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Einstein: His Life and Universe (original 2007; edition 2008)

by Walter Isaacson

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3,188611,749 (4.11)138
Member:Vic33
Title:Einstein: His Life and Universe
Authors:Walter Isaacson
Info:Simon & Schuster (2008), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 704 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:biography

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Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson (2007)

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Showing 1-5 of 59 (next | show all)
This is a very well written in depth biography of one of the greatest thinkers who ever lived. Einstein by Walter Issacson is a great book. Because of the in depth subject matter on the theory of relativity and quantum theory the book at times can be very overwhelming to the non scientific reader. While I appreciated the detail on Einstein greatest theory's it did become difficult to follow. I more enjoyed reading about Einsteins relationships with women his wives and children and his fellow scientists. The book also covers his political, religious and social views. I found the book full of interesting facts about a great nan who is still so well known today. I would highly recommend this book for any science student or those who enjoy reading historical biographies. ( )
  realbigcat | Oct 25, 2016 |
A thorough account of Einstein's life and contributions to the sciences and society as a whole. ( )
  Bricker | Aug 4, 2016 |
A formidable subject to chronicle, and, not surprisingly (I read his Ben Franklin bio), the author succeeded. The book ably portrays both the brilliant physicist and the man, with all his human faults. Any study of Einstein must delve into the theories of relativity and gravity, but the lay reader shouldn't be dissuaded. Einstein's "thought experiments" used a simplicity that I could comprehend (somewhat!). His success, especially in the early years, derived in part from his brazen nonconformity. "Long live impudence! It is my guardian angel in this world." David Hume and Ernst Mach were his philosophical guides, influencing his "skepticism about received wisdom and accepted conventions." I enjoyed this greatly and recommend to anyone who wants to understand scientific progress in the 20th century. ( )
  JamesMScott | Jul 31, 2016 |
This was an amazing biography! So much has been written about Einstein but apparently Walter Isaacson pulled from additional source material that has only recently become available. His ability to put you inside Einstein's personality, his life, his relationships with his friends and family was — should I say it again? — amazing! He acknowledged help from many people, but put together what I would imagine is the most coherent description of Einstein's Theories of Special and General Relativity that is possible for us laypeople to read and keep it exciting. The description of Einstein's reluctance to accept the basic principles of quantum mechanics and how he fought until the end of his life for a unifying theory was fascinating. Also the politics of the time, Einstein's enthusiastic and determined embrace of democracy and equality, his ardent pacifism, as well as his rather sad family situation were skillfully interwoven with the science. A long but definitely worthwhile read. ( )
1 vote krazy4katz | May 31, 2016 |
My second Isaacson biography. I love the way he walks us through the life of Einstein. At times I sensed I was experiencing him from within. Isaacson covers the whole gamut of Einstein's life. I feel I got the whole picture of the man. The narration on this audiobook was very good. It took me a long time to finish the book, because I was listening about 20 minutes a day 4 times a week (treadmill). ( )
  ajlewis2 | Feb 24, 2016 |
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Walter Isaacsonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Moerdijk, HenkTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Life is like riding a bicycle.
To keep your balance you must keep moving.
--Albert Einten, in a letter to his son Eduard, February 5, 1930
Dedication
To my father,
the nicest, smartest, and most moral man I know
First words
"I promise you four papers," the young patent examiner wrote his friend.
Quotations
They even considered the unlikely possibility that the earth was the only thing at rest with respect to the ether, and that everything else in the cosmos was spinning around, including the other planets, the sun, the stars, and presumably poor Copernicus in his grave.
The leader of the group, Mrs. Randolph Frothingham (who, given this context, seemed as if her distinguished family name had been conjured up by Dickens), submitted a sixteen-page typed memo to the U.S. State Department detailing reasons to "refuse and withhold such passport visa to Professor Einstein."
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Quando, nel 1900, Lord Kelvin dichiarò che la fisica non aveva ormai "nulla di nuovo da scoprire", il mondo scientifico non sospettava che, di lì a pochi anni, gli articoli di un giovane impiegato dell'Ufficio brevetti di Berna, basati su esperimenti mentali, avrebbero rivoluzionato la scienza. Albert Einstein, il mite rifugiato in fuga dall'oppressione, con la sua aureola di capelli arruffati, gli occhi pensosi, la sua accattivante umanità e il suo limpido genio spicca come icona suprema del Novecento. Gli impulsi ribelli, la curiosità, le passioni e l'elegante distacco che permeano la sua produzione scientifica hanno dominato anche la vita affettiva e la dimensione politica dell'uomo Einstein. A un secolo di distanza dalle sue straordinarie scoperte risulta ancora stupefacente che un giovane studioso sia riuscito da solo a ridisegnare l'universo. Come funzionava la sua mente? Quanto influiva l'intuizione e quanto la logica nel suo modo di pensare? Che cosa fece di lui un genio? Walter Isaacson ci offre una biografia completa di Einstein, probabilmente lo scienziato più famoso e più amato di tutti i tempi, cercando di indagare lo stretto legame tra creatività e libertà che fece di un fisico teorico capace delle più complicate astrazioni un personaggio pubblico di grande carisma, impegnato a difendere la causa della pace e della giustizia sociale.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0743264738, Hardcover)

