Posts in Science
Humans Vs. Pilot Whales: Who's More Intelligent?
Photo Courtesy of The Simpsons

Photo Courtesy of The Simpsons

Who's the smartest in the Animal Kingdom?

I found myself asking this question after seeing an article argue over which species was more intelligent, cats or dogs. There are conflicting reports on that issue and the article I just linked has a misnomer title, but all of that aside, my first query was how do researchers look for intelligence in the first place? You can, of course, monitor the life of an animal and give it different tasks to test its problem solving abilities or you can dig deeper and look at the numbers.

It seems to the Vanderbilt University and others that intelligence can be measured in relation to the amount of cortical neurons a brain has. I read this and thought, like in life, dry numbers don't always equal a solid conclusion when it comes to emotions, habits, general thought processes, and creativity. It seems that you must consider evolutionary history and environment as well. 

Photo courtesy of Jonathon Bird's Blue World and Wes's Sick Squat Skills

Photo courtesy of Jonathon Bird's Blue World and Wes's Sick Squat Skills

Going off neurons in the cerebral cortex alone, which is where most information processing occurs, science tells us that the Pilot Whale is almost twice as smart as we are.

Species/Neurons - Screenshot from Wikipedia

Species/Neurons - Screenshot from Wikipedia

So why do we rule the world and they don't? Environmental advantages.

1. We Live on Land

Living on land has given us a lot of advantages. We're privy to more materials. We can spark fires here. We can skateboard. (That applies to everyone right?)

There were, of course, land issues at first:

  • Respiration
  • Gravity
  • Desiccation


Photo courtesy of Know Your Meme

Photo courtesy of Know Your Meme

2. We Have Hands

Mainly I'm referring to our thumb and index finger, but the rest of the hand is great too (just not AS great. Fight me, other fingers.) We can grab anything we want! Just don't go the Kevin Spacey route.


3. We've Written Down Our Knowledge

Even though the Pilot Whale may be able to process more information than we can, it is not evident that they have passed their knowledge in an overarching way to their descendants; no more so than other animals have. Once we discovered/invented writing, we changed the game. 

It doesn't appear as if our brains have changed in a drastic way from 10,000 years ago in relation to how big our brains are or how many neurons we as humans have. This seems to point in the direction of environmental pressures, adaptability, and communication over long periods of time. 



Humans are smarter, but only because we have evolutionary advantages that extend past an adherence to a certain amount of neurons in a specific place within our brain, though neuron counts are a large component.

According to Marc Hauser, director of the cognitive evolution lab at Harvard University, there are four main cognitive factors that distinguish us from all other life on Earth, (that we know of). I've given you my "why/what", now here's Hauser's "what":

1. Generative computation

Humans can generate a practically limitless variety of words and concepts. We do so through two modes of operation recursive and combinatorial. The recursive operation allows us to apply a learned rule to create new expressions. In combinatorial operations, we mix different learned elements to create a new concept.

2. Promiscuous combination of ideas

Promiscuous combination of ideas allows the mingling of different domains of knowledge such as art, sex, space, causality and friendship thereby generating new laws, social relationships and technologies.”

3. Mental symbols

Mental symbols are our way of encoding sensory experiences. They form the basis of our complex systems of language and communication. We may choose to keep our mental symbols to ourselves, or represent them to others using words or pictures.

4. Abstract thought

Abstract thought is the contemplation of things beyond what we can sense.

This is not to say that our mental faculties sprang fully formed out of nowhere. Researchers have found some of the building blocks of human cognition in other species. But these building blocks make up only the cement foot print of the skyscraper that is the human mind. The evolutionary origins of our cognitive abilities thus remain rather hazy. Clarity is emerging from novel insights and experimental technologies, however.
— Marc Hauser
Incredible Insect Micro Sculptures by Levon Biss
Micro miniatures (also called micro art or micro sculptures) is a fine art form. Micro miniatures are made by using a microscope to take a photograph in sections and then blending the final product.
— Wikipedia
What I imagine Levon says to himself each day as an affirmation. 

