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Chapter 4 Albert Einstein at School

Text Book Questions and Answers

Albert Einstein at School About the Author

Patrick Pringle was born in 1935 in Rochester, New York. He was a freelance writer and photographer, wildlife biologist and educator. He was the editor, executive editor of Nature and Science during 1965 – 1967. He won several awards, chief being the New Jersey Institute of Technology Award, 1970, for The Only Earth We Have; Special Conservation Award, National Wildlife Federation, 1978; honor book designation, New York Academy of Sciences, 1980, for Natural Fire: Its Ecology in Forests.

Albert Einstein at School Main Theme

This extract from Albert Einstein’s biography records the unhappy period of his schooling in Munich. Eventually Einstein was expelled from the school.At school, Einstein was not at all enthusiastic about the study of history. He felt it was more important to study ideas than facts. His teachers at the school in Munich were displeased with him. Albert was miserable most of the time.

Albert had been sent to this school to study for a diploma. His living quarters offered no relief. There was dirt and squalor and plenty of slum violence. His only friends were Yuri, a medical student, and Elsa, his cousin from Berlin. They tried to cheer him up. Einstein, however, did like to study Geology and books on Science. He was exceptionally good at Maths. He also played ori the violin to console himself.

After six months, Einstein could take it no more. He wanted to get away from school. He asked his friend Yuri to find a nerve doctor who would give him a certificate of a nervous breakdown and recommend rest for six months. Yuri found Dr Ernst Weil, but told Einstein to be absolutely truthful with him. Dr Weil felt he was really close to a nervous breakdown and gave him a certificate.Einstein’s plan was to return to Milan, where his parents lived. He asked his Maths teacher for a reference which would enable him to continue his education in Milan.

The next day, before Einstein could present the medical certificate, he was called by the head teacher and asked to leave the school. Einstein had been expelled for ‘constant rebellion’. Yuri was the only person he wanted to say goodbye to.

Albert Einstein at School Reading with Insight

Question 1.
What do you understand of Einstein’s nature from his conversations with his history teacher, his mathematics teacher and the head teacher?
Answer:
Even as a student Einstein had a mind of his own. He was honest enough to tell the History teacher what he thought of the subject. On the whole he detested the school. He had a logical reason for not liking history. It was because it laid more emphasis on facts than on causes behind the facts. Mathematics, however, was another matter. He excelled in the subject and had great regard for the teacher. This feeling was mutual. The Head Teacher was guided by the opinion of other teachers, so Einstein could not expect sympathy from him.

Question 2.
The school system often curbs individual talents. Discuss.
Answer:
The school system often curbs the individual talents is borne by the fact of Albert Einstein’s miserable five years ‘education’ at school. The educational system in Germany has been very lightly and; incidentally touched upon. The school that Einstein went to seems to have imparted education by insisting on rote memory. Science subjects were not taught. This system of education has no room for individual talent and achivement. It lays stress on facts and dates rather than ideas. Thus most of the students manage to pass the examination by rote-learning. The teachers insist on discipline and conformity. Brilliant students like Albert Einstein are considered dull and incompetent or rebellious.

Question 3.
How do you distinguish between information gathering and insight formation?
Answer:
Information gathering is storing factual information in the mind whereas insight formation requires in-depth understanding. The former is superficial and can be found stored in books also, insight formation is genuine knowledge.

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