Albert Einstein’s Magic Mountain: An Aarau Education*
- 252 Downloads
For economic reasons, the electrotechnical factory J. Einstein & Cie. (co-owned by Albert Einstein’s father Hermann) had to be closed in the summer of 1894. While Albert’s parents emigrated to Italy to build a new existence, he remained in Munich to complete his studies at the Gymnasium. Left behind, however, he had a difficult time with what he considered the rigid educational practices at the Munich Luitpold-Gymnasium and quit without a diploma. The present article discusses Einstein’s richly winding path to the Aargau Cantonal School (Switzerland), especially its history and educational philosophy during the time of his stay in Aarau. There, Einstein met some outstanding teachers, who could serve him as models of scholars and human beings. In spite of Einstein’s distinct independence of mind, these personalities may well have had a significant influence on the alignment of his inner compass.
KeywordsAlbert Einstein Swiss Federal Polytechnical School (ETH Zurich) Luitpold-Gymnasium Aargau Cantonal School educational philosophy August Tuchschmid Friedrich Mühlberg Heinrich Ganter Jost Winteler
I thank Erika Gautschi for her careful translation and her husband, Prof. Walter Gautschi, Purdue University, for his valuable comments. I thank Peter Pesic for a number of suggestions that substantially improved this paper.
- 1.The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein, ed. John Stachel (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1987), 1:lxiii.Google Scholar
- 2.Th. Müller-Wolfer, Die Aargauische Kantonsschule in den vergangenen 150 Jahren (Aarau, Switzerland: H. R. Sauerländer & Co., 1952), 19.Google Scholar
- 3.Ibid., 29.Google Scholar
- 4.See also Festschrift 200 Jahre Aargauische Naturforschende Gesellschaft 1811–2011 (Aarau, Switzerland: Aargauische Naturforschende Gesellschaft, 2011).Google Scholar
- 5.A. Hartmann, “Prof. Dr. August Tuchschmid,” in Jahresbericht Aarg. Kantonsschule 1939/1940 (Aarau, Switzerland: H. R. Sauerländer & Co., 1940), 7.Google Scholar
- 6.Lewis Pyenson, The Young Einstein: The Advent of Relativity (Boston: Adam Hilger Ltd, 1985), 13.Google Scholar
- 7.Festschrift zur Eröffnung des neuen Kantonsschulgebäudes in Aarau (Aarau, Switzerland: H. R. Sauerländer & Co. 1896), 53.Google Scholar
- 8.Ernst Meissner, Prof. Dr. Heinrich Ganter, Separatdruck Jahresbericht Aarg. Kantonsschule 1915/1916 (Aarau, Switzerland: H. R. Sauerländer & Co., 1916), 10.Google Scholar
- 9.Alexis Schwarzenbach, Das verschmähte Genie—Albert Einstein und die Schweiz (Munich: Collection Rolf Heyne, 2012), 24.Google Scholar
- 10.Pyenson, Young Einstein (ref. 6), 16.Google Scholar