Few figures loom as large as Albert Einstein in our contemporary culture. It is truly remarkable that a man from such humble beginnings, an unemployed dreamer without a future or a job, who was written off by his professors as a hopeless loser, could to dare to scale the heights he reached. In this enlightening book Michio Kaku reasseses Einstein's work by centering on his three great theories - special relativity, general relativity and the Unified Field Theory. The first yielded the equation E =mc which is now such a fixture in our culture that it is practically a ubiquitous slogan. But the subsequent theories led to the Big Bang theory and have changed irrevocably the way we perceive time and space. Michio Kaku gives a new, refreshing look at the pioneering work of Einstein, giving a more accurate portrayal of his enduring legacy than previous biographies. As today's advanced physicists continue their intense search to fulfill Einstein's most cherished dream, a 'theory of everything', he is recognised as a prophet who set the agenda for modern physics.
The book has lots of interesting facts about Einstein such as:
- He was born in Germany but he had such a bad experience in his youth, he renounced his citizenship when he was 17
- He was always brilliant. There’s a myth that he wasn’t that smart when he was young (and a whole Kaplan advertising campaign). This is 100% wrong. He read a Geometry book when he was 12 and LOVED it. After that he devoured any physics and mathematics he could get his hand on. He hated classes where they wouldn’t teach the “interesting topics of the day” and occassionally got poor grades. But he was always smart.
- One little tidbit i loved hearing about is that he was a total ladies man. In High School ALL the girls wanted to talk to him b/c he had such a funny personality. He was a witty guy - always cracking jokes and having fun. Bottom line: Albert was a stud and had his pick of chicks when he was in college.
Another little interesting piece of gossip - he got his main college girlfriend pregnant but she had moved away and the baby died when it was 3. He eventually had another child with her and paid alimony with his Nobel Prize money. But, as he became more famous and busier, they drifted apart and he moved to Germany. She stayed in Switzerland - leading to eventual divorce. He then became very close to his cousin Elsa, who he later married. From the book it seems that they were a great couple - He the absent-minded disheveled thinker and she the pretty put-together socialite. His tours around the world would have been impossible without her.
The book follows his behavior during the wars, his refusal to support Germany during WWI and his endangerment as a prominent Jew - eventually moving to the states and living at Princeton.
The physics is all easy to understand. All the cosmic questions that stem from relativity - including the puzzling worm-hole questions are all lined up. I found it a great to read before bedtime book due to the mind benders.
If you’re looking to know more about Albert - this is definitely a quick and interesting book.
While Einstein was late in starting to talk, it's not true that he was a poor student in school. What he was, was a stubborn student. He had no interest in rote learning, which was the accepted pedagogic technique in Germany at the time. He would read, and think, and ask questions--and that mainly in the subjects he cared about.
Einstein's work on special relativity and general relativity changed our understanding of the universe and how it works. His struggles with quantum mechanics and his unsuccessful effort to create a unified field theory, a "theory of everything," have led some to say it would have been better for his reputation if he had not practiced physics for his last thirty years. Yet now, in the first decades of the twenty-first century, with advances in the technology available to study and test ideas, Einstein's work in the hands of a new generation of physicists and mathematicians is bearing new scientific fruit.
This is a fun, enjoyable read or listen, as well as educational.
I received a free copy of this audiobook from Audible in exchange for an honest review.
My Thoughts: I enjoyed this book quite a bit. It’s my second book by Kaku, and I plan on reading more of his work. His science is quite approachable and he keeps to interesting topics.