On February 16th, 1931, Rabbi Edgar Magnin presented a watch to
Albert Einstein at a luncheon in Los Angeles. A local Los Angeles
newspaper article described the presentation as follows: "Einstein
as a man and a Jew was the twin theme of an offering of tribute
and praise which was tendered to Prof. Albert Einstein and Mrs.
Einstein by the Jewish community of Los Angeles at a banquet in
their honor at the Ambassador ... Rabbi Magnin, on behalf of the
Jews of the city, presented the professor and his wife each with a
suitably inscribed wristwatch."
Albert Einstein (1879 ?1955)
A theoretical physicist born at Ulm, inWürttemberg, Germany, who is best known for his theory of relativity and specifically mass?
energy equivalence, E=MC2. In 1921 Einstein received the Nobel Prize in Physics for ?his services to Theoretical Physics, and
especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect."
Einstein's many contributions to physics include his special theory of relativity, which reconciled mechanics with electromagnetism,
and his general theory of relativity, which extended the principle of relativity to non-uniform motion, creating a new theory of
gravitation. His other contributions include relativistic cosmology, capillary action, critical opalescence, classical problems of
statistical mechanics and their application to quantum theory, an explanation of the Brownian movement of molecules, atomic
transition probabilities, the quantum theory of a monatomic gas, thermal properties of light with low radiation density (which
laid the foundation for the photon theory), a theory of radiation including stimulated emission, the conception of a unified field
theory, and the geometrization of physics.
After schooling in Germany and Switzerland, in 1900 Einstein graduated from the Swiss Federal Polytechnic Institute in Zurich,
intending to teach physics and mathematics. In 1902, after having failed to secure a teaching position, he began working as a
technical assistant in the Swiss Patent Office in Bern. During this period he produced much of his remarkable work. In 1909
Einstein became a Professor at the University of Zurich and in 1911 Professor of Theoretical Physics at Prague, returning to
Zurich in the following year to teach theoretical physics.
In 1914 Einstein moved to Berlin, where he joined the faculty of the Prussian Academy of Sciences. When the First World War
broke out, Einstein?s pacifist views led him to be considered a traitor by some. He and his wife and two sons went to live in
When Hitler came to power in 1933, Einstein was in California. The Nazis considered him an enemy of the German state, and
he decided to remain in America. That same year he accepted a position at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, New
Jersey. In 1940 Einstein became a United States citizen.
Einstein was active in Jewish causes, and near the end of his life he was offered the Presidency of the State of Israel. He declined,
claiming that he had ?neither the natural ability nor the experience to deal properly with people and to exercise official
Shortly after Einstein's death in 1955, the 99th element was discovered and was called "Einsteinium" in his honor.
A scientific and cultural icon, in 1999 Einstein was named "Person of the Century" by Time magazine. The name of Albert
Einstein has become synonymous with genius.
Literature: Nobel Lectures, Physics 1901-1921, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1967.