Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Einstein book finds new readers

Einstein just showed up on the NY Times list for ebook nonfiction bestsellers:
10 OUT OF MY LATER YEARS, by Albert Einstein. (Open Road.) A collection of essays from the years 1934-50 address social, religious and educational questions.
Einstein was an embarrassment during this period. He was a Communist fellow traveler who actively supported Communist front groups. He had an affair with a Soviet agent who had been sent to compromise him. He claimed to be a pacifist but he supported the development of nuclear bombs as long as the plan was to kill Germans.

He was a secular Jew and a Zionist. He denied believing in a personal God but also denied being an atheist. He identified with the Jewish people more than anyone else.

His scientific writings from this period were worthless. His work on relativity was mostly wrong. His main project was unified field theory, but his papers were nonsense. No one has ever been able to get any value out of anything he wrote on the subject. The hot subject in physics of the day was quantum mechanics, but he never understood or accepted it. The best that can be said of his work of this period is that quantum mechanics was clarified when other physicists explained how wrong Einstein was about the theory.

An Amazon reviewer writes:
Einstein is the greatest modern example of Keynes dictum of how it is 'ideas' that change the world. He is the example of how one man alone, thinking, transformed our understanding of nature, and our power to change it. In these essays the main interests of Einstein's life are touched upon. He writes with clarity and modesty.
No, Einstein did not write with modesty. He was an egomaniac who spent his whole life exaggerating his accomplishments, and scheming to get credit for the work of others.

It is a big myth that created relativity and transformed our understanding of nature by pure thought all by himself. Read my book how this myth is wrong in every detail. His work on relativity relied very heavily on others, and those others followed experiments and influenced the development of physics.

A lot of people read Einstein thinking that he was some sort of unique source of wisdom. Forget it. He wasn't.

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