What I imagine Levon says to himself each day as an affirmation. 

Per my morning routine, I was listening to a TED Talk that happen to feature a photographer named Levon Biss. Although his career is in normal photography, his dive into creating micro sculpture photographs came about more recently, as he explains from the TED stage. in a presentation called, "Levon Biss: Mind-blowing, magnified portraits of insects".

Levon's side transition into micro sculptures happened by chance when his son brought a beetle from a nearby garden into the house. As him and his son viewed it under a microscope, his son had received for Christmas, he realized how beautiful this particular beetle species (that he passed each day) actually was. His interest in insects and how they looked close up began. 

If you visit his website, you can see a catalogue of his work.

After listening to the TED Talk, I was eager to see these photographs for myself. Needless to say, I wasn't disappointed. Two of my favorites are the Orchid Cuckoo Bee and the Tricoloured Jewel Beetle:

On his website, you can zoom in on each picture and see the incredible details of each bug that he's captured.

As you can see in the video earlier in the article, his art is on display in the form of large, hi-def photographs that move from museum to museum, wowing visitors along the way. 

Display at the Naturhistorisches Museum Basel in Basel, Switzerland being shown through October 29, 2017.

Display at the Naturhistorisches Museum Basel in Basel, Switzerland being shown through October 29, 2017.

Will the American West Coast Ever Be Hit by a Hurricane? [Journal of Events]

August 25, 2017:

As I've been driving into work each day this week, signs have been notifying everyone that a hurricane will probably hit southern Texas. They advise not driving in that direction. I'm sure others have seen these signs and have heard about the terrible weather headed that way. This got me thinking: Will a hurricane ever hit the west coast in the future?

Why aren't hurricanes hitting the west coast now?

The reason for this is that hurricanes generally only manifest in waters that are 80 degrees higher. States like Oregon, Washington, and California never experience this type of weather because their waters remain at 75 degrees or below. 

We all learned about this trait of severe storms in elementary school, but the recent news had me pondering, "If global warming is heating our oceans, when can we expect American west coast oceans to warm above 80 degrees and begin to produce hurricanes?"

As I was researching rates through Science Mag's AAAC, I decided to reach out to NOAA via Twitter for an answer (with a closely followed corrective tweet in my word-use).


A few hours went by with no response, so I reached out directly to former astronaut and current NOAA Adminstrator Kathryn D. Sullivan via email. Again, hours went by, which makes sense. She's an incredibly busy person. 

August 28, 2017:

It's now been a few days with no response, so I'm going to try and find the answer myself. 

Visiting NOAA's website, I found the temperatures for twelve different spots along America's western coast. (I only used areas with recent temperatures.)

I'm only using areas with the above recent temperatures for an average of 56.3 degrees. Since I'm trying to create a predictive temperature scale, I need a broader time frame. I'll continue my search.

According to a report published in Science Mag, the oceans are warming 15 times faster now than they have in the last 10,000 years. 

In its latest report, released in September, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) noted the recent slowdown in the rate of global warming. While global temperatures rose by about one-fifth of a degree Fahrenheit per decade from the 1950s through 1990s, warming slowed to just half that rate after the record hot year of 1998. The IPCC has attributed the pause to natural climate fluctuations caused by volcanic eruptions, changes in solar intensity, and the movement of heat through the ocean. Many scientists note that 1998 was an exceptionally hot year even by modern standards, and so any average rise using it as a starting point would downplay the longer-term warming trend.

So, here's what I've figured out so far:

Calculating surface temperatures probably won't give me an exact time frame, but rather just a poor guesstimate. It seems that to get an exact time frame, I would need to calculate the total energy housed in a climate system. This includes the melting of glaciers, water vapor according to a hygrometer/psychrometer, the amount of snow cover, and other climate system indicators. Let's go a different route.

I'm going to reach out to and ask the same question.

