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"(Folsing) provides a nuanced, nonjudgmental personal portrait resting firmly on prodigious archival work. Albert Einstein allows us to see deeply into (his) inner world". -- Alan Lightman, The New York Review of BooksThe name of Albert Einstein has become synonymous with supreme wisdom and benignity. Not only was he responsible for the fundamental remapping of our underst "(Folsing) provides a nuanced, nonjudgmental personal portrait resting firmly on prodigious archival work. Albert Einstein allows us to see deeply into (his) inner world". -- Alan Lightman, The New York Review of BooksThe name of Albert Einstein has become synonymous with supreme wisdom and benignity. Not only was he responsible for the fundamental remapping of our understanding of the physical cosmos, he also left a legacy of outspokenness on the crucial moral, political, and religious issues of the twentieth century. Drawing on an unprecedented number of sources, Albrecht Folsing throws into fresh relief the remarkable life of Einstein, approaching the man through the science and situating him in the creatively charged times in which he thrived. Albert Einstein is both an engaging portrait of a genius and a distillation of scientific thought. Folsing sheds light on Einstein's development and the complexity of his being: his childhood idiosyncrasies, his views on war and peace, his stimulating friendships with colleagues, and his intense relationships with women. This is a serious yet highly readable and intimate account of the genius who expanded our understanding of nature and of the singular man who played such an exceptional role in the cultural growth of this century. "A provocative portrait...Folsing is painstaking and thorough in his research, taking us step-by-step through the crystallization of Einstein's thoughts". -- The Washington Post Book World "The best recent treatment of Einstein's life in and out of science". -- The Boston Book Review "Richly detailed...(Folsing) has managed to bring a fresh tint to this iconic figure of modern science". -- San FranciscoChronicle


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"(Folsing) provides a nuanced, nonjudgmental personal portrait resting firmly on prodigious archival work. Albert Einstein allows us to see deeply into (his) inner world". -- Alan Lightman, The New York Review of BooksThe name of Albert Einstein has become synonymous with supreme wisdom and benignity. Not only was he responsible for the fundamental remapping of our underst "(Folsing) provides a nuanced, nonjudgmental personal portrait resting firmly on prodigious archival work. Albert Einstein allows us to see deeply into (his) inner world". -- Alan Lightman, The New York Review of BooksThe name of Albert Einstein has become synonymous with supreme wisdom and benignity. Not only was he responsible for the fundamental remapping of our understanding of the physical cosmos, he also left a legacy of outspokenness on the crucial moral, political, and religious issues of the twentieth century. Drawing on an unprecedented number of sources, Albrecht Folsing throws into fresh relief the remarkable life of Einstein, approaching the man through the science and situating him in the creatively charged times in which he thrived. Albert Einstein is both an engaging portrait of a genius and a distillation of scientific thought. Folsing sheds light on Einstein's development and the complexity of his being: his childhood idiosyncrasies, his views on war and peace, his stimulating friendships with colleagues, and his intense relationships with women. This is a serious yet highly readable and intimate account of the genius who expanded our understanding of nature and of the singular man who played such an exceptional role in the cultural growth of this century. "A provocative portrait...Folsing is painstaking and thorough in his research, taking us step-by-step through the crystallization of Einstein's thoughts". -- The Washington Post Book World "The best recent treatment of Einstein's life in and out of science". -- The Boston Book Review "Richly detailed...(Folsing) has managed to bring a fresh tint to this iconic figure of modern science". -- San FranciscoChronicle

