Customer Review

61 of 64 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book for scientists, slightly less for others., December 24, 2001
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This review is from: Subtle Is the Lord: The Science and the Life of Albert Einstein (Oxford Lives) (Paperback)
This book is a very good *scientific* biography of Einstein. This is both its strength and weakness. It is a strength because the author is clearly very knowledgeable about the subject, and therefore I couldn't think of a better book than this one. However, to appreciate the ins and outs of the scientific work of Einstein, you need to be a scientist yourself, or at least be very interested in the subject, because Pais does not avoid technical discussions. Not at all.
Therefore, for people without knowledge on this level, the book is not so accessible (I think), which may lead to disappointments. However, for this group of readers there is also good news: the author has organized the book into two interwoven 'sections': a part that is purely biographical and contains no technical discussions, and a technical part. The two parts are easily recognizable in the table of contents. This makes the book interesting and useful for a broad public.
Summarizing: this high quality book makes no light reading, but it is worth the effort, and the money.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 2, 2012 9:15:30 AM PST
It's not really for all scientists, indeed it's not for many. All scientists don't went to spend years learning the physics & mathematics that this text takes for granted. The book produces, and discusses at length, Einstein's field equations. But it doesn't introduce you to the details of tensor mathematics, and assumes you have a theoretical physicists' level of understanding of the physics. It references, in detail, Weinberg's "Gravitation and Cosmology", for those wanting to get that background understanding, but that's a text aimed at the best MSc students entering Theoretical physics/cosmology. There are many other biographies out there - some far more suitable for laymen and "all scientists". Einstein: His Life and Universe is a good place to start...
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