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... for taking the time to stop by. I hope some of these ponderings will resonate with you.

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(Unless stated otherwise, all text & pictures are © Lee Labuschagne, all rights reserved.)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

1+1+1 for 365, day 20: A life in science

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." -  Albert Einstein

Einstein - A life in Science,  by Michael White & John Gribbin

Anyone who knows anything about science or the history of the 20th Century, knows about Albert Einstein. Numerous biographies have been written about this giant intellect and interesting personality. Indeed, more books have been written about his work and various aspects of his life than probably about any other scientist.
I'm a huge admirer of Einstein and have therefore read a lot about him.  But I particularly enjoyed this biography - it is accessible and explains the importance of what Einstein achieved by writing about his theories in a way that is easy to understand.  You do not have to struggle through complex formulae or have a lot of knowledge about the work of other scientists of his time. Everything relevant is explained.  

I'd recommend this to anyone who wants an introduction, not only to the life of Einstein but also to the topics of his work - gravity, the nature of matter, quantum physics and more.

A few years ago, in 2005 during the International Year of Physics which also became in many ways a celebration of the life and work of Einstein, I prepared and gave a series of talks about him and am actually working on an updated version. I read this book recently and it tied together some strings for me. I will use it to update some of the things I say in my talks.

The next book on Einstein that I will be reading about him concerns his period in Berlin.  I'll probably finish it before this project concludes and will "report back" on that one later.


Einstein said so many noteworthy things, but I am always charmed by the somewhat unexpected things:

Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves. - Albert Einstein

Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love. - Albert Einstein


Einstein loved Berne where he lived when he worked on and wrote some of his most famous papers. 
So did I and I still miss this dreadfully, even though I left it so long agoToday the old city still looks much the same as it did in the time of Einstein

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