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Since the death of Albert Einstein in 1955 there have been many books and articles written about the man and a number of attempts to "explain" relativity. In this new major work Abraham Pais, himself an eminent physicist who worked alongside Einstein in the post-war years, traces the development of Einstein's entire oeuvre. This is the first book which deal comprehensively Since the death of Albert Einstein in 1955 there have been many books and articles written about the man and a number of attempts to "explain" relativity. In this new major work Abraham Pais, himself an eminent physicist who worked alongside Einstein in the post-war years, traces the development of Einstein's entire oeuvre. This is the first book which deal comprehensively and in depth with Einstein's science, both the successes and the failures. Running through the book is a completely non-scientific biography (identified in the table of contents by italic type) including many letters which appear in English for the first time, as well as other information not published before. Throughout the preparation of this book, Pais has had complete access to the Einstein Archives (now in the possession of the Hebrew University) and the invaluable guidance of the late Helen Dukas--formerly Einstein's private secretary.


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Since the death of Albert Einstein in 1955 there have been many books and articles written about the man and a number of attempts to "explain" relativity. In this new major work Abraham Pais, himself an eminent physicist who worked alongside Einstein in the post-war years, traces the development of Einstein's entire oeuvre. This is the first book which deal comprehensively Since the death of Albert Einstein in 1955 there have been many books and articles written about the man and a number of attempts to "explain" relativity. In this new major work Abraham Pais, himself an eminent physicist who worked alongside Einstein in the post-war years, traces the development of Einstein's entire oeuvre. This is the first book which deal comprehensively and in depth with Einstein's science, both the successes and the failures. Running through the book is a completely non-scientific biography (identified in the table of contents by italic type) including many letters which appear in English for the first time, as well as other information not published before. Throughout the preparation of this book, Pais has had complete access to the Einstein Archives (now in the possession of the Hebrew University) and the invaluable guidance of the late Helen Dukas--formerly Einstein's private secretary.

30 review for Subtle Is the Lord: The Science and the Life of Albert Einstein

  1. 5 out of 5

    Manny

    In this extremely impressive book, Abraham Pais, himself a good physicist who knew Einstein personally, sets out to write a comprehensive biography of the greatest scientist of modern times. The emphasis is very much on the science, and if you want details on who Einstein slept with you are advised to look elsewhere. I think that's absolutely right; most biographies of Lindsay Lohan are, for similar reasons, equally sketchy concerning her opinions on quantum mechanics. The rest of this review is In this extremely impressive book, Abraham Pais, himself a good physicist who knew Einstein personally, sets out to write a comprehensive biography of the greatest scientist of modern times. The emphasis is very much on the science, and if you want details on who Einstein slept with you are advised to look elsewhere. I think that's absolutely right; most biographies of Lindsay Lohan are, for similar reasons, equally sketchy concerning her opinions on quantum mechanics. The rest of this review is available elsewhere (the location cannot be given for Goodreads policy reasons)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Erik

    Really illuminating and surprisingly critical on two fronts. One, Pais is critical of Einstein himself and does not write the usual hagiography of the great man, but deals with him as a working scientist who made occasional errors as all humans do. The relativity "revolution" is put in perspective as a continuation of classical physics, by comparison with the true break with the past that was occurring in quantum theory. He is also aware that Einstein's opposition to quantum theory cannot be dis Really illuminating and surprisingly critical on two fronts. One, Pais is critical of Einstein himself and does not write the usual hagiography of the great man, but deals with him as a working scientist who made occasional errors as all humans do. The relativity "revolution" is put in perspective as a continuation of classical physics, by comparison with the true break with the past that was occurring in quantum theory. He is also aware that Einstein's opposition to quantum theory cannot be dismissed with the usual tagline of "God does not play dice." The opposition to QM is deeper and more philosophical in nature and concerns the criteria needed for any theory to be considered an account of objective reality, a question scientists have not even begun to consider and one which Bell's theorem does not clear up at all (Bell spoke on the same issue at the end of his life in speaking about the be-ables of a theory, which do not include the wave function). Einstein knew how isolated he was in later years from the mainstream of physics but then again he was always an outsider from day one. It would be difficult if not impossible for a person like this to succeed in physics (or anywhere in academia) today, as we are much more social and prone to groupthink in our current approach to knowledge.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Simon Mcleish

