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Dear Professor Einstein: Albert Einstein's Letters to and from Children 1st Edition

3.3 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1591020158
ISBN-10: 1591020158
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"I have started to write before many times, only to tear the letter into bits. For you are such a brillant [sic] person... I am just an average twelve year old girl in the 7A at Eliot Junior High School... You and my uncle, who is in the Coast Guard, are my heroes." So begins one of the many touching missives on everything from the theory of relativity to a comic book about atoms in Dear Professor Einstein: Albert Einstein's Letters to and from Children, edited by Alice Calaprice (The Quotable Einstein). Includes a thumbnail biography, an introduction by Einstein scholar Robert Schulmann and a foreword by the physicist's granddaughter, Evelyn Einstein.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Review

"...[a] jewel of a book that both grown-ups and children will enjoy..." -- Philadelphia Inquirer, December 25, 2002

"...a charming collection...While the children's letters are amusing, much more interesting are Einstein's replies." -- Physics World, December 2002

"...a delightful combination of biography and anthology that will give students and teachers greater insight into science..." -- The Science Teacher, January 2004

"...completely charming...[the letters] reveal Einstein to be eloquent, curious, patient, funny, and--at times--almost painfully forthright." -- BookLoons

"...his replies remind us that he was not just brilliant but also intuitive and kind." -- Rocky Mountain News, January 3, 2003

"...inquisitive kids wrote to Einstein--his replies remind us that he was not just brilliant but also intuitive and kind." -- Arizona Republic, December 22, 2002

"...unique...well-rounded..." -- BookSense

"A hugely rewarding book, liberally scattered with gems..." -- New Scientist

"Delightful..." -- Skeptical Inquirer, March/April 2003
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books; 1 edition (September 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591020158
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591020158
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #428,421 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I had been looking forward to this book's release for some time. As yet another self-confessed Einstein fan, the idea of a collection of correspondences between the greatest scientific mind in the history of human endeavour, and curious children from around the world, was irresistable. So, when I finally got my hands on it, I wanted to enjoy it very much. However, in the end, I felt a bit cheated and misled.
First of all, virtually the entire first half of the book (the first 110 pages!) contains no letters whatsoever. Instead it covers a biography of the scientist, discussions on his education, a photo gallery etc... While these were reasonably interesting, you can find similar material elsewhere, and was not the reason why I purchased the book.
And the letters themselves were a bit disappointing. While I enjoyed reading the funny and childish letters written to Einstein, the questions and comments they included whet my appetite for how Einstein might respond (are you going to go insane because all geniuses are said to go insane? Did Houdini discover the 4th dimension, allowing him to walk through walls? etc...). However, there were very few actual replies from Einstein (though the few there were were fascinating to read). Furthermore, many of the letters by Einstein included those to his own relatives or to grown ups - which I felt was not in keeping with the promise of the book.
This book reminded me of those music albums you buy because you hear one or two songs that you really like, only to discover that the remaining eight songs are just fillers to make up the space. Similarly, this book took a few gems and then made a book of it by adding a lot of extra stuff.
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By A Customer on March 3, 2004
Format: Hardcover
A good book, but it was not what I expected. Only half the book is actual letters. There are very few with responses from Einstein. There are more letters from children than to children.
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Format: Hardcover
The idea conveyed by the title is wonderful, and to some degree the notion is realized. Unfortunately, it doesn't really fly. While there still may be merit in study of Einstein's educational comments to children, this volume doesn't offer much insight.

The book starts with Einstein's grand daughter's recollections of grandpa, then her personal bio of Einstein, then another two mini-bio's by 3rd parties and a bunch of Einstein photos. Finally, we get to the letters, but 'Einstein' only replies to about 1 of 5 letters. Maybe this is enough if Einstein had addressed actually addressed the issues, but they generally offer polite parental advice: study hard and hope for the best.

A few answers might give us a peak into Einstein's metaphysics, but the author doesn't explore them. For example, one child asks if scientists pray. Einstein answers that A) Scientist know prayer cannot influence the laws of physics, so they don't pray. B) But, scientists know their knowledge is limited, so C) they realize God might work in a restricted domain. D) This means scientists have a very special relationship with God. Left unsaid was the less than politically correct D) So, scientists still pray.
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Format: Hardcover
An amusing look at letters Einstein received from children, and some (very few actually) of his responses. I appreciated most the forward from Einstein's granddaughter and those few responses to some letters.

I wish there had been more responses included, but realize that would have been difficult to do. In light of that, I wish they had chosen a better title.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is common in marketing, or at least in marketing surveys, to ask if a product or service exceeded expectations. This means the product or service went above and beyond what the customer was anticipating. When you get the service you expect that just means the company is doing okay but is not outstanding. When you get less than you expect you complain or at least do not return to that company. This book is one that I should return.

Promoted as letters from children to Einstein and his responses gets it only half right. There are letters from children, but only thirteen responses. Some of the responses do not have a letter, but at least one can guess the content.

The first one hundred ten pages of two hundred thirty two, consists of a quick biography and photos of Einstein’s life. Subtracting the afterword, suggested further reading, and index, the book has one hundred pages of letters. Even scarier is the suggested retail price is $25.99. at least Amazon sells it for $19.37. A better price would be $9.67, half of Amazon’s price, fitting for the half of the book that is actually correspondence.

I have two heroes in my life, Mickey Mouse and Albert Einstein. Mickey reminds me to not take things to seriously and Albert reminds me to question everything. With that in mind, I question why I bought this book, but have to laugh at myself for wasting the money.

This one gets one star.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Only about half of the book (about 30 small pages) are actual letters. The first half is just an introduction. For very few letters is there actually an answer from Einstein, so most of them are just letters by children with no response from Einstein.

There are, however, a couple of good "letter conversations" where a child asked something, and Einstein answered. Those 2-3 may make it worth buying the book. However, those letters can be easily found online.
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