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Einstein: A Life in Science Mass Market Paperback – February 1, 1995

4.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A study of Einstein's life and accomplishments from the authors of Stephen Hawking: A Life in Science.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

This biography of Einstein, by the authors of Stephen Hawking: A Life in Science ( LJ 5/1/92), provides both an insightful and well-balanced portrait of the man as well as clearly explained analyses of his scientific contributions. Well researched, it includes a reference to other works about Einstein, extensive notes, and a thorough index. The paradoxical or seemingly contradictory characteristics that Einstein embodies are objectively considered and placed in perspective. Likewise, given the technical credentials of the authors, Einstein's scientific output and its effect on the scientific community are thoroughly evaluated. An enjoyable and educational book to read.
- Hilary D. Burton, Lawrence Livermore National Lab., Livermore, Cal.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Life in Science
  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Plume (March 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452271460
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452271463
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,440,183 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
The authors attempted to present both the personal life and scientific acheivments of Albert Einstein. I thought they did very well with the first but struggled with the latter. At the expense of a simple and equation-less presentation, many concepts were left unclear and not properly explained. In many parts, Gribbin and White just try to weasel themselves out from the tough subjects by just stating that they're complex, as if to say it's the subject's fault not theirs for the non-clarity. Surely concepts of relativity and quantum physics can be obscure, but other writers made much better attempts at explaining them to the general public.

I'm giving it four stars for the great account of Einstein's life. For a good equation-free explanation of relativity, I highly recommend Lewis C. Epstein's Relativity Visualized. As for quantum physics, I cannot recommend this book more: David Lindley's Where Does the Weirdness Go: Why Quantum Mechanics Is Strange, but Not As Strange As You Think.
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Format: Hardcover
Einstein: A life in Science is a biography that covers Albert Einstein's entire life and his entire life's work. It explains his scientific papers in an easy way that everyone can understand. Einstein was born in 1879 in Germany into an intellectual family. His parents had a great influence on him at a young age by encouraging him to think freely. As a young boy, Einstein did not have much success in school because his school's strict rote system clashed with his own learning techniques. He often disrespected the teachers and was eventually expelled from his school. At about the age of 14 Einstein completely rebelled against his own country and faith. He left Germany and decided that he did not want to Jewish anymore. His parents approved him for they were not especially religious either. He finished high school in Switzerland where his family had moved and then planned on owing to college but was not accepted at first. The next year he was more prepared for the entrance exams and passed with flying colors. College was a time in which Einstein had a lot of time to discuss his ideas about the world with professors and fellow students. At the age of 21 Einstein published his first paper which was on the surface of liquids. He got little recognition for any of his papers until 1905 when he began doing important work with light and with particle motion. His general theory of relativity made him the most famous scientist in the world after he published it in 1916. This theory still lives on as the best general description of gravity. Einstein's work influenced everyone in the field of science and still does.

The authors were interested in writing this story because they wanted to let people see inside the head of the greatest thinker of the 20th century.
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Format: Hardcover
The year 2005 is a big Einstein year; it is 100 years since the publication of The Special Theory of Relativity, and 50 years since the death of the man. This volume was published in 1993, but updated slightly to take advantage of the `Einstein fever' of the year. The biographer (White) and the physicist (Gribben) work well together as authors. Their collaboration shows the big picture, without becoming bogged down in the intricate details of Relativity, for example, or quantum mechanics.

In spite of what it may seem, there is much more to Einstein than "E = mc2", itself the most famous scientific equation of all. He made major and significant contributions in many and diverse areas, with his output outside of Relativity is (probably) the most valued from an individual to theoretical and practical physics in the 20th Century. Light, thermodynamics, quantum electromagnetism and quantum mechanism are just some of the subject matter. What is more, Einstein was a catalyst for the ideas of others, and there is a notable influence of the esteemed scientist, even into his latter years. Sometimes this was a result of little more than words of encouragement from him.

That is not to say that the book glosses over the detailed scientific outpourings of the Patent Officer (Third Class). It is staggering that someone at the time outside of the tightly knit scientific community could have such phenomenal output as Einstein in 1905 (referred to as his `annus mirabalus'). Just after the crucial experiment of the Eddington Expedition in 1919 to observe a solar eclipse, `Scientific American' offered a prize of $5,000 for the best explanation of `relativity' to the man in the street.
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