Albert Einstein

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Portrait of Prof. Dr. phil. Dr. h. c. mult.[1] Einstein taken in 1935 at Princeton.

Wikipedia states that his claimed "expressive face and distinctive hairstyle have been widely copied and exaggerated", including widely in popular culture. There are also subtle manipulations, such as the Star Wars character Yoda's wrinkles being modeled after Einstein's, in an attempt to cause the impression of exceptional intelligence.

Einstein bequeathed his estate, as well as the use of his image and his name, to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, which has collected royalties on commercial usage, such as in advertising.

Albert Einstein (b. 14 March 1879 in Ulm, German Empire; d. 18 April 1955 in Princeton, USA) was a German-born Jewish physicist, today in mass media often depicted as the world's greatest scientific genius and a leftist, pacifistic, humanistic saint. Einstein's last words are unknown because they were in native German, which his nurse didn't speak.


Einstein 1921
Albert Einstein, Carl Heinrich Becker, H. G. Wells and Paul Loebe in Berlin (1929)
Albert Einstein as a German Genosse Walhallas (since 1990)

Short biography

  • Oktober 1895 Argovian cantonal school (Gymnasium) in Aarau
  • January 1896 with his father's approval, renounced his German citizenship in the German Kingdom of Württemberg to avoid mandatory military service; 1896 to 1901 stateless (staatenlos)
  • September 1896 Swiss Matura (Abitur)
  • 1896 to 1900 studies of math and phyics, "Schule für Fachlehrer des Eidgenössischen Polytechnikums Zürich" (federal polytechnic school), known today as the "Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich" or ETH
  • 1901 Swiss citizenship granted
  • 1902 to 1909 Patentamt Bern (Swiss Patent Office)
  • 15 January 1906 doctorate (Dr. phil.) University of Zürich; «Eine neue Bestimmung der Moleküldimensionen» (A New Determination of Molecular Dimensions)
    • accepted 20 July 1905, formally awarded, because of mandatory improvements, on 15 January 1906
  • 1908 habilitation (Professor) University of Bern
  • 1909-1911 Ausserordentlicher Professor für Theoretische Physik University of Zurich
  • 1911 to 1912 Austria-Hungary citizenship
  • 1911-1913 Professor in the Deutsche Universität Prag (German Charles-Ferdinand University in Prague)
  • 1912-1914 Professor in the ETH
  • 1914 to 24 March 1934 once again German citizen
  • 1914 to 1933 Professor in the Humboldt University of Berlin
  • 1914 to 28 March 1933 member of the "Prussian Academy of Sciences"
  • 1917 to 1933 appointed Director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Physical Institute
  • 1922 Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for the year 1921, "for his services to Theoretical Physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect".
    • This refers to his 1905 paper on the photoelectric effect: On a Heuristic Viewpoint Concerning the Production and Transformation of Light, which was well-supported by the experimental evidence by that time. The presentation speech began by mentioning "his theory of relativity [which had] been the subject of lively debate in philosophical circles [and] also has astrophysical implications which are being rigorously examined at the present time". As per their divorce settlement (1919), Einstein gave the Nobel prize money to his first wife, Mileva Marić, with whom he had three children: Lieserl (b. 1902), Hans Albert "Budi" (1904–1973) and Eduard "Tete" (1910–1965).
  • 19 February 1927 voted member of the Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften (Mathematisch-naturwissenschaftliche Klasse)
  • 17 March 1932 to 1933 February/March 1933 voted member of the Kaiserlich Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher zu Halle, Leopoldina (German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina)
  • 1933 to 1944 Professor in the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey
  • 15 December 1938 resignation as member of the Italien Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei
  • 1944 retirement (Emeritierung)

Criticisms and controversies

Criticisms and controversies have included aspects such as

  • Argued extensive plagiarism and refusal to give credit to other scientists, such as Hendrik A. Lorentz, Henri Poincare, Olin to de Pretto, and his own first wife, Marie Maric. One example of criticisms is that "Because of what Schlafly sees as deft plagiarism, he asserts that “Einstein’s 1905 paper is the most overrated paper ever written. No other paper has been so thoroughly praised, and yet be so dishonestly unoriginal”. Einstein does definitely deserve scientific credit, he says, but it’s mostly for refining the scientific ideas of others."[2]
  • Crank denial of probabilistic quantum mechanics, spending much of his later life in failed attempts to disprove it.
  • "Socialist" views, stated to not have been a Communist, but investigated by the FBI for associations with many Communist organizations and fronts.
  • Expressed support for Lenin's and Stalin's Soviet Union.
  • Support for nuclear weapons due to the threat of Nationalist Socialist Germany during WWII, but opposition after the war despite the threat from the Communist states.
  • Claimed to be an anti-racist, but in recently revealed private travel writings he expressed "racist" views on the peoples he met, such as the Chinese.[3]
  • Claimed to be an anti-nationalist, but was a Zionist, despite criticizing Judaism, implying that he supported Jewish nationalism because of support for Jewish race based nationalism.

