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Einstein continues to captivate, not only for his revolutionary scientific insights but also for his complex personality and personal pursuits. In this unique contribution to the Einstein literature, physicist and acclaimed science writer Barry Parker draws on the great scientist's letters and personal papers to explore the intellectual and emotional passions that motivated both his work and his life.
Parker focuses on five aspects of Einstein's emotional nature that had a profound influence on his life and career. First and foremost was his lifelong passion for learning, not only in the fields of physics but also in mathematics and philosophy. This was manifested early on when he excelled at algebra, and later when he became absorbed with philosophy. Of course in his thinking about time and the nature of light, it was this passion to understand that led to his monumental papers on relativity.
Einstein's "second great love" was classical music, especially the music of Mozart. Parker shows that listening to and playing music (he was an accomplished violinist) were not only recreations for Einstein but also provided stimulation for his scientific creativity.
His relationships with women also greatly influenced him. Parker examines his two marriages, his liaisons with other women, and his distant relationship with his two sons from his first marriage.
Another lifelong passion was his strong antiwar feelings and advocacy for peace. Einstein considered world government the only means to achieve worldwide peace. A chapter is devoted to his efforts to promote the idea of world government.
Finally, Parker considers Einstein's obsession with finding a unified theory of physics to explain all the forces of the universe, and his reluctance to accept the indeterminacy of quantum theory. In the opinion of some colleagues, this was a tragedy, for Einstein isolated himself from the rest of the scientific community during the latter part of his life to pursue a lone quest that remained unfulfilled at his death.
This is an original, insightful look at one of the greatest geniuses of all time who did so much to shape our vision of the world.
Posted April 14, 2014
I am a high school sophomore and I had to read this book for my research project. I really enjoyed reading this book for many reasons. I have learned a lot about Albert Einstein, his passions were reading, music, hiking, sailing, puzzles, women and most of all science. He was a simple and gentle man. He did not care about the fame he received for his many scientific discoveries. In fact he hated the fame. After reading this book I felt as if I really knew him. I admire his devotion to his work of science but I think he truly lacked loved. After reading this book it sounded like the only achievement Einstein didn’t make was with his family. He loved his children but didn’t always show it and he barely made any effort to be a part of their lives as kids. Einstein knew he could somehow make the world an easier better place with his contributions to science. He was a very interesting man and one of the most brilliant men to have lived in our lifetime.
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Posted April 27, 2015
I am a sophomore in high school and I was required to read this book for my research project. I enjoyed reading this book because it gave me an insight on Albert Einstein’s life and his creative thinking. I learned about his personal life such as his childhood, both of his marriages, and his accomplishments in his studies. What I had not known about Einstein was that he was Jewish, he played the violin, and he enjoyed sailing. Even though Einstein was a genius, he needed to learn a lot about relationships. He made little effort to keep his family together because he was very focused on his studies. The book covers mostly Einstein's early and love life; however, it explains his work and studies well. I received a better understanding of the photoelectric effect and his theory of relativity and how he came up with the ideas. After reading this book, I understood Albert Einstein's background and when his love and passion for science began. To this day Albert Einstein is known as the most famous scientist of all because of his amazing discoveries and contributions to science. Overall, I enjoyed reading this book because I learned a lot about Einstein and his interesting life.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.