The Time in Berlin (1914–1933)

Completion of the "Allgemeinen Relativitätstheorie

In April 1914 Einstein moved to Berlin. At the Prussian Academy of Sciences he had the title of professor, but was released from any teaching obligations, which he viewed as annoying. He could apply himself almost exclusively to the advancement of the theory of general relativity. His wife Mileva, from whom he had become estranged in the previous few years, and his two sons, stayed in Zurich.

In 1916 Einstein completed the general relativity theory.

On the occasion of the solar eclipse in March 1919, the predictions of the general relativity theory, that rays of light were diverted by a gravitational field, were confirmed. Also in 1919 he was legally divorced from Mileva. Einstein then married his cousin Elsa Löwenthal.

The next few years were filled with travel- and lecture activities all over the world. Nevertheless, he remained in contact with Zurich during this time. Thus, between 1918 and 1920 he held guest lectures at the University of Zurich. He also remained in contact with Hermann Weyl (window to the person), who taught geometry at the ETH Zurich, by means of an active exchange of letters. Weyl had presented the theory of general relativity in 1918 in more elegant mathematical terms than its originator, and his book “ Raum, Zeit, Materie” greatly impressed Einstein. (Letter Einstein an Weyl, 8.3.1918). Weyl’s collection (external link) of papers lies in the ETH-Bibliothek (Archives and Private Collections).

In 1921 Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize for physics, for the discovery of the photoelectric effect in 1905. In 1930 he was also honoured with the Dr. h.c. from the ETH Zurich.

Starting from the winter semester of 1930, Einstein spent a quarter of each year in Princeton, but was worked at the Academy in Berlin during the summer months. After the seizure of power by the national socialists in Germany in 1933, Einstein did not return to Germany. His assets were confiscated and a price put on his head.

Documents to the time in Berlin (German)

Einstein's Letters to Hermann Weyl

Letters to David Reichinstein

Additional documents