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Und immer wieder die Zeit. Einstein's…

Und immer wieder die Zeit. Einstein's Dreams. (original 1993; edition 1995)

by Alan Lightman

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Title:Und immer wieder die Zeit. Einstein's Dreams.
Authors:Alan Lightman
Info:Heyne (1995), Taschenbuch, 207 Seiten
Collections:Your library

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Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman (1993)

Recently added byDarcy-Conroy, grandpahobo, MizPurplest, ITTDublin, PodScott, Victor_A_Davis, QG, labrick, DRGPZ, private library
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Showing 1-5 of 84 (next | show all)
I finished this in one day. The writing is evocative and lyrical. Each essay presents a different concept of time by illustrating how it would affect human behavior. In many cases, they illustrate how people actually view time and how that view can be detrimental. ( )
  grandpahobo | Sep 24, 2015 |
Cute and lyrical, but far too disjointed and lofty to enjoy. Lots of clever little worlds that all left-brained children ponder in middle school. Nothing to do with Einstein, just a cute way to rope in outsiders. ( )
  Victor_A_Davis | Sep 18, 2015 |
For me this book is structured more like music than like prose -- a set of variations on the theme of time, not a novelistic examination of the topic. Lightman's "hero" is the young Einstein, living in Bern in 1905, working in a patent office but spending all his energies on his theory of relativity. But it isn't Einstein's daytime life that is the subject of this book, though that is touched on in a prologue, three interludes, and an epilogue. Rather, what matters here are thirty chapters showing us thirty different dreams that Einstein has about time. These explore different ways in which time might work, and the ways in which people would react under those assumptions, and they are altogether delightful. Some read like visions, some like the premises of sci-fi stories, some like -- dreams. The writing is beautiful, highly concrete about physical detail and more than occasionally witty, both of which help anchor these visions. I don't have the scientific knowledge to appreciate some of what is going on -- some of the different varieties of time, I am told, reflect thinking about relativity and other great matters. But I didn't need it to enjoy this book a great deal. Those who love Calvino's "Invisible Cities" may be particularly entranced. ( )
  annbury | Jul 20, 2015 |
short stories, time, ( )
  rowen1 | Jun 15, 2015 |
Do I have time to write this review? Do you have time to read it? How do you know? By what standard do you measure time? Mechanically? Organically? Metaphysically?

In this beautifully written book, Alan Lightman muses upon the nature of time. His approach is to imagine a series of dreams Albert Einstein had while developing his theory of relativity as an anonymous clerk laboring away in the patent office at Berne. The dreams are short-- three to four pages each--and play off the everyday images Einstein that would have been familiar to him from his life in Berne. Lightman is a genius with the images. His doctorate is in theoretical physics, but he writes like a poet. Each dream is one to savor.

And each emphasizes the relativity of time. What temporally conditioned conditioned creatures we all are! Ultimately, Einstein's Dreams makes me marvel at the place we inhabit within this marvelously complex Universe.
( )
1 vote kvrfan | Apr 25, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 84 (next | show all)
A beautifully written and thought-provoking book.
added by Katya0133 | editVirginia Quarterly Review (Jun 1, 1993)
The dreams do more than just catalog our neuroses. They also underscore some fundamental conflicts in the human relationship to time.
added by Katya0133 | editTechnology Review, David Brittan (May 1, 1993)
THIS book contains 30 brief fictional dreams. All are about time, and all are dreamt by Albert Einstein in Berne, in the spring and early summer of 1905, as he works on his paper 'On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies' and proceeds inefficiently towards the special theory of relativity. Some contain distorted traces of his discoveries. In one dream, people live up mountains and build their houses on stilts, having discovered that time flows relatively more slowly as one moves further from the centre of the earth. In another, banks, factories and houses are all motorised and constantly on the move, for time is money and slows down as you accelerate, so the faster you go the more you have.
Like the best fables, Lightman's seriousness is seductively cumulative.
added by Katya0133 | editNew Statesman & Society, Guy Mannes-Abbott (Jan 29, 1993)
The writing, beautifully simple, conveys better than most texts the strangeness of Einstein's ideas.
added by Katya0133 | editTime (Jan 18, 1993)

» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alan Lightmanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Costello, ChrisIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Griese, FriedrichTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In some distant arcade, a clock tower calls out six times and the stops.
"It is a world of impulse. It is a world of sincerity. It is a world in which every word spoken speaks just to that moment, every glance given has only one meaning, each touch has no past or future, each kiss is a kiss of immediacy."
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Book description
Im Jahr 1905 sitzt der junge Patentexperte Einstein an seinem Schreibtisch im Berner Patentamt. Seine revolutionäre Abhandlung zur speziellen Relativitätstheorie ist so gut wie beendet, und Einstein schließt die Auten und träumt - von neuen, unerhörten Wirklichkeiten, in denen die Zeit nicht mehr gleichmäßig fließt, sondern stockt oder springt, sich umkehrt oder verschwindet...

