Skip to comments.Some of the world’s greatest scientific minds tell us what they love—and hate—about Einstein
Posted on 08/20/2004 9:43:04 AM PDT by RightWingAtheist
LOVE: I particularly admired Einsteins deep devotion to, and ability to focus on, science itself and his recognition that the personalities of scientists are irrelevant to understanding science. Most important, in light of recent trends in physics, he understood the place of mathematics in science as a tool, not an end in itself. He was always motivated by physical questions and searching for experimental tests, even as he explored new mathematics. In particular, he didnt confuse mathematical elegance with physical significance.
HATE: I find myself frustrated at Einsteins constant and inappropriate use of the term God, when he really meant something else. As a result, he opened the door for generations of individuals to misrepresent his ideas.
LAWRENCE KRAUSS, chairman, department of physics,
Case Western Reserve University
Einsteinhis mind and his mannerbecame the symbol of science to millions of people throughout the world. In an era of wrenching human struggle under the heels of military might and the horrors of World War I, the experimental proof of the correctness of Einsteins notion of gravity and curved space showed the world that there were fundamental truths to be learned about nature and that the human mind and spirit could rise above all. Einsteins manner, his grandfatherly warmth, gave science, and physics in particular, a human side, which we have lost over the century.
What still drives me crazy about Einstein is that he did not participate in the scientific revolution he helped launch. His successful theory of the photoelectric effect was a key step in establishing the correctness of quantum mechanics. He seemed to consider working out the details of the atom and its nucleus more as busywork than as fundamental science.
NEAL LANE, former director, the National Science Foundation;
professor of physics and astronomy, Rice University
(Excerpt) Read more at discover.com ...
Something for your ping lists
I think Einstein had a sick sense of humor.
"He seemed to consider working out the details of the atom and its nucleus more as busywork than as fundamental science."
He was great in that movie with Meg Ryan!
Is that a quote from him?
I had heard that near the end of his life, near his 70's, he lamented that everything he had done was wrong.
The implication being he had stumbled on something that outmoded his theory, or simply showed it to be a specialized subset of something bigger.
And no matter, Einstein has been flat out proved wrong on at least one occasion, by J. S. Bell et al.
Doesn't sound reasonable, so it's probably not him.
Einstein wrote an article for the Encyclopedia Brittanica explaining in very very basic simple terms the relationship between space and time. I can get through about four paragraphs of the thirty page article before having to give up.
I prefer to think that Einstein's understanding of relativity was based on an incorrect assumption of certain absolutes... I think that if he was alive today, he'd be leading the way on quantum mechanics.
He had an incredible intuition about the structure of matter and the universe, and he made huge leaps based on small amounts of inormation.
I think that is rather incredible, and he would certainly be a great scientist today if he was alive.
I hate that Einstein seemed to buy into the misconception that his scientific brilliance conferred upon him some special political insight, and that therefore his opinions on such matters should carry extra weight.
I wouldn't trust anything by that Art Bell guy, he was kind of a kook, always interviewing UFO people and all . . .
What assumption is that?
Interesting that because of the work of Bell and others, some ideas that were dumped because of general/special relativity are coming back in a certain vogue, even though no scientist would ever publicly admit it.
The quantum flux, the ZPE could be considered to be "ether".
There does indeed seem to be some kind of absolute space/time, ie a true, positive, though possibly not preferred, inertial system.
Whatever the next revelation in physics, it's almost to the point where it will be called a "philosophy", not a "hard science".
John Stuart Bell.
I think he might hold the same chair that Newton held.
Damn the Absolute
He will always be remembered as the guy who invented "bad hair."
It's often forgotten today that Einstein spent as much of his time trying to explain relativity and basic physics to the general public as he did on physics itself. The Evolution of Physics, which he co-wrote with Leopold Infeld, remains a classic text.
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