German-born physicist and developer of the theory of relativity (1879-1955). Albert Einstein; 14 March 1879 – 18 April 1955) was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of relativity, one of the two pillars of modern physics (alongside quantum mechanics).:274 His work is also known for its influence on the philosophy of science. He is best known to the general public for his mass–energy equivalence formula E = mc2, which has been dubbed "the world's most famous equation". He received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics "for his services to theoretical physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect", a pivotal step in the development of quantum theory.
Newly published private travel diaries have revealed Albert Einstein's racist and xenophobic views. Written between October 1922 and March 1923, the diaries track his experiences in Asia and the Middle East. In them, he makes sweeping and negative generalisations, for example calling the Chinese "industrious, filthy, obtuse people". Einstein would later in life advocate for civil rights in the US, calling racism "a disease of white people”.
This is the first time the diaries have been published as a standalone volume in English. Published by Princeton University Press, The Travel Diaries of Albert Einstein: The Far East, Palestine, and Spain, 1922-1923 was edited by Ze'ev Rosenkranz, assistant director of the California Institute of Technology's Einstein Papers Project. Einstein travelled from Spain to the Middle East and via Sri Lanka, then called Ceylon, on to China and Japan. The physicist describes arriving in Port Said in Egypt and facing "Levantines of every shade... as if spewed from hell" who come aboard their ship to sell their goods. He also describes his time in Colombo in Ceylon, writing of the people: "They live in great filth and considerable stench down on the ground, do little, and need little.” But the famous physicist reserves his most cutting comments for Chinese people. According to a piece in the Guardian about the diaries, he describes Chinese children as "spiritless and obtuse", and calls it "a pity if these Chinese supplant all other races". In other entries he calls China "a peculiar herd-like nation," and "more like automatons than people", before claiming there is "little difference" between Chinese men and women, and questioning how the men are "incapable of defending themselves" from female "fatal attraction".