59 review for Albert Einstein: A Biography

  1. 5 out of 5

    Maggie

    741 pages of heavy reading, going into great detail and background leading up to Einstein's various discoveries and evolving of his theory of relativity. What a man! He made some very public 'booboos' but his attitude was that only in death do we stop making mistakes - for me this has been the greatest lesson. Einstein had such complete confidence and was uninhibited about striving for his goals. His thirst for knowledge overshadowed any setbacks. This wonderful determination, energy, drive and 741 pages of heavy reading, going into great detail and background leading up to Einstein's various discoveries and evolving of his theory of relativity. What a man! He made some very public 'booboos' but his attitude was that only in death do we stop making mistakes - for me this has been the greatest lesson. Einstein had such complete confidence and was uninhibited about striving for his goals. His thirst for knowledge overshadowed any setbacks. This wonderful determination, energy, drive and personal passion delivered some great achievements and insights to mankind that might not have occurred if he had succumbed to the vindictiveness and criticism of many ego driven academics. He was a good looking man - particularly in his youth, had a pleasant disposition, was flitatious and a pacifist. He struggled with his national identity for many years (Swiss, in parallel with German and Prussion), probably all his life and had to diplomatically wade through all the politics surrounding him because of his Jewish origins. He married twice (the second time his cousin) and lived rather a bohemian existence in his earlier life. He didn't conform to anything he didn't agree to and retained his unique individuality. He became famous in the early 1920's after many years of misunderstanding re his theory of relativity, which is way beyond the comprehension of the average person. Eventually he received the Nobel Prize in 1921 for his discovery of the 'law of the photoelectric effect'. It took many years for Einstein to be acknowledged for his contribution to physics because of this lack of understanding and other political issues, even though he was recommended a number of times. In addition, such debate arose of his theories it took quite some time to confirm it and as it was he was not awarded the prize for 'relativity' as such because it was not classed as a 'discovery'. Einstein was in Japan when the announcement was made and it created confusion over his nationality with the Swiss and the German Governments vying for the privilege to hand it over. A compromise was reached in the end with the Swiss Ambassador handing it over in Berlin. His first wife, Mileva, received the benefits of the financial reward. By the time Einstein gave his Nobel lecture on relativity theory in 1923, he had long turned his mind to new problems. "The intellect seeking after an integrated theory" he declared, "cannot rest content with the assumption that there exists two distinct fields totally independent of each other by their nature". He did not realize then that these words he was describing would be his passionate scientific quest to the end of his days; the search for a unified theory of Gravity and electromagnetism. Over the following years and decades he lost himself in ever more abstract reflections, studied advanced mathematics and entangled himself in the most complex calculations. Over time he lost his 'standing' amongst his fellow scientists and became increasingly isolationist. He lived through his exile in the USA Princeton (where he lived happily). When Hitler came to power he treated Einstein as an enemy of the State because of his Jewishness and political beliefs. His pacifist stance crumbled when he was confronted by the reality of nations having to defend themselves against Germany and, later, Japan. He did all he could to assist Jewish refugees to immigrate to the US and was a champion for the building of the new State of Israel. He wrote to the president of the United States in 1939 and warned him of the imminent discovery of the atomic bomb and that Germany could have the capacity and means to develop it first. He was devastated to learn of the catastrophic outcomes of the bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. "The release of atomic energy has not created a new problem. It has merely made more urgent the necessity of solving an existing one. One could say that it has affected us quantitatively not qualitatively." 27 October 1945, Atlantic Monthly "Atomic War or Peace" and further in the New York Times 11 December 1945; "We helped create this new weapon in order to prevent the enemies from achieving it first; given the mentality of the Nazis, this could have brought about untold destruction as well as enslavement of the peoples of the world. This weapon was delivered into the hands of the American and the British nations in their role as tustees of all mankind, and as fighters for peace and liberty; but so far we have no guarantee of peace nor any of the freedoms promised by the Atlantic Charter ... the war is won - but the peace is not." In a letter to Otto Juliusburger, Princeton April 11, 1946 he wrote.."I believe that the terrible decline in man's ethical behavious is due primarily to the mechanisation and depersonalisation of our lives - the disastrous by-product of the development of the technological-scientific intellect. Nostra Culpa! I see no way of dealing with this fatal shortcoming. Man cools more quickly than the planet he inhabits." Einstein never forgave the Germans and felt that "not a trace of a sense of guilt or remorse is to be found for their butchering millions of civilians according to a well prepared plan". He renounced any German citizenship before the war and turned his back on his 'Stepfatherland'. He died with dignity and specified the simplest of ceremonies and cremation for his funeral. A few weeks before his death he reflected that death is "...an old debt that one eventually pays. Yet instinctively one does everything possible to postpone this final settlement, such is the game that nature plays with us. We may ourselves smile that we are not that way, but we cannot free ouselves of the instinctive reaction to which we are all subject." This book has been diligently researched and comprehensively covers the life of a very unique person - we see his contradictions, purity of thought and singleminded determination, energy and prejudices. When I have the opportunity I will purchase this book for reference.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ankush

