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Albert Einstein is unquestionably one of the most well-known and recognizable faces of the 20th century.

DPMA | Albert Einstein


There are a number of things that are, to coin a phrase, tolerably well-known about him and his life. He was, of course, known for this immense intelligence. The fact that his last name has penetrated the cultural language to the point that any who displays a show of keen and unusual intelligence is automatically referred to as an “Einstein” is testimony to this.

He is certainly known for the infamous mathematical equation “E=MC2”. This equation also seems to have found a home in the cultural conscience. In that, we have all seen the equation. Of course, of all the people who know of or have seen the equation, how many would really know what it meant? One could wager confidently very few.

One other aspect of Albert Einstein that is fairly known, though not in great detail is the fact that he once worked at a patent office. In an attempt to do justice to his life, let’s delve a little into this part of his life and, as they say on school assignments, expand and elaborate. So, it was on June 23rd, 1902 that Albert Einstein worked at the patent office.

According to DPMA:

Albert Einstein worked as a “third class technical expert” and examined patent applications in the mechanical field. He received 292 Swiss francs a month which was enough to make a living without need back then.

Einstein saw his work as a patent examiner as a “bread-and-butter profession”, which did not fully satisfy him; in his spare time he devoted himself to theoretical physics and worked on his doctoral thesis. Later he wrote that “the peace of the secular monastery and the material reassurance for the hard times” were very helpful for him. Here, for example, he examined gravel sorting machines( pdf-Datei CH39561) and weather indicators ( pdf-Datei CH39619 ). While working on his standing desk in room 86 at the corner of Speichergasse and Genfergasse, the young patent examiner sometimes picked up the violin which allegedly helped him to think.

However, Professor Einstein didn’t seem to regret his time in the patent office.

He would later write in a letter about his time there that:

Einstein described his time as an examiner in a letter: “I’m fine; I’m a venerable Swiss “Tintenscheißer” (ink shithead) with a decent salary. Besides I ride on my old mathematical-physical hobby-horse and scratch on the violin”. In April 1906 he was promoted to “second class expert”. His monthly salary increased to 375 Swiss francs.

He had successfully submitted his doctoral thesis in 1905, but his habilitation was initially rejected by the University of Bern in 1907. Only one year later was he successful and was now able to work as a part-time private lecturer. He gave his lectures before or after his working hours at the patent office: from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. or from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. In the first semester, he is said to have had only three listeners, including two colleagues from the Patent Office.



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"Albert Einstein and The Patent Office" History on the Net
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