What Is Known About Albert Einstein's Early Education?


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Albert Einstein's education began at a Catholic school in Munich, Germany, and continued in 1887, when he was 8, at the Luitpold Gymnasium. Einstein foundered there under its rigid rules and curriculum, but excelled in math and science. He taught himself geometry when he was 12 and mastered calculus by 16. Enrolling in 1895 and graduating in 1896 from the Swiss Aarau Cantonal School, Einstein entered the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, graduating in 1901.

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There is general consensus that Albert Einstein had difficulties as a student, beginning in his early years when he had trouble speaking fluently, despite doing well in math and science. As he grew older, he maintained a fascination with the laws of nature, puzzling over things such as the force that directed a compass needle. He rebelled against instruction methods that he said "strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry" and challenged his teachers about scientific and mathematical maxims. He often missed classes, sometimes cramming for exams to achieve passing grades. He began playing the violin at age 6 and continued playing throughout his lifetime.

Einstein's secondary education came to an abrupt halt in 1895 when he was expelled from the Luitpold Gymnasium in Munich because his attitude was affecting other students. Setting his sights on the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland, Einstein was side-tracked when he failed the language and history sections of the entrance examination. At the advice of FIT's director, Einstein entered the more free-thinking secondary Cantonal School in Aarau, Switzerland. His graduation from there in 1896 automatically admitted him to the Federal Institute of Technology, from which he graduated in 1901. In 1905, he graduated from the University of Zurich.

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