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Good

  3. 4 out of 5

    Morthen

    I read the Finnish translation of this book (translated by Seppo Hyrkäs) and this review is based on this translation. I found the book really informative, involving some physics, some historical backrounds, some disrepancies between Einstein‘s back and forth between pacifism and wanting revenge and about his misfortunes with his family and friends. A sometimes difficult book to follow, some paragraphs jumping back and forth in time, not following strict chronology. After all, a very interesting I read the Finnish translation of this book (translated by Seppo Hyrkäs) and this review is based on this translation. I found the book really informative, involving some physics, some historical backrounds, some disrepancies between Einstein‘s back and forth between pacifism and wanting revenge and about his misfortunes with his family and friends. A sometimes difficult book to follow, some paragraphs jumping back and forth in time, not following strict chronology. After all, a very interesting book for anyone who is interested about physics or of the life of Albert Einstein.

  4. 4 out of 5

    JAWAD HAYDER

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. this Great

  5. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Alex

    This biography is a slow read but gives deep insight into this brilliant and influential mind.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Steve Gordon

    A very detailed, well written biography. It mostly focuses on Einstein's life at the peak of his most important scientific endeavors and gives short shrift to the last twenty years of his life. The scientific concepts and terms will occasionally fly over one's head... like an aeroplane. You think I'm an aeroplane, don't you, Mike? Well, I'm not.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kha

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. about knowlegde

  8. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    I never took physics or even chemistry. I'm not highly skilled in advanced mathematics. The technical stuff was over my head. I was looking for a Biography about his life. Not a textbook in detail with all of his work. It was mostly way over my head. And way to long. What I wanted to know could have easily been done at under 300 pages.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nik W

    Ohne Physik-LK sollte man um dieses Buch ein Bogen machen.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Venkata Sharan

    I want to read this please recommend me

  11. 4 out of 5

    David

    Albrecht Folsing has written a richly documented and well told biography of the man who may be the most celebrated scientist of the 20th Century. Having a foundation in physics, Folsing has presented the scientific issues in a manner which may be apprehended by those with no facility in mathematics. He also presents the man who navigated the shores of discovery as a very real human being, one who was far more than the anecdotal accounts in popular mythology. There were a few places in which Ewal Albrecht Folsing has written a richly documented and well told biography of the man who may be the most celebrated scientist of the 20th Century. Having a foundation in physics, Folsing has presented the scientific issues in a manner which may be apprehended by those with no facility in mathematics. He also presents the man who navigated the shores of discovery as a very real human being, one who was far more than the anecdotal accounts in popular mythology. There were a few places in which Ewald Oser's translation left me scratching my head. For instance several times the word "perihelium" was used when first describing the orbit of Mercury. When the issue comes up much later in the book, the correct term "perihelion" is used. These were trivial when I considered that he had a much more accurate translation of the Einstein quote carved on the lintel of a fireplace at Princeton than many others I have seen: "The Lord God is subtle--but malicious he is not." ("Raffiniert ist der Herr Gott--Aber boshaft ist Er nicht."). Most translations simply say "God" without the honorific "Lord". Given that Oser had much experience translating poetry, and Folsing's acknowledgement that Einstein loved doggerel, it would have been fun to see some examples--but Folsing did not include any. The long list of original articles, publications, and access to the Einstein collections in Jerusalem, at Princeton and other important sources certainly gives weight to the research that went into this volume. I was particularly impressed by the rich collection of quotes in by people who knew Einstein from many points in his life. They help to form a picture of the man who in both is intellectual and personal life has come to be a cultural icon more than a man.

