Einstein studied at the Institute of Technology in Zurich and received his doctorate in 1905 at the age of 26. That same year, he published five groundbreaking scientific papers. The first paper earned him his doctorate, and the concepts presented in the next four papers helped change our understanding of the universe. The topics were:. Einstein proposed that light is composed of separate packets of energy, called -- quanta or photons -- that have some properties of particles and some properties of waves.