August 30, 2017:

Still no response from Ask A Scientist, so I've sent the question to NASA via their Ask-A-Geologist contact page. Hopefully they will respond. Until then, I'll be here just patiently waiting.


September 7, 2017:

Finally an answer.

After reaching out to multiple sources for an answer, I was finally contacted by Sharon Fitzgerald of the USGS who said:

Hi Eric,

I am sorry to take so long in answering your question. I hope people in Texas are recovering.

According to this article, while warming to >80 degrees F will be conducive to hurricane formation, the movement is still going to be away from the US coast.
— SF

She ended the email by sending me to an article called, "Why do hurricanes hit the East Coast of the U.S. but never the West Coast?" published on the Scientific American website. Here I found what I was looking for and found that I was halfway to the answer.

Finally, an Answer:

The original question was when will hurricanes hit the west coast in the future since waters are slowly warming. The answer comes in two parts:

1. First, it's due to colder water temperatures, which is what we found earlier on in this article.

2. Second, and the rest of the puzzle:

[...]hurricanes in the northern hemisphere form at tropical and subtropical latitudes and then tend to move toward the west-northwest. In the Atlantic, such a motion often brings the hurricane into the vicinity of the East Coast of the U.S. In the Northeast Pacific, the same west-northwest track carries hurricanes farther offshore, well away from the U.S. West Coast.
— SA: Chris W. Landsea - a researcher at the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory/Hurricane Research Division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Want to donate to victims of Hurricane Harvey? Click Here.

5 Books That Changed My Life.

1. The Last Lecture

(Click Image For More Info)

(Click Image For More Info)

Awhile back, CMU created a lecture series called, "The Last Lecture". The idea was to have different professors give a lecture as if it was the last one they would ever give. Sadly, the book, The Last Lecture, is based off of Randy Pausch who actually had terminal cancer. I picked this book up at Half Price awhile back and read it cover to cover without putting it down. There is a wealth of knowledge and life lessons in his last lecture entitled, "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams." You can watch the entire lecture below, but I recommend reading the book as well! 

The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.
— Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

2. Tough Shit

(Click Image For More Info)

(Click Image For More Info)

Tough Shit is an autobiography of sorts about one of my favorite film makers, Kevin Smith. Kevin Smith writes with such a humble pen throughout the book and is incredibly honest (and descriptive) with each chapter. He talks about the movie business, his personal life, and everything in between. I hope one day I can meet Kevin and interview him or just have a private conversation. Kevin and his book have inspired me in my own writings and creative projects. I would also suggest you follow him on Instagram and Twitter!

Remember: It costs nothing to encourage an artist, and the potential benefits are staggering. A pat on the back to an artist now could one day result in your favorite film, or the cartoon you love to get stoned watching, or the song that saves your life. Discourage an artist, you get absolutely nothing in return, ever.
— Kevin Smith, Tough Shit: Life Advice from a Fat, Lazy Slob Who Did Good

3. The Dharma Bums

(Click Image For More Info)

(Click Image For More Info)

I read Jack Kerouac's "Dharma Bums" about 4 years ago and I still find myself thinking about it about once a month. Kerouac had a way with describing scenes and human emotions that I feel no one else ever has. He's prolific throughout and incredibly personable at the same time. I've yet to read a book since that makes nature, travel, and life discovery so vibrant and attractive. I advise that you read it and then go find your own adventure.

I felt like lying down by the side of the trail and remembering it all. The woods do that to you, they always look familiar, long lost, like the face of a long-dead relative, like an old dream, like a piece of forgotten song drifting across the water, most of all like golden eternities of past childhood or past manhood and all the living and the dying and the heartbreak that went on a million years ago and the clouds as they pass overhead seem to testify (by their own lonesome familiarity) to this feeling.
— Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

4. Einstein's Unfinished Revolutions

(Click Image For More Info)

(Click Image For More Info)

I always add this book to my list of favorites, because it's the book that started me on my path toward leaving organized religion and introducing me to the wonders of science. (If you're wondering why it took so long for science to resonate within me, It's important to note that most of my schooling was at christian schools which taught creation science.) Einstein's Unfinished Revolutions hardly ever touches on the subject of religion though and the way author Paul Davies makes science feel and look is incredibly captivating, or at least it was to eighteen year old me. I will forever keep my copy of this book and recommend it to others. 

