Recently, I listened (yes, listen; it's an audio book from Audible.com) to the biography of Einstein: Einstein: His Life and Universe.
Since I was small, I've always heard about Einstein's name. I even needed to study his relativity theory when I took my last physics class in college. (And, honestly, I still don't understand why the returning brother in Twin Paradox is older than the one who stays on the Earth) However, learning his life is quite a different experience.
No one will doubt that the most significant contributions of Einstein to the academic world were his introductions of special and general theories of relativity in 1905 and 1915. Since his great breakthrough in 1915, he started to purse the Unified Field Theory, an attempt to unify the gravitational and electromagnetic forces. Despite his repeated failures, he kept on tweaking his mathematical models and assumptions.
When he died in the Princeton Hospital on the 18th of April, 1955, twelve pieces of paper full of scribbled mathematical equations were found beside him. During the few days before his death, he was still working on his Unified Field Theory. I'm sure he knew that he didn't have time to finish his work. He just wanted to bring the world one step closer to the completion of the theory, even the theory may not exist in the first place.
How many people can be so committed to pursue their dreams until the last moments in their lives?
Although Einstein didn't complete his theory, I think he was blessed to leave the world when he was still on the road to his belief. It's much like a singer dies when s/he is performing on the stage, like Wong Ka Kui.
To me, it's the most dignified way to finish a life's journey... (*__* )
Afterthought: So, as a programmer, I'll then have to die in front of a computer, and I'd better be coding at that moment :P