Einstein, Albert

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Einstein, Albert

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Albert Einstein was born in Ulm, Germany, in 1879. He studied at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (today known as ETH), while also learning in a self-taught manner. Following difficulties in finding a research position, he worked as a private tutor. In 1901 he published his first academic article in Annalen der Physik. A year later, he was hired by the patent office in Berne, while at the same time pursuing his private studies of theoretical physics. In 1905, Einstein published his fundamental papers on molecular movement, on the radiance and the electrodynamics of moving bodies, which respectively became founding elements of atomic physics, quantum physics, and the theory of special relativity. The following year, he received his PhD in physics. His academic reputation rocketed: in 1909, he was awarded an honorary degree from the University of Geneva. In 1911, he was invited to the first Solvay Conference where he met Marie Curie, Max Planck and Paul Langevin. In 1914, Einstein became a member of the Royal Prussian Academy of Sciences in Berlin. One year later, he formulated the theory of general relativity and in 1916 he worked out a synthesis of the first version of quantum theory. In 1921, Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics.

At the breakout of the First World War he adopted his pacifist attitudes and opposed German militarism. After the war he supported the Weimar Republic. At the request of his friend Walter Rathenau, Foreign Minister and advocate of a peaceful foreign policy, Einstein used his prestige for the service of pacifist causes. Henceforth he joined the efforts of the League of Nations and was among the first twelve members of the International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation (ICIC) when it was installed in 1921. However, shocked about Rathenau’s assassination on 24 June 1922, he sought to withdraw from politics and asked to withdraw from the ICIC. At the suggestion of Henri Bergson, Hendrik Antoon Lorentz was chosen to replace Einstein. In June 1924 amidst the Ruhr crisis, Einstein rejoined the ICIC, and stayed until 1932. After Einstein left the ICIC in 1932, his deputy, Hugo Andres Krüß, replaced him and stayed until Germany’s withdrawal from the LN. However, Einstein continued certain LN activities. In 1933, for example, the IIIC published an exchange of letters between Einstein and Sigmund Freud, entitled “Pourquoi la guerre?” In it Einstein defended the loss of national political sovereignty in favour of an international organisation in order to guarantee peace.

In 1933, Adolf Hitler’s rise to power forced Einstein to leave Germany, to avoid threats, and he decided to accept an invitation from the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton, USA. On 2 August 1939, he wrote a letter to President Fanklin D. Roosevelt which helped to form the Manhattan project. After the Second World War, however, he tried to end atomic research, and fought for global atomic disarmament. He died in 1955 in Princeton.


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International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation

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Albert Einstein was a member of the ICIC.

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Created by Marie Caillot 21/10/2011. English translation by Jan Stöckmann 11-08-2015.




  • UNESCO Archives, Archival Group 1: boîte 3. IICI. A. I. 15. Correspondance avec le professeur Einstein, membre de la CICI et avec son suppléant le Dr. Krüss (1925-1933). 12 documents concernant Albert Einstein, dont un poème manuscrit, écrit par Albert Einstein le 14 mars 1929 pour remercier l’IICI des vœux qui lui ont été envoyés à l’occasion de son 50e anniversaire, et une lettre dactylographiée portant la signature manuscrite d’Albert Einstein. Coupure de presse de l’article d’Albert Einstein sur la coopération intellectuelle "Das Institut für geistige Zusammen Arbeit in Paris" publié dans le Pressendienst der Deustchen Liga für Volkerbund du 12 décembre 1926.
  • UNESCO Archives, Archival Group 1: boîte 3. IICI. A. I. 16. Correspondance avec le Président de la CICI. (1924-1946). Une lettre manuscrite d’Albert Einstein au Dr. Prezzolini, chef de la Section d’Information de l’IICI [au sujet de la notice nécrologique qu’il doit écrire pour H.A. Lorentz], datée du 3 mars 1928.
  • UNESCO Archives, Archival Group 1: IICI/3/2. Einstein, A. Freud, Sigmund. Pourquoi la guerre ? Paris : IICI, 1933, coll. "Correspondance". 63 pages.
  • UNESDOC Database. Einstein, A. "La Culture doit être l'une des bases de la compréhension entre les peuples" in Courrier de l’UNESCO, IV, 12, décembre 1951. P. 5.
  • UNESDOC Database. "Allocution de M. Amadou-Mahtar M'Bow, Directeur général de l'Unesco, à l'occasion de la commémoration du centième anniversaire de la naissance d'Albert Einstein". Paris, 9 mai 1979. 4 pages. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0003/000348/034838fb.pdf Accessed 24 October 2011.
  • UNESDOC Database. Le Courrier de l’UNESCO, XXXII, 5, mai 1979. Numéro consacré à Albert Einstein. 38 pages. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0007/000747/074771fo.pdf Accessed 24 October 2011.
  • Einstein, A. (1991). Le Pouvoir nu. Propos sur la guerre et la paix, 1918-1955. Préface de Bertrand Russell. Chap. 3. "La Coopération internationale et la Société des Nations". Paris : Hermann. P. 39-47.
  • "Albert Einstein. Biography". Retrieved from: http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/1921/einstein.html Accessed 24 October 2011.
  • "Albert Einstein". Article Wikipédia. Retrieved from: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein Accessed 24 October 2011.
  • Paty, M. "Albert Einstein". Article de l’Encyclopædia universalis. Retrieved from: https:// www.universalis-edu.com/encyclopedie/albert-einstein/# Accessed 24 October 2011.
  • Renoliet, J.-J. (1999). L'UNESCO oubliée. La Société des Nations et la coopération intellectuelle (1919-1946). Paris : Publications de la Sorbonne. P. 26-27, 31, 37-38, 75, 184, 317-320.
  • Rowe, D. E. Schulmann, R. (ed.) (2007). Einstein on Politics. His private Thoughts and Public Stands on Nationalism, Zionism, War, Peace, and the Bomb. Princeton : Princeton University Press. P. 3-5, 189-222, 256-261.
  • Wünsch, D. "Einstein et la Commission internationale de Coopération intellectuelle" in Revue d'histoire des Sciences, 2004, vol. 57, n°57-2, p. 509-520. Retrieved from: http://www.persee.fr/web/revues/home/prescript/article/rhs_0151-4105_2004_num_57_2_2227 Accessed 28 October 2011.

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