Until now, I’ve been writing about “now” as if it were literally an instant of time, but of course human faculties are not infinitely precise. It is simplistic to suppose that physical events and mental events march along exactly in step, with the stream of “actual moments” in the outside world and the stream of conscious awareness of them perfectly synchronized. The cinema industry depends on the phenomenon that what seems to us a movie is really a succession of still pictures, running at twenty-five [sic] frames per second. We don’t notice the joins. Evidently the “now” of our conscious awareness stretches over at least 1/25 of a second.

In fact, psychologists are convinced it can last a lot longer than that. Take the familiar “tick-tock” of the clock. Well, the clock doesn’t go “tick-tock” at all; it goes “tick-tick,” every tick producing the same sound. It’s just that our consciousness runs two successive ticks into a singe “tick-tock” experience—but only if the duration between ticks is less than about three seconds. A really bug pendulum clock just goes “tock . . . tock . . . tock,” whereas a bedside clock chatters away: “ticktockticktock...” Two to three seconds seems to be the duration over which our minds integrate sense data into a unitary experience, a fact reflected in the structure of human music and poetry.
— Paul Davies, About Time: Einstein's Unfinished Revolution

5. Pale Blue Dot

(Click Image For More Info)

(Click Image For More Info)

The opening to this book is incredibly powerful. Even if you don't have time to read through one or all of the books on this list, I highly recommend watching at least the video below, which is read by Carl Sagan himself. His words and this book apply just as much today, if not more than it did when it was written. The Pale Blue Dot forever changed my perspective on what it means to be a human on this planet.

Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.
— Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space
Sperm, Poop, and Other Stuff. Is It Safe to Add to Your Diet?

The questions in this article are ones no one asked about, but everyone secretly wants to know the answers to. Let's face it, there are a lot of diets out there and a lot of them don't even know the science behind what they're selling. That doesn't mean all diets are bad though and anytime you're trying to eat healthier is a good thing.

Having said that, the different "foods" I've listed and questioned in this article are bodily treats I laid awake thinking about last week. I wasn't planning on adding them to my diet per say, but WHAT IF? I'll do my best to break down the science of what would happen to your body if you were to add such items to your diet and give you my opinion on each. Let's dive in.

1. Sperm

Photo Courtesy of Shady Grove Fertility

Photo Courtesy of Shady Grove Fertility

Besides your breathe always smelling like chlorine and tasting peroxide-like, (that's the word on the streets, y'all), sperm as a main ingredient in your diet plan probably wouldn't be the best idea. It wouldn't be HORRIBLE I suppose, but it definitely wouldn't be great to solely eat it in place of normal protein. First off, what happens when you swallow sperm? According to   

When sperm is ingested by swallowing semen, the sperm will be broken down and absorbed into the bloodstream as if consuming water, milk, or gelatin. If it’s semen (the liquid that carries the sperm from the penis) that a person is worried about, ingesting one’s own semen is safe if that person is free of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
— Columbia

Okay, cool, so it's safe, but what if I wanted to exclusively eat those little tadpoles and goo? What would happen? Luckily, for this article and the useless knowledge area of your brain, scientists figured out that a serving of sperm is about 5 calories, and since we normally need around 1600-2400 to function properly (give or take depending on gender, size, etc.) this would be a pretty difficult diet to maintain.

Let’s then assume the average man can ejaculate on average twice a day (and some days that’s being generous). Thus, you would need the man juices of 195 men every single day in order to intake just the calories.
— Nambot [Reddit]

2. Urine

Photo courtesy of readers digest

Photo courtesy of readers digest

I mean, they drank their own pee on Jackass so it's all good right? Everyone says it's sterile. It heals jelly fish stings or something right? At least that's what my priest told me in his private chambers. 

