On this day in 1879, German mathematician and physicist Albert Einstein arrives on Earth. The ironic, iconic genius born to an electrician and his beloved House Frau grew to develop the special and general theories of relativity in physics.
In 1921, Einstein won the Nobel Prize for physics for his explanation of the photoelectric effect. In the following decade, he immigrated to the U.S. after being targeted by the Nazis. His work also had a major impact on the development of atomic energy.
In his later years, Einstein focused on unified field theory. With his passion for inquiry, Einstein is generally considered the most influential physicist of the 20th century.
As a physicist, Einstein had many discoveries, but he is perhaps best known for his theory of relativity and the equation E=MC2, which foreshadowed the development of atomic power and the atomic bomb.
During Albert Einstein’s autopsy, Thomas Stoltz Harvey removed his brain, reportedly without the permission of his family, for preservation and future study by doctors of neuroscience. However during his life Einstein participated in brain studies, and at least one biography says he hoped researchers would study his brain after he died. Einstein’s brain is now located at the Princeton University Medical Center, and his remains were cremated and his ashes scattered in an undisclosed location, following his wishes.
In 1999, Canadian scientists who were studying Einstein’s brain found that his inferior parietal lobe, the area that processes spatial relationships, 3D-visualization and mathematical thought, was 15 percent wider than in people with normal intelligence. According to The New York Times, the researchers believe it may help explain why Einstein was so intelligent, though he was also known to reportedly wander Princeton’s campus with his socks pulled over his shoes.
Of his brilliant colleague, physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer quipped “He was almost wholly without sophistication and wholly without worldliness … There was always with him a wonderful purity at once childlike and profoundly stubborn.”