Professor at the ETH Zurich (1912–1914)

In the meantime, Einstein had become so well known in academic circles, that he received offers from Utrecht, Leiden, Vienna and Berlin. The ETH Zurich also strove to attract its former student and entered into negotations with him at the end of 1911. At the beginning of 1912, Einstein was appointed as professor for theoretical physics at the ETH, starting the 1st October.

During the winter semester of 1912/13 (pdf, 809 kB), Einstein taught analytical mechanics and thermodynamics, and presented a physics seminar. In the summer semester (pdf, 709 kB) Einstein read about continuum mechanics and the molecular theory of heat and held a seminar on physics. In addition, he was in charge of students at the Physics Institute together with Pierre Weiss.

In 1912 Einstein was predominantly concerned with the problem of gravitation, which he attempted to solve in Zurich together with the mathematician Marcel Grossmann. He made a break-through while still in Zurich, even though the ultimate formulation of the general theory of relativity would only follow a few years later.

In 1913 Einstein became a member of the renowned Prussian Academy of Sciences in Berlin. At the same time he was appointed to a professorship with no obligation to lecture at the Friedrich-Wilhelm-University.

Documents to the time as a Professor at the ETH Zurich (German)


Teaching activity at the ETH Zurich