Einstein- A Life in Science

This critical account, addresses the life of Albert Einstein, surrounding his remarkable scientific discoveries, unwrapped by the authors Michael White and John Gribbin in a book published in 1993. The book has evoked and attracted great interest from magazines and newspapers. If you have ever wondered what `E=mc�` means, this is definitely the book for you. The book elaborates one of Einstein’s most renowned theories, that of Quantum physics for which he received the infamous Nobel Prize.

Einstein used to be a Patent Officer, which he enjoyed because he had a great deal of spare time to accomplish his scientific work. He died on the eighteenth of April 1955. His brain was removed for medical research, which you would find astonishing as it makes one think, would Einstein have really wanted his brain removed?

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The book explains the theory of relativity (E=mc2), extremely well. The theory was based on two subsequent variables: Firstly, `echoing` which as explained by Newton, was that the speed of light is the same for all observers, irrespective of what their relative speed is. If an American rocket, for example, had a physics lab on board and was launched in one direction, and the same was done with a Japanese rocket, sent off in the opposite direction, any experiments carried out on either rocket would be exactly the same.

The second postulate uses Maxwell’s equations, which conclude that light is constant so it is written as `c`. This led to Einstein’s predictions, which were not `commonsensical.` He predicted that a moving ruler and everything around it shrinks and gets heavier, while a moving clock runs slow. If an observer sees a spaceship going past him at three-quarters of the speed of light, and another one flies in the opposite direction at the same speed, observers in either spaceship will measure the relative speed of the other spaceship as 0.96c, not 1.5c as the time slows down. This shows that the closer a person travels to the speed of light, the slower the time will get. If someone travels at the speed of light, time will stop.

`E=mc�` means that energy is equal to mass at rest. When mass disappears, for example in a nuclear fission process, this amount of energy must appear in some other form. This also tells us the total energy of a particle of mass, `m`, sitting at rest.

Einstein formed part of the team working on the atomic bomb. It was calculated that a vast amount of energy released in a fission reaction would be used in an atomic bomb. Einstein agreed to be the spokesman for the scientific community and sign a letter persuading Roosevelt to take action. He was later known as the father of the atomic bomb because of this. The result was devastating. This was against Einstein’s pacifist views but he had no choice as the Nazis could build the bomb if the allies did not. Since then, the Americans and Russians have been racing in warfare.

The atomic bomb was built by the USA. The Russians followed. It was an arms race between the Democratic and Communist world. The USA made the hydrogen bomb, Russia eventually caught up. Then the USA built the nuclear bomb. Several other countries built the nuclear bomb too. His strong pacifist views and political views also made him a marvellous person with the public.

Einstein A Life in Science is an excellent book and is worth recommending to those who are curious about what `E=mc�` means. It is fascinating to learn that Einstein based his work on the remarkable achievements made by other scientists such as Newton and Maxwell. I would recommend this book to the older audience, particularly to those who have an interest in relativity and quantum physics. This is a very interesting book, which I enjoyed reading because there is a lot to learn about Einstein’s life and his incredible work. One should not get put off by looking at the thickness of the book and the small print writing. Once you get into this book, you will not want to stop reading.

Overall, I do not think this book explains the science very clearly. I had to read through the special theory of relativity twice before I understood the concept clearly. This book needs to be more concise so the reader can understand the concept more easily because it can be confusing at times. The language used in this book is at a high level, so the younger audience will find it hard to understand the concept. On the other hand, the variety of sentence structures stops the reader from getting bored. This book is a great example to people as the message is that if one works to their utmost potential, they can achieve a lot.

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