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Einstein's dreams by Alan P. Lightman
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Einstein's dreams (original 1992; edition 1994)

by Alan P. Lightman

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4,3551151,897 (4.01)140
A modern classic, Einstein's Dreams is a fictional collage of stories dreamed by Albert Einstein in 1905, about time, relativity and physics. As the defiant but sensitive young genius is creating his theory of relativity, a new conception of time, he imagines many possible worlds. In one, time is circular, so that people are fated to repeat triumphs and failures over and over. In another, there is a place where time stands still, visited by lovers and parents clinging to their children. In another, time is a nightingale, sometimes trapped by a bell jar. Now translated into thirty languages, Einstein's Dreams has inspired playwrights, dancers, musicians, and painters all over the world. In poetic vignettes, it explores the connections between science and art, the process of creativity, and ultimately the fragility of human existence.… (more)
Member:CPK
Title:Einstein's dreams
Authors:Alan P. Lightman
Info:New York : Warner Books, 1994.
Collections:Your library
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Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman (1992)

Recently added bysadreads, private library, afkendrick, James_Patrick_Joyce, Oleacae, AlissaCMiles, cntom60
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» See also 140 mentions

English (114)  Catalan (1)  All languages (115)
Showing 1-5 of 114 (next | show all)
I can’t say this really felt like fiction to me. It is a series of dreams that a young Einstein was having as he developed his theory of relativity. As such, it felt more like a set of short essays. Each essay, or dream presents a different view of time. I found it entertaining and definitely thought-provoking. You could use a number of these small essays to generate some interesting conversation with guests after dinner. It also makes me interested in reading a biography of Einstein, which I have not ever done. But it never grabbed me and pulled me into a different world the way I hope fiction will do. ( )
  afkendrick | Oct 24, 2020 |
What a fascinating book! It's one to reopen and re-read little pieces of through the years. I imagine the meaning will shift as much as time itself. I highly recommend. ( )
  Oleacae | Oct 24, 2020 |
This is a physically small book that sneaks up on you and does not let you go. I found myself re-reading it days and months after I "officially" finished it. In a series of vignettes Lightman presents the ideas of Einstein's Theories of General and Special Relativity. One has the feeling of experiencing the stories as a series of dreams. There is a haunting quality to the scenes and characters encountered. Hard science is presented in a understandable fashion and the characters portrayed are souls that reader recognizes and sympathizes with. This little book will become a classic in time. ( )
  Steve_Walker | Sep 13, 2020 |
Quirky musings on time. Beautifully written. I didn't love it as much as the first time I read it. ( )
  ghefferon | Aug 15, 2020 |
I could not resist....

1.

The author sits, in front of him a pile of galley proofs, it is his book about the nature of time. He starts at the end, reading, checking, and as he does so the words disappear from the page, each page from the pile. He looks forward to finishing his work. Eventually the first letter disappears from the page, the first that began the book. He sits, reflecting upon the empty space in front of him. He should write a book, he thinks to himself. Yes, a book about the nature of time.

2.

In one world he says each morning to his daughter that he must write that book he keeps talking about and she replies that he has already written it, and shows it to him. He is very surprised, picks it up and reads it with interest. It is just what he wanted to say, he thinks with satisfaction. He goes to bed. And in the morning he says to his daughter....

3.

In another world, he is sure he's written the book, it is there clearly in his mind's eye. But when he asks his son to bring it to him, he asks what book he is talking about? There is no book. He must write it then, right now put down the vision of it he sees in his head. He sits down, pen in hand, blank paper on the table and floats into his vision and writes and rewrites. It grows dark. He is exhausted with writing. He goes to bed. The paper on the table is still blank.

rest here: https://alittleteaalittlechat.wordpress.com/2016/04/10/einsteins-dreams-by-alan-... ( )
  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 114 (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 editionscalculated
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.
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"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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

A modern classic, Einstein's Dreams is a fictional collage of stories dreamed by Albert Einstein in 1905, about time, relativity and physics. As the defiant but sensitive young genius is creating his theory of relativity, a new conception of time, he imagines many possible worlds. In one, time is circular, so that people are fated to repeat triumphs and failures over and over. In another, there is a place where time stands still, visited by lovers and parents clinging to their children. In another, time is a nightingale, sometimes trapped by a bell jar. Now translated into thirty languages, Einstein's Dreams has inspired playwrights, dancers, musicians, and painters all over the world. In poetic vignettes, it explores the connections between science and art, the process of creativity, and ultimately the fragility of human existence.

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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.
Auszug

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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