Was einstein an engineer?

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate


REFERRING to the very epitome of physics as an engineer may appear humorous. However, there is a serious case for it. What would you call somebody who worked in a patent office as a technical expert for seven years, held a number of patents himself on refrigeration, self-adjusting cameras, and electric motors, and explained the photoelectric effect, i.e., the principle now behind photodiodes [1]? Also, Einstein’s father was an engineer - I am not suggesting that engineering is a genetic disease, but engineering was in the family; moreover, Albert Einstein took - and failed - an entrance exam to study electrical engineering in Zurich. Despite being renowned as one of the most abstract thinkers of the 20th century, Einstein was also very interested in the application of ideas, and it could be argued that he was more of an engineer than a physicist, especially in his early career.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1870-1872
Number of pages3
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Engineering Profession
  • Physics
  • Patents
  • Research and Development
  • Global Positioning System


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