Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics and the most famous scientist of the 20th century.
Albert Einstein was born in Ulm in southwest Germany on 14 March 1879. His family later moved to Italy after his father's electrical equipment business failed. Einstein studied at the Institute of Technology in Zurich and received his doctorate in 1905 from the University of Zurich. In the same year he published four groundbreaking scientific papers. One introduced his special theory of relativity and another his equation 'E = mc²' which related mass and energy.
Within a short time Einstein's work was recognised as original and important. In 1909, he became associate professor of theoretical physics at Zurich, in 1911 professor of theoretical physics at the German University in Prague and then returned to the Institute of Technology in Zurich the following year. In 1914, he was appointed director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics in Berlin. He became a German citizen in the same year. In 1916 he published his theory of general relativity.
Einstein received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect and his work in the field of theoretical physics.
During the 1920's Einstein lectured in Europe, North and South America and Palestine, where he was involved in the establishment of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Born into a Jewish family and a supporter of pacifism and Zionism, Einstein increasingly became the focus of hostile Nazi propaganda. In 1933, the year the Nazis took power in Germany, Einstein emigrated to America. He accepted a position at the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton and took US citizenship.
Einstein retired from the institute in 1945 but worked for the rest of his life towards a unified field theory to establish a merger between quantum theory and his general theory of relativity. He continued to be active in the peace movement and in support of Zionist causes and in 1952 he was offered the presidency of Israel, which he declined.
Einstein died on 18 April 1955 in Princeton, New Jersey.