- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: Pantheon; First Edition edition (July 25, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0375423451
- ISBN-13: 978-0375423451
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,530,650 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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My Einstein: Essays by Twenty-four of the World's Leading Thinkers on the Man, His Work, and His Legacy First Edition Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
For "generations of ambitious young Jewish kids like me," observes Lawrence M. Krauss, Albert Einstein provided the inspiration to pursue the study of theoretical physics. Several of these scientists share their thoughts in an anthology edited by Brockman, a literary agent and editor of popularizing science books (What We Believe but Cannot Prove). But not every contributor is a physicist, and not every piece relates directly to Einstein: historian George Dyson (son of physicist Freeman Dyson) was babysat by the great man's personal secretary, while New York Times science writer George Johnson looks back at the books that introduced him to relativity. For some, Einstein looms as an iconic figure, while others actually met Einstein during his later years at Princeton. The overall tone is respectful, even reverential. The Einstein who emerges possesses no surprising characteristics, making the book seem a light afterthought to a year of celebrating 2005 as the centenary of Einstein's world-changing papers on relativity. (July 25)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
*Starred Review* Shortly before his death, Albert Einstein pledged that his home would never become a shrine for pilgrims. Yet, in this collection of essays published (belatedly, by one year) to commemorate the centenary of the year in which Einstein completed his special theory of relativity, the authors sound very much like reverent pilgrims. One of the contributors even acknowledges that he has constructed a shrine to Einstein, complete with the holy (and autographed) photographic image. Several of the contributors highlight the irony of the near deification of a scientist whose disheveled appearance and impish humor were far from Olympian. Still, the contributors to this remarkably accessible and lively volume--themselves distinguished scientists, historians, and science writers--recognize in the gnomic Swiss patent clerk powers transcending normal human limits. Even in Einstein's errors, contributors detect signs of brilliance. Thus, in what Einstein labeled his greatest blunder (his introduction of a cosmological constant into his equation for cosmic gravity), an Ohio physicist detects an insight too quickly abandoned. The same spirit of admiration pervades what contributors say about Einstein as a citizen-scientist, devoted to peace yet realistic enough to call for an American atom-bomb project. A couple of contributors challenge the iconic image of Einstein, exposing his heedless romantic conduct and his vain hopes for a strictly causal physics. But the criticisms only briefly interrupt appreciative reflections on the legacy of the greatest modern scientist. Bryce Christensen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top Customer Reviews
Personal gems, such as the cumbersome nature of scientific discovery while employed otherwise, are sprinkled throughout My Einstein: a compilation of two dozen essays by modern scientists who were influenced by Einstein. Each scientist extols some detail about Einstein as the motivation to actually enter scientific careers themselves. Many of the writers point out that Einstein had an entirely different way of looking at nature-and they were inspired to enter theoretical physics to recapture some of his cavalier thinking style. One can not intelligently discuss the modern research of theoretical physicists without grappling with Einstein's original ideas.
The casual reader will find the depth to which the writers explain their own scientific prowess a little cumbersome-if not downright boring. Weaving a tale of their own technical competence initially, most writers return to a common idea about Einstein: his best work derived when he was young. These scientists steer the reader away from the image of Einstein as a disheveled, wild-haired, tongue-poking-out mad scientist.
Great men, such as Albert Einstein, happen upon humanity accidentally. John Brockman has edited a collection of essays that are a great read if you are seeking direction in life. Many readers will identify with a burst of inspiration, where even reading about the works of one person, can send the curious on an entirely different pathway. Within the legacy of Einstein is a simple admonition: Pursue your passion-your weekend project might very well cause you to be named the next Einstein.
Armchair Interviews says: You don't have to be an Einstein to get some value from this collection.
The result is a wonderful collection of personal memoirs, historical and biographical insight into Einstein and reflections on the impact he made on the writers personally and on our world in general.
Although some knowledge of Einstein's life and science is helpful it isn't necessary as although the book does not provide a straight biography it deals with every major scientific work and life event so that by the end of the book you leave knowing just about all there is to know about him and his ideas. And you certainly don't need to have any in depth knowledge of physics to understand what the contributors are talking about as the essays are more personal than scientific.
Indeed it was in the recollections of how Einstein affected the writer's personally that the booked worked best by providing a fascinating insight into how one man's work can fire the imagination of those that follow and in many instances launched a lifetime of scientific endeavour.
This is a thoroughly recommended book and a must read for anyone who wants to not only understand Einstein, but, like me, wants to understand how his legacy influences our everyday lives and those of individual people.