I needed a real answer, so I traveled the magical internet waves. Turns out you should never drink your pee, and no, it's not sterile. Apparently, that's a myth created in the 1950's likely by an experiment conducted by Edward Kass, an epidemiologist at Harvard Medical. He began screening pre-op surgery patients for urinary tract infections and the samples that passed were marked "negative."

Wait, so, could it be introduced into a diet?

Each time you put it [pee] back it will come out again even more concentrated and that is not good for health as it could damage the gut. If you are stranded, your body will try to conserve as much water as it can. Drinking your urine would be like drinking seawater.
— Gizmodo

3. Feces

Poop Demon from Dogma

Poop Demon from Dogma

I'm sure by now you're regretting reading this article, but if you're thinking about giving up now, take this advice from Michael Scott and...

Photo courtesy of The Office

Photo courtesy of The Office

We all know poop is just a food's solid/smelly ghost, but what would happen if you ate it as a diet? We can already guess that it would smell bad and therefore probably taste worst. Is it healthy though? Not exactly, but it's surprisingly not too bad either.

A big difference between urine and poop is that urine is sterile while poop is, well, you know, smelly and full of bacteria.

That said, those are the same bacteria that live in your gut and play many healthy roles in your body, so coprophagy [Ed.: this means “eating poop,” write it down] is not necessarily unhealthy unless the poop originates from an unhealthy individual.
— Daniel Pomp, PhD, professor, UNC School of Global Public Health

Conclusion: Is it safe to eat? Maybe. Should you create a diet out of it? I'm not your mother. You do what you want! Rub it all over your body and house if you want!

4. Boogers

Photo courtesy of The Simpsons

Photo courtesy of The Simpsons

There was always that one kid who ate boogers in school and that one guy or girl who kept eating them as an adult...but enough about me. Is it safe to eat your boogers and add it to your diet? My homie Scott Napper thinks so!

One of the more credible sounding proponents of the habit is Scott Napper, a professor of biochemistry who made waves around the world’s media outlets in 2013 when he half-heartedly proposed to a group of his students that eating one’s boogers allows our bodies to safely develop anti-bodies to the weakened pathogens present in our snot and noses. He also suggested that the reason boogers have a sugary taste is to entice children to eat them, thus helping bolster their immune systems…
— Scott Napper

I feel like I was just joking when I started this booger section and now I'm considering it as a pre-workout snack. However, it turns out that Scott was just trying to get students interested in science and experimenting. He hasn't actually done any research on his particular hypothesis.

So to sum up, at least to date, there is no scientific proof that ingesting snot by passing it through your mouth is beneficial. That said, it is plausible that the snot we do all ingest all the time is benefiting us in the way snot-eating proponents suggest. It’s just that we don’t need to put it into our mouths to see the benefit, if such a benefit does exist as hypothesized.
— Karl Smallwood

So, then...MAYBE it's good?

5. Toenail Clippings

This came from a Pinterest post about toenail art. Just F.Y.I.

This came from a Pinterest post about toenail art. Just F.Y.I.

Last, but certainly not least, we come to toenails - the delicious night time snack we've all come to enjoy. Wait, just me? Is it safe to consume toenail clippings? My gut feeling is, OH HELL YEAH. They're basically just toe Doritos, right?

Eating your nails will not kill you, but it can wear down tooth enamel and cause damage to teeth. Also, the area under the fingernails is one of the dirtiest places on your body. Putting your hands in your mouth (without washing them first) is a way to get sick and biting your nails only makes things worse. Sharp nails you swallow could damage the epithelial lining of your esophagus and stomach (possibly causing infections).
— Health Network

You just have to worry about infections and getting sick. Nothing too crazy!

So, look, I don't know about you, but I think we've all come to the same conclusion after learning what will happen to our bodies if we eat these 5 items: 

"Bring on the bodily treats."

"Bring on the bodily treats."

