He was born on March 14, 1879, in Ulm, Germany. During his early education, some of his teachers considered him to be mentally handicapped. At the age of nine, he still struggled to speak fluently, but his fascination with the laws of nature and the forces controlling the compass kept him curious. He was particularly intrigued by how unseen forces had such great impacts. At twelve, he discovered geometry, which he found to be a field of great certainty, and by sixteen, he had mastered calculus.
Despite his passion for learning, he disliked school and left without disrupting his chances of attending university. Ultimately, he was expelled from school because of his unacceptable behavior that influenced his classmates. As a result, his formal secondary education ended at age sixteen.
He failed his entrance examination at the Federal Institute of Technology (FIT) in Switzerland due to his insufficient knowledge in subjects other than mathematics. This prompted him to obtain a diploma at the Cantonal school in Switzerland, afterwards automatically enrolling in FIT in 1896. It was then that he discovered he was more suited for physics than mathematics. However, due to opposition from a professor, he was unable to obtain the usual university assistantship, even after passing his examination to graduate from FIT in 1900. In 1902, he secured a job as an inspector in a patent office in Bern, Switzerland. At the age of twenty-six, he had obtained his doctoral degree and written his first revolutionary scientific paper.
While he was not an inventor, his work led to numerous advancements. He is regarded as one of the greatest thinkers because he not only solved dilemmas using mathematics and physics but also opened people’s minds to new discoveries of the world. His discoveries, such as the theory of relativity, led to space exploration, atomic energy control, and the application of light.
In 1921, he received a Nobel Prize in Physics for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect and in theoretical physics.