As a scientist, Albert Einstein is undoubtedly the most epic among 20th-century thinkers. Albert Einstein as a man, however, has been a much harder portrait to paint, and what we know of him as a husband, father, and friend is fragmentary at best. With Einstein: His Life and Universe, Walter Isaacson (author of the bestselling biographies Benjamin Franklin and Kissinger) brings Einstein's experience of life, love, and intellectual discovery into brilliant focus. The book is the first biography to tackle Einstein's enormous volume of personal correspondence that heretofore had been sealed from the public, and it's hard to imagine another book that could do such a richly textured and complicated life as Einstein's the same thoughtful justice. Isaacson is a master of the form and this latest opus is at once arresting and wonderfully revelatory. --Anne Bartholomew

Read "The Light-Beam Rider," the first chapter of Walter Isaacson's Einstein: His Life and Universe. Five Questions for Walter Isaacson

Amazon.com: What kind of scientific education did you have to give yourself to be able to understand and explain Einstein's ideas?

Isaacson: I've always loved science, and I had a group of great physicists--such as Brian Greene, Lawrence Krauss, and Murray Gell-Mann--who tutored me, helped me learn the physics, and checked various versions of my book. I also learned the tensor calculus underlying general relativity, but tried to avoid spending too much time on it in the book. I wanted to capture the imaginative beauty of Einstein's scientific leaps, but I hope folks who want to delve more deeply into the science will read Einstein books by such scientists as Abraham Pais, Jeremy Bernstein, Brian Greene, and others.

Amazon.com: That Einstein was a clerk in the Swiss Patent Office when he revolutionized our understanding of the physical world has often been treated as ironic or even absurd. But you argue that in many ways his time there fostered his discoveries. Could you explain?

Isaacson: I think he was lucky to be at the patent office rather than serving as an acolyte in the academy trying to please senior professors and teach the conventional wisdom. As a patent examiner, he got to visualize the physical realities underlying scientific concepts. He had a boss who told him to question every premise and assumption. And as Peter Galison shows in Einstein's Clocks, Poincare's Maps, many of the patent applications involved synchronizing clocks using signals that traveled at the speed of light. So with his office-mate Michele Besso as a sounding board, he was primed to make the leap to special relativity.

Amazon.com: That time in the patent office makes him sound far more like a practical scientist and tinkerer than the usual image of the wild-haired professor, and more like your previous biographical subject, the multitalented but eminently earthly Benjamin Franklin. Did you see connections between them?

Isaacson: I like writing about creativity, and that's what Franklin and Einstein shared. They also had great curiosity and imagination. But Franklin was a more practical man who was not very theoretical, and Einstein was the opposite in that regard.

Amazon.com: Of the many legends that have accumulated around Einstein, what did you find to be least true? Most true?

Isaacson: The least true legend is that he failed math as a schoolboy. He was actually great in math, because he could visualize equations. He knew they were nature's brushstrokes for painting her wonders. For example, he could look at Maxwell's equations and marvel at what it would be like to ride alongside a light wave, and he could look at Max Planck's equations about radiation and realize that Planck's constant meant that light was a particle as well as a wave. The most true legend is how rebellious and defiant of authority he was. You see it in his politics, his personal life, and his science.

Amazon.com: At Time and CNN and the Aspen Institute, you've worked with many of the leading thinkers and leaders of the day. Now that you've had the chance to get to know Einstein so well, did he remind you of anyone from our day who shares at least some of his remarkable qualities?

Isaacson: There are many creative scientists, most notably Stephen Hawking, who wrote the essay on Einstein as "Person of the Century" when I was editor of Time. In the world of technology, Steve Jobs has the same creative imagination and ability to think differently that distinguished Einstein, and Bill Gates has the same intellectual intensity. I wish I knew politicians who had the creativity and human instincts of Einstein, or for that matter the wise feel for our common values of Benjamin Franklin.

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(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:50 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

The first full biography of Albert Einstein since all of his papers have become available shows how his scientific imagination sprang from the rebellious nature of his personality. Biographer Isaacson explores how an imaginative, impertinent patent clerk--a struggling father in a difficult marriage who couldn't get a teaching job or a doctorate--became the locksmith of the mysteries of the atom and the universe. His success came from questioning conventional wisdom and marveling at mysteries that struck others as mundane. This led him to embrace a morality and politics based on respect for free minds, free spirits, and free individuals. These traits are just as vital for this new century of globalization, in which our success will depend on our creativity, as they were for the beginning of the last century, when Einstein helped usher in the modern age.--From publisher description.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

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