In Love and at Home
In the midst of marital dissolution and a messy love life, science lifted Einstein “from the vale of tears” to the “clarity of physical law . . . and mathematical beauty” argues Dennis Overbye in Einstein in Love: A Scientific Romance (Penguin Putnam, 2000). Speaking of love, should Einstein’s Serbian-born wife Mileva Maric have shared the credit for his early work? The answer may lie in the following: In Albert’s Shadow: The Life and Letters of Mileva Maric, Einstein’s First Wife, edited by Milan Popovic (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003), and Albert Einstein, Mileva Maric: The Love Letters, edited by Jürgen Renn and Robert Schulmann (Princeton University Press, 1992). Einstein’s Daughter: The Search for Lieserl, by Michele Zackheim (Riverhead Books, 1999) ponders the mysterious fate of their daughter, born out of wedlock in 1902.
See also: The Private Albert Einstein, by Peter A.Bucky and Allen G. Weakland (Andrews and McMeel, 1992).
The Private Lives of Albert Einstein, by Roger Highfield and Paul Carter (St. Martin’s Press, 1993).
True religiosity, wrote Einstein, constitutes in part “a knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate.” In Einstein and Religion (Princeton University Press, 1999), Max Jammer considers how religion affected Einstein’s work and, conversely, how his theory of relativity had an impact on theological thought. Discover senior editor Corey S. Powell strikes a similar chord in God in the Equation: How Einstein Transformed Religion (The Free Press, 2002), in which he argues that Einstein, by establishing the first all-encompassing mathematical model of the universe, tapped into science’s spiritual side and reinterpreted the meaning of “God.”
Quantum Theory, Time Travel, and Space-Time Ripples
In Einstein Defiant: Genius Versus Genius in the Quantum Revolution (Joseph Henry Press, 2004), Edmund Blair Bolles retells the dramatic debates between Einstein and Niels Bohr, defender of the uncertainty principle in quantum theory. For a decades- long exchange on the same topic, see also The Born-Einstein Letters: Correspondence between Albert Einstein and Max and Hedwig Born From 1916 to 1955 (Macmillan, 1971). J. Richard Gott explains how to slide through a wormhole to a distant point in the universe and return before leaving in Time Travel in Einstein’s Universe: The Physical Possibilities of Travel Through Time (Houghton Mifflin, 2001), while Marcia Bartusiak, in Einstein’s Unfinished Symphony: Listening to the Sounds of Space-Time (Joseph Henry Press, 2000), documents the dogged hunt for gravitational waves, the subtle but pervasive ripples in space-time predicted by Einstein’s theory of relativity.
Einstein and the Brain
A journalist, a pathologist, and the brain of a genius in a Tupperware bowl take a road trip in the surreal memoir Driving Mr. Albert: A Trip Across America With Einstein’s Brain, by Michael Paterniti (The Dial Press, 2000). On a more metaphysical note, Richard Panek argues in The Invisible Century: Einstein, Freud, and the Search for Hidden Universes (Viking, 2004) that Einstein and Freud, though they met only once, shared a common goal: the exploration of an unknown realm using evidence that could not be seen.
Einstein for Kids
An invitation to join a school’s science club, advice on getting a haircut, and many, many queries on Einstein’s theories from children worldwide (with carefully crafted responses from the scientist himself) appear in Dear Professor Einstein: Albert Einstein’s Letters to and From Children, edited by Alice Calaprice with a foreword by Evelyn Einstein (Prometheus Books, 2002).
In Einstein’s Dreams, a novel by Alan Lightman (Pantheon, 1993), a young Einstein imagines life if the effects of his theory of relativity were to be easily detected by humans: Some characters repeat their lives over and over while others experience almost nothing at all because time passes so slowly that it seems to be frozen.
Einstein, the most comprehensive exhibition ever mounted on Einstein’s life and theories, opens at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles on September 14, 2004; see www.skirball.org. Or celebrate the centenary next summer of Einstein’s miraculous year, 1905, at Einstein ’05, a festival in Bern, Switzerland: www.einstein05.ch/en/fra1_en.html. While in Bern, visit the apartment that Albert Einstein rented on the second floor of 49 Kramgasse from 1903 to 1905. Now open to the public, it has been restored in the style of that period. See
www.einsteinbern.ch/index.php?lang=en&show=start. For more information on international events and conferences lauding Einstein in 2005, see www.einsteinwebsite.de/events-e.htm.
The Einstein Archives online (www.alberteinstein.info), organized in part by the Albert Einstein Archives in Jerusalem, is a database of approximately 43,000 Einstein artifacts. The Nobel Prize Website, www.nobel.se/physics/laureates/1921/einstein-docu.htm, features Einstein’s biography and Nobel lecture. For all things Einstein, all the time, see westegg.com/einstein.
Documentaries . . .
NOVA: Einstein Revealed (1996; www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/einstein) is a penetrating PBS profile enlivened by dramatizations based on Einstein’s writings and friends’ recollections. A. Einstein: How I See the World (PBS, 1991) chronicles how Einstein became the world’s most eloquent advocate for peace. Einstein’s Wife: The Life of Mileva Maric Einstein (PBS, 2003) explores the historical facts of Mileva Maric’s life and examines her dual roles as Albert Einstein’s domestic and scientific partner. See pbs.org/opb/einsteinswife.
. . . and film
Marilyn Monroe, Senator Joe McCarthy, Joe DiMaggio, and Albert Einstein cross paths during a hot and steamy night in a New York hotel room in the movie Insignificance (1985). The pseudonymous Yahoo Serious, director of Young Einstein (1989), reinvents the youthful scientist as the son of Tasmanian apple farmers, who develops the theory of relativity in order to put bubbles into beer. In I.Q. (1994), Albert Einstein (Walter Matthau) uses his mathematical genius to engineer a romance between his niece (Meg Ryan) and a hapless car mechanic (Tim Robbins).
Einstein on the Beach: An Opera in Four Acts, by Philip Glass and Robert Wilson (CBS Records, 1979), is a minimalist meditation upon Einstein and nuclear apocalypse. A similar theme in a slightly different genre is sounded in Einstein A-Go-Go (RCA Re-cords, 1981), an antinuclear weapons song by the British band Landscape that pays homage to Einstein’s campaign for disarmament.
And finally . . . Seat yourself in the lap of Einstein (OK, a four-ton statue by Robert Berks) in Potomac Park at Constitution Avenue and 23rd Street in Washington, D.C., just outside the National Academy of Sciences.
With contributions by Chris Jozefowicz, Ken Kostel, and Maia Weinstock.