ALBERT EINSTEIN AT SCHOOL
- ‘Mr. Braun was speechless for a few moments’. Why?
Ans: Mr. Braun asked Albert in what year the Prussians defeated the French at Water-loo. Albert told him that he didn’t know. Albert told him that he saw no point in learning dates. These could be seen in books. This made him speechless.
- What should education be all about, according to Albert?
Ans: According to Albert, education should be based not on facts but on ideas. Albert said that one could get these facts from books. He was more interested in knowing why soldiers killed other soldiers in war. He was not interested in knowing their numbers.
- Why didn’t Albert feel ‘cheerful’ to go back to his lodging?
Ans: Albert didn’t feel cheerful to return to his lodging. His room was in the poorest quarters of Munich. Then his landlord beat his wife after he returned home drunk on Saturdays. He hated the atmosphere of slum violence. The atmosphere made him sick.
- What did Elsa think of Albert?
Ans: Elsa was Albert’s cousin. She told Albert that she was sure Albert could learn enough to pass the examinations if he tried. She told him that she knew many students more stupid than Albert. They got through the examinations. So he should also try and pass the examination.
- What advice did Elsa give to Albert regarding passing the examinations?
Ans: Elsa told Albert that she knew many boys who were more stupid than Albert. They could pass the examination easily. For this, Albert didn’t need to learn what had been taught to him. However, he should be able to repeat it in the examination.
- How did Albert Einstein decide to get rid of his school? Explain.
Ans: Albert didn’t feel at ease at school. After his encounter with the teacher he felt insulted. He decided to get rid of his school by producing a false certificate from a doctor. The doctor was to certify that he had a nervous breakdown. It would serve his purpose. He would not be medically fit to stay in the school.
- Who was Ernest Weil? How did he help Albert?
Ans: Ernest Weil was a doctor. He had qualified as a doctor only the previous week. He was a good friend of Yuri. Albert told Yuri of his plan of staying away from the school. Yuri told him to go to Dr. Ernest Weil to get a medical certificate for that purpose. Dr. Weil really helped Einstein in this matter.
- What advice did Yuri give to Albert before meeting Dr. Ernest Weil?
Ans: Yuri told Albert not to deceive Dr. Ernest Weil. He should tell everything clearly. He should be frank with him. He shouldn’t pretend to be what he is not. He should behave honestly and normally.
- Why did Yuri call Albert ‘the world’s worst liar’ ? Was he right in calling him so?
Ans: Yuri knew his friend Albert quite well. He also knew that Albert was a simple and straightforward boy. He wanted to have a false certificate from a doctor. But he didn’t know how to tell a lie. This is exactly what happened when Albert went to get that certificate. He felt so nervous that he was really going to have a nervous breakdown. It was really a compliment that Yuri gave to his friend.
- What did Albert think just after he was summoned to the head teacher’s room?
Ans: Albert was summoned by the head-teacher. He thought that he was to be punished again for bad work and laziness. But he had hardly bothered to wonder why he had been sent for. He knew him quite well. He was prepared to face any situation.
- Why did Albert feel the medical certificate ‘almost burning a hole in his pocket’?
Ans: Albert Einstein needed a medical certificate from a doctor. If the doctor could certify that he suffered from a nervous breakdown, he could stay away from the school. Albert was of no use to him. It was almost ‘burning a hole in his pocket’. He was being expelled from the school even before he could produce it to the head teacher.
- Who was Elsa? What did she think of Albert? How could one pass the examination, according to her?
Ans: Elsa was Albert’s cousin. She lived in Berlin. Her father was a businessman. He had his business in Berlin. Albert met Elsa when she came to Munich. She told him that if he tried, he could learn enough to pass the examinations. Passing them was not difficult. She also told him that she knew lots of boys who were much more stupid than Albert. They had passed easily. They told her that one didn’t have to know anything at all. A student didn’t have to understand what he was taught. He was required just to be able to repeat what he was taught. Elsa then told Albert that he didn’t need to be good to learning things. Anyone could learn like a parrot. Albert could do it easily. He would find no difficulty in passing the examination.
- Describe how the Yuri helps Albert in his efforts to stay away from the school.
Ans: Yuri is Albert’s only friend. Albert tells him everything about his life. He tells Yuri that he doesn’t like to go to school. At once he thinks of a plan. He asks Yuri if he has a doctor as his friend. His plan is to get a medical certificate from that doctor. The doctor shall certify that Albert suffers from a nervous breakdown. This will enable him to leave school for some period. Yuri tells him that he knows Dr. Ernest Weil. He has qualified as a doctor only the previous week. Yuri fixes an appointment with him. Yuri tells Albert to tell the doctor everything clearly. So Albert hides nothing from the doctor. Dr. Ernest Weil issues him a certificate. His fees is that Albert shall host a dinner to Yuri. In this way, Yuri helps Albert in his efforts to stay away from the school.