Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|NOVA Einstein Revealed|
Journey into the mind of a genius and visualize the thought experiments Albert Einstein could only imagine: mind-boggling meditations on light, time, and space that would forever change the way we view the universe. What ... more »
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The human side of one considered an icon
Charles Ashbacher | Marion, Iowa United States(firstname.lastname@example.org) | 06/27/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"While the names of many scientists are known by being assigned to units of measurement, Albert Einstein is the only one whose name is applied as a description. His last name is now used as a metaphor for genius, and he is the most famous scientist who ever lived. That reputation is well-deserved, in that his ideas concerning general relativity were so revolutionary that some of the experimental verification did not occur for decades. Furthermore, most anecdotal reports are that when it was published, there were only three people in the world, including Einstein himself, who could even understand it. His public persona was that of an eccentric genius, with wild, uncombed hair and a lack of socks. However, his private life has rarely if ever been investigated, and that is the main point of this video.
It turns out that he was privately very arrogant. So much so that his physicist friend Niels Bohr once told him in exasperation to stop telling God what to do. When he was getting a divorce from his first wife, he boldly offered her the proceeds from his Nobel prize, which was not awarded until years later. As a husband and a father, he turned out to be wanting, although in his first marriage, it is easy to be sympathetic to both parties. He met his first wife, Milena while both were students and at that time, they spoke of an intellectual partnership. When his first child was born before they were married, they kept it quiet although he spoke lovingly about mother and daughter in his letters. However, his position as a Swiss civil servant would have made a marriage after the birth awkward, so for reasons that are still unexplained, the daughter suddenly disappears from the records and they then get married. Milena was also a physics student who failed her final exams twice. Then, once the miracle year of 1905 arrived and Einstein began to be heralded as the greatest physicist since Newton, his stature rose rapidly. His meteoric rise to fame was probably farther and faster than anyone else in history. Quite frankly, you could have probably counted on your fingers the number of people alive then who possessed the intellect to be an intellectual partner for Einstein. Therefore, it is not surprising that the tension in their marriage grew to such an extent that they parted and then divorced.
His relationship with his second wife was an unusual one. She tended his house, but they kept separate beds and she was not allowed to disturb him when he was in his study.... This was the first time I had ever heard anything about Einstein as a randy old man, which I take to prove that fame in any form attracts young women. His relationship with his two sons from his first marriage was never close, as Einstein became more and more withdrawn from human contact. One was diagnosed as a schizophrenic and was institutionalized until his death. The other became a professor but very rarely saw his father.
Generally, I find personal revelations about celebrities to be very dull and uninteresting. However, in this case it is a major exception. Like many others, Einstein is a hero to me and details about his life beyond the physics reveal elements of his character that make him even more remarkable in my eyes. All of the material that I have encountered to date has reinforced the solitary genius, but now you see him as a headstrong young man who grew up to be a similar adult. Learning that he was a bit of a scamp makes him more refreshingly human in my eyes. This is an excellent video for science classes, in that it shows the human side of the most famous scientist of history. If even Einstein could have a life outside physics, then science will be a more attractive career to students.
Published in Mathematics and Computer Education, reprinted with permission"
Great Teaching Resource
H. Arfanis | Sydney, Australia | 01/03/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My students found this DVD not only informative, but it shed a new light on this fascinating man. As we learned about his life, there were scenes which focussed on his ideas of relativity - a good visual learning tool. However, it was the 'man' behind these brilliant ideas which captivated my students. Einstein is revealed as an 'ordinary' person who cared for no-one but his passion for his work. Despite his scientific contributions which rocked the world, he failed as a husband and father (quite disappointing). A good video if one wants to really get to see who Einstein really was."