Remember: if someone calls you “Einstein,” you probably just had the opposite of a genius moment. But the man behind the epithet was the real deal. This groundbreaking theoretical physicist is on the covers of science books and dorm posters everywhere for good reason.
Every mastermind has his quirks, and Albert Einstein was no exception. His personal life pushed the envelope just as much as his brilliant ideas, though most people have no idea. By the time you finish digesting all these Einstein facts, not only will you feel smarter, but you’ll also have some inspiration for your next hairdo…
1. Anyone could recognize Einstein’s signature bushy hair and mustache, but he had another fashion quirk not many people knew about. He almost never wore socks! Finding them uncomfortable, he opted for sockless shoes or even fuzzy pink slippers.
Reddit / LilBadApple
2. Even if most of us don’t understand what it means, everybody knows Einstein’s theory of relativity centered around the equation E = mc2. A lesser-known, but equally important, innovation of his was an early model of the refrigerator.
Wikimedia Commons / Ferdinand Schmutzer
3. Despite his obvious genius, young Einstein struggled to land a teaching post. He toiled away in a patent office before breaking into academia. But soon after, he joined the Prussian Academy of Sciences, gained an affiliation with Princeton University, and lectured all over the world.
4. Contrary to popular belief, Einstein did not help invent the atomic bomb. He did advise President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to create one before the Germans could. However, he forever regretted his small role in the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
5. Einstein’s memory wasn’t always as sharp as people expected. Famously, he had no idea how many feet were in a mile. He responded, “Why should I fill my brain with facts I can find in two minutes in any standard reference book?”
6. In the years following World War II, Einstein advocated for a Jewish home state. Nevertheless, he was shocked when Israel offered him the presidency in 1952. He politely declined, claiming that he didn’t have the proper experience or skill set.
7. The FBI monitored Albert Einstein for decades, and not because they admired him. Director J. Edgar Hoover feared the physicist had leftist leanings due to his denunciation of war and fascism. By the time of Einstein’s death, the feds had a 1,600-page report on him.
Flickr / jecini
8. The man who would one day embody genius didn’t seem particularly gifted as an infant. He didn’t start speaking until age three. For years after that, he repeated every sentence under his breath – scientists today refer to these habits as “Einstein Syndrome.”
9. Einstein’s scientific passion began in earnest when he turned five years old, and his father gave him a compass. Captivated by its ability to always point in the same direction, he started to ask more questions about the world around him.
Reddit / tgumarov
10. Much to Einstein’s chagrin, his mother Pauline forced him to learn violin as a child. However, his entire outlook flipped when he turned 13, and he fell in love with the instrument. The violin remained one of his greatest passions for the rest of his life.
11. Living in a swamp in Dagobah, Einstein might be. When designing Yoda for Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, makeup artist Stuart Freedman borrowed some of the scientist’s facial features. Also, it’s no coincidence that Yoda himself is very wise.
12. Boating accounted for another one of Einstein’s favorite hobbies. Of course, his sailing skills paled in comparison to his violin chops. He ran his sailboat aground more than once and endangered himself by never learning how to swim.
13. After performing Einstein’s autopsy in 1955, Dr. Thomas Stoltz Harvey kept his brain without permission. He even sent pieces of it to various scientists across the world for research purposes! Harvey finally relinquished the organ in 1998.
14. As the world’s most famous intellectual, Einstein often had to deal with strangers stopping him on the street to ask questions. He got around them with this genius tactic. Apologetically, he would say, “Pardon me, sorry! Always I am mistaken for Professor Einstein.”
15. Einstein solved many problems in his lifetime, but he never patched up his relationships with his eldest son, Hans. They grew apart after Albert and his wife’s divorce, and Einstein relentlessly criticized Han’s wife-to-be.
16. Einstein, never the perfect husband, divorced his first wife Mileva in 1919. That same year he married Elsa Löwenthal – his first cousin! Even stranger, Elsa wasn’t even his first choice. Einstein initially pursued her daughter, Ilse.
17. In 1999, TIME Magazine voted Einstein as the Person of the Century. Described as “the pre-eminent scientist in a century dominated by science,” he beat out Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Mahatma Gandhi for the final spot.
California Institute of Technology
18. Aside from his revolutionary ideas, Einstein shook up academia with his free-form teaching style. Whereas other professors wrote up lectures, Einstein improvised off of notecards. He also let students interject with questions, or even disagree with him.
19. In the 1980s, historians found personal letters from Albert Einstein revealing a dark family secret. He had a child out of wedlock with Mileva Marić. They named the girl Lieserl and immediately put her up for adoption. Nobody knows where she ended up.
