"The intuitive mind is a gift and the rational mind a faithful servant. We have crafted a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift"
~ Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein (1879 -1955) was slow in learning how to talk. Even after he had begun using words, sometime after the age of 2, he developed a quirk that prompted the family maid to dub him "der Depperte", the dopey one.
So worried were his parents that they consulted a doctor to know if Einstein had a mental deficiency. He soon revealed hidden mental strengths. He was good at certain mental sciences, great with puzzles and loved playing the violin.
Einstein was a mediocre student at school. He detested the way of learning at school where he had to memorise so many facts and figures and he hated the stern authority of the oppressive teachers. At age 16 Einstein's parents sent him to another school at Aarau where educational reformer Johann Pestalozzi used a new method of emphasising learning through one's own observations leading to development of ideas an intuitions.Even maths and physics were taught in this manner. No cramming, no regimentation the students learnt by focussing on visual forms of intelligence.
In this new atmosphere Einstein blossomed and he decided to focus on Newtonian physics (some aspects of which he doubted and this troubled him) and the study of electromagnetism.
Soon thereafter Einstein entered the Zurich Polytechnic Institute. He disliked almost everything about the institute. They way they taught and the professors insistence on putting students into mental strait jackets. He decided to leave formal academia and find answers on his own.
He turned down many offers including that to join his family business, jumping at the opportunity to work as a lowly clerk at the Patent Office in Bern, evaluating patent applications which involved scientific ideas. He was able to complete his daily work in just a couple of hours leaving him a lot of time to devote to his own scientific queries.
In 1900 he produced his first paper which was accepted and published. In 1905 at the age of 26 he obtained his PhD. and produced 4 ground breaking papers including the famous theories of general relativity and special relativity. This he achieved after working on his ideas for more than 10 years.
His work shook the scientific community and overturned many accepted thoughts and concepts. He had awards showered on him and notably the Nobel prize for physics in 1921.
Today March 14th is a day to celebrate Albert Einstein's birth anniversary. Not only a great scientist but also a great man, friend of humanity and promoter of world peace.
Einstein's life is an example of how masters emerge. It also provides much essential learning for parents, educationists and individuals.
- Not to be so quick to condemn or ridicule young people.
- Cramming and excess regimentation kills learning and creativity.
- Everyone evolves uniquely and at their own pace.
- Great results can come when individuals believe in themselves and create the opportunity to work on their ideas.
- That mastery comes from long and sustained hard work, usually about 10 years.