Bubble Witch Saga 3 Industrial Deals Beauty Best Books of the Month Shop new men's suiting nav_sap_plcc_ascpsc Learn more about Amazon Music Unlimited Get 10% cashback on thousands of musical instruments with your Amazon.com Store Credit Card Starting at $39.99 Grocery Handmade Tote Bags Book a house cleaner for 2 or more hours on Amazon Transparent Transparent Transparent  Introducing Echo Show Introducing All-New Fire HD 10 with Alexa hands-free $149.99 Kindle Oasis, unlike any Kindle you've ever held GNO Tailgating FFII_gno

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

Showing 1-10 of 22 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 31 reviews
on September 13, 2016
A spellbinding book and the finest writing of any biography or other non-fiction book I have ever read. The very best of the best and should be required reading for any college student studying literature or science. Pais was a brilliant physicist who worked at the Institute of Advanced Studies at Princeton where he met Einstein. Over his lifetime Pais knew at least 20 of the most famous physicists of the late 19th and 20th centuries. It is a blessing for all of us that he chose to write biographies of several of these men. For me the most interesting aspect of this book is his description of the interactions of Einstein with the other renowned physicists of Einstein's time including Lorenz, Planck, Poincare, Bohr, etc. If you are really interested in science and have taken a course or two in calculus you will be able to follow the math rather well.
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 29, 2009
This is a scientific biography written by a physicist and friend of Einstein's. Only about 20% of the book is non-technical biography, the rest being a very technical discussion of Einstein's physics, the prior work that influenced it, and its impact. Being a friend of Einstein's, the author puts him in the best possible light. For instance, missing is any reference to the daughter he fathered with his first wife Mileva before they were married, the reasons for their divorce, the events surrounding his relationship with his second wife, etc. (To be fair, before the unsealing of many of Einstein's personal papers, the existence of this daughter was a well-kept secret; one almost definitely unknown to the author of this book.) Of more concern is a lack of very much discussion of most of his non-physics related interactions, so if you want the personal Einstein there are better, more modern, books. However, if you want to know more about Einstein's physics, its development and its impact, then this book is a very good choice, providing that you have the necessary background. The book contains a very extensive timeline of Einstein's life, especially of the events that had a bearing on his technical work. This timeline should be a great reference for Einstein's life as most of the events are referenced to specific days, not just to the year of its occurrence.

As noted the author is a physicist and the book is written from that perspective. He goes into Einstein's physics in considerable detail so a physics background is necessary to get the most from this book. For the most part, there is no attempt to provide the necessary scientific background for these discussions, so if you are completely ignorant of thermodynamics, statistical mechanics or theoretical physics in general, you will likely find yourself having to skip over large portions of the text. There are a lot of sentences that contain "it is well known from ...that ...", so if this is not well known to you, you may have to skip over that portion of the text, and perhaps the rest of the chapter. There is also a lot of mathematical notation that is not explained or developed, so you may be lost if you are unfamiliar with it. However, the book is very good for those with the necessary background because it describes how Einstein developed his physics and what influenced this development.

I recommend this book for people with some background in physics; the more the better. This might be a five star book for a theoretical physicist, but only a one or two star book for someone with little or none of the necessary background. On average, I rated it as a four star book because, while I do not have all of the necessary background, I had enough to follow the discussion. I am also very interested in the development of Einstein's ideas, so this book was a natural for me. I only wish that I had a better background, because then, for me, it might have been a five star book, so please consider this rating from that perspective.
0Comment| 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on September 14, 2013
I have read now five biographies of this remarkable person and for me the work of Abraham Pais is the best. Several reasons for this: He actually knew Einstein (and Bohr) which gives his subjective musings much more meaning. The historical accounting of the emergence of Einstein's 1905 and 1915 papers on the special and general relativity theories is fascinating and as thorough I think as an historical accounting can be. The sequencing of theory, experiment and the people who did the work leading to the quantum theory and later quantum mechanics is eye opening and quite human in its descriptions. And finally of course is the math - the equations - with which I am not competent, but Pais describes them and develops them again in a historical context and attempts to explain at least some of the variables involved, and their relations, in a text that is at least sometimes accessible to me. At least he tries! This book is not just a remarkable biography of a genius but also a thoroughly entertaining and enlightening explanation of 19th/20th century physics and how we arrived to where we are today.
0Comment| 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 19, 2013
Reviewers have said it re: this book, it is a great read about Einstein, Relativity and the development of theoretical physics. In this book Pais offers a unique perspective; he worked with Einstein and he knows his physics. If you are interested in these subjects buy this book and read it.

My comment is that you really need and Encyclopedia of Physics to try to understand the physics terminology in this book- which should have been included in a page or two containing the nomenclature, but is not.

Best suggestion is "The Encyclopedia of Physics" 3rd edition- Besancon editor, Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, in one volume, has a section "Symbols, Units, and Nomenclature in Physics," pages 1199 to 1209, which is very helpful.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on February 24, 2015
I haven't read this book as I ordered it for a gift and had it shipped directly to a friend who is interested in physics and science. I did read the preface online and found it to be very interesting. From the reviews, I felt this book might be a bit too technical for me. I had purchased a more straightforward biography which I enjoyed, however Subtle is the Lord had the same biographical details from what I read in the preface. The friend found the book to be satisfactory.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 27, 2015
Other reviewers have made it clear that this is a great contribution to the history of science and I agree. The only reason I am writing is because some complained about the printing of the book. I want to let prospective buyers know that the printing of the hardcover copy I received in May 2015 is excellent, including the complicated formulas of general relativity and the photographs of Einstein and other scientists.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 30, 2015
Subtle Is the Lord:
This book is an authoritative foundation to many questions in diverse Paradigms of Science and continues to catapult both pure and applied science into enriched engagement of cogent issues posed by emergent 21st Century applications, especially pertaining to wave theory. Cognitive science will continue to benefit from the benchmark thought processes set by this great milestone in global physical science. It's tenets carry fresh visions for every Generation to come.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 2, 2010
I glanced quickly through this book some years ago at an airport book store. Somehow an impression of beauty and excellence settled in my mind. Finally I bought the book, just before a 6-week holiday period. Full of anticipation I started to read. Yes this is an excellent book and I agree with all the jubilant comments on the backcover. Pais takes his readers on a journey. A journey with beautiful vistas on the life and works of the great Albert Einstein. It is not an easy journey with just beautiful vistas though; I got often stuck in quagmires of physics concepts, mysterious formulae, historical dates and hundreds of names of physicists. Sometimes I first had to drain the marsh (i.e. go to other resources to find clarification on certain ideas of some physicist; fortunately such resources are now readily available thanks to Internet and Wikipedia) before being able to move on to the next vista point. In conclusion: this book is for physicists and for those that like to be taken on a tough but rewarding journey.
0Comment| 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 12, 2015
This is a lovely book, full of information and thoughtful discussion. Having said that, it took me over a year to read it; it is a rich text.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 28, 2013
This is a different biography book, in that it has its point analyzed from a scientific perspective, by the great theoretical physicist Abraham Pais. He points out some equations that based the scientific thought, mainly from Einstein, but from others scientists also. A good book to have in the shelf.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse