Perhaps the most famous physicist of the twentieth century, Albert Einstein was born in 1879 in Ulm, a small city in the German Empire. Although a gifted student throughout his schooling, Einstein initially withdrew from secondary school due to a clash with the school authorities who favored rote memorization in their curriculum. Eventually, he finished at age 17, renounced his German citizenship to avoid WWI, and enrolled in the math and physics program at a Polytechnic school in Switzerland.
After graduation, Einstein spent two years in a fruitless job search until a classmate's father secured a position for him in the Bern patent office. While working at the patent office, Einstein began publishing the various papers and essays which would earn him the attention and praise of the world scientific community.
At a time where quantum theory was in its beginning stages, Einstein's work was revolutionary, and eventually brought about some of the greatest scientific discoveries of the century. His theory of special relativity (1905) produced the famous equation E=mc2, which predicted the development of nuclear energy. By 1922, Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics.
In 1933, Einstein was targeted for assassination. An enemy of the German regime, he emigrated to the United States where he took a position at Princeton University.
His work however, was not limited to the realm of science. In 1923, Einstein toured the United States with Chaim Weizmann, raising funds for the establishment of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. His politics were always progressive. He wrote on social issues, openly derided the Nazi party, was a member of the NAACP, and a Zionist throughout his life. By the time he died in 1955, Einstein's work had touched upon everything from refrigeration technology to time travel.
In his will, he bequeathed the royalties from the use of his image to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.