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Science and Life of Albert Einstein

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Areas of Interest: 

Human Health & Life Sciences, The Human Condition and Information Era


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.


Prof.dr. J.A.E.F. van Dongen

Recommended prior knowledge

Open to second or third year Bachelor students. Knowledge of secondary school science curricula required. University level science is not required, but an open mind to the exact sciences is very much required.

Learning objectives

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 second or third year UvA students and students from other institutions. Not available for contract students and employees. You can register from 3 December until a week before the start of the course. 

If you have any trouble while registering please contact: 

Teaching format

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


The schedule for this course is published on DataNose.

Study materials

LiteratureWalther 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.

Number of participants

Max. 50


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.

Areas of Interest:

Human Health & Life Sciences, The Human Condition and Information Era.

Facts & Figures
Mode Short-term
Credits 6 ECTS,
Language of instruction English
Starts in February