A Truly Beautiful Mind
Question 1: Who had these opinions about Einstein?
(i) He was boring.
(ii) He was stupid and would never succeed in life.
(iii) He was a freak.
Answer: (i) Einstein’s playmates found him boring.
(ii) Einstein’s teacher thought that he was stupid and would never succeed in life.
(iii) Einstein’s mother thought that he was a freak because he behaved abnormally.
Question 2: Explain what the reasons for the following are.
(i) Einstein leaving the school in Munich for good.
(ii) Einstein wanting to study in Switzerland rather than in Munich.
(iii) Einstein seeing in Mileva an ally.
(iv) What do these tell you about Einstein?
Answer: (i) Einstein hated the regimented environment of his school in Munich. He always argued with his teachers. His mind was not made for the normal strict and disciplined environment of a school. That is why he left school to enjoy his independence.
(ii) Switzerland was more liberal than Munich. Einstein must have hoped to find a less stifling environment in Switzerland compared to that in Munich. So he wanted to study in Switzerland.
(iii) Mileva was just opposite to Enstein’s parents. Unlike them she used to appreciate arts and finer things of life. Her mindset matched with that of Einstein. So, Einstein saw a friend in Mileva.
(iv) These snippets from Einstein’s life gives an idea about the extraordinary thinking power Einstein was having since his childhood, because only a person with above normal intelligence can think beyond the accepted systems of behaviour and actions. Enistein always liked to take his own decisions which is evident from his insistence on leaving Munich for a better future.
3. What did Einstein call his desk drawer at the patent office? Why?
Answer: It is not mentioned in the passage, but it can be safely assumed that most of the applications for patent were of minor tweaking of older scientific theories and practices. This is the prevalent practice even today. Really original and innovative ideas rarely come on a routine basis. Moreover, as Einstein was himself a genius he could see the follies in patent applications as most of them must be of pure theoretical value with no resultant benefit for the mankind. That is why Einstein called his desk, ‘the bureau of theoretical physics.
Question 4: Why did Einstein write a letter to Franklin Roosevelt?
Answer: From the passage it is not clear if Einstein wanted the US to stop Nazis from making the bomb or wanted to encourage the US to make a bomb to utilize its destruction potential. The end result was the US made the nuclear bomb and used it against Japan. This led to large scale destruction and loss of lives in the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.