Albert Einstein Timeline
How It All Went Down
Albert Einstein Born
Albert Einstein is born in Ulm, Germany, the son of Hermann Einstein, a German-Jewish featherbed salesman, and his wife Pauline.
Mystery of Magnetism
At the age of five, Albert Einstein becomes fascinated by his father's pocket compass, intrigued by invisible forces that cause the needle always to point north. Later in life, Einstein will look back at this moment as the genesis of his interest in science.
Move to Italy
Struggling financially, the Einstein family moves from Germany to Italy in search of better work. Albert, aged fifteen, stays behind in Munich to finish his schooling, but soon either quits or is kicked out of his high school and follows his parents to Italy.
Boarding School in Aarau
Albert Einstein attempts to get out of his last year of high school by taking an entrance exam to ETH, the Swiss Polytechnic University in Zurich. He fails the test, forcing him to attend one final year of high school in the small town of Aarau, Switzerland, instead.
Einstein at ETH
Albert Einstein graduates from high school and begins attending ETH, the prestigious Swiss Polytechnic University in Zurich.
Einstein Renounces German Citizenship
At the age of 17, Albert Einstein renounces his German citizenship to avoid mandatory military service in the German army. For the next four years, he will not be a legal citizen of any nation.
Albert Einstein graduates from ETH with a degree in physics. He tries to find a teaching job, but is unable to obtain work.
Albert Einstein obtains Swiss citizenship.
Einstein Impregnates Girlfriend
Albert Einstein travels to Italy for a tryst with his on-again, off-again girlfriend, Milena Maric, a former classmate at the ETH. He ends up getting her pregnant.
Daughter Born, Put Up for Adoption
Milena Maric gives birth to Leiserl Einstein, Albert's first child. The unwed couple, unable to care for the girl and perhaps ashamed of her illegitimate status, put her up for adoption.
Swiss Patent Office
Unable to find any work as a teacher or academic, Albert Einstein takes a job as a clerk at the Swiss Patent Office.
Einstein Marries Milena Maric
Albert Einstein marries his longtime girlfriend, Milena Maric.
Birth of Hans Albert Einstein
A year after marrying Albert, his wife Milena gives birth to the Einsteins' first son, Hans Albert.
Over the course of a year that he will later describe as his "Annus Mirabilis"—his miraculous year—Albert Einstein publishes four major theoretical papers in the prestigious German academic journal Annalen Der Physik. The four papers include a groundbreaking new interpretation of the photoelectric effect (for which Einstein will eventually win the Nobel Prize) as well as the first published exploration of the theory of Special Relativity and the first formulation of the famous equation e=mc2.
Birth of Eduard Einstein
Albert Einstein's wife Milena gives birth to their second son, Eduard.
Move to Prague
The Einsteins move to Prague, where Albert assumes his first full professorship after many years working at the Swiss Patent Office or teaching in part-time positions in Switzerland.
Move Back to Zurich
After just a year in Prague, the Einsteins move back to Switzerland, to where Albert takes professorship at his alma mater, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.
Director of Kaiser Wilhelm Institute
Albert Einstein moves to from Zurich to Berlin to become the director of the prestigious Kaiser Wilhelm Institute. His marriage to Milena begins to unravel, and his wife and children decide to stay behind in Zurich. They will never live together as a family again.
General Theory of Relativity
Einstein completes his General Theory of Relativity.
Divorce and Remarriage
After several years of estrangement, Albert divorces his first wife Milena Maric and immediately remarries. Einstein's second wife, Elsa Lowenthal, is a cousin with whom he fell in love when she nursed him back to health following a serious illness in 1917.
Restoration of German Citizenship
At the close of World War I, Albert Einstein regains his German citizenship in a gesture of solidarity with liberal new government of the Weimar Republic.
Eclipse Proves Theory of Relativity
A solar eclipse provides dramatic observable evidence that Einstein's General Theory of Relativity is correct. Einstein suddenly becomes a worldwide celebrity.
Albert Einstein wins the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the photoelectric effect, first published in 1905.
Escape from Nazi Germany
Albert Einstein and his family, fearing anti-Semitic persecution, flee from Nazi Germany to resettle in the United States. Einstein takes a post at Institute of Advanced Study at Princeton, where he will remain until his death in 1955.
Death of Elsa Einstein
Albert Einstein's second wife Elsa dies of sudden illness.
Letter to President Roosevelt
Fearing that Nazi scientists might win the race to develop the world's first atomic bombs, Albert Einstein writes a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, urging him to launch an American program of nuclear research.
For the third time in his life, Albert Einstein changes his nationality, becoming a United States citizen while also retaining his Swiss citizenship.
Death of Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein dies of heart failure at the age of 76.