I have been waiting to write about this book since I bought it. I had always been fascinated by Einstein, but it wasn’t until recently, due to some personal changes, that I began to look into his life and theories. As a highly imaginative, and intelligent child and now an adult, I usually have a difficult time explaining my feelings and thoughts to people. This was especially obvious as a child, when I would have strong feelings and would write them down rather than expressing them to anyone. So it was so reassuring to read that someone who is so venerated went through similar experiences.
Few books touch your soul and leave an imprint in your life to an extent that you not only learn about the subject, but life and your place in it. This book certainly fits the bill. The last time I felt that way about a book was when I read the memoir by Anderson Cooper, “Anderson Cooper: Dispatches from Edge of the World”. Cooper wove a story that drew similarities between his difficult personal life and the suffering he saw in the places he visited such as Iraq and Indonesia. The heart-felt book was highly effective in teaching us about what influences a journalist and his journalistic style. His writing was superb too. Well, we are not here to talk about that. Our focus is the Walter Isaacson’s New York Bestseller.
The author mainly used Einstein’s personal letters to his family and friends as research for his book. The result is an insightful read to one of the greatest mind of our lifetime. Readers learn that Einstein was a rebellious young man that rubbed a lot of people, including his professors the wrong way on his way to becoming the father of theoretical physics. I was particularly pleased to learn that he was not that dumb or dyslexic as a child as the popular notion suggests. According to Isaacson, he was quite smart and his brilliance usually got him in trouble with his teachers.
Fast forward several years, and we learn about his difficulties in getting into universities. It was actually a glimpse in his rebellious nature when we learned that he would not show up to classes that he didn’t agree with. Most of his professors couldn’t stand him. Judging by his experiences, it seems like he wasn’t seen as a remarkable man that we know now and love. He struggled to find jobs, his family’s businesses went bankrupt numerous times, and he had married someone who his family didn’t approve.
What Isaacson does brilliantly is explain Einstein’s journey in the academic arena which eventually lead to the “Miracle Year”. He explains Einstein’s thinking and genius in words a common man understands and what ends up is a fascinating read into the mind of a genius.
What I particularly loved about this book was how it made me love Theoretical Physics. I was pleased to learn that Einstein was an imaginative and thoughtful scientist that made most of his theories through thought experiments. As a person with no formal training, but a wild imagination to explain things in the physical, this was a nice surprise. I have always been a spiritual person. Unlike Einstein (in this case) I respect the role of religion in a person’s life and it’s my personal belief that sciences explain the laws created by God. During this read I came up with some theories of my own that I would love comments on. These theories are based on my knowledge of the laws and physics of the universe I have researched in my school days and now. Here they are:
a) Sun is a magnet like the rest of the planets. All heavenly bodies are magnets of some sort.
b) Each object in the universe revolve around something. Do we revolve around the giant black whole in the center of the Milky Way. Do comets revolve around something (that’s why we see them come back)?
c) Are we hanging of something in space? Why don’t we sink?
d) An atom is round; most of the objects in the universe are round. Is the universe round?
e) If the earth is round and curved, does a bullet go in a straight line or at an angle or curvature?
f) Are black holes birthplace of galaxies and their shapes and movements? (through laws of gravity and magnetism?)
g) What is an electric or charged current? Waves of energy, gravity or magnetism?
h) Each entity in the universe is connected from a distance like that string web around the finger game. How are they connected? Well, it’s all magnetism. Each heavenly body is magnetized so depending how many bodies in a galaxy are attracting bodies from another galaxy causing the galaxies to merge or move away (attraction to another galaxy?) from each other.
i) Magnetism is the strongest force in the universe. Gravity is magnetism.
j) Is magnetism between people different than magnetism in heavenly bodies? Everything vibrating is magnetism. Energy? God?
Spring Experiment: If you apply force to a spring, why does it spring back? What is that force? Is this how craters are made on planets? How does magnetism play a role in this phenomenon?
In conclusion, I would highly recommend this book. It’s a long one, but an easy and well-written piece. Happy Reading!