Albert Einstein’s Son: Hans Albert Einstein

Hans Albert Einstein was the second child of Albert Einstein and Mileva Maric. He was an engineer and was a long-standing professor at the University of California, Berkeley, where he taught Hydraulic Engineering.

Hans Albert was born in Bern, Switzerland, on the 14th of May, 1904. At the time, his father, Albert Einstein, worked at the patent office as a clerk. Hans Albert had a younger brother named Eduard Einstein and a sister named Lieserl, who died of scarlet fever as an infant. In 1919, his parents divorced.

Hans Albert received his education at Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH), the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, in Zurich. He graduated with a diploma in civil engineering in 1926.

The following year, he married Frieda Knecht, and together, they had four children: Bernhard Caesar Einstein, Klaus Martin Einstein, David Einstein, and Evelyn Einstein. Frieda died in 1958 when she collapsed during a concert she was attending with Hans. Hans never recovered from the pain of losing Frieda, but he decided to marry again in 1959, this time to a neurochemist named Elizabeth Roboz.

Hans Albert started working on a bridge in Dortmund, where he was employed as a steel designer from 1926 to 1930. Hans Albert followed this up by working as a research engineer for the next eight years at the Laboratory of Hydraulics and Soil Mechanics at ETH. In 1936, he was conferred a doctor’s degree in technical science. His thesis, “Bed Load Transport as a Probability Problem,” is still regarded today as authoritative on the subject. He duly received acclaim in hydraulic engineering in 1988 when the American Society of Civil Engineers created the “Hans Albert Einstein Award.” This award is given yearly in honor of Hans Albert to anyone who is able to offer advancements in the field.

In 1938, Hans Albert followed his father’s advice to leave Germany and moved from Switzerland to South Carolina. There, he worked from 1938 to 1943 for the United States Department of Agriculture, applying his knowledge of sediment transport. In 1943, he worked at the California Institute of Technology under the USDA. Then, in 1947, he became an associate professor at the University of California, where he taught hydraulic engineering. He moved forward, becoming a full professor and, eventually, professor emeritus.

In 1953, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, followed by recognition from the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1959 and 1960. He received the Berkeley Citation from the University of California in 1971, and in the same year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture conferred on him the Certificate of Merit.

In 1973, while at a conference in Massachusetts, Hans Albert had heart failure and died. The Riverside Libraries at the Water Resources Collections and Archives in the University of California preserve his research papers, as does the University of Iowa Libraries Special Collections and Archives.