Who was Albert Einstein? The famous physicist is one of the most famous characters in the world and probably the scientist with a great influence on the evolution of mankind.
But how well do you know Einstein?
Below, I present to you ten lesser known things about one of the smartest people who have ever lived on Earth.
1. He renounced German citizenship when he was 16 years old
As a child, Albert Einstein hated any kind of nationalism and considered it preferable to be a “citizen of the world.” At the age of 16, he renounced German citizenship and was officially stateless until he became a Swiss citizen in 1901.
2. He married the only student in his physics class
Mileva Marić was the only student in Einstein’s department at the Zurich Polytechnic. She was passionate about math and science and was an aspiring physicist in her own right, but she gave up those ambitions when she married Einstein and became the mother of his children.
3. He had a 1,427-page FBI file
In 1933, the FBI began keeping a record of Albert Einstein shortly before his third trip to the United States. This file would become 1,427 pages of documents focusing on Einstein’s lifelong association with pacifist and socialist organizations. J. Edgar Hoover even recommended that Einstein be kept out of America under the Aliens Exclusion Act, but was rejected by the US State Department.
4. He had an illegitimate child
Einstein’s future wife, Mileva, gave birth to a daughter out of wedlock in 1902 while living with her family in Serbia. The child was named Lieserl and historians believe that he either died in childhood, probably from scarlet fever, or was given up for adoption. In all likelihood, Einstein never saw his daughter in person. Lieserl’s existence was not widely known until 1987, when a collection of Einstein’s letters was made public.
5. He paid his first wife the money for the Nobel Prize for divorce
In anticipation of winning a Nobel Prize, Einstein offered all the money from the prize expected to his first wife, Mileva Marić, so that she would agree to the divorce between them. The prize was $ 32,250, which was more than ten times the average teacher’s annual salary at the time.
6. He married his primary summer
Elsa, Einstein’s second wife, was the daughter of Albert’s mother’s sister, making her first cousins. They were also second-degree cousins, because Elsa’s father and Albert’s father were cousins. Her maiden name was Einstein.
7. He was a strong civil rights activist
Einstein was a strong supporter of civil rights and freedom of expression. When WEB Du Bois was indicted in 1951 as an unregistered agent for a foreign country, Einstein volunteered to testify on his behalf. After Du Bois’s lawyer informed the court that Einstein would appear, the judge decided to dismiss the case.
8. His son was institutionalized for most of his adult life
Albert’s second son, Edward, affectionately known as “Tete,” was diagnosed with schizophrenia and institutionalized for most of his adult life. Edward was fascinated by psychoanalysis and a big fan of Freud. Although they corresponded by letters, Albert did not see his son again after immigrating to the United States in 1933. Eduard died at the age of 55 in a psychiatric clinic.
9. He had a strong friendship with the “father of chemical warfare”
Fritz Haber was a German chemist who helped him recruit Einstein in Berlin and will become one of Einstein’s close friends. Haber was a Jew, but converted to Christianity and preached the virtues of assimilating Einstein before the Nazis came to power. During World War I, he developed a deadly chlorine gas that was heavier than air and could flow into trenches to suffocate soldiers, burning them in the throat and lungs. Haber is sometimes called the “father of chemical warfare.”
10. He had an affair with a suspected Russian spy
In 1935, Einstein’s stepdaughter, Margot, introduced him to Margarita Konenkova and they became lovers. In 1998, Sotheby’s auctioned nine love letters written between 1945 and 1946 from Einstein to Konenkova. According to a book written by a Russian spy master, Konenkova was a Russian agent even though historians have not confirmed this claim.