Important Question and Answers
Q. Why did Albert see no point in learning dates and facts?
Ans. Albert did not see any point in learning dates and facts because he did not approve of role learning. He preferred original thinking and ideas to role learning.
Q. Why was Mr. Braun speechless?
Ans. Mr. Braun was speechless because he asked Einstein in what year the Prussians defeated the French at Waterloo. Albert could not reply, when he (Braun) demanded the reason responsible for this he admitted that he did not learn the answer. Later, he said that he could not see any point in learning dates which could be read in a book as well. This made Mr. Braun speechless.
Q. What was the History teacher’s opinion of Albert?
Ans. The History teacher had a very low opinion of Albert. He called Albert an ungrateful boy who ought to be ashamed of himself. He suggested that Albert should ask his father to take him away from school.
Q. How did the History teacher insult Einstein?
Ans. Mr. Braun, the History teacher remarked that Einstein was an ungrateful boy and that his ought to be ashamed of himself. He should ask his father to take him away. He punished him by making him stay in for an extra period in the school that day.
Q. How did Einstein explain to the History teacher that ‘it’s not facts that matter, but idea’?
Ans. Einstein told the teacher that there was no point in learning the dates of battles, or even which of the armies killed more men. He would rather be more interested in learning why those soldiers were trying to kill each other.
Q. Why did Albert hate his lodgings? What would he do to divert his mind?
Ans. Einstein lived in a rented room in one of the poorest quarters of Munich. He did not like the place because of the atmosphere of slum violence. His landlady beat her children regularly. The wailing and howling of kids got on his nerves. In order to divert his mind he would listen to music as a ‘comfort’ because it provided him relief from the noise prevailing in the landlady’s house.
Q. Why did “going back to him lodging not cheer him up”?
Ans. He lived in an atmosphere of slum violence. His landlady beat her children regularly. Every Saturday her husband came drunk and beat her. The wailing and howling of kids got on his nerves. He couldn’t stand the incessant loud noise.
Q. Who is Yuri? What part does he play in Albert’s plan?
Ans. Yuri is a senior student, perhaps of medical school. He knows a lot of medical students. It is he, who introduces Albert to Dr. Ernest Weil and helps further Albert’s plan by getting him medical certificate he desire so earnestly.
Q. Who is Elsa? What advice she gives Albert to clear the diploma?
Ans. Elsa is Albert’s cousin. She normally lives in Berlin where her father has a business. She thinks that one can pass examinations simply by learning by heart and repeating them in exams.
Q. How did Yuri and Elsa comfort Albert Einstein in his moments of gloom and despair?
Ans. Yuri tried to comfort Albert by telling him about the fight between the students in which one of them was killed. Elsa tried to counsel Albert by saying that she knew a lot of boys who were much more stupid than him but got through it.
Q. What sudden ideas does Albert hit upon to get away from school?
Ans. Albert thought that if he had nervous breakdown and a doctor certified that it was for him to go to school, he would be able to get away from the school. This would be better than leaving the school and then forced back to it by his father.
Q. Yuri calls Albert ‘the world’s worst liar’. Do you think that this is an insult or a compliment to Albert? Why?
Ans. This is a compliment to Albert because he was not good at telling lies. This is exactly what happened when he went to get a certificate for having a nervous breakdown, he really suffered from this when he met him. Because he was basically a frank and honest person.
Q. Why does the biographer refer to Albert’s interest in music as a ‘comfort’?
Ans. The biographer refers to Albert’s interest in music as a ‘comfort’ because it provided him relief with the noise prevailing in the landlady’s house. All like music as it arouses one’s curiosity. It appeals to both brain and heart while facts are dull.
Q. Who was Ernest Weil? How did he help Albert?
Ans. Earnest Weil was a doctor and a good friend of Yuri. Albert wanted to get rid of school by one way or the other. He requested Yuri to acquaint him with a doctor for medical certificate. Yuri told him to see Dr. Weil for his medical certificate.
Q. Why was Albert quite nervous when he met the doctor? What did this nervousness indicate about his nature?
Ans. Albert was quite nervous when he met the doctor because he had spent the day wondering what to tell the doctor. So, when the time arrived for his appointment he had thought over it so much that he was quite nervous. He was afraid of the fact that Yuri might have told his false plan to leave the school. So, he can’t tell a lie. So, he is nervous thinking that his lies may be detected. This nervousness indicates that he was gentle and honest person.
Q. How did Albert hope to get admission in an Italian College?
Ans. Albert hoped to get admission in an Italian college without a diploma from the Germany school by getting a reference from his Mathematics teacher. His Maths teacher had said: “If I say I can’t teach you anymore and probably you will soon be able to teach me, will that be all right.” This could establish his credentials that he knows and had studied Maths properly.
