Q.1. Write a short note on Einstein’s education from school to university.
Ans. As a young boy, Einstein did not show any symptoms of an intellectual genius. His headmaster had a very poor opinion about him and he even declared that Einstein would fail in any career that he chose. However, as he grew up and joined a school in Munich, he showed appreciable progress in studies scoring good marks in almost all the subjects. But the strict discipline of the school was not in accordance with the free spirit of Einstein. As a result, he frequently had scuffles with his teachers. Being a person of liberal ideas, he felt so suffocated that he ultimately left that school for good. He chose to complete his studies in a school in Switzerland where the environment was more liberal as compared to Munich. Highly gifted in mathematics and having a great interest in Physics, Einstein joined the university in Zurich after completing school and from where he graduated in 1900.
Q.2. What researches and theories proved that Einstein was a true genius? How was he rewarded for his scientific achievements?
Ans. Einstein proved to be an intellectual and scientific genius after the completion of his university education. Although he was jobless for some time and gave private tuitions, he finally got a job of a technical expert in a patent office in Bern. Here, along with the job, he kept developing secretly his own ideas and came out with the publication of his famous research paper on ‘Special Theory of Relativity’, according to which time and distance are not absolute. His theory about the relationship between mass and energy was developed into the world-famous formula E = mc2, and this equation made him a renowned scientist. Einstein earned international acclaim with the publication of his General Theory of Relativity which enabled him to calculate in advance the extent of the deflection of light from fixed stars as it passed through the gravitational field of the sun. The theory was declared as “a scientific revolution” by the newspapers. For his contribution to the development of science, Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1921. After this, a number of honours were bestowed upon him and he was invited by different countries in the world. Newspapers too hailed his scientific genius.
Q.3. The author talks about two important letters that Einstein wrote -one to President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the other to the United Nations. What prompted Einstein to write these letters? What impact did they make?
Ans. At the insistence of a colleague, Einstein wrote a letter to the American President, Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939 warning him that the atomic bomb if made and used by Germany, could not only destroy the whole port on which it could be dropped but also the territory surrounding it. The impact of the letter was both deep and rapid as the Americans secretly developed their own atomic bombs which were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan in 1945. As expected, these bombs caused terrible destruction. The large-scale damage caused by these bombings on Japan perturbed Einstein so much that this time he wrote a letter to the United Nations. In this letter, he proposed that there should be only one government in the world. This would put an end to the enmity between nations and hence stop the massacres caused in the name of wars. But this letter did not have any impact. Thus, unlike the letter to Roosevelt, Einstein’s letter to the United Nations failed to evoke any response.
Q.4. Which values does the life of Einstein teach you?
Ans. Einstein was not only a great scientist but a man with love for peace. His life history contains in itself the moral lesson that one must love one’s fellow beings and all the discoveries of science should be oriented towards the aim of establishing peace. Einstein had written a letter to the American President Roosevelt to warn him against the destructive atom bomb that Germany would build on the principle of nuclear fission. But Einstein was terribly shocked when America caused large scale destruction in Japan by dropping an atom bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Einstein made sincere efforts to spread the message of peace. He even wrote a letter to the United Nations proposing that a world government should be established. He did not use his popularity for selfish or personal gains. Instead, he worked for furthering the cause of democracy and peace. He was never carried away by his achievements; on the contrary, the honours bestowed on him encouraged him to work more for the welfare of humanity. The life of Einstein this inspires in us the values of sincere work, devotion to humanity, selfless service of mankind, and love of peace.
Q.5. What important lessons can Educationists today learn from the biographical sketch of the great scientist, Einstein?
Ans. “A Truly Beautiful Mind” forms a powerful comment on the education system in many institutions. A brief life sketch of the great scientist reveals that Einstein was not a fast learner at the early stage of schooling. One of his teachers had remarked that he would not succeed in any course he took. But the reality proved to be otherwise. Einstein turned out to be an intellectual genius. Educationists today can learn several important lessons from his education career. First, teachers must encourage all the students all the time. Instead of making negative remarks, they should discover the individual potential of students and try to develop it to the maximum. Second, students should be provided with a liberal and conducive environment, so that they feel encouraged to think originally and their ideas may find nourishment instead of being smothered. Einstein felt much suppressed in his school in Munich because of the stifling regimentation over there. Such strictness made him leave the school for good and move to Switzerland. His talent bloomed in the liberal environment of the university in Zurich. Third, all stakeholders of the education system today should be free from all kinds of biases and prejudices.