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Topic: Einstein flunked out of school?
Message: Posted by: critter (Feb 5, 2009 07:43AM)
A college professor actually quoted this old wives tale in my class the other day.
Thoughts?
Message: Posted by: basic_mystifier (Feb 10, 2009 06:32PM)
I have also heard this, but the twist I heard was that they thought he was mentally challenged.
Message: Posted by: Tim Jahn (Mar 8, 2009 08:25PM)
I've heard something about this. There is a short history in one of Hawking's books. I'll have to look it up when I get home later. I remember there being something about him not liking some of his professers. The history is fairly detailed and starts from when Einstein was a boy. I belive its in 'A Brief History of Time'. I'll check it out and report back.

Tim
Message: Posted by: rickreation (Mar 30, 2009 12:03PM)
I doubt it is true, but you never know.
Message: Posted by: here2009 (Mar 31, 2009 01:35PM)
Heard this, don't believe it though.
Message: Posted by: ursusminor (Apr 21, 2009 09:30PM)
He was told by his teacher that: "He wouldn't get far in the world", or words to that effect.

Taking into consideration the rigid school system in Germany (and most other places) in those days, it's quite believable.

Bjørn
Message: Posted by: TonyB2009 (Apr 27, 2009 07:17PM)
I think (not certain without checking) that he was poor at Latin, but gifted at mathematics. But a traditional classical education had Latin as a key component. He did not drop out or fail, but he had a patchy academic record - some brilliant, some less so.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Apr 27, 2009 08:29PM)
[quote]
On 2009-02-05 08:43, critter wrote:
A college professor actually quoted this old wives tale in my class the other day.
Thoughts?
[/quote]
Did he later tell you the facts of the matter?


What folks might not know is that back then admission to university also required demonstrating some facility with a second language. So after a year of studying French he went off to school and things started to move quickly after that.
Message: Posted by: critter (Apr 28, 2009 12:50PM)
No, I had already read them. I thought it was sad. I wish we still had Latin in all of the colleges.

[quote]
On 2009-04-27 21:29, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
[quote]
On 2009-02-05 08:43, critter wrote:
A college professor actually quoted this old wives tale in my class the other day.
Thoughts?
[/quote]

Did he later tell you the facts of the matter?
[/quote]
Message: Posted by: The.Amazing.Boy (Aug 8, 2009 09:35PM)
This is true and well known, not a myth at all... Einstein wasn't good at school and his teachers never thought he would get far in his studies
Message: Posted by: TonyB2009 (Aug 11, 2009 08:02PM)
[quote]
On 2009-08-08 22:35, The.Amazing.Boy wrote:
This is true and well known, not a myth at all... [/quote]
It [b]is[/b] a myth. Einstein did not thrive at everything in school, but he was not stupid and did not perform poorly. He showed a flare for mathematics but little flare for languages. He passed his final exams and got into college without difficulty. It is a pure urban legend that he was poor at school. Hogwash.
Message: Posted by: joseph (Aug 11, 2009 08:55PM)
And here I thought it was his fear of relatives...
Message: Posted by: Dark Knight (Nov 18, 2009 10:59PM)
The story is an indictment of the educational system in which he was brought up; not at all the man. Fortunately for science and discovery (and several great patter lines), Einstein overcame the oppression and defects of that system.

DK
Message: Posted by: magicFreak2 (Dec 4, 2009 09:02AM)
[quote]
On 2009-02-10 19:32, basic_mystifier wrote:
I have also heard this, but the twist I heard was that they thought he was mentally challenged.
[/quote]

He was diabetic, but mentally challenged? Give me a break... Who invented the Theory of Relativity, EM=C2, theorized about a multi-dimensional universe, riding on a light wave, quantum mechanics, the genius behind the A-bomb that brought us out of WW2?
Message: Posted by: PainsWife (Jan 12, 2010 07:13PM)
I know that no one has responded to this thread for a month or so, but...

From what I understand, Einstein very likely had Aspergers. A high-functioning form of autism. I can totally understand that he would struggle in school. We have a 6 yr old (almost 7!) with Aspergers and school is extremely, extremely, EXTREMELY difficult for him.

Despite the fact that staying in the classroom, participating in class, etc. has been pretty much a disaster, he has passed his skills tests so far with flying colors. He scored 2nd highest on 'robust vocabulary' after never being in the room for the instruction and while the rest of his class is reading level C, maybe level D books, our little guy is reading level I books.

There is no doubt in my mind that while Einstein was extremely 'book smart' the problem was in the social cues, sitting still, etc. that people with Asperger's have to learn just like it was a math problem. I don't doubt for a second that he never graduated. There are still definite defects in the school system. Hopefully my own little Einstein doesn't fall through the same crack!

Oh yeah! And back in the day, a lot of children that are considered autistic today, were considered mentally retarded.
Message: Posted by: Bill Ligon (Jan 13, 2010 07:32PM)
TonyB2009 is right. The story is utter hogwash. It is nothing more than a story people use to justify their own deficiencies.
Message: Posted by: gphrenol (Jan 17, 2010 07:13AM)
It is interesting how opinionated we can be over such things and speak out with no hard facts. I might add that refers to on both sided. Some times though, the truth is almost impossible to find due to historical bending of facts.

