The History Makers: Einstein |

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The History Makers: Einstein

Few scientists achieve true fame, but one figure towers above the rest. Brian Clegg explores the experiences and inspirations that made Albert Einstein a hero of the 20th century


INSIDE THE MIND Einstein’s personal life was just as turbulent as his professional one, marred by infidelity and his role in nuclear proliferation
Albert poses for a photograph with his sister Maja, 1880s
During his secondary school education, Albert was labelled “lazy” by his teachers
Albert (seated, far left) with his graduation class in a Swiss school, where he met his first love


When Einstein’s sister was born, his mother had promised him “Something new to play with.” He was disappointed to see a baby and asked, “Where are the wheels?”

“He hated school – and his teachers found him difficult”

An unassuming 26-year-old clerk sits at his desk in the Swiss Patent Office in Bern. It’s a steady job, a godsend with a family to support. And it’s easy work, giving him plenty of time for thought. He takes another patent application, makes a few notes and discards it. He is amazed how good he is at this job. In a school essay, he had imagined a future in teaching because of a “lack of imagination and practical ability.” Now, though, the ideas leap off the page. is intuitive talent is about to make Albert Einstein one of the best-known scientists of all time.

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About BBC History Revealed Magazine

Inside, Tudor historian Alison Weir uncovers one of the most "grievous miscarriages of justice" in English history, we find out why the Vietnam War was doomed from the start, and explore the secret life of Albert Einstein, from his rebellious childhood to his scandalous affair.