Albert Einstein: Turned the Universe Upside Down

How easy it is to read a Scientific theory in your school syllabus and learn it well enough to pass the exams, and yet remain oblivious to the hard work, delays, disappointments and heartbreaking episodes, the founder of theory must have endured!

As you must have guessed from the title, I am talking about Albert Einstein, a Superstar in the realms of Science and equally famous for his quirky hairstyle and witty quotes. However, all that we know about this genius, is simply tip of the iceberg. Today I watched a documentary on youtube. I am giving the link in this article.

This documentary is not only about a scientist or a genius, but rather about a man, who endured many disappointments in his personal and marital life, before he could taste Success and Love!

Contrary to popular misconception that he was a dropout, Einstein actually was a physics grad from Zurich Polytechnic, but he couldn’t get a proper job due to his goofy nature and had to remain satisfied with being a Patent Clerk for years. It’s hard to imagine Albert Einstein, doing the typing work, but the reality is that he documented patents for years, working in a small office in a Govt building, six days a week. And the only solace during those lackluster days, were the daydreaming sessions, he indulged in, looking out of his office window!

Young Albert

I do understand what it means to be stuck in a place, where no one knows or cares about your potential, and yet a small bird flutters ceaselessly in your heart, goading you to find out your real purpose in life!

And Einstein does find his true calling, while travelling in a bus to his work. He hit upon the idea of Special Relativity, when he noticed and theorised the hypothesis, as to how time would freeze, when an object at the speed of light would pass in front of the clock tower, he usually encountered on his home route! It may be called spark of a genius or the handiwork of his creativity, strangled in boring routine job!

But, this theory was enough to rattle a few brains in Einstein’s birth place, Germany and earn him the support of radical scientist of those times, including Flexener and Haber Fritz. Both of them played important role in recruiting Einstein in the esteemed Princeton University.

However, strange events and bizarre crushing coincidences dotted Einstein’s life. It so happened that he had envisaged the iconic general theory of relativity, that would upturn Newton’s concept of gravity on its head in 1911. However, he had no proof to confirm his theory that it is not gravity that keeps earth revolving around Sun, but the ability of Sun to bend space around itself that keeps earth revolving!

The theory was radical and could falsify Newton’s gravity operating in space. However it wasn’t until 1919 that the theory could finally be proven!

Solar eclipse of 1919

Actually, Einstein thought that his theory can be easily proved, if a total Solar eclipse is photographed and the deflection of stars can be seen in the blackout. But why did it take eight years to get that proof? Well, precisely because Universe was not in mood!

It so happened that in the year of 1914, an expert American Astronomer, Campbell had agreed to photograph the total Solar eclipse in Cremia, at the behest of Feurer, Einstein’s friend. But World War I broke out between Russia and Germany, Feuere was arrested as prisoner of war, and clouds spoilt Campbell’s photographs. Plus, his state of the art equipment was confiscated by the Russian army! And thus putting a block on Einstein’s radical theory for years.

On marital front, Albert endured regular fights with his wife Mileva and resisted the charm of his cousin Elsa, leading to a bitter divorce, with Einstein promising his wife, the money from Nobel prize as alimony, a prize that he had not yet won, but hoped to!

Must say, Einstein saw many delays and disappointments in his life, before British Astrophysicist Addington came to his rescue and gave him the necessary proof of solar eclipse in 1919. The association of a Britisher with a German scientist was unimaginable at the time of World War I but Universe conspired to bring the two men close and they created history.

As I watched the documentary in rapt attention, and eventful years of early 20th Century rushed past, I realized that life is indeed remembered in moments. For the majority of his life, Einstein must have suffered in silence. He neither got love of his life, nor any help from his fellows. He spent dreary days, sulking in the heart of Germany, seeing everyone, including his good friend, going mad in the name of patriotism, and he waged a lonely battle as a Pacifist.

Haber was one of his rock solid support, who tried effecting a compromise between Albert and his wife. And yet he was the villain who actually invented poisonous gas and was responsible for wiping out thousands of soldiers in Holocaust in 1915 and later responsible for pesticide gases, employed for mercilessly killing Jews. And to imagine Haber was a born Jew, converted to Christianity and the inventor of Fertilizers, solving the problem of Hunger in World, I saw the big irony life can be.

I wonder what went through Albert’s mind in those stressful days. What his wife Mileva felt. Whether it was her aborted career of Physicist that wedged a moat between them. How dreary and bitter, those months and years of anticipation must have been for him and Mileva. How their children coped with it all. And, yet a century later, all we remember is a man with enormous intelligence covered beneath a funny looking hairstyle.

I am not looking at Einstein from a Scientists point of view, I am trying to picturize him as a human, whom Space Time warped brutally. Life is strangest of the phenomenon, it has the uncanny ability to turn one’s Universe upside down and it was more than true for the original creator of the theory, Albert Einstein.

Leave a Reply