I do not directly trust unverified statements from Wikipedia, but..


"Although Einstein had early speech difficulties, he was a top student in elementary school".[10][11]

10 Rosenkranz, Ze’ev (2005). Albert Einstein – Derrière l’image. Neue Zürcher Zeitung. p. 29. ISBN 3-03823-182-7.

11 Sowell, Thomas (2001). The Einstein Syndrome: Bright Children Who Talk Late. Basic Books. pp. 89–150. ISBN 0-465-08140-1.
Message: Posted by: TonyB2009 (Apr 18, 2010 04:38PM)
I'm sorry, but the posting about Aspergers is pure hogwash. There is no evidence that Einstein had any social difficulties beyond the normal. He could be absent minded and eccentric, but so can many people. He married twice, he got on well with colleagues and students, and he functioned normally in society.
Message: Posted by: MrHoudini666 (Aug 20, 2010 12:08AM)
Didn't Einstein get into one of the top universities at an early age?
Message: Posted by: Anatole (Jul 16, 2011 10:55AM)
I think people may be confusing the urban legend about Einstein with the factual story of Thomas Edison. Edison's mother pulled him out of school after only three months of public school because his teacher had a low opinion of his ability. Mrs. Edison taught young Tom at home. So he didn't really flunk out. He opted out.

Edison said:
"Our schools are not teaching students to think. It is astonishing how many young people have difficulty in putting their brains definitely and systematically to work."

----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
Message: Posted by: hypno_mentalist (Jul 17, 2011 02:58AM)
Cool news ))
Message: Posted by: Decomposed (Aug 4, 2011 01:48AM)
Very hard to believe.

Sidebar: Years ago in Germany going to college, I had a Professor Kohn who was taught by Einstein. I was taking an astronomy course.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jan 21, 2012 08:40PM)
Even today, conventional is the norm. In some cases, they actually can fail you for finding the correct answer in a different way! If one is too smart, they run the risk of being labelled dumb...
Message: Posted by: trear (Mar 19, 2012 04:36AM)
Einstein was not a good pupil at all, and yes, his teachers didn't hope anything from him. Maybe the environnement of school was not the best for him... Whatever, he succeded ! Well, don't believe all dumb people are genius ;)
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Mar 28, 2012 08:31AM)
I believed the story that Einstein did poorly in school, but I never thought it indicated that he was "stupid" or "mentally challenged" but rather that he was thinking in different directions from the teachers who couldn't handle real "independent thought."
Message: Posted by: Andonov (Sep 10, 2012 06:42AM)
[quote]
On 2009-08-11 21:02, TonyB2009 wrote:
[quote]
On 2009-08-08 22:35, The.Amazing.Boy wrote:
This is true and well known, not a myth at all... [/quote]
It [b]is[/b] a myth. Einstein did not thrive at everything in school, but he was not stupid and did not perform poorly. He showed a flare for mathematics but little flare for languages. He passed his final exams and got into college without difficulty. It is a pure urban legend that he was poor at school. Hogwash.
[/quote]
This. It's a comforting thought though. Even if you do poorly at school you can be the next Einstein! Unfortunately the world doesn't work that way :P.
Message: Posted by: derrenshowman (Oct 25, 2012 05:49PM)
They is still hope for dumb people.. ha
Message: Posted by: captainsmiffy (Jul 5, 2014 01:13PM)
Magicfreak2.....I know that this is old but.......E=MCsquared!! You have just rewritten the theory of relativity!!
Message: Posted by: GaMind (Aug 17, 2014 01:07PM)
It's always fun to see how often old topics come back into discussion.
Message: Posted by: LesPaltaX (Aug 19, 2017 04:47PM)
Einstein's marks report is actually on the internet. He had lots of 1's and 2's.
The thing is, in Germany, at the time, 1 was the best mark and 6 was the worst, so he did actually pretty good at almost everything.

Myth.
Message: Posted by: DaKine Oregon (Feb 19, 2018 10:10AM)
Wikipedia says: Contrary to popular mythology, Einstein always excelled at maths and physics from a young age, reaching a mathematical level years ahead of his peers. The twelve year old Einstein taught himself algebra and Euclidean geometry over a single summer. Einstein also independently discovered his own original proof of the Pythagorean theorem at age 12. A family tutor Max Talmud says that after he had given the 12 year old Einstein a geometry textbook, after a short time "[Einstein] had worked through the whole book. He thereupon devoted himself to higher mathematics... Soon the flight of his mathematical genius was so high I could not follow." His passion for geometry and algebra led the twelve year old to become convinced that nature could be understood as a "mathematical structure". Einstein started teaching himself calculus at 12, and as a 14 year old he says he had "mastered integral and differential calculus".
Message: Posted by: TomB (Jul 22, 2019 08:22PM)
I once got a report card with many E's. The legend was E meant excellent. I believe the same is true with Einstein failed math myth. His grade was good, but taken out of context.

He did fail one test, but it was written in another language (French), however, it was not math.