In 1901, Einstein had a paper on the capillary forces of a straw published in the prestigious Annalen der Physik. In 1905, he received his doctorate from the University of Zurich. His thesis was titled "On a new determination of molecular dimensions". That same year, which has been called Einstein's annus mirabilis or "miracle year", he published four groundbreaking papers, on the photoelectric effect, Brownian motion, special relativity, and the equivalence of matter and energy, which were to bring him to the notice of the academic world.
By 1908, he was recognized as a leading scientist, and he was appointed lecturer at the University of Berne. The following year, he quit the patent office and the lectureship to take the position of physics professor at the University of Zurich. He became a full professor at Karl-Ferdinand University in Prague in 1911. In 1914, he returned to Germany after being appointed director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics and professor at the University of Berlin.
In 1911, he had calculated that, based on his new theory of general relativity, light from another star would be bent by the Sun's gravity. That prediction was claimed confirmed by observations made by a British expedition led by Sir Arthur Eddington during the solar eclipse of May 29, 1919. (Much later, questions were raised whether the measurements were accurate enough to support such a claim.) International media reports soon made Einstein world famous.
In 1921, Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics. Because relativity was still considered somewhat controversial, it was officially bestowed for his explanation of the photoelectric effect. He also received the Copley Medal from the Royal Society in 1925.