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C O U R S E 
Understanding Einstein: The Special Theory of Relativity
Larry Lagerstrom, Stanford University
C O U R S E   L E C T U R E 
Einstein's Life Up To 1905
Notes taken on April 28, 2015 by Edward Tanguay
"annus mirabilis"
phrase originally referred to
the year 1666 for Isaac Newton
in London at university
outbreak of plague
retreated to family farm to get away from plague where he
1. laid his foundations for the theory of gravity
2. came up with his theory of calculus
because of these astounding discoveries by someone in his 20s, 1666 was called his "miracle year"
Einstein at a similar year in 1905
pathway up to 1905
born in 1879
youth in Munich
father and uncle started an electrical business
electrical lighting
went to school in the German school system
very rigid and hierarchical
militaristic Prussian slant
Einstein rebelled against this very strongly
he had an anti-authoritarian streak in him
at 16, renounced his Germany citizenship
his father let him do this
for several years he was stateless
eventually became a Swiss citizen but that took several years
later became a German citizen again, when he became famous and Germany wanted to claim him
applied to Swiss Federal Polytechnic in Zurich
applied a year early, failed first time
did well in science and math
French was one of his weak areas
Professor Weber
told him to come back in a year
one of the two primary physics professors at the Swiss Federal Polytechnic
Einstein enjoyed his lectures early on
later felt Weber was behind the times
e.g. didn't include Maxwell's equations
Einstein didn't address him as "Herr Professor Weber" but "Herr Weber"
Weber said he was a smart person but no one can teach you anything
met Mileva Marić
Serbian physicist
only woman in Einstein's physics class
although many women in Europe went to Zurich since in many countries they were not allowed to go to study at a university
originally she was going to study medicine
they were essentially studying to be high school physics teachers
not professors
but there was a burgeoning electro-technic industry
so needed high school physics teachers to train future workers
1900 graduated
grades were decent but tailed off at end
relied on friends' notes to pass exams
Mileva actually did not pass
applied for jobs
married Mileva
caused family and career tensions
Einstein's family did not care for Mileva
she was Serbian
very short
not conventionally attractive
defect in her hip, walked with a limp
Einstein's mother had another favorite among his earlier girlfriends
Einstein had impertinent tendencies
Einstein wanted to get a position as a professor's assistant
but he had antagonized Weber
Weber had given him a bad reputation to his colleagues
a poignant letter from Einstein's father to a Professor Ostwald at Leipzig
my son feels profoundly unhappy with his lack of position
read his paper and write to him a few words of encouragement
1894 Einstein's father went bankrupt
weighed on Einstein, father was more optimistic
no record of a response from professor
nine years later, this Professor Ostwald was first to elect Einstein for a Nobel prize
1901 Einstein and Mileva romantic time in Italy
Mileva became pregnant
more anxiety for the young couple
Einstein considered to go into insurance just to make money
Marcel Grossmann
actually went to lecture and took notes that Einstein didn't
Einstein was often in the laboratories
his father knew the head of the Swiss Patent Office
electromagnetic industry
an analogy with the computer industry in our time
patent office was expanding in this area
Einstein wasn't perfectly qualified for it
1902 got job at Swiss Patent Office
was able to continue to do some physics
was in the city of Bern
he and a couple of his friends put together the Olympia Academy
would read and discuss books intently
physics, philosophy, literature
published a few papers
but was essentially out of academics
daughter Lieserl was born
we don't know what happened to her
she was discovered only in the 1980s
not known during Einstein's lifetime
might have died at age two from Scarlet Fever
affected Mileva profoundly
Mileva joined Albert in Bern
1905 year he began famous
published five papers