Logic and Neil DeGrasse Tyson Conversate ('Converse', for the butthurt)

I was so excited to open up my YouTube subscriptions page today and see one of my favorite rappers discuss a wide variety of topics with one of my favorite scientists. Good job, Complex Magazine for bringing these two together in an interview.

If you're unaware, Tyson and Logic teamed up on Logic's new album to create a concept album. I have a lot of opinions on the topics they discuss, but talking about them from my perspective, in this case, I think would do a disservice to the video you're about to watch. Let's just leave it at, "I agree". 

International Space Station Video Tour
Photo Courtesy of the BBC

Photo Courtesy of the BBC

One of my most recent dreams to come about in my 20's has been to go to space. The Micro-gravity mixed with the adventure involved of going to space is incredibly alluring. Maybe one day...but until that day, I'll have to live vicariously through NASA media.

The video I'm creating this post about, aptly titled, "ONE OF THE MOST DETAILED ISS TOUR!!!", is indeed an amazing walk through of the International Space Station. Looking at pictures of the ISS internally, everything looks like an overly crowded, military lab of tubes and buttons without any discernible applications. This tour, by astronaut Steven Swanson, runs us through what most things and areas are used for while traveling through the different nodes and areas of the station.

I enjoyed this video a lot and really wanted to share it with anyone who also finds what makes space travel possible interesting. Enjoy!  

Free Online Educational Resources, All in One Place.

When I first started this website about two years ago, one of the projects I began to build out was an all-in-one page for free online learning. The concept was simple, yet important to me since my interests, like others, varies from week to week. I wanted to create an index for free educational spots all over the Internet, so that's what I did. 

Educate Yourself

The Educate Yourself page is dedicated to bringing FREE education from around the web to everyone, all in one place.

Educate Yourself has grown more and more as time goes by. I have recently updated it with not only links to all of these sites, but also a constantly updating stream of videos from various E-learning channels. As education becomes more readily available, these resources become more and more important as an alternative or sidekick to attending a university. Some of these sites, like Coursera, offer actual credits from large and generally expensive schools(though this has a small price).

If you, the reader, have any suggestions of websites for me to add, let me know! Please share this page as well so everyone will have access to these resources. Enjoy!

Happy Birthday, Einstein!
Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia

Perhaps one of the most important scientist of the twentieth century, Albert Einstein changed physics and our entire understanding of the universe. Even today, his ideas are being proven to be true. To celebrate one of my(our) favorite scientists, I present to you a great documentary with a lot of great physicists from our time.

Einstein's Timeline of Achievements:

March 14, 1879: ·Albert Einstein is born in Ulm, Germany, the first child of Hermann and Pauline Einstein. 

June 21, 1880: ·The Einstein family moves to Munich, Germany. 

March 31, 1885: ·Einstein enrolls in the second grade of a Catholic elementary school called the Petersschule. He receives Jewish religious instruction at home and also begins taking violin lessons. 

October 1, 1888: ·Einstein is accepted at the Luitpold Gymnasium 

Fall 1889: ·The medical student Max Talmud begins joining the Einstein family regularly for dinner and introduces Albert to scientific and philosophical writings. 

June 1894: ·The Einstein family moves to Milan, Italy, but Einstein remains in Munich to complete his education at the Gymnasium. 

December 29, 1894: ·Einstein drops out of the Luitpold Gymnasium and joins his family in Milan. 

October 26, 1895: ·After failing the entry exam for the Zurich Polytechnic, Einstein is accepted to the trade department of the cantonal school in Aarau, Switzerland. He lives with the family of Jost Winteler, a teacher in Aarau. 

January 28, 1896: ·Einstein's officially renounces his German citizenship. 

October 1896: ·Einstein begins studying at the Zurich Polytechnic in a teachers' training program. 

July 28, 1900: ·Einstein receives his diploma as a mathematics teacher and starts work on his doctoral thesis. 

February 21, 1901: ·Einstein officially becomes a Swiss citizen. 

