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Science and Life of Albert Einstein

Science and Life of Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein

In this course we discuss the science and life of Albert Einstein in the context of his time. We look into the major innovations of his science, and his involvement in key social and political changes of his age. You will learn about his theory of relativity, his contributions to quantum mechanics, as well as his criticism of it, and his ideas about the existence of atoms, in relation to the scientific, philosophical and cultural context of the early 20th century. Furthermore we will discuss his political involvement in the Weimar republic, his pacifism, Zionism and stance on nuclear armament.

Lecturer: prof.dr. J.A.E.F. van Dongen

At the end of the course the student:

  • Has acquired understanding of the science and life of Albert Einstein in the context of his time.
  • Can show the ability to display this understanding in written academic English or Dutch.


This course is open for UvA students and other interested parties, such as contract students or students from other institutions. You can register from 6 December until a week before the start of the course. 

Register UvA students (look for code 5512SLAE6Y)

Register other interested parties

If you have any trouble while registering please contact: 

Teaching method

  • Lecture
  • Seminar
  • work independently on eg. project / thesis
  • Guidance / feedback session


The schedule for this course is published on DataNose.

Study materials

  • Literature:
    • Walther Isaacson, Einstein. His Life and Universe, New York: Simon and Schuster, 2007. Costs roughly 15 euro; otherwise literature that is available in library.


Check the website.

Min/max participants

Max. 50

Assessment and testing

Sit down exam (tentamen); writing assignment.


Teaching assistants will guide the writing assignments in three sessions. They will offer feedback and guide the choice of subject and literature. Writing assignment can be done in Dutch or English.

Science and Life of Albert Einstein
Mode Short-term
Credits 6 ECTS,
Language of instruction English
Starts in February