What Did Albert Einstein do with his Nobel Prize Money?

by | Dec 1, 2017


In 1921 Albert Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his discovery of the photoelectric effect – or that light moves in packets called quanta or photons.  This was his only Nobel Prize – he did not receive a Nobel Prize for Special or General Relativity or his other discoveries. (Which is somewhat shocking, but supposedly the Nobel committee would not grant the prize for his relativity theories as they were “unproven.” Of course, they have since been proven.)

When Einstein divorced his first wife, Mileva Maric in 1919, the terms of their divorce provided that if he were to win a Nobel Prize that the prize money would go to her as a property settlement and support of their two sons.  Recently, however, personal letters of his that were discovered suggest that he kept much or all of the prize money and lost almost all of it in the stock market in the Great Depression.  If that is true, it is instructive to realize that even geniuses can’t predict stock market movements and can make poor investment choices.


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