Time magazine named Albert Einstein the "Person of the Century" for the 20th century. Given his achievements as a physicist, the epochal impact of his ideas and theories, and his courageous personal and political stands on important issues, it is easy to see why Einstein was a top contender.
Einstein's work is often associated with the development of atomic energy and weaponry. Einstein demonstrated the existence of the atom. His formula, E = mc2 showed that masses of atoms contained enormous quantities of energy. But these discoveries were only tangentially connected with nuclear power or nuclear warfare.
The scientific and technological revolutions that sprang from Einstein's General and Special Theories of Relativity (1907-1915), his explanation of the Photoelectric Effect and his recognition of the principles of monochrome all had direct and lasting impacts on modern technology and innovations that have changed the way human beings live.
CD players, televisions, computers and global positioning satellite (GPS) are just a few of the modern conveniences whose development was made possible by Einstein's intellectual breakthroughs.
A child born to an immigrant Jewish family of modest means, Einstein used his platform as the leading scientist and intellectual of the 20th century to speak eloquently on the importance of education, human rights, nuclear disarmament and peace.