Saturday, November 9, 2013

NOVEMBER 9 = Einstein's Brain....

{The above image can be enlarged somewhat by clicking on the picture}

Albert Einstein was without a doubt one of the most brilliant men who ever lived. But his brain was obviously somewhere in another universe!  Certainly his contributions to the field of theoretical physics are beyond measure - indeed they are the stuff of legend. His special and general theories of relativity, his founding of relativistic cosmology, his prediction of the deflection of light by gravity, and his 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect are all accomplishments that contribute to his citation by many as the father of modern physics. But he was a man of humor, a lover of music, and a very gentle man. In fact he was a pacifist. A man possessed of brilliant intellect, and remarkable powers of perception. Nevertheless, he was a typical scientist - while he definitely had very strongly held beliefs on war versus peace, and science and it's place in the modern world, he still had his head firmly in his books and his theories. And not surprisingly, when his world was catching fire around him, while his country of Germany was being swallowed by the conflagration of World War One and its disastrous aftermath he seems to have barely even noticed.

World War One Tears the World Apart

World War One, as will shortly be discussed, was a huge tear in the fabric of civilization as the world had come to know it. Its effects were particularly bad on Germany. Although Einstein had spent much of his early adult life in Switzerland where he worked at the Swiss Patent Office, he had in fact been born in the Kingdom of Wurttemberg, part of the German Empire. And he spent the years of World War One inside Germany. By November of 1918, the tide had clearly turned against the German Empire. Despite having forced the Russians out of the war a year earlier, the Declaration of War by America against Germany and her Allies in April of 1917 had clearly put the momentum behind the Allied cause. The nations of France and England, who had been nearly exhausted by more than four years of continuous bloody warfare now joined with America, and they were closing in on Germany itself. The officers of the German General Staff, seeing that the territorial integrity of Germany was being threatened convinced the Kaiser, Wilhelm II, who by that time had been reduced to a mere figurehead anyway that he would have to abdicate. He did so on November 9 of 1918.

Einstein Seems to Barely Notice All of the Fuss.......

There was great agitation on the campuses of Germany with soldiers and workers councils advocating radical change. This was very evident on the Campus of the University of Berlin wherein Einstein was scheduled to lecture on relativity. Later on in that very week, he would meet with the head of Germany's interim government to effect the release of several of the University professors who had been detained by revolutionary students. He would go on to declare before before a crowd of over one thousand people that "all true democrats must stand guard lest the old class tyranny of the right be replaced by a class tyranny of the left". But on that particular day, Nov. 9 , with the world turned upside down and the University closed, he took little apparent notice of all of the turmoil. Quite laconically in his lecture notes (visible on the above image, about half-way down on the left hand column next to where he has wrtten "9 XI"), amongst all of his mathematical equations he wrote "fiel aus wegen revolution." Classes had been "cancelled due to revolution."

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Albert Einstein: Creator and Rebel by Banesh Hoffman.
Penguin Books Inc., New York, 1972 pp. 135 - 137.

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