Yes, yes. Einstein was the smartest man alive. E = mc2. He was sorry for helping invent the nuclear bomb for the rest of his life. He failed Physics class when in school (or high-school, depending on the version). And all the other much paraded information about the great man that constantly gushes forth on the Internet (and other media) that you’ve certainly heard before.
Incidentally, some of that information mentioned above is false or undetermined. For example, you can’t say Einstein was the smartest man alive until you decide on a criterion or a set of criteria to analyze this, which modern medicine/biology/genetics/psychology/neurology and other sciences point out that it’s very difficult to do, as intelligence appears to be a very complex, contextual phenomenon. And if you decide to make the above statement based on IQ, sorry to disappoint, but there were and are people with a higher IQ than Einstein’s.
As for failing in Physics, that one is false and has been proven so. Still, this well known information is not the focus of this article, which will present 7 lesser known Einstein tidbits that you’ll hopefully find more interesting, as they help talk more about the man than about the “standardly” and often portrayed legend.
1. The right trigger
For almost 70 years, since the age of 13 onward, Einstein played the violin. Yup. He didn’t have science-only brain, but was interested in this fine art as well, frequently taking the opportunity to join carolers on Christmas an even playing at local recitals. This is made more interesting by the fact that his first contact with the violin was at 6 years old, as his accomplished musician mother wanted to have him learn the instrument. But he hated it until, at 13, he discovered… Mozart. Then he wanted to play.
2. Care-free and brave
Another hobby he used to relax when he was stuck thinking on a major science problem was sailing. He picked this one up when he was studying in Switzerland. And just like with the violin, there’s a twist. He didn’t know how to swim! But he kept going out alone on a boat every now and then until the end of his life.
3. Too much bother
Einstein didn’t wear socks. Like… ever. Including official visits of the highest rank (yes, White House). Sure, you know about his messy hairstyle. But this other habit wasn’t as visible so you probably didn’t know about it. His reasoning was that he shouldn’t spend time on an item of clothing that would damage fast (the holes which invariably appear) and that is completely redundant when you have shoes.
4. Puff, puff
No, not the kind that’s so popular now, after it was legalized. Though that would have been interesting. (Can you imagine a stoner Einstein?). He was the regular kind of smoker, regarding what he smoke, meaning tobacco. Because he preferred pipes. And as regards quantity, let’s just say he was “invested” in smoking, to the point of declaring in 1950: “I believe that pipe smoking contributes to a somewhat calm and objective judgment in all human affairs”.
5. Mr. President
He could have been. Of Israel. As he was offered the Presidency of this state after the passing of its first president Chaim Weizmann in 1952. Einstein refused motivating that he “lacked the “natural aptitude and the experience to deal properly with people,” and that his age is a factor as well. He was 73 then.
6. Like the nobility
Einstein’s first wife was Mileva Maric with whom he lived for 16 years. After their divorce, he re-married to his second (and last) wife Elsa Loewenthal. Fun fact? Loewenthal was her husbands name, which she divorced. She was actually born Elsa Einstein and she was Einstein’s mother’s sister’s daughter. A.k.a. his cousin. To make the marriage even more “inside the family”, her father was Einstein’s father’s cousin. Well, the nobility kept doing this in the middle ages. Guess it must be ok. Umm… No?
7. Determined problem-solver
In the 1920s refrigerator technology wasn’t quite the one we take for granted nowadays in our homes. The apparatuses that people used ranged from down-right medieval (cold running river near your farm) to the first models of refrigerators which did the job as adequately as possible given the times.
But some of these refrigerators also had some serious draw-backs. Like for example the sulphur dioxide-emitting refrigerator that peaked Einstein’s interest for apparently poisoning a family. Talk about a cold-hearted appliance. Anyway, the thing is Einstein set up to solve this problem and began working on an alcohol-gas based refrigerator. Which he successfully invented and patented in 1962. Sadly (or luckily, because we don’t know which technology would have been better in the long run), some other inventors were working on the problem as well and Einstein’s model was no longer necessary due to other advancements.