Bernhard Caesar Einstein

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Bernard Caesar Einstein
Bernard Einstein.jpg
Bernard Einstein, August, 2003
Born Bernard Caesar Einstein
July 10, 1930
Dortmund, Germany
Died September 30, 2008(2008-09-30) (aged 78)
Insel Hospital
Bern, Switzerland
Cause of death Vascular Disease, Renal Failure
Citizenship Switzerland, US
Education University of California, Berkeley,
ETH Zürich, Switzerland
Occupation Physicist, Engineer
Spouse(s) Doris Schweizer Einstein (c1938-2008)
Children Thomas Martin Einstein, (Santa Monica, CA, US, born 1955 (website)),
Paul Michael Einstein (France, born 1959),
Eduard Albert (Ted) Einstein (Los Angeles, CA, US, born 1961),
Mira Einstein-Yehieli (Switzerland, born 1965),
Charles Quincy Ascher Einstein (Charly) (Switzerland, born 1971)
Parent(s) Hans Albert Einstein and Frieda Knecht

Bernard Caesar Einstein (July 10, 1930 – September 30, 2008)[1] was a German-born Swiss-American physicist, the son of Hans Albert Einstein. Of the four known biological grandchildren of Albert Einstein (all sons of Hans), he was the only one to survive childhood.

Early life and family[edit]

Bernard Einstein was the son of Hans Albert Einstein and Frieda Einstein (née Knecht), who had married in 1927 in Switzerland. Bernard Einstein was born on July 10, 1930 in Dortmund, Germany where Hans Albert was involved in a bridge building project. Hans Albert was the only one of Albert Einstein's three children to marry and have children. Hans Albert's sister, Lieserl Einstein, is assumed to have died in infancy, although it has been suggested that she was given up for adoption. Hans Albert's younger brother Eduard Einstein developed severe schizophrenia in early adulthood and died at age 55, and had no children. Bernard's brother, Klaus, was born in 1932 and died at age 6 of diphtheria in Clemson, South Carolina, United States. Frieda had two more sons that died in early infancy. Eventually Hans Albert and Frieda adopted a girl, Evelyn, shortly after she was born in 1941. One year after Frieda died in 1958, Hans Albert married Elizabeth Roboz, a neurochemist.

Bernard spent his early years in Switzerland until the age of eight when his family moved to South Carolina. Albert Einstein was very worried about the rise of Nazi Germany and encouraged his son Hans Albert to emigrate to the United States as he himself had done in 1933. Hans Albert heeded this advice, and moved his family to Greenville, South Carolina where he was a civil engineer working with the US Corps of Engineers. Bernard spent his teenage years in Pasadena where his father was a professor at the California Institute of Technology, and in Berkeley.

Bernard first met his grandfather Albert when he was two years old. As a boy he travelled alone to spend time with Albert in New Jersey, and at Saranac Lake in upstate New York. Bernard recounted to his son Thomas that he used to irritate his grandfather because he would urinate out the window directly above Albert's study in Princeton. At Saranac Lake he enjoyed sailing with his grandfather. Apparently Albert Einstein's favorite time to sail was when there was very little wind. According to Bernard, his grandfather enjoyed the challenge of harnessing whatever little bit of breeze he could capture. The sailing tradition was carried on by Albert's son, Hans Albert who loved to sail with Bernard, and Bernard's children on the San Francisco Bay. Albert Einstein died in April 1955. Having shared his love of music with his grandson, he bequeathed Bernard his violin in addition to a modest sum of money.

Bernard's children are Thomas, Paul, Eduard, Mira, and Charles.[2]

Education and career[edit]

Bernard was not a serious student in high school, or even in his first two years of college at University of California at Berkeley. He excelled only in German language at UC. He enlisted in the US Army in 1954. He finished basic training at Fort Ord, near Monterey, California, and was stationed in southern Germany, where he met his first wife, Doris Aude Ascher, whom he married in 1954. Bernard credited the army for giving him self-discipline, and after discharge he applied and was admitted to Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zürich, Switzerland. He followed in both his grandfather's and his father's footsteps to study physics at the ETH. He recounted that he was most influenced by Professor Wolfgang Pauli, a colleague of Albert Einstein, whom he had met earlier as a boy in his grandfather's company. Pauli taught him quantum physics, a subject Bernard would return to later in life.

When he obtained his diploma at ETH Bernard returned to the United States and worked as an engineer for Texas Instruments in Dallas, Texas. Hans Jurg Stocker had studied with Bernhard at ETH and helped him pass the exams, especially in mathematics. Bernhard stated that his grandfather was also not strong in math, and that Albert Einstein's wife helped him with some mathematical formulations. Hans Jurg Stocker had been hired by Dr. R. Petritz, the newly appointed research director of Texas Instruments. As Bernhard had expressed interest to coming back to the United States, Stocker asked Dr.Petritz whether he would hire Bernhard. Dr. Petritz didn't hesitate and two months later Bernhard arrived in Dallas, sharing an apartment for five months, until his wife arrived after finishing her M.D. in Berne, Switzerland. Bernhard and Stocker worked together on GaAs and InSb diodes and infrared detectors. Bernhard excelled in experiments such as splitting crystals into thin slices. However he was weak on theoretical aspects. After two years, Hans Jurg took an assistantship with Prof. Henry Levinstein at Syracuse University where he discovered oscillatory photoconductivity* in InSb. He then did a theoretical thesis with Prof. Harvey Kaplan, which impressed Professor John Bardeen, winner of two Nobel prizes in physics, at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, to accept him as his only postdoctoral ITT in Los Angeles, California.

After a brief stint at the IBM Zurich research Laboratory, Hans Jurg returned to Texas Instruments after a record seven years leave of absence. Bernhard had moved to California in the meantime and worked at Litton Industries in the San Francisco Bay Area. His area of expertise was electron tube technology, and specifically light amplification devices for night vision. He filed and obtained four U.S. patents related to light amplification technology while he worked for Litton Industries. In 1974 Bernard moved back to Switzerland and worked in laser technology at the Swiss Army Research Lab in Thun, obtaining a US patent there as well.


  1. ^ SSDI
  2. ^ Calaprice, Alice (1996). The Quotable Einstein. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. p. xxiii. ISBN 0-691-02696-3. 

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