Mit jeder Wendung des Traumes entsteht eine neue, faszinierende Welt, die unsere eigene Welt in erhellendes, ungewohntes Licht taucht.

14. APRIL 1905

Angenommen, die Zeit ist ein Kreis, in sich gekrümmt. Die Welt wiederholt sich, exakt, endlos.

Die meisten Leute wissen nicht, daß sie ihr Leben nochmals leben werden. Händler wissen nicht, daß sie dasselbe Geschäft wieder und wieder abschließen werden, Politiker, daß sie vom selben Pult aus im Kreislauf der Zeit endlose Male reden werden. Eltern bewahren das Andenken an das erste Lachen ihres Kindes, als würden sie es nie wieder hören. Liebende, die sich zum erstenmal lieben, legen schüchtern ihre Kleider ab, sind erstaunt über den geschmeidigen Oberschenkel, die zarte Brustwarze. Woher sollen sie wissen, daß jeder verstohlene Blick, jede Berührung sich noch und noch wiederholen wird, genau wie vorher?

In der Marktgasse ist es das gleiche. Wie können die Ladenbesitzer wissen, daß jeder handgestrickte Pullover, jedes bestickte Taschentuch, jede Praline, jeder Kompaß und jede komplizierte Uhr wieder in ihren Laden zurückkehren wird? Wenn der Abend kommt, gehen sie heim zu ihren Familien, oder sie trinken Bier im Gasthaus, begrüßen ihre Freunde in den überwölbten Gassen mit fröhlichen Rufen, liebkosen jeden Augenblick wie einen Smaragd, der ihnen vorübergehend anvertraut wurde. Wie sollen sie wissen, daß nichts vergänglich ist, daß alles erneut geschehen wird?
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 140007780X, Paperback)

If you liked the eerie whimsy of Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities, Steven Millhauser's Little Kingdoms, or Jorge Luis Borges's Labyrinths, you will love Alan Lightman's ethereal yet down-to-earth book Einstein's Dreams. Lightman teaches physics and writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, helping bridge the light-year-size gap between science and the humanities, the enemy camps C.P. Snow famously called The Two Cultures.

Einstein's Dreams became a bestseller by delighting both scientists and humanists. It is technically a novel. Lightman uses simple, lyrical, and literal details to locate Einstein precisely in a place and time--Berne, Switzerland, spring 1905, when he was a patent clerk privately working on his bizarre, unheard-of theory of relativity. The town he perceives is vividly described, but the waking Einstein is a bit player in this drama.

The book takes flight when Einstein takes to his bed and we share his dreams, 30 little fables about places where time behaves quite differently. In one world, time is circular; in another a man is occasionally plucked from the present and deposited in the past: "He is agonized. For if he makes the slightest alteration in anything, he may destroy the future ... he is forced to witness events without being part of them ... an inert gas, a ghost ... an exile of time." The dreams in which time flows backward are far more sophisticated than the time-tripping scenes in Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five, though science-fiction fans may yearn for a sustained yarn, which Lightman declines to provide. His purpose is simply to study the different kinds of time in Einstein's mind, each with its own lucid consequences. In their tone and quiet logic, Lightman's fables come off like Bach variations played on an exquisite harpsichord. People live for one day or eternity, and they respond intelligibly to each unique set of circumstances. Raindrops hang in the air in a place of frozen time; in another place everyone knows one year in advance exactly when the world will end, and acts accordingly.

"Consider a world in which cause and effect are erratic," writes Lightman. "Scientists turn reckless and mutter like gamblers who cannot stop betting.... In this world, artists are joyous." In another dream, time slows with altitude, causing rich folks to build stilt homes on mountaintops, seeking eternal youth and scorning the swiftly aging poor folk below. Forgetting eventually how they got there and why they subsist on "all but the most gossamer food," the higher-ups at length "become thin like the air, bony, old before their time."

There is no plot in this small volume--it's more like a poetry collection than a novel. Like Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time, it's a mind-stretching meditation by a scientist who's been to the far edge of physics and is back with wilder tales than Marco Polo's. And unlike many admirers of Hawking, readers of Einstein's Dreams have a high probability of actually finishing it.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:54 -0400)

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A fictional work in which a twenty-six-year-old Albert Einstein, working in a patent office in Switzerland, imagines possible worlds in which time works differently as he formulates his theory of relativity.

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