of these visits, in early 1933,
he came to the stark realization that he could never return to Germany.
The Nazis had come to power under Adolf Hitler
and Einstein was everything the dictator hated.
He was Jewish, he was part of the intelligentsia, and he was a pacifist.
因为他是犹太人 是知识分子 是和平主义者
A German magazine listed him as an enemy of the regime
with the caption: Not Yet Hanged
and reportedly put a $5,000 price tag on his head.
When he returned to Europe,
he went to Belgium where he renounced his German citizenship.
He then traveled to England.
Einstein had offers to teach at Oxford and several European universities
but chose to emigrate to the U.S.
He took up a faculty position at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey
where he remained for the rest of his life.
Many prestigious American universities like Harvard and Yale
had very few Jewish faculty or students back then
as a result of discriminatory quotas.
By the time he had arrived in the U.S.,
his best scientific research was already behind him.
Nothing would trump his theory of relativity or his other earlier work.
He tried and failed to find one equation to explain all of the forces of nature.
Despite the stability he found at the research institution,
life wasn’t always easy for Einstein.
His younger son Eduard was diagnosed with schizophrenia
and suffered his first breakdown.
His wife Elsa suffered from a painful illness that would take her life in 1936.
And to his horror, scientists began to look at
whether his equation E = mc squared could in fact make an atomic bomb.
他的方程 E=mc^2 是否真的可以被用来制造原子弹
Einstein detested war.
He had dedicated much of his time to writing about peace.
However, despite being a pacifist,
he was alarmed by the rise of fascism
and signed a letter to PresidentRoosevelt in 1939, w
arning him that the Nazis were working on an atomic bomb.
This led Roosevelt to set up the Manhattan Project
– the secret American-led effort to develop an atomic weapon.
Einstein’s formula was key to its success.
But he wasn’t involved with it himself
because the FBI didn’t trust him.
Washington considered him a security risk
because of his association with the peace movement and socialist organizations.
The FBI kept tabs on him
– they had a dossier that grew to over 1,400 files.
FBI director J. Edgar Hoover even recommended he be kept out of America
under the Alien Exclusion Act though this was overruled by the State Department.
Einstein was also a civil rights activist
As a Jewish scientist who experienced anti-Semitism in Germany,
he was taken back by racial segregation in the U.S.
In 1946 he traveled to Lincoln University, a small university in Pennsylvania
that was the first to grant degrees to blacks.
He gave a speech in which he called
racism “…a disease of white people.
I do not intend to be quiet about it.”
Yet, it appears, he was not immune to the disease.
His private diaries would
reveal prejudiced attitudes toward other races.
In the 1920s he traveled throughout
Asia and wrote that the Chinese
were an “industrious, filthy, obtuse people.”
“勤劳 但却肮脏 迟钝的一群人”
“It would be a pity if these Chinese
supplant all other races.
For the likes of us the mere thought is unspeakably dreary.”
These words are in stark contrast to his public image.
In 1940, Einstein became a citizen of the United States.
His commitment to the cause of peace
led him to champion the creation of a one-world government.
He initially rejected the idea of a Jewish state on the grounds of detesting nationalism.
However, after seeing the persecution of Jews in Europe,
he promoted the Zionist cause of a Jewish nation
even though he was personally torn over the issue.
Einstein would say: “My relationship to the Jewish people
has become my strongest human bond”
though he wasn’t religious,
he didn’t believe in a personal God
and preferred to be called an agnostic.
The State of Israel was created in 1948.
And in 1952, Israel’s prime minister David Ben-Gurion
offered Einstein the post of president.
explaining that he had spent his life dealing with objective matters
and lacked the aptitude and experience of dealing with people.
He was smart enough to know his own shortcomings.
On April 17, 1955, Einstein checked himself into Princeton Hospital in New Jersey
after his abdominal aortic aneurysm burst.
The aorta is the largest blood vessel in the body.
He had previously had surgery on it.
This time, he refused surgery,
saying it was tasteless to prolong life. And that it was time to go.
He died the next day,
mumbling a few words in German before taking his last breath.
The nurse on duty didn’t understand German
and couldn’t repeat it
so what he said is lost in history.
Einstein’s remains were cremated and his ashes
scattered in a secret spot along the Delaware River.
Those ashes didn’t include his brain.
A pathologist named Thomas Harvey removed his brain so that scientists
could try to figure out why he was so intelligent.
But he did so without permission!
After Einstein’s family members found out,
he eventually got the okay to use the brain for scientific research.
Einstein’s brain was found to be missing a bordering region called the lateral sulcus
which researchers believe may have led neurons in this part of the brain to communicate better.
Scientists also believe his neurons used up more energy because his brain was found to
have a higher percentage of glial cells
that nourish, support, and protect the neurons.
The pathologist then cut up the brain into pieces,
stored it into jars preserved in formaldehyde, and kept it in his basement.
Today, the most celebrated brain in the world is in pieces at The Mütter Museum in Philadelphia.
It’s hard to imagine what Einstein would think of all this attention.
He specifically wanted to be cremated
so that people wouldn’t worship his body.
But worshipped he is.
The 99th element of the periodic table is named after him.
Einsteinium was discovered shortly after his death.
Albert Einstein lives on as one of the smartest people in history
who changed the way we view and understand the world and the universe.
He was influential in supporting so many other causes besides science.
He lived an extraordinary life.
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Thanks so much for watching.
If you like what you saw, give it a like,
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For Newsthink, I’m Cindy Pom.
-Newsthink新思维 我是Cindy Pom
Albert Einstein was so smart