Albert Einstein, probably the most influential physicist of the 20th century, published multiple groundbreaking theories in 1905 and won the 1921 Nobel Prize in physics for his explanation of the photoelectric effect. He published his seminal general theory of relativity in 1915.
Albert Einstein was born March 14, 1879, in the city of Ulm, Germany. After attending the Zurich Polytechnic, he found a job at the Swiss patent office in Bern, where he formulated some of his best work. In 1905 he published four seminal articles, including “On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies,” which introduced the his theory of special relativity. In another 1905 paper he connected mass and energy with the famous equation E = mc²: energy equals mass multiplied by the speed of light squared.
It was another of Einstein's 1905 articles that won him the 1921 Nobel Prize for physics. This paper explained the photoelectric effect, apparent when objects emit charged particles after being hit with light.
In 1915, after taking up a post at the University of Berlin, Einstein published his general theory of relativity, the first major theory of gravity since Isaac Newton's, which was published over 250 years before. The theory was treated by many as a revolution in physics.
Einstein, a Jew and a pacifist, decided to leave Berlin for United States in 1932 as the political situation in Germany grew worrisome. Einstein died in Princeton, New Jersey, on April 18, 1955.