ETH ENTRANCE EXAMINATION 11 part tested Einstein orally on literary history, political history, descriptive natural sciences, and fluency in German it also included a written German essay. The spe- cialized scientific part included oral examinations in arithmetic, algebra, geometry, descriptive geometry, physics, and chemistry it also required submission of technical and free-hand drawings.[6] Einstein failed to gain admission, apparently because of poor performance on the general part of the examination.[7] Yet he must have done well on the scientific part, since physics professor H. F. Weber gave Einstein permission to attend his lectures if Einstein stayed in Zurich.[8] But he followed Director Herzog's advice to finish his secondary education at the Aargau Kantonsschule, and spent a year in the town of Aarau, 50 kilometers west of Zurich.[9] The Aargau cantonal school system was well known in Switzerland for its liberal, secular educational tradition.[10] When Einstein entered the Kantonsschule in late October 1895, it consisted of a Gymnasium with fifty-six pupils and a Technical- Commercial School (Gewerbeschule) with ninety pupils.[11] Three scientists had dominated the development of the Kantonsschule for some time.[12] Physicist August Tuchschmid (1855-1939), who had previously been Weber's Assistent at the ETH, was the rector.[13] He had equipped an excellent physics laboratory, to which a small dynamo and other electrotechnical equipment were adding during the year Einstein attended.[14] Friedrich Mühlberg (1840-1915), Pro– [6] See Appendix C for a complete list of topics required for this examination. [7] "Die Prüfung zeigte mir schmerzlich die Lückenhaftigkeit meiner Vorbildung, trotz- dem die Prüfenden geduldig und verständ- nisvoll waren. Daß ich durchfiel, empfand ich als voll berechtigt" (Einstein 1955, p. 145). MWE, this volume, p. lxv, attributes the fail- ure to unsatisfactory results in linguistic and historical subjects Kayser 1930, p. 45, ascribes it to a deficient knowledge of languages and of descriptive natural science. [8] See Einstein 1955, pp. 145-146. In general candidates who did not gain admission to a section were not allowed to audit obligatory courses in that section (see ETH Programm 1895a, p. [3]). During the winter semester of 1895-1896, Weber offered physics to second– year students (see ETH Programm 1896b, p. 7). [9] For Herzog's advice, see Einstein 1955, p. 146. Aarau is the principal town in the canton of Aargau. [10] Hans Byland (1878-1949), a schoolmate of Einstein's, recalled: "An der Aargauischen Kantonsschule wehte in den 90er Jahren ein scharfer Wind der Skepsis, worauf schon die Tatsache hindeutet, daß aus meiner Klasse, so wenig als aus den zwei nächsten, kein Theologe hervorging. In diese Atmosphäre paßte der kecke Schwabe [Einstein] nicht übel..."(Byland 1928). [11] See Aargau Programm 1895/96, p. 15. In April 1896, the Gewerbeschule was divided into a Technical Section (Technische Abtei- lung) and a Commercial Section (Handelsab- teilung). About two-thirds of the pupils, in- cluding Einstein, remained in the Technical Section (see Aargau Programm 1896/97, p. 14), which was often referred to as the Gewerbe- schule after the change. [12] For the history of the Kantonsschule, see Aargau Kantonsschule 1952, Tuchschmid 1902, and Zur Erinnerung 1897. See Aargau Kantonsschule 1952, pp. 109-112, for the role of the three scientists. [13] See Tuchschmid's talk at his jubilee cele- bration (Zschokke 1923, pp. 41-48). [14] See ibid., p. 37. For an account of equip- ment added to the physics laboratory in the new school building, opened in April 1896, see Aargau Programm 1896/97, p. 56.
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