Einstein on Stalin and the Communist show trials during the Great Purge:

"By the way, there are increasing signs that the Russian trials are not faked, but that there is a plot among those who look upon Stalin as a stupid reactionary who has betrayed the ideas of the revolution. Though we find it difficult to imagine this kind of internal thing, those who know Russia best are all more or less of the same opinion. I was firmly convinced to begin with that it was a case of a dictator's despotic acts, based on lies and deception, but this was a delusion."[4]

Other criticisms have concerned issues such as

"the overwhelmingly Jewish sources behind modern Einstein worship [...] Einstein’s popular status as the world’s greatest intellect however should be viewed as something of a curiosity, since no other scientist in all of human history gets remotely comparable treatment. Are we to believe that Einstein’s contributions to science surpass even Newton’s? Or that “relativity” has altered humanity’s view of the world (and religion) as much as Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection? This is not credible. Indeed, the various advances in modern physics authored by Einstein and others remain incomprehensible to 99% of the world. Why should people be enjoined to worship individuals whose achievements they don’t even understand? After all, even though Einstein’s discoveries (to whatever extent they were his) have benefited science and humanity, they have not been tangibly transformative in the lives of average people. [...] his personal life was far from saintly. In fact, according to two biographers (Roger Highfield and Paul Carter) Einstein was a serial philanderer who abandoned at least one of his children "[2]

Einstein critic Christopher Jon Bjerknes has argued that

"Portrayed in the popular press as if a congenial and compassionate man, Albert Einstein was in fact a vicious racist and an ardent segregationist. He hated Europeans and sought their extermination. Though he himself had married a Gentile, Mileva Maric, he later divorced her for what his friends thought were racist reasons. Einstein denounced all mixed marriages and believed that Jews should remain separate from Gentiles and not participate in Gentile governments. Though Einstein was a staunch Zionist who championed the Jewish nationalist cause, he wanted all Gentile nations abolished in favor of global government for Gentiles and a Zionist state for Jews. His beliefs mirrored Jewish messianic prophecy."[5]

Kevin Macdonald in his book The culture of critique[6] addressed on page vii Einstein's strong Jewish ethnicism, namely that:

  • Einstein was a strongly motivated Zionist[6],
  • Einstein opposed assimilation as a contemptible form of “mimicry”[6],
  • Einstein preferred to mix with other Jews whom he referred to as his “tribal companions”[6],
  • Einstein embraced the uncritical support for the Bolshevik regime in Russia[6],
  • Einstein switched from a high-minded pacifism during World War I, when Jewish interests were not at stake, to advocating the building of atomic bombs to defeat Hitler[6],
  • From his teenage years Einstein disliked the Germans and in later life criticized Jewish colleagues for converting to Christianity and acting like Prussians[6],
  • Einstein especially disliked Prussians, who were the elite ethnic group in Germany[6],
  • Reviewing his life at age 73, Einstein declared his ethnic affiliation in no uncertain terms: “My relationship with Jewry had become my strongest human tie once I achieved complete clarity about our precarious position among the nations”.[6].


  • "I will accept your invitation on condition that I limit my lectures to the area of science and that I can use drawings and mathematical formulae. Given my complete inability to speak Spanish and my deficient knowledge of French, I would not be able to give my lectures if it were only possible to use words. German is the only language in which I can speak intelligibly about my theory. I look forward to meeting you again and to see your beautiful country for myself". – Einstein to Rey Pastor 1923 accepting an invitation by the Faculty of Sciences of the Universidad Central de Madrid

Awards and honours

A small selection of awards and honours for Albert Einstein:[7]

  • 1909 Universität Genf – Ehrendoktorwürde (honorary doctorate)
  • 1919 Universität Rostock – Ehrendoktorwürde
  • 1921 Universität Princeton – Ehrendoktorwürde
  • 1921 Universität Manchester – Ehrendoktorwürde
  • 1922 Nobelstiftung, Stockholm – Nobel Prize in Physics for the year 1921
  • 1923 Universität Madrid – Ehrendoktorwürde
  • 1923 Orden "Pour le mérite für Wissenschaften und Künste" – acceptance to the order
  • 1923 Genootschap ter Bevordering van Natuur-, Genees- en Heelkunde – Genootschapsmedaille
  • 1925 Royal Society of London – Copley Medaille
  • 1926 Royal Astronomical Society – Goldmedaille
  • 1929 Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft – Max-Planck-Medaille
  • 1929 Universität Paris – Ehrendoktorwürde
  • 1930 Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH), Zürich – Ehrendoktorwürde
  • 1931 Universität Oxford – Ehrendoktorwürde
  • 1934 Yeshiva College, New York – Ehrendoktorwürde
  • 1935 Franklin Institut, Philadelphia – Benjamin Franklin Medaille
  • 1935 Harvard Universität – Ehrendoktorwürde

See also

External links


  1. Dr. h. c. mult. is the abbreviation for Doctor honoris causa multiplex, the academic Latein term for having more than one honorary doctorate.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Review of Roger Schlafly’s “How Einstein Ruined Physics”
  3. Einstein's travel diaries reveal 'shocking' xenophobia
  4. Letter to Max Born (no date, 1937 or 1938); The Born-Einstein Letters (translated by Irene Born) (Walker and Company, New York, 1971) ISBN 0-8027-0326-7.
  5. Jon Bjerknes. ALBERT EINSTEIN The Incorrigible RACIST
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 Kevin Macdonald (1998, 2002) The Culture of Critique, 540 pages. ISBN: 0-7596-7221-0
  7. Ehrungen, Preise und Auszeichnungen (Albert Einstein)