Reddit / media5
20. Einstein loved smoking, as he believed it aided his “calm and objective” thought process. He only gave it up later in life when his doctor warned him about the negative effects of tobacco. Today, the Smithsonian proudly displays his beloved pipe.
21. As a boy, Einstein clashed with many teachers because he grew bored in the conventional school system. He preferred to learn on his own. For example, twelve-year-old Albert developed a completely original proof for the Pythagorean Theorem! And believe it or not, there are some brilliant kids today who could be the next Einstein.
1. Mikaila Ulmer: How does a 12-year old make an official appearance at the White House? For Mikaila, it all started with a bee sting eight years earlier. While other kids would’ve cried and run away from any bees after that, she took an opposite approach.
Me & The Bees
Mikaila learned as much about bees as she could! When she found out their population was dwindling, Mikaila opened a lemonade stand to raise money for bee-related charities. Thus, Me & The Bees was born. And her honey-flavored, all-natural lemonade was delicious.
Facebook / Me & The Bees
The lemonade was so good, in fact, that Whole Foods decided to stock many of their stores with Mikaila’s product. She became a millionaire at age 11! Of course, she still donates a large share of the profits to all kinds of agricultural and charitable organizations.
2. George Matus: During his early teens, George became a huge drone enthusiast. When he grew frustrated about the limitations of most models, however, he set out to create his own — one that could outclass any other drone on the market.
Years of tinkering resulted in his company, Teal Drones, putting out some of the fastest and most durable products on the market. George’s drones can reach a speed over 80 miles per hour and can withstand winds of up to 40 miles per hour.
In 2015, George won a $100,000 Thiel fellowship, which allowed him to skip college and go straight into business. Since then, Teal has recorded over $3 million in sales and put itself at the forefront of the cutting-edge drone industry.
3. Noa Mintz: Passionate about helping out younger kids, Noa started some summer art classes in 2008. These went well enough that by the time she turned 12, Noa wanted to take her business to the next level.
Facebook / Nannies by Noa
Because so many families in her New York City neighborhood needed babysitters, she started Nannies by Noa. Business boomed, which led Noa to hire 75 employees and bring on an older CEO so she could complete all her homework.
Now with hundreds of clients at its disposal, Nannies by Noa is doing quite well. Its founder since enrolled at the prestigious Brown University, where Noa will no doubt learn how to make her business even more successful.
4. Moziah ‘Mo’ Bridges: While he was a sharp-dressed man from a young age, Mo often had trouble finding accessories — particularly bowties — that matched his style. His grandmother, a retired seamstress, suggested that he should just make his own.
After brushing up on his sewing skills and investing in all kinds of fabrics, he founded Mo’s Bows. The little company took off faster than expected. He received a mentorship offer from Daymond John of Shark Tank and got an interesting offer from the NBA in 2017…
Facebook / Mo’s Bows
The league said they would give Mo a seven-figure deal if he supplied players with bowties for press conferences. He accepted, and the company is doing better each year. Mo’s certainly made his grandma proud!
5. Mia Felber: Just how much did Mia love dogs? Browsing through her local pet store in Akron, Ohio, she became concerned that many goods contained harmful toxins. Mia wondered why more natural pet products weren’t for sale.
When she couldn’t find any, Mia established Paleo Pets. Her company partners with local suppliers to make all-natural medicines, grooming tools, and animal beds. Best of all, there are no nasty chemicals in sight!
With the help of her parents, Mia has expanded Paleo Pets to a nationwide brand. She’s gained a lot of fans through her canny social media presence, and CBS has featured her as a promising young entrepreneur.
6. Shubham Banerjee: While brainstorming an idea for a science fair, Shubham learned that fewer than 10% of blind Americans can read Braille. Stunned by this fact, he pondered whether there was a way to make this language more accessible.
The average Braille printer cost about $2,000, but Shubham bet he could build one for a fraction of the cost. Over the course of several weeks, he set out to perfect his prototype — using an advanced Lego kit!
Sure enough, it worked! His printer, under the moniker Braigo Labs, can take any online text and translate it to Braille in seconds. Best of all, the Lego device is portable, meaning that visually-impaired people can bring it anywhere!
7. Rachel Zeitz: Although Rachel was a lacrosse nut, she often felt unsatisfied with the quality of equipment for sale. Wasn’t there a way to get long-lasting gear that wouldn’t break the bank?
Facebook / Gladiator Lacrosse
Rachel’s parents loaned her $30,000, which she used to found Gladiator Lacrosse. Her products really impressed the sporting goods world. She even made an appearance on Shark Tank, and while she didn’t make a deal, it turns out she didn’t need one.
In 2016, Gladiator racked up over $2 million in revenue, and it’s only gone up since. Rachel has been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, and TIME Magazine. Florida Governor Rick Scott even rewarded her with the Young Entrepreneur Award.