E=mc Hammer… I mean Squared.

The other day on NPR I heard that the personal papers of Albert Einstein were released this week on the internet by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. We’ve always known him as a science guy with messy hair but apparently he wrote about everything from politics to music. He was a dedicated letter writer to his second wife and step daughter and also to his mother. He was even a bit of a playboy as it turns out. Hey, chicks dig physics.

Besides his famous E = mc2, what was always availably known about Einstein? Well he was born in Ulm in the Kingdom of Wurttemburg in the German Empire on March 14, 1879. When he was little he built little machines for fun and showed early on his inclination and talent for mathematics. In his early teens he was given Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason and Euclid’s Elements. He completed his secondary schooling inSwitzerland at theAargauCantonalSchool and at the age of 17 he enrolled in the Zurich Polytechnic four year mathematics and teaching program where he met is first wife Mileva Marić.  Mileva and Einstein had a child, a daughter, a year before their marriage named Lieserl. Lieserl was born probably in January of 1902. She is briefly mentioned in their correspondences but vanishes after September 1903 after she seems to have suffered from scarlet fever. It is a queer mystery in Einstein’s life but most speculate that the poor child probably died from her bout with scarlet fever. In fact she was utterly unknown to the world until some letters were unearthed by Einstein’s granddaughter Evelyn in 1986!  In January 1903 Mileva and Einstein were married and the following year in May their first son Hans was born. In July 1910 their second son Eduard was born. The couple spent much of their time apart and ended up getting a divorce in on February 14, 1919 (Valentine’s Day. Nice.). Einstein married his second wife Elsa that June after having been in a relationship with her since 1912. In 1933 they moved to theUnited Statesto escape the oppression of the rising Nazi party. Elsa passed away in December 1936 from heart and kidney problems. Our modern science owes much of its foundations for physics to Einstein for his decades of scientific and mathematical discovery and theory. He was named Time Magazine’s Person of the Century and received the Nobel Prize in Physics. (Fun Fact: The most popularly known of Einstein’s scientific and mathematic contributions is his theory of relativity E = mc2 where E is energy, m is mass and c is the speed of light.) Among the collection of personal papers from Einstein is a postcard he sent his mother telling her about his Nobel Prize. He mentions it in passing and then spends the rest of the note talking about her health. Guess it meant a lot to him. So what was this great mind like behind the scenes? Was he just all science, math, and crazy hair?  3,500 plus personal papers later, I think we can safely assume he was much more. He wrote daily to his family, he loved music (he played the violin) and had an opinion on everything going on in the world. It makes sense though; you can’t be one of the greatest minds in recorded history and simply be a head of wild hair. He also had a few lovers and women who fancied him and spoke of them openly with his wife and step daughter. He even helped one of his former lovers immigrate to theUnited Stateslater in her life. All the ingredients required for a good movie by anyHollywoodstandard so keep your eyes peeled for that! The documents will gradually all be released on line for browsing but not for download over the next few months. Logo photo by Justine Impressions http://www.justineimpressions.com/