Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Einstein - Brash, Brainy and Busy

There's a new biography of Albert Einstein, written by Walter Issacson and titled "Einstein - His Life and Universe". I'm on page 129, where I'm learning about Einstein's concept of "special relativity", which shows that there are no such things as absolutely simultaneous events or "real" or "absolute" time. It's a complicated idea, but Einstein proved it and I can understand his explanation. So far, the book is a winner.

Three of Einstein's major characteristics stand out in what I've read to this point: he had little respect for authority, he loved knowledge of all kinds, and he worked his butt off on his own time. He was not "just a scientist", but also a philosophy student and a practical engineer. He rebelled against academic institutionalists who confused knowledge with authority, who resisted new ideas because their prestige was connected to the old. Einstein was fortunate to be turned down for academic positions, since the "patent examiner" job he later worked at gave him much more freedom to think creatively. He may have been a genius, but he put more hard work (thinking) into solving problems than almost anyone, and he stuck with it. He was an intellectual entrepreneur, and he invented ideas that have changed our world.

I'd hope that bright young people would read some biographies of people like Einstein, people who changed our world. They might get a better appreciation of how to maximize on their talents and understand how much sacrifice is required to accomplish great things.

2 comments:

ThomasLB said...

A few years back there was a story in the news that receipts had been found showing he sneaked off on vacation with his secretary almost a hundred years ago. I was kind of sad that he got caught. He was probably up in heaven, snickering to himself, thinking he got away with it...

Life Hiker said...

The truth is that Einstein had an illegitimate child, bribed his wife to give him a divorce, and trysted with quite a few ladies.

I said he was "brash, brainy, and busy" - I just omitted the fact that he had quite a bit of business between the sheets!