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Einstein's Dreams (Vintage Contemporaries)…
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Einstein's Dreams (Vintage Contemporaries) (original 1992; edition 2004)

by Alan Lightman

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5,1031482,160 (4)161
A modern classic, Einstein's Dreams is a fictional collage of stories dreamed by Albert Einstein in 1905, when he worked in a patent office in Switzerland. 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, and people are fated to repeat their 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. 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:bigal123
Title:Einstein's Dreams (Vintage Contemporaries)
Authors:Alan Lightman
Info:Vintage (2004), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
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Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman (1992)

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» See also 161 mentions

English (144)  Danish (1)  Dutch (1)  Spanish (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (148)
Showing 1-5 of 144 (next | show all)
I always instinctively sought physics and astrophysics popularisation as a form of escapism from the anxiety-inducing ugliness of society. Like Rovelli, Lightman gently dispossessed me of the illusion, intertwining physics concepts with a deep understanding of human nature and of the relationships between people, and between people and the world. And how could be elseway, when the physics described involve the nature of time?
This novel also reminds me of [b:Le città invisibili|1879904|Le città invisibili|Italo Calvino|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1353789244l/1879904._SY75_.jpg|68476] by Italo Calvino, and indeed the structure is the same: innumerable cities with their inescapable and unique laws - of physics, of interaction - dreamed up by the protagonist in between conversations with an interlocutor. I wouldn't be surprised if Lightman knew and willingly homaged Calvino's beautiful novel; I'll try and find out.
( )
  Elanna76 | May 2, 2024 |
A difficult book to describe, choke full of food for the mind to masticate. a future re-reading is likely. Truly thought provoking ( )
  skid0612 | Feb 28, 2024 |
Well writ short sketches of different types of time. Reminds me indeed of Calvino’s Invisible Cities but is not as poetic.

Overall the connective narrative about Einstein and his friendship is more compelling story than the many sketches.

I like the concept but I was left wondering if the concept could carry the content and make me feel something more than playful ideas. ( )
  yates9 | Feb 28, 2024 |
I *loved* this book!

Lightman imagines what Einstein might have dreamt in the months before he finishes his special theory of relativity. In one dream, time runs backwards. In another, it stands still. In another, it is a circle and everything repeats itself endlessly.

I've had this book sitting around for quite a while. A few weeks ago, the Chicago Tribune's Biblioracle* recommended it to someone, and I thought it was time to read it. Boy, am I glad! Thank you, John Warner!
  lilithcat | Jan 13, 2024 |
Okay if you like voice driven narratives. Not really my thing. ( )
  bostonbibliophile | Jan 2, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 144 (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 (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alan Lightmanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Đorđević, IvanaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Barba Muíz, AndrésTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bieroń, TomaszTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Castanyo, EduardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chaves, Ana MariaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Costello, ChrisIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
童元方Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Daukšienė, OnaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
de Lange, BarbaraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
권국성Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gardner, GroverNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Griese, FriedrichTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hólmarsson, SverrirTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Νικολαΐδο… ΒίκυTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Koparan, ErginTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Krčelić, IrenaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Larsen, Dag HeyerdahlTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Levy, MarceloTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Malroux, ClaireTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Paliga, SorinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pareanom, Yusi AviantoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pavlov, AnnaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pekkanen, Hilkka(KÄÄnt.)secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prasso, CristinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sezgintüredi, AlganTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wahlén, JanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
York, MichaelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
浅倉久志Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Харитонов, ВладимирTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Йосифова, СветлаTranslatorsecondary 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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Wikipedia in English (1)

A modern classic, Einstein's Dreams is a fictional collage of stories dreamed by Albert Einstein in 1905, when he worked in a patent office in Switzerland. 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, and people are fated to repeat their 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. 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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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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