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A Fórmula de Deus by José Rodrigues dos…
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Title:A Fórmula de Deus
Authors:José Rodrigues dos Santos
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The Einstein Enigma by José Rodrigues dos Santos



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English (6)  Portuguese (2)  Dutch (2)  French (2)  German (2)  Italian (1)  All languages (15)
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Second read:
This is still a very nice book.
Not really exciting, but very interesting. I do not know whether I have understood everything after rereading, but I understood more than the first time.
Whether I could explain what the (scientific part) of the book is about? I don't think so, to do that I would have to be less of a language person and have better & more knowledge of the exact subjects than the rudimentary it is in now :-)

Recommended for the reader who likes a book to think about, to chew on as it were.

First read:
I liked the book a lot. It is a crime story with depth, so to say.
For me though, that also was the weakness of the book. I am not to familiar with math and physics, so the theories that form the basis of the book took quite a while to sink in.
I will have to read it again, and maybe even a third time, to understand it fully. ( )
  BoekenTrol71 | Jan 2, 2019 |
Take Asimov's "The Last Question", add problematic popularizations of science, scanvenger hunt, international espionage and terrorism, a gratuitous sex scene, a whole lot of "But professor, tell me" and the result is better than any Dan Brown I have read.
  ari.joki | Dec 3, 2017 |
As a one-stop shop for all kinds of interesting concepts that have intrigued me for decades, this book is a home run to the upper deck. As a fictional thriller, it's a weak groundout to a charging shortstop. Conceptually, it takes on everything scientific from the eponymous Einstein to Aspect, and from chaos theory to the EPR paradox and string theory, and that's just for starters. In terms of religion and philosophy, it tackles Taoism, Kabbalah, Genesis and the 90th Psalm and much more. As such, all of these components would combine to make a great reference text for the Theory of Everything. But things really suffers on the fictional side of the equation. The protagonist, a Portuguese historian and cryptographer, is likable enough, but he serves as little more than one half of a series of exercises in the Socratic method, with various characters playing the role of Socrates while our hero plays the role of the student. The fictional aspect of the book probably fills no more than 100 pages of the 480 page narrative, with the dialectic component filling the remainder. The interpersonal (as opposed to Socratic) dialogue throughout is iffy, although this could be a function of either (a) the different way that people interact in Portugal versus what I'm used to as an American or (b) translation issues. But either way, it often comes across as banal, which is especially odd given the impressive content that surrounds it. And I would be remiss if I didn't mention the one brief sex scene that was included, and that almost had me laughing out loud at the text. Again, whether this was due to the translation or due to the author's inability to write anything remotely steamy is a determination that I can't make, but that page or two of the book could easily be a candidate for one of those Bad Sex in Literature competitions. In short, if you approach this book as an impressive collection and distillation of any number of cool religious and philosophical and scientific concepts, you will enjoy it thoroughly. But if you expect an edge-of-your-seat thriller, you will likely be disappointed and thoroughly bored. ( )
  jimgysin | Jun 19, 2017 |
Odd. Manages to avoid most of the category errors that it seems to be heading straight towards, but only just. It still does hit a few common fallacies, but they don't seem too critical to the central point - if there were such a thing. It's nominally a novel, but more like a series of contrived character interactions that allow the author to expound upon a few concepts in basic physics and a lot of the more common arguments found online in religious disputes. Apparently this is actually part of a series, but I don't think that would help explain such plot as there is in any manner.

Our hero a historian in a Portuguese university is one Thomas Noronha, and his main grief in life seems to be that of USians mispronouncing his name. However he rather unbelievably ends up caught in a whirlwind of action as the CIA and Uranian special forces require his abilities as a translator. It seems that Albert Einstein was working on a special document, believed to be a 'better' nuclear weapon and both sides would like to get hold of it. However Einstein hid the document and when it finally came to light it proved to contain an enigmatic ciphered key, that only Thomas could solve (really this is totally pushing the belivability issues by now). However this forumula seems to involve physics naturally, which Thomas does't know. So various chance meetings random characters, the gratuitous woman who seems only there for him to fall in love with and have explicit sex with, all get to explain some of the more unusual details of modern physics to him and the reader - all of which is the background for the author's novel, but un-satisfying answer to the anthropogenic 'problem' of why there is life in the universe and hence why it should believe in god. No religious person will be happy with the proposed answer, but equally neither is any scientist as it makes some bold but un-testable claims and doesn't help.

