Thinking about the Text

1. Here are some headings for paragraphs in the text.

Write the number(s) of the paragraph(s) for each title against the heading. The first one is done for you.

(i)  Einstein’s equation                                9 

(ii) Einstein meets his future wife               7

(iii)The making of a violinist                       3

(iv) Mileva and Einstein’s mother               10

(v) A letter that launched the arms race   15

(vi) A desk drawer full of ideas                   8

(vii) Marriage and divorce                          11

missive: letter, especially long and official

visionary: a person who can think about the future in an original and intelligent way

2. Who had these opinions about Einstein?

(i) He was boring.   – his playmates.                                      

(ii) He was stupid and would never succeed in life.- his headmaster.

(iii) He was a freak. – his mother

3. Explain what the reasons for the following are.

(i) Einstein leaving the school in Munich for good.

Ans. Einstein felt stifled because of the strict regimentation at the school and therefore left the school for good.

(ii) Einstein wanting to study in Switzerland rather than in Munich.

Ans. Einstein wished to study in German- speaking Switzerland as he felt that the city was much more liberal than Munich.

(iii) Einstein seeing in Mileva an ally.

Ans. They both had similar views and shared common interests; therefore, Eienstein saw Mileva as an ally against the philistines in his family and at the university.

(iv) What do these tell you about Einstein?

Ans. Einstein appears to be an creative, intelligent, independent minded person, who believed in the liberty of art, literature and music.

4. What did Einstein call his desk drawer at the patent office? Why?

Ans. Einstein used to call his desk drawer at the patent office as the “bureau of theoretical physics,’ he secretly began to develop his own ideas while he was supposed to be assessing other peoples inventions.

5. Why did Einstein write a letter to Franklin Roosevelt?

Ans. Einstein’s letter to Roosevelt warned him against the power of the atom bomb. He wrote that if it exploded in a port it would blow up the port along with some of its surrounding territory.

6. How did Einstein react to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

Ans. Einstein was devastated by the extent of destruction after the bombings. He wrote a public missive to the U.N. proposing the formation of a world government. He got more involved in politics over the next decade and  used his fame to campaign for world peace and democracy. 

7. Why does the world remember Einstein as a “world citizen”?

Ans.  Einstein is remembered as a’ world citizen’ as he campaigned for world peace and democracy. He also involved himself deeply into politics in an effort to stop militarizing and building up of arms across the world.

8. Here are some facts from Einstein’s life. Arrange them in chronological order.

[7 ] Einstein publishes his special theory of relativity.

[9 ] He is awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics.

[11 ] Einstein writes a letter to U.S. President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and

warns against Germany’s building of an atomic bomb.

[2] Einstein attends a high school in Munich.

[3] Einstein’s family moves to Milan.

[1] Einstein is born in the German city of Ulm.

[5] Einstein joins a university in Zurich, where he meets Mileva.

[12] Einstein dies.

[8] He provides a new interpretation of gravity.

[4] Tired of the school’s regimentation, Einstein withdraws from school.

[6] He works in a patent office as a technical expert.

[10] When Hitler comes to power, Einstein leaves Germany for the United


Thinking about Language

I. Here are some sentences from the story. Choose the word from the brackets which can be substituted for the italicised words in the sentences.

1. A few years later, the marriage faltered.- became weak

 (failed, broke, became weak).

2. Einstein was constantly at odds with people at the university.- in disagreement

 (on bad terms, in disagreement, unhappy)

3. The newspapers proclaimed his work as “a scientific revolution.”- declared

 (declared, praised, showed)

4. Einstein got ever more involved in politics, agitating for an end to the arms buildup.-campaigning

 (campaigning, fighting, supporting)

5. At the age of 15, Einstein felt so stifled that he left the school for good.- permanently

(permanently, for his benefit, for a short time)

6. Five years later, the discovery of nuclear fission in Berlin had American physicists in an uproar. – in a state of commotion

 (in a state of commotion, full of criticism, in a desperate state)

7. Science wasn’t the only thing that appealed to the dashing young man with the walrus moustache.- interested

 (interested, challenged, worried)

II. Study the following sentences.

• Einstein became a gifted amateur violinist, maintaining this skill throughout his life.

• Letters survive in which they put their affection into words, mixing science with tenderness.

The parts in italics in the above sentences begin with –ing verbs, and are called participial phrases. Participial phrases say something more about the person or thing talked about or the idea expressed by the sentence as a whole. For example:

– Einstein became a gifted amateur violinist. He maintained this skill throughout his life.

Complete the sentences below by filling in the blanks with suitable participial  clauses. The information that has to be used in the phrases is provided as a sentence in brackets.

1. Working round the clock, the firefighters finally put out the fire. (They worked

round the clock.)

2. Noticing the colours blending softly into one another, she watched the sunset above the mountain, (She noticed the colours blending softly into one another.)

3. Neighing continually, the excited horse pawed the ground rapidly, (While it neighed continually.)

4. Having taken the wrong train, I found myself in Bangalore, instead of Benaras. (I had taken the wrong train.)

5. Having not bathed for two days, I was desperate to get to the bathroom. (I had not bathed for two days)

6. The stone steps being worn down, needed to be replaced. (They were worn down).

7. The actor received hundreds of letters from his fans, asking him to send them his photograph. (They asked him to send them his photograph.)

Writing Newspaper Reports

Here are some notes which you could use to write a report.

21 August 2005 — original handwritten manuscript of Albert Einstein unearthed — by student Rowdy Boeynik in the University of the Netherlands — Boeynik researching papers — papers belonging to an old friend of Einstein — fingerprints of Einstein on these papers — 16-page document dated 1924 — Einstein’s work on this last theory — behaviour of atoms at low temperature — now known as the Bose-Einstein condensation — the manuscript to be kept at Leyden University where Einstein got the Nobel Prize.

Write a report which has four paragraphs, one each on:

• What was unearthed.

• Who unearthed it and when.

• What the document contained.

• Where it will be kept.

Your report could begin like this:

                                              Student Unearths Einstein Manuscript

21 AUGUST 2005. An original handwritten Albert Einstein manuscript has been unearthed at a university in the Netherlands. While doing his research, Boeynick found the papers belonging to an old friend of Einstein. The 16 page document dated 1924 were confirmed to be Einstein’s as his fingerprints were found on them. The papers related to research on behavior of atoms at low temperatures – now known as the Bose-Einstein condensation theory- were part of his work on the last theory. The handwritten manuscript will be kept at the Leyden University where Einstein had received the Noble Prize.


Your teacher will dictate these paragraphs to you. Write down the paragraphs with correct punctuation marks.

In 1931 Charlie Chaplin invited Albert Einstein, who was visiting Hollywood, to a private screening of his new film, City Lights. As the two men drove into town together, passersby waved and cheered. Chaplin turned to his guest and explained: “The people are applauding you because none of them understands you and applauding me because everybody understands me.”

One of Einstein’s colleagues asked him for his telephone number one day. Einstein reached for a telephone directory and looked it up. “You don’t remember your own number?” the man asked, startled. “No,” Einstein answered. “Why should I memorise something I can so easily get from a book?” (In fact, Einstein claimed never to memorise anything which could be looked up in less than two minutes.)



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