  12. 4 out of 5

    bup

    I like that it was a pretty thorough bio of Einstein, but I wish there had been a tad bit more science. I think the ideal reader would be well-acquainted enough with relativity and quantum physics to follow what the biographer's talking about in many places, but not a physicist. I guess it'd be a dilettante of physics who's a bit more versed than me. In fact, you know what would really help this book? An appendix that gives a good layman's explanation of special relativity and general relativity. I like that it was a pretty thorough bio of Einstein, but I wish there had been a tad bit more science. I think the ideal reader would be well-acquainted enough with relativity and quantum physics to follow what the biographer's talking about in many places, but not a physicist. I guess it'd be a dilettante of physics who's a bit more versed than me. In fact, you know what would really help this book? An appendix that gives a good layman's explanation of special relativity and general relativity. Folsing's a bit dismissive of Einstein's refusal to accept quantum theory as the actual nature of things. Einstein well-understood, and Folsing even acknowledges that Einstein understood, that the quantum model is a good model and makes accurate predictions, he just didn't think it got at the true nature of the way things are. And one can almost hear Folsing chuckling condescendingly as he wrote about Einstein being quixotic in his attempt to topple the quantum model establishment. Maybe Einstein was wrong (apparently the EPR paradox resolution by Bell's theorem indicates that, but it boggles me), but the questioning of whether two identical but opposite-momentum particles could have both their position and velocity measured was a good one. It was exactly the kind of niggling gap that led Einstein to the theory of relativity in the first place, and the kind of niggling gap Einstein explicitly stated he used to drive his contemplations through his life. I guess that's a peeve, though. Will you like the book? Is it worth reading? I liked the writing, and Einstein's life is compelling. So, yeah.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tiffani R.

    I really loved reading this.. it really portraied his "life" as in what he spent his life studying.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Amelia Elena

    A NOT well written biography...yet it was wonderful to find out a little about the human behind the great scientist.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Literary Lion

    I remember reading this as a young girl and being surprised at how different my image of Einstein was from the real deal.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Tsering yangzom

    My Delusion of grandeur got murdered.I could not finish this book.Its been lying on my shelf since a long time.I tried but its boring and tough.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Delilah Bryan

  18. 4 out of 5

    Harinder

  19. 4 out of 5

    Pujiiee💕

  20. 5 out of 5

    Carie Cabañero

  21. 5 out of 5

    AKASH SHARMA

  22. 4 out of 5

    Akansha Batham

  23. 5 out of 5

    Victoria Robinson

  24. 5 out of 5

    maria valeria valle da silveira

  25. 4 out of 5

    Vaishnavi Pandey

  26. 5 out of 5

    Abiodun Damilare

  27. 4 out of 5

    George

  28. 4 out of 5

    Anijahe Santos Martin

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany Ashbaugh

  30. 4 out of 5

    Craig

  31. 5 out of 5

    Chris

  32. 5 out of 5

    Ruud Raats

  33. 4 out of 5

    John

  34. 4 out of 5

    Noah

  35. 5 out of 5

    Dave

  36. 4 out of 5

    Mohammad

  37. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

  38. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

  39. 4 out of 5

    Jann

  40. 5 out of 5

    DJ

  41. 5 out of 5

    Maria

  42. 5 out of 5

    Man Ching

  43. 4 out of 5

    Allen

  44. 4 out of 5

    Ivan Ponomarev

  45. 5 out of 5

    Yotamhod24

    not the best biography, but being that its einstein it was well worth the investment

  46. 4 out of 5

    Tracy Lee

  47. 4 out of 5

    Kris

  48. 4 out of 5

    Stacey

  49. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

  50. 4 out of 5

    Cliff

  51. 5 out of 5

    Franny Burd

  52. 5 out of 5

    Monica Batiz

  53. 5 out of 5

    Brent

  54. 4 out of 5

    Shelby Cattani

  55. 5 out of 5

    Chase Clark

  56. 5 out of 5

    Felipe Costa

  57. 4 out of 5

    Elisabeth

  58. 5 out of 5

    Clay

  59. 4 out of 5

    dusty

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