Theoretical physicist Albert Einstein (1879-1955) was born in Ulm, Germany, the son of Hermann and Pauline Koch Einstein.
From 1902-1909, he worked at the Swiss patent office in Bern, and, in his free time, completed an impressive range of publications in theoretical physics, including his theory of relativity. Ultimately, these papers helped him earn a Ph.D and an appointment as associate professor of physics at the University of Zurich.
In 1903, Einstein married Mileva Maric (1875-1948), with whom he had three children. They would later get divorced in 1919, after which Einstein married his cousin Elsa Einstein Lowenthal (1876-1936.)
By 1909, Einstein was widely considered throughout German-speaking Europe as a leading scientific thinker. From 1914-1933, he served as director of scientific research at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Physics, during which time he was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for his discovery of the law of the photo-electric effect.
In 1933, Einstein was appointed professor at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University. While he initially planned to split time between Europe and the United States, Einstein chose to resettle permanently in the United States due to increasing anti-Semitism in Europe and the rise of the Nazi party in Germany. From the United States, Einstein continued to actively oppose the Nazi regime and expressed his ideas and concerns for European Jews in frequent speeches and writings, including correspondence with American Jewish leaders such as Stephen Wise. Concerned with the destructive potential of the German military, Einstein diverged from his pacifist roots by writing a letter in 1939 to United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt recommending that the United States develop an atomic bomb before Germany did.
At war's end, Einstein became involved in Zionist efforts to create a Jewish homeland. He was also an advocate for a number of causes including his objection in the 1950s to the House Committee on Un-American Activities and his efforts toward nuclear disarmament.
Einstein died in 1955.