Q. What did Mr. Koch think of Albert?
Ans. Mr. Koch was quite impressed with Albert. He wrote that he was good at Maths and had learnt everything that was required to enter a college for the study of higher Mathematics. He was of the view that Albert could even teach Mr. Koch with his knowledge of Mathematics.
Q. What reference did Mr. Koch give to Albert regarding his wish to join a college in Italy?
Ans. Mr. Koch wrote that Albert was ready to enter a college for the study of higher Mathematics. He also said that he could not teach him anymore. The student was so advanced that he could even teach Mr. Koch.
Q. How did Albert hope to convince the doctor?
Ans. Albert declared humorously that he was going to have a real nervous breakdown. It would make it easier for the doctor to certify his illness. The next time Yuri saw Albert he found that the latter had lost his high spirits. Albert confirmed that he would really have a nervous breakdown which would satisfy the doctor.
Q. What reasons the head teacher give for expelling Albert from school?
Ans. The head teacher told Einstein that his presence in the class made it impossible for the teacher to teach and for the students to learn. Besides, he told him that he refuses to learn and that he was in constant rebellion. So, no serious work could be done while he was there.
Q. Albert felt that the medical certificate was almost burning a hole in his pocket. What does the author mean?
Ans. The author means to say that Einstein has worked so hard to get the certificate from the doctor and then he is willing to show the certificate to the headmaster and see how he would react. However, the certificate had then become unnecessary as he was being expelled without its production.
Q. What did Einstein jokingly call his desk drawer at work? What did Einstein secretly do during his first job ?
Ans. Einstein jokingly called his desk drawer at work as “bureau of theoretical physics.” Einstein was actually developing his own ideas in secret during his first job.
Q. How did Einstein’s medical certificate prove useless?
Ans. Einstein got medical certificate with the help of Yuri but before he could submit it to the head teacher, he was called by him and he was expelled from the school since he was turning rebellious. So the medical certificate proved useless.
Q. Why did the Head teacher at Munich school expel Albert?
Ans. The School staff was not happy with Albert’s irresponsible behaviour. The Head teacher had also come to know about. He felt it better to expel Albert than alarming him to disturb the class or disrespect the teacher. Moreover, he used to show disinterest in the class, thus setting a bad example for others.
Q. Why did Albert feel miserable when he left the school that day?
Ans. Albert felt miserable when he felt the school that day because his History teacher had rebuked and insulted him a lot. He had said that Albert was a disgrace. It was too much for Albert.
Q. Express your views on the prevailing system of education.
Ans. Education is infact a process which brings out the best from within. But it’s an irony that the present system of education kills originality. It prompts a child to be more commercial and self-centred. It encourages him to compete more and more without letting the original personality blossom. The present system of education cultivates one sided personality. It stifles creativity and originality.
Q. Express your views on the educational system in Einstein’s Germany.
Ans. The chapter throws a good light on the existing system of education in Germany. Education actually means cramming facts and dates without keeping in view the basic ideas. There was very dull and conservative teaching in Einstein’s Germany. There was no room for innovative teaching. Teachers attached more importance to facts than ideas. History would make students learn the dates.
Q. Write down the specific guilt of Einstein and how was he punished for it.
Ans. Albert was a free, frank and fearless student. He spoke frankly before the teacher that it was useless to learn dates, facts and figures rather than the ideas. Facts could be read in a book. This made the teacher irritated. He insulted Albert and complained to the head teacher for his expulsion from the school.
Q. Albert left the school where he had spent five years. Why?
Ans. Albert left his school without any regrets. He, in fact, left it arrogantly. It was because of the bad treatment meted out to him by his History teacher and his head teacher. He didn’t turn his head to have even a last look at this school.
Q. What opinion do you form of Dr. Ernest Weil?
Ans. Dr. Ernest Weil had just qualified to be a doctor, but he was intelligent. He could not be deceived easily. He was frank, honest and sympathetic. He wins the confidence of his patient with his warm smile. His sharp analytical mind helps him in quick diagnosis and suggesting cure.
Q. Were the teachers interested in understanding Albert and bringing out his potential?
Ans. The teachers were not interested in understanding Albert and bringing out his potential. They always thought that he was a constant menace and nuisance to them. The History teacher did not like his behaviour and said that he was an ungrateful boy and ought to be ashamed of himself. He even told him that he was a disgrace. On the other hand, he incites Albert to be rebel against him and the educational system. His Maths teacher, on the other hand, acknowledged his exceptional ability. He willingly gave him reference and wanted him to join the college or an institution. The head teacher told him that his presence in the classroom was not desirable because he was in constant rebellion, and no serious work could be done while he was in the classroom.
