“What Bodanis does brilliantly is to give us a feel for Einstein as a person. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that does this as well” (Popular Science).
In this “fascinating” biography, the acclaimed author of E=mc2 reveals that in spite of his indisputable brilliance, Albert Einstein found himself ignored by most working scientists during the final decades of his life, his ideas opposed by even his closest friends (Forbes). How did this happen?
Einstein revolutionized our understanding of the cosmos with his general theory of relativity, and helped lead us into the atomic age. This book goes beyond his remarkable intellect and accomplishments to examine the man himself, from the skeptical, erratic student to the world’s greatest physicist to the fallen-from-grace celebrity. An intimate biography that “imparts fresh insight into the genius—and failures—of the 20th century’s most celebrated scientist,” Einstein’s Greatest Mistake reveals what we owe Einstein today—and how much more he might have achieved if not for his all-too-human flaws (Publishers Weekly).
Named a Science Book of the Year by the Sunday Times and one of the Top Five Science Books of 2016 by ABC News Australia, this unique book “offers a window onto Einstein’s achievements and missteps, as well as his life—his friendships, his complicated love life (two marriages, many affairs) and his isolation from other scientists at the end of his life” (BookPage).
Writer and futurist Bodanis (Passionate Minds) imparts fresh insight into the genius and failures of the 20th century's most celebrated scientist. Einstein learned early on to follow his own curiosity rather than his teachers, and Bodanis shows how Einstein's close friendships with a few young scientists gave him a supportive sounding board for his ideas. Later, Einstein's dull patent-inspector job gave him time to work out the basics of relativity. Trouble arose when astronomical observations suggested, in opposition to Einstein's equations, that the universe was unchanging. To make his math agree, Einstein reluctantly added a fudge factor called the cosmological constant, only to regret it when later observations showed the universe really was expanding and his original math had been correct all along. That experience, Bodanis says, made the scientist "downright obdurate" about considering experimental results exactly the wrong tactic to take as quantum mechanics became the new language of modern physics. Bodanis is sympathetic but realistic: Einstein's stubbornness effectively ended his career, leaving him isolated and marginalized as the rest of physics moved forward. This provocative biography illuminates the human flaws that operate subtly in the shadows of scientific endeavor.