Friday, June 08, 2007

Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson

As Walter Isaacson explains in Einstein: His Life and Universe, Albert Einstein was a key figure in the history of the first half on the twentieth century. Not only did he pose revolutionary theories in physics, he became involved in many of the public issues of his time. Frequently relocating in his most active period, he renounced nationalism and claimed to be a citizen of the world. He supported Jewish settlement in Palestine, but insisted he was opposed the formation of a Jewish state. He preached pacifism until the Nazis took control of Germany. He refused all invitations to visit Russia, which he charged violated the precepts of socialism. He was frequently asked for his religious beliefs, which were reported widely.

His enormous fame did not come easily. He was a lowly-paid patent clerk in 1905, unable to get an academic appointment, when he wrote five scientific articles that challenged Newtonian physics. From these came the field of quantum physics and the concept of relativity. As Isaacson tells the story, it would still be another six years before the great thinker could afford a home with electricity. An ironic note is that Einstein would later regard his patent clerk days as his most creative.

Isaacson includes physics theorems in the biographical narrative, but he explains the concepts step by step as Einstein discovered them, and most readers should understand. They can elect to skim or skip these discussions of energy, matter, atomic structures, speed of light, and relation of space and time, but sticking with them enriches the text and gives a deeper appreciation of Einstein's life.

Isaacson also includes much detail of Einstein's family life, which was always strained and somewhat sad.

I listened to the actor Edward Herrmann reading the book on my iPod, which I enjoyed. Listening might be a good alternative for readers who are bogging down with the print edition.

Einstein is selling well, making the hardcover best seller lists in numerous newspapers. Every library should have it.

Isaacson, Walter. Einstein: His Life and Universe. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2007. ISBN 9780743264730

18 compact discs. Simon and Schuster Audio. ISBN 9781428149342


Lisa said...

Your page popped up on my Google Alerts for Edward Herrmann. I just updated my filmography section on my site about him hours ago and added this one to the list and here I am reading your blog entry. Weirdness!

Ladybookbug said...

Reading your blog after searching through Google for book reviews at blogspot--hoping to see my own blog but not finding it.
How do you create code to make this happen.

Lisa said...

ladybookbug - Make sure you're linking to other similar sites and do link exchanges so they link back to you to increase the traffic flow. Put specifics in your meta tags. You could join (free) one of those things like where you put a link button to them on your site in exchange for them submitting your URL to all the major search engines (inc ase you missed any). As you did here, visit a lot of similar sites and post your URL (properly, not spamming, of course), use it in your signature if you frequent blogs, etc.

I know some times it takes quite a while before Google gets around to indexing a site.

This also might help you:

Good luck!