In July 1914 Germany was on the very brink of war. Hostilities were already raging, however, in an apartment in the country’s capital. Yes, Albert Einstein and his wife, Mileva, were navigating the endgame of a failing relationship in their sprawling Berlin residence. For almost a decade, the German intellectual had been at the forefront of his field, dazzling academics with his earth-shattering theories. But behind the scenes, the world-famous scientist exhibited a far more sinister side.
Einstein was born on March 14, 1879, in Ulm, a city which, at the time, formed part of the German Empire’s Kingdom of Württemberg. Gifted in physics and math from a young age, Einstein gained a teaching diploma from the Swiss Zurich Polytechnic in 1900. However, despite taking up a doctor of philosophy course at Zurich University, he soon left the city and moved across Switzerland to Bern.
Once there, Einstein took a job evaluating intellectual property applications at the city’s patent office. The part-time student was still interested in academia, however, and in 1902 he formed a discussion group with some acquaintances. Dubbed the Olympia Academy, the circle met up for informal debates on topics concerning philosophy and science.