November 21, 2016


Accompanied by my wife, Anjana, the young Kenyan-Indian, Dil Patel, and our Swiss host, Stefan Müller, I visited the Einsteinhaus (Einstein House), a former residence of Albert Einstein in Bern, Switzerland, which has been converted into a museum. Bearing No. 49, it is a small house built over a shop in a long shopping lane called Kramgasse (Grocers’ Alley) in the Old City of Bern, very much like Chandani Chowk in Delhi or Pathargatti in Hyderabad.

Einstein lived here with his wife Mileva from 1903 to 1905 and wrote the four articles that created the foundation of modern physics and changed views on space, time, mass and energy. He was only 26 then. Working for the Swiss Patent Office while pursuing his Ph.D, as he could not find a teaching post at the University of Zurich to support himself, Einstein could not have afforded a better place to live in. Einstein was fond of writing while standing, or perhaps, there was not much room for a table and chair. The stand in the picture is the one actually used by him.

Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1921, but history would soon intervene. The Nazis were on the rise in his native Germany, and Einstein, a Jew, was persecuted. More for his personal safety, Einstein moved to the United States in 1933, and worked at the Princeton University for the rest of his days. In 1999, the Time magazine named Albert Einstein the Person of the Century. Einstein famously said, “Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” Standing where Einstein once stood, I had goosebumps on my arms. Even today, the memory of it sends a thrill up my spine.

1 Comment

  1. Beautiful and inspiring!
    Having known about these facts enhances (rather than diminish) the impact of the writeup. You feel the awe without visited this spot.

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