May-July 1901: ·Einstein works as a temporary teacher at the Technical College in Winterthur, Switzerland. 

September 1901: ·Einstein works as a teacher at a private school in Schaffhausen, Switzerland. 

Early 1902: ·Lieserl, Einstein and Mileva Maric's illegitimate daughter, is born in Hungary. 

June 16, 1902: ·Einstein is hired as a patent officer in Bern. 

January 6, 1903: ·Einstein and Mileva are married in Bern. 

April 1903: ·Einstein forms the Olympia Academy with his friends Maurice Solovine and Conrad Habicht. 

May 14, 1904: ·Hans Albert, Einstein and Mileva's first son, is born in Bern. 

March 17, 1905: ·Einstein completes his paper on quantum theory. 

May 11, 1905: ·Einstein's paper on Brownian motion is accepted by the Annalen der Physik. 

September 28, 1905: ·Einstein's paper on the special theory of relativity is published in the Annalen der Physik. 

January 15, 1906: ·Einstein receives his doctorate from the University of Zurich. 

February 28, 1908: ·Einstein becomes a privatdozent at Bern University. 

May 7, 1909: ·Einstein is appointed extraordinary professor of theoretical physics at Zurich University. 

July 28, 1910: ·Eduard, the Einsteins' second son, is born in Zurich. 

January 30, 1912: ·Einstein is appointed professor of theoretical physics at the Zurich Polytechnic. 

August 1912: ·Einstein begins collaborating with Marcel Grossman about the general theory of relativity. 

December 7, 1913: ·Einstein accepts a position at the University of Berlin. 

June 1914: ·Einstein and Mileva separate, and she returns to Zurich with their sons. 

November 1914: ·Einstein signs a "Manifesto to the Europeans" advocating his pacifist and internationalist ideals. He also completes his formulation of the general theory of relativity. 

September 1917: ·Einstein moves into the apartment of his cousin Elsa in Berlin. 

October 1, 1917: ·The Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics begins operating under Einstein's management. 

February 14, 1919: ·Einstein and Mileva obtain a divorce. 

June 2, 1919: ·Einstein marries his cousin Elsa in Berlin. 

November 6, 1919: ·A solar eclipse has allowed scientists to observe phenomena predicted by Einstein's general relativity theory, and news of the theory's confirmation is announced at a ceremonial meeting of the Royal Society of London. Einstein becomes famous. 

April 2-May 30 1921: ·Einstein visits the U.S. for the first time on a fund- raising tour for the establishment of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. 

November 9, 1922: ·Einstein wins the Nobel Prize for his work on quantum theory. 

1926: ·Heisenberg, Schroedinger, Born, and others formulate quantum mechanics on the basis of Einstein's quantum theory. 

October 1927: ·Einstein begins debating with Bohr about the new quantum mechanics at the Solvay Conference in Brussels. 

August 1932: ·Einstein is appointed to the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton. He plans to spend half a year a Princeton and the other half in Berlin. 

January 30, 1933: ·The Nazis seize power in Germany. 

March 28, 1933: ·Einstein resigns from the Prussian Academy of Sciences and declares that he will not return to Germany. 

October 17, 1933: ·Einstein moves to the United States with his wife and his secretary Helen Dukas. 

December 20, 1933: ·Elsa Einstein dies in Princeton. 

August 2, 1939: ·Einstein signs a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt urging the acceleration of atomic bomb development. 

October 1, 1940: ·Einstein becomes an American citizen. 

August 6, 1945: ·The first atomic bomb is dropped on Hiroshima. 

May 1948: ·The State of Israel is established by the United Nations. 

November 1952: ·After Chaim Weizmann's death, Einstein is offered the presidency of Israel. He declines. 

April 18, 1955: ·Einstein dies in New Jersey. His body is cremated and his papers turned over to the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. 

Timeline courtesy of SparkNotes

Go even more in-depth with Walter Issacson's "Einstein: His Life and Universe" book.