Born in Württemberg, Germany in March 1879, Albert Einstein later moved to Italy and then Switzerland. He began training to become a teacher of physics and mathematics from 1896 in Zurich, and earned a Ph.D. from the University of Zurich in 1905. It wasn’t until 1908 that he began teaching as a lecturer at the University of Bern, following his first scientific papers, including his “amazing year” (annus mirabilis) where he published groundbreaking papers on the photoelectric effect, Brownian motion, special relativity, and equivalence of mass and energy.
After his first university post came others. The University of Zurich created an associate professorship in theoretical physics due to his work. Over the next few years, he worked in Prague, returned to Zurich, and moved to Berlin. It was in 1922 that he was awarded the 1921 Nobel Prize for Physics “for his services to Theoretical Physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect”.
He began visiting other countries further between 1921-1923, starting with New York City and lecturing at Columbia University and Princeton University, as well as journeying across Asia. Einstein served as the German delegate for the International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation in the League of Nations. This position allowed him to exchange ideas with other scientists, researchers, teachers, artists, and other intellectuals, and he served alongside figures such as his physics professor and chemist Marie Curie.
Traveling back to the United States in 1930, he was cheered on by crowds and celebrated by many industries. Though he favored his privacy, he was inundated with telegrams and invitations by all manner of people, particularly to receive awards or speak publicly. He was invited regularly by Americans to events and met numerous people such as the mayor of New York City, the president of Caltech, and Charlie Chaplin.
Due to the rise of Nazism in Germany, Einstein renounced his German citizenship. He was labeled an enemy of Germany for being part of “Jewish intellectualism”. Thanks to his request of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, many Jewish scientists moved from Germany to work in British universities. He was not permitted British citizenship however so he returned to the United States where he became an American citizen in 1940.
Albert Einstein spent the rest of his life in America until his passing in 1955. He continued to work and campaign for both Jewish people and African Americans until the end.