The biggest error is that no challenge is made to the blind watchmaker fallacy - eg it's never mentioned how badly designed life is - but other than that from my relatively basic knowledge of physics and quantum mechanics (and on-line religious debates), the author's note that all of the science has been checked, seems about right.

Enjoyable and a bit unusual. ( )
  reading_fox | Nov 27, 2015 |
The Einstein Enigma by Jose Rodrigues Dos Santos is a novel that combines a wide smattering introduction to physics while following the misadventures of Thomas Noronha, a Portuguese history professor and cryptologist hired by both the Iranian government and the US CIA to decipher a coded message written by Albert Einstein in a highly secret Einstein document titled The God Formula. Both the CIA and the Iranians think the document is a how-to on making an easy nuclear bomb. Noronha, however, is hopelessly innocent and clueless about the dangerous situation in which he has just placed himself. For that reason, the plot is hopelessly flawed. But the physics is marvelously told, at least for someone like me who knows practically nothing about physics. Recommended to me by a nuclear physicist, I assume the physics is at least somewhere in the ballpark of accurate. So if you read it for the physics, then it is a fun beach book leaving the reader with an armchair understanding of physics.

The plot has a number of plot threads. The first is the one in which Noronha tries to decipher the coded message. This is to be read as a spy thriller; it is does not hold together. Noronha is a bumbling idiot. I suppose we are expected to see his errors as the kind of thing that took place billions of years ago after the Big Bang. The second revolves around Noronha's love affair for beautiful Ariana, an Iranian woman who initially hired Noronha and who works for the Iranian government and who convinces him to come to Iran where he is later tortured for information. She supposedly rescues him, but that turns out to be a ruse. When Noronha is about to be tortured and probably killed a second time, she once again saves him. Noronha immediately trusts her completely and tells her everything. If that were all that were necessary, why was she not simply used as the confessor to get information out of the Noronha? And what idiot would trust a woman who has betrayed him and put him in such peril more than once? After all that, suddenly Noronha becomes the hero at which point Ariana, a physicist, is expected to play the role of brilliant scientist and high-level government operative while also playing the maiden tied to the railroad track.

Then there is the CIA plot thread. That too requires we believe the CIA would entrust an innocent with such highly sensitive material merely by swearing him to confidentiality and that they would make good on their word against all US diplomatic protocol. Also there is the plot thread about Professor Siza who has "disappeared" because he had worked with Einstein on the original formula. Why didn't Noronha go immediately to Siza's assistant? Why didn't he immediately ask his own father for information given he was a close friend of Siza’s? Why didn't either the CIA or the Iranian government go after the assistant who holds most of the answers? All of this seems amateurish, written for a comedy of errors.

Most importantly there is the plot thread about Einstein's search for God. This is the true heart of the matter, excuse the pun. Why wouldn't either the CIA or the Iranian government not consider that this is the nature of Einstein's research given the obvious title? Here is where the novel completely unravels. Most disappointing of all is the ending. The logic is so convoluted, the unbelievability factor so high that one is tempted to throw the book into the trash heap of time. Spoiler alert: Why would we take comfort in the idea that computers were God's endgame, that computers will take over the world and be the intelligence allowing an endless cycle of Big Bang to Big Crunch universes or that the end game is the creation of God in artificial intelligence? I suppose the only literarily acceptable notion here is this end is as controversial as Darwinian evolution and as full of coincidences as The God Formula. How ironic to displace the theory of evolution with the theory of intelligent creation that proposes artificial intelligence as the ultimate God. Wow. We are back to the Big Bang. ( )
  blhooley | Jan 11, 2015 |
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En una visita a egipto, Toms Noronha, criptoanalista y profesor de historia en una universidad portuguesa, se ve abordado por una desconocida. La mujer lleva consigo una copia de un viejo e indito documento y pretende que el historiador portugus le ayude a descifrarlo. El texto tiene un ttulo tan sugerente como enigmtico: Die Gottesformel -- es decir, La frmula de Dios. A partir de ese momento, Toms se ve envuelto en una sucesin de aventuras que le llevan a viajar por diferentes pases y extraos parajes, desde irn hasta el tbet. Su investigacin, poco a poco, se dirige a perseguir las huellas de la frmula ms importante de todos los tiempos, obra de albert einstein; tal vez el mayor descubrimiento que cualquier hombre pueda hacer: la demostracin cientfica de la existencia de Dios.… (more)

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