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Einstein Year - Das Einsteinjahr 2005

Albert Einstein's 'Theory of Relativity' Turns 100


Einstein - Later Years

Einsteins Relativitätstheorie wird 100

In 2005 Germany and the world commemorated the amazing achievements of Albert Einstein (1879-1955). It was 100 years ago, in 1905—his "miraculous year"—that the young German scientist published three papers for his doctoral dissertation at the University of Zurich. The most famous of these was his "Special Theory of Relativity" (the "General" theory would come ten years later). Einstein's new ideas about physics rocked the world's scientific boat and forced scientists to reassess most of their previous notions about how the universe works. In a 2003 contest, ranking the top 100 Germans of all time, Einstein came in at number 10 (just after Goethe, Gutenberg, and Bismarck).

Das Einsteinjahr was also the 50th anniversary of Albert Einstein's death in Princeton, New Jersey. The German physicist lived there from the time he was forced to leave Nazi Germany in 1933 until his death on April 18, 1955 at the age of 76. He had become a U.S. citizen in 1940. 2005 has also been designated the International Year of Physics. For more about the events planned for Das Einsteinjahr, see the links below.

Brief Einstein Profile
Albert Einstein was born in Ulm, Germany on March 14, 1879 into a Jewish family that moved to Munich only six weeks after his birth. That was the first of several moves until the family finally settled in Italy. The family was not particularly religious and young Albert attended a Catholic school in Bavaria. Later, at the age of 15, he went to Switzerland to attend the Swiss Federal Polytechnic Institute in Zurich. It was there he met his first wife, Mileva Maric.

After graduation Einstein was working in the Swiss patent office in Bern when he began to put together the amazing works of physics that he published in 1905. Einstein's growing scientific fame soon got him a succession of professorships in Bern, Prague, Zurich. In 1914 he was appointed director of the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut für Physik in Berlin, where he could devote most of his time to pure scientific research. He held this prestigious post until the rise of the Nazis forced him to leave Germany for Princeton, New Jersey in 1933. In 1922 Einstein was awarded the 1921 physics Nobel Prize for his work on the photoelectric effect and theoretical physics. For more about Einstein's life and work, see our biographical summary for Albert Einstein.

Germany, Einstein's birthplace, observed the Einstein Year with several events in 2005, but Einstein became a citizen and scientist of the world. Other countries also held Einstein events in 2005. Switzerland, where he first published his theories, Austria, the U.K., and other countries also observed the Einstein Year in their own ways. It's appropriate for all of us to celebrate Einstein's life. After all, Einstein's Relativitätstheorie and his other ideas affected not only the entire world, but the entire universe!

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Schiller Year

Das Schillerjahr
2005 will also mark the 200th anniversary of the death of the great German poet and dramatist Friedrich von Schiller, born in 1759 in Marbach am Neckar. Visitors to Marbach today can see his Geburtshaus and the Schiller National Museum. In 1805 he died in his longtime hometown of Weimar, which also has a Schiller Museum. Germans will celebrate Schiller's 200th Todestag and his literary legacy on May 9, 2005. (See Weimar photos.)
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