Q. Comment on the role of Yuri in the story.
Ans. Yuri is the central figure in the story. Yuri was the only friend whom Einstein could rely upon in Munich. When he felt too miserable in school, he told his woes to him. One day he confided to him that if he could procure a medical certificate from a friendly doctor that he was suffering from nervous breakdown. Yuri ultimately enabled him to have the desired certificate that too without any charge. He advised and helped him from time to time.
Q. Mention the root cause of conflict between the History teacher and Albert.
Ans. Albert Einstein was studying in a school at Munich. During the History period, the teacher wanted his students to learn the facts by heart. But Albert Einstein did not believe in learning facts. So he opposed the teacher. The teacher could do nothing but to feel personally offended whenever Albert raised a point. They had a definite point of conflict. Whenever the teacher asked Albert a question, he would say that he had forgotten it. He also said that learning facts was completely useless. These could be seen in the books. This irritated his teacher Mr. Braun. He attributed to Albert that he was a disgrace as he did not believe in education at all. He asked sarcastically what is meant by the Einstein theory of education. Albert replied that it meant ideas. It infuriated the teacher and he punished Albert for it. Albert did not like the prevailing system of education. To him learning facts was useless as they can be looked in a book up but to know the ideas behind the facts was the real source of knowledge.
Q. Who was Yuri? How did he help Albert in getting rid of the school?
Ans. Yuri was Albert’s friend living in Munich. He is Albert’s only friend. Albert tells him everything about his life. He tells Yuri that he doesn’t like to go to school. He asks Yuri if he has a doctor friend. He plans to get a medical certificate from a doctor, which 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 who has qualified as a doctor last week. Yuri fixes an appointment with him and tells Albert to tell the doctor everything. So, Albert tells the doctor everything. Dr. Ernest Weil issues him a certificate. His fees is that Albert shall host a dinner to Yuri. While leaving the city, Yuri advises Albert to get a certificate from Maths teacher Mr. Koch so that he can get admission in same Italian college.
Q. Why did the Headmaster summon Albert? What was the outcome?
Ans. Albert was quite fed up with the present school and the technique of education. He could not tolerate the insult done by his History teacher Braun. Albert got a medical certificate from Dr. Ernest Weil. Dr. Weil certified that he had a nervous breakdown and must stay away from school. Albert didn’t need this certificate. The next day the head teacher called Albert to his office. He told Albert that his work was terrible. Therefore, he was not prepared to have him in the school. Albert asked if he should think he was to be expelled. The head teacher told him that if he left the school of his own accord, the question won’t arise. Albert asked what crime he had committed. The teacher told him that the teacher couldn’t teach the class when he was in it. Also due to his presence, the students couldn’t learn. Albert wanted to tell the head teacher what he thought of him and the school. But he didn’t say anything. The head teacher asked him to close the door behind him. But Albert didn’t do so. Nor did he have the last look at his school. He only met Yuri and saw Mr. Koch, got the certificate and left Munich.
Q. Einstein is a synonym for genius. Justify this statement.
Ans. Einstein was not only the scientist who brought ‘a scientific revolution’ but also a gifted amateur violinist and political thinker. Unlike other children, he started speaking after the age of two-and-a-half. He uttered the first sentence when one night, he broke his silence to say, “The soup is too hot.” His prodigious penchant towards mechanical toys was revealed when he looked at his newborn sister, Maja, and said: “Fine, but where are her wheels?” Einstein’s ‘Special Theory of Relativity’, which states that time and distance are not absolute, was a ground-breaking finding. His General Theory of Relativity, published in 1915, provided a new interpretation of gravity. An eclipse of the sun in 1919 proved that the theory was accurate. Einstein had correctly calculated in advance the extent to which the light from fixed stars would be deflected through the sun’s gravitational field. The newspapers proclaimed his work as “a scientific revolution.” Einstein received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1921. He also expressed his concern to Franklin D Roosevelt against the atom bomb. He had also written to United Nations to form a world government to conserve peace and democracy in the world. Hence, Einstein is certainly a synonym for genius.
Q. What are the difficult phases of Einstein’s life?
Ans. Einstein went through a lot of difficult times when he was in school. The headmaster told his father, “He’ll never make a success at anything.” He was not a bad pupil but the regimentation suffocated him. He often dashed with the teacher. Einstein went through troubled times again when he wanted to marry Mileva Maric, his classmate. His mother said she was a book like him and didn’t want them to get married. Also, she was 2-3 years older than Einstein. The pair finally married in January 1903 and had two sons only to get divorced in 1919. Mileva was losing her intellectual ambition and becoming an unhappy housewife. After years of constant fighting, the couple finally divorced in 1919. Einstein married his cousin Elsa the same year. Coming of Nazis to power in Germany had disturbed Einstein a lot. He immigrated to the US in 1933.