In 1895 At the age of fifteen Albert quit high school disgusted by rote learning and martinet teachers, and followed his family to Italy where they had moved their failing electrotechnical business. After half a year of wandering and loafing, he attended a congenial Swiss school. The next year he entered the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.
In 1900 After working hard in the laboratory but skipping lectures, Einstein graduated with an unexceptional record. For two grim years he could find only odd jobs, but he finally got a post as a patent examiner. He married a former classmate.
The Physical Institute of the Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, ca. 1900.
In 1905 Einstein wrote four fundamental papers, all in a few months. The first paper claimed that light must sometimes behave like a stream of particles with discrete energies, "quanta." The second paper offered an experimental test for the theory of heat and proof of the existence of atoms. The third paper addressed a central puzzle for physicists of the day – the connection between electromagnetic theory and ordinary motion – and solved it using the "principle of relativity." The fourth showed that mass and energy are two parts of the same thing, mass-energy (E=mc2).
"I want to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts; the rest are details."
Einstein in the Swiss patent office in Bern, ca. 1905.
In1914 Einstein moved to Berlin, taking a research post that freed him from teaching duties. He separated from his wife and two sons. When the First World War broke out, Einstein rejected Germany's aggressive war aims, supporting the formation of a pacifist group.
Eduard Einstein, Mileva Einstein, and Hans Einstein, 1914
"The years of anxious searching in the dark, with their intense longing, their alternations of confidence and exhaustion and the final emergence into the light – only those who have experienced it can understand it."