Summary of ‘Albert Einstein at School’ with Important Questions/Answers, Class XI, Chapter-4, English (Snapshots)

Summary of Albert Einstein at School

By : Patrick Pringle

This chapter centers around Albert Einstein who is considered as one of the greatest physicists of all time. This extract describes the circumstances which lead to his expulsion from a German school.

When this chapter begins, we find Albert arguing with his history teacher over learning of dates. His teacher holds him responsible for being lenient and distracting others from studies. He even ridicules Albert for knowing all the things and calls him a disgrace in front of the whole class.

This incidents makes Albert feel miserable when he leaves school that afternoon. He never wanted to study in such a school that emphasizes more on rote learning than understanding the concepts and ideas.

The narrator discusses his lodgings where Albert never wanted to leave. According to the narrator, his landlady was very ruthless who used to beat her children ruthlessly. Even the food, he was served there was dirt and squalor. In short, Albert never felt pleased living over there.

In those days, Albert used to have a friend namely Yuri who counselled him not to leave that school. Yuri and Edla (his cousin) try their level best to compare his life to the people worse than him but fail to make any difference. They Yuri gives him best of the solution of getting a nervous breakdown certificate made from one of his doctor friends who had qualified last week. Albert agrees to it, an appointment is fixed and he goes to see that doctor on his appointment day.

Doctor Ernst Weil knew everything beforehand as he was narrated each and everything by Yuri about Albert  and his disliking about the school.  While talking to him, the doctor realizes that Albert was seriously on the verge of being the victim of nervous troubles. Albert tells his plans to the doctor that he wants to go to Italy to get into an Italian College in order to learn mathematics. Having talked to him, Doctor Ernst Weil hands him over that certificate and certifies that he needs rest for six months which can help him in getting rid of his school forever.

Albert feels pleased after receiving that certificate. He goes to meet his mathematics teacher Mr. Koch and latter gives him a reference in written so that he can get admission in a good college. His teacher calls him a prodigy and says that he cannot teach him anymore. He also praises Albert highlighting his quality of teaching his mathematics teacher.

Before Albert could go out to hand over his certificate to his head teacher, he is summoned to head’s room and  ordered to leave the school as his presence disturbs others in the class and no serious work can be done when he is there. Albert and the head master both agree to former’s leaving the school without creating any mess.

Albert feels very pleased leaving that school and goes to the country wherein he wanted to build his dreams.


Important Questions/Answers.

Q1. What was the chief cause of Albert’s argument with his history teacher?

Ans. Albert was never interested in learning the dates already given in the books whereas his history teacher insisted on his learning for the same. Therefore, they both had a heated argument with each other.


Q2. How did Yuri help Albert in getting rid of his school?

Ans. Albert had always wanted to leave his school as he was not,at all, interested in cramming the content being taught by his teachers at school. When he shared his problem with his friend,Yuri, he suggested him to meet one of his good friends, a doctor by profession, who helped Albert in getting a certificate of nervous breakdown.


Q3. Why did Albert not like to stay at his lodgings?

Ans. Albert was a studious child who wanted isolation and peace for his studies. On the other hand, his landlady used to howl at as well as beat her kids everyday and, on every Saturday, her husband came and beat her. That created a lot of chaos in his life therefore, he did not like his lodgings at all.


Q4. Who was Elsa? What did she advise Albert to do in order to pass? How did Albert react to it?

Ans. Elsa was cousin of Albert Einstein who always encouraged Albert to do what he liked. Once, she advised Albert to cram the things and pass the exams as other foolish boys would do. Albert made it very clear that he would neither cram the things nor learn them as they were useless and of no importance.


Q5. Who was Mr. Koch? Why did Albert say that he liked only his classes in the school?

Ans. Mr. Koch was a teacher of Mathematics who had been teaching Albert in his school for a long time. Albert had a keen interest in reading math especially when taught by a teacher like Mr. Koch. Therefore, when Albert went to take a written reference from his math teacher, he told his teacher that he enjoyed only math classes in his school.


Q6. How did the certificate of nervous breakdown prove useless to Albert Einstein?

Ans. After taking the certificate of nervous breakdown from Dr. Ernst Weil, Albert went to his school for getting the reference from his math teacher so that he could leave his school on medical grounds. On reaching there, he was summoned by the head teacher and expelled from the school for his misbehave with his history teacher. Therefore, that certificate, taken from Dr. Earns Weil, proved useless to him.


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