Albert Einstein was born on March 14, 1879 in Ulm, Germany. Further to this, his parents initially believed him to be somewhat backward as he was late in starting to talk. Einstein was noted for saying that he waited until he could speak incomplete sentences before he would say a word. He entered school at the age of six and to his parents surprise, he did very well. Albert did not mix well with other students, often preferring to play his own private games or reading books; he never liked school. At the age of 12 he was given a book on geometry, from that point on he taught himself anything he wanted to learn.' In 1905 Einstein received his doctorate from the University of Zurich for a theoretical dissertation on the Dimensions of Molecules, and he also published three theoretical papers important to the development of 20 th century physics.' (web) The first of these, on Brownian Motion, made significant predictions about the motion of particles that are randomly distributed in a fluid.
This theory was later proven by experiment. The second paper, on the Photoelectric Effect, presented a hypothesis on the Nature of light. He not only proposed that under certain circumstances light can be considered as consisting of particles, but also stated that the energy carried by a photon is proportional to the frequency of the radiation. No one accepted this theory, even Robert Millikan was overwhelmed when Einstein prove this theory to be correct.' In 1915 Einstein published his third paper on the General theory of Relativity, his theory of Gravity.' (web) In this theory Einstein made his statement on equivalence, in which it's impossible to distinguish between whether the force acting on a body is caused by the body accelerating or whether it's gravity.
For example, if you were weightless inside a lift in outer space and you then feel a force pulling your feet to the floor you can't distinguish whether the lift is accelerating upwards, or whether there is a large volume of matter below causing the attraction.' The General Theory of Relativity describes gravity as being the result of a four-dimensional continuum (space-time) and that matter produces curves in this space-time with the measure of the curvature being a measure of the strength of gravity. In this perspective, bodies of matter follow the path of 'shortest distance or least resistance' and hence in the case of curved space-time around a star a planetary body would follow a 'circular / elliptical ' orbit. Einstein's theory was able to explain anomalies in the Mercury's orbit which had eluded explanation from Newton's Laws.' (The Riddle of Gravitation pg. 98) This theory is what allowed space engineers to predict where and what space along with gravity would be doing to the movement of objects.' In 1920 Einstein's theory was put to the test by measuring whether, during a solar eclipse, stars that were very close to the line of sight of the sun would appear to shift in position. Not only did the stars shift in position, they moved by the amount that Einstein had predicted.
Einstein became a legend overnight.' (web) Einstein won the noble prize for physics in 1921, though he did not win it for his now proclaimed Theory of Relativity, but for his much earlier work on the Photon Nature of Light.' In 1932 Einstein left Germany due to the Nazi's forcing him to work for them or to be kicked out of Germany. He relinquished his German citizenship and moved to America in 1933 and took up a post at the Institute of Advanced Study at Princeton, New Jersey. He eventually became an American citizen.' (web) I believe that Albert Einstein's Theory of Relativity contributed so much to man, that it is one of the most prized theories ever. What this theory did for us was it allowed us to travel into space and eventually land on the moon. The reason it allowed us to do that was it let engineers to accurately predict where the object would be in space at certain points of time.
It was Einstein's theory that got man into pace in the first place, making him very important in the role of both past, present, and future sciences. Einstein's efforts in behalf of Social causes have sometimes been viewed as unrealistic. In fact, his proposals were always carefully thought out. Like his scientific theories, they were motivated by sound intuition based on careful assessment of evidence and observation. He died in a local Princeton hospital at 1: 15 am on April 15, 1955.