Albert Einstein was born into a Jewish family in Ulm, Württemberg, Germany.
When Albert was five, his father showed him a pocket compass. Albert realized that something in empty space was moving the needle and later stated that this experience made "a deep and lasting impression". At his mother's insistence, he took violin lessons starting at age six, and although he disliked them and eventually quit, he later took great pleasure in Mozart's violin sonatas. As he grew, Albert built models and mechanical devices for fun, and began to show a talent for mathematics.
In 1894, when Einstein was fifteen, his father's business failed, and the Einstein family moved to Italy, first to Milan and then, after a few months, to Pavia. During this time, Albert wrote his first scientific work, "The Investigation of the State of Aether in Magnetic FieldsAlbert had been left behind in Munich to finish high school, but in the spring of 1895, he withdrew to join his family in Pavia, convincing the school to let him go by using a doctor's note.
Rather than completing high school, Albert decided to apply directly to the ETH Zurich, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland. Without a school certificate, he was required to take an entrance examination. He did not pass. Einstein wrote that it was in that same year, at age 16, that he first performed his famous thought experiment, visualizing traveling alongside a beam of light (Einstein 1979).
The Einsteins sent Albert to Aarau, Switzerland to finish secondary school. In 1896, he graduated at age 17, renounced his German citizenship to avoid military service (with his father's approval), and finally enrolled in the mathematics program at ETH. On February 21, 1901, he gained Swiss citizenship, which he never revoked Marie moved to Olsberg, Switzerland for a teaching post.
In 1896, Einstein's future wife, Mileva Marić, also enrolled at ETH, as the only woman studying mathematics. During the next few years, Einstein and Marić's friendship developed into romance. Einstein's mother objected because she thought Marić "too old", not Jewish, and "physically defective".[
Einstein graduated in 1900 from ETH with a degree in physics. That same year, Einstein's friend Michele Besso introduced him to the work of Ernst Mach. The next year, Einstein published a paper in the prestigious Annalen der Physik on the capillary forces of a straw (Einstein 1901).
Thomas Edison was born in Milan, Ohio and was raised in Port Huron, Michigan.
In school, the young Edison's mind often wandered, and his teacher the Reverend Engle was overheard calling him "addled."
The cause of Edison's deafness has been attributed to a bout of scarlet fever during childhood and recurring untreated middle ear infections. Edison around the middle of his career attributed the hearing loss to being struck on the ears by a train conductor when his chemical lab in a boxcar caught fire.
Edison became a telegraph operator after he saved three-year-old Jimmie MacKenzie from being struck by a runaway train. Kentucky as an employee of Western Union working the Associated Press bureau news wire. Edison requested the night shift at work which allowed him plenty of time to spend at his two favorite pastimes -- reading and experimenting. However, it was the latter that eventually cost him his job. One night in 1867, he was working with a battery when he spilled sulphuric acid onto the floor. It ran between the floorboards and onto his boss' desk below. The next morning he was fired
One of his mentors during those early years was a fellow telegrapher and inventor named Franklin Leonard Pope, who allowed the impoverished youth to live and work in the basement of his Elizabeth, New Jersey, home.