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In Einstein's Mistakes, Hans C. Ohanian draws on his own background in physics to gleefully point out some of Einstein's more glaring errors. That part of the book is solid, and readers will find a capable guide in Ohanian. What might be less engaging is the author's fast-and-loose writing style (Van Gogh became a great artist "when he went bonkers") and a tendency to botch some of the historical facts (related to Einstein's research, his Nobel Prize, and so forth) that underpin much of the narrative. Still, the book's ambitious scope—when calling out Einstein, writers weak of heart need not apply—and Ohanian's self-assured reportage make this a worthwhile read. Bring your thinking cap.
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*Starred Review* In this “forensic biography,” Ohanian shows astonished readers that the most brilliant scientist of the twentieth century was frequently found making—in his own words—“a sacrifice on the altar of stupidity.” The great physicist’s admirers may already know that Einstein foolishly defied the quantum revolution he helped launch. The well-informed may even know something of Einstein’s disastrous missteps in his personal life. But it will come as a revelation to most readers that scientists have identified serious flaws in four of the five papers that established Einstein’s reputation during his annus mirabilis of 1905. Ohanian drops an even bigger bombshell in documenting Einstein’s repeated failure to provide a valid proof for his most famous equation: E = mc2. More surprising than the number and severity of Einstein’s errors, however, is the mystifying way the Berne genius reached correct—even revolutionary—conclusions despite these mistakes. In strange ways, some of Einstein’s blunders (such as the synchronization error in his “Special Relativity” paper) actually helped him achieve theoretical breakthroughs. Drawing on Arthur Koestler’s provocative analysis of Kepler, Ohanian characterizes Einstein as a similarly charmed sleepwalker whose profound intuition guided him to epoch-making conclusions along tortured pathways. A compelling portrait of a titan who stumbled his way into immortality. --Bryce ChristensenSee all Editorial Reviews
I hesitate to call this a biography since these days it seems biographies have to be more than 400 pages. Read morePublished 6 days ago by El Gringo
I was mesmerized by this book and read without a blink. Great sense of humor too.Published 7 months ago by TI
This sentence from the back cover is accurate:
"In lively, accessible prose, Hans C. Ohanian paints a fresh, insightful portrait of the real Einstein at work, in... Read more
The appeal of this book is that it is nice to hear that even the unparalleled genius of Einstein was fallible. Read morePublished 12 months ago by SpartinStuff
The book is not in any way against Einstein or relativity. It is an excellent review of development of relativity from the time of Galileo and Newton to the twentieth century... Read morePublished 15 months ago by M Khan
not for the layman----Einstein was good but "wow" did he blow it time after time. he admitted many times Newton was the No1.Published 15 months ago by sandy higgins
Very poorly researched. Much of what Ohanian says is either factually incorrect or has been refuted by prominent physicists such as Head of Applied Physics at Yale Professor... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Heisenberg Schrodinger
Terrible book. Could not finish it (which is unusual for me). Very technical & full of details. I had the impression the author had a real axe to grind.Published on August 2, 2013 by parker
There a comment in the book's advertising blurbs that states that the biggest mistake in the book lies in the title, and I completely agree. Read morePublished on April 30, 2011 by Metallurgist