    Originally published on my blog here in June 1998. Subtle is the Lord... (the Einstein quote finishes "...but he is not malicious") is an excellent biography of Albert Einstein written by an eminent physicist. A fair knowledge of physics is necessary to read this, but reading a biography of Einstein which doesn't convey the work that he did is much less interesting to those who have such a knowledge. Pais is not uncritical of Einstein. A major theme of his book is to answer the question of why, af Originally published on my blog here in June 1998. Subtle is the Lord... (the Einstein quote finishes "...but he is not malicious") is an excellent biography of Albert Einstein written by an eminent physicist. A fair knowledge of physics is necessary to read this, but reading a biography of Einstein which doesn't convey the work that he did is much less interesting to those who have such a knowledge. Pais is not uncritical of Einstein. A major theme of his book is to answer the question of why, after the major achievements of special and general relativity and his quantum mechanics papers, Einstein produced so little work of permanent value in the second half of his working life. In fact, Pais suggests that the very aspects of Einstein's character which made the earlier breakthroughs possible meant that his work became more divorced from the mainstream of twentieth century theoretical physics as time went on. Subtle is the Lord is rather less interested in the non-physics related activities of Albert Einstein, though considerable space is given to his pacifism and Zionism. There are other biographies which concentrate on these matters, and are much more interested in Einstein's private life. Pais' work is where to come for a definitive description of the way in which Einstein's work and life fitted together.

  4. 4 out of 5

    William Mann

    This is probably the BEST of all the Einstein biographies on the market. It is not only a bio of Einstein himself, but also of his science. With a combination of life story and physics Pais weaves a detailed tapestry of the history of the birth of modern Physics. This book is not for the faint of heart, it takes dedication and patience to work through. The result, wether you understand all the math or not, is a deeper understanding of Einstein's dedication to the pursuit of the greatest of mirac This is probably the BEST of all the Einstein biographies on the market. It is not only a bio of Einstein himself, but also of his science. With a combination of life story and physics Pais weaves a detailed tapestry of the history of the birth of modern Physics. This book is not for the faint of heart, it takes dedication and patience to work through. The result, wether you understand all the math or not, is a deeper understanding of Einstein's dedication to the pursuit of the greatest of miracles - the human mind's ability to make sense out of nature.

  5. 5 out of 5

    DJ

    Non-physicists need not apply. This book is an intensely thorough scientific biography of Einstein and is likely a great joy to any physicist interested watching the great man work. However, if you're simply a pop-sci fan passing through the fascinating world of physics, don't stop to gawk here. You won't comprehend a thing. Instead, mosy on over to Walter Isaacson's 'Einstein: His Life and Dreams.' I may return to this book later, once I've got some relativity and quantum theory under my belt, in Non-physicists need not apply. This book is an intensely thorough scientific biography of Einstein and is likely a great joy to any physicist interested watching the great man work. However, if you're simply a pop-sci fan passing through the fascinating world of physics, don't stop to gawk here. You won't comprehend a thing. Instead, mosy on over to Walter Isaacson's 'Einstein: His Life and Dreams.' I may return to this book later, once I've got some relativity and quantum theory under my belt, in order to get a better idea of how Einstein actually did his physics. In my scant readings of the comprehensible parts of this book, however, I did manage to learn a few interesting things about Einstein's successes and failures that any aspiring scientist might take note of. (Note: I'm purely analyzing his characteristics in their role as his effectiveness as a scientist, not as a human being. "Faults" of Einstein the scientist may very well be great virtues of Einstein the man.) Successes: Determination When Einstein encountered a problem, he didn't drop it until he solved it. Special and general relativity took about a decade each, and he spent at least another three decades searching for a unified field theory. The only thing that stopped him from finding that UFT was death. Though he had a great curiosity that led him all throughout the field of physics, around the world, and in and out of international politics and music, he also had the focus to continually return to the same problems from slightly different angles and levels of maturity. Openness to Discussion Though Einstein disliked teaching regular courses (it forced him to divert interest away from whatever physical problem was currently vexing him), he loved discussing current problems in physics with professors and students of all levels, even undergraduates. He frequented many philosophical and literary circles as a young man as well. Although his greatest papers were independent works, I suspect his willingness to converse with others (regardless of prestige) expanded his mind greatly and likely gave him clues that assisted him on his quest for cosmic discovery. Failures: Maintenance of Health Though famous for his vegetarian diet, Einstein loathed sports and avoided physical exercise. Illness plagued much of his life and I can't help but think how much more he would have discovered had he maintained his health and wits about him. (Note: I know what you're thinking. Maybe all that sick time was the very reason he was so effective since it would have given him a bit of isolation and rest with which to think deeply about physics. Not so however. Einstein's most creative period (during which he completed his work on special and general relativity and his Nobel work on particle physics) occurred as a young man, before his health declined considerably. His later years are markedly less productive.) Distraction Though as a younger man, Einstein eschewed teaching duties and did his best to free himself of distractions from his physics, in hist later years (beginning in the 1920s), he devoted a great deal of time to politics (particularly pacifism and Zionism), fundraising, and administrative work (pertaining to various universities and societies) and generally relinquished his style of intellectual focus and isolation. For such a change, Einstein the scientist surely suffered at the expense of Einstein the human being. *I did not rate this book since I didn't have the qualifications to read even close to a majority of it.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Arko

    “The aspiration of truth is more precious than its assured possession”. Those were Albert Einstein’s words from his autobiographical note written about a month prior he took his last breath. The spirit with which he wrote bears the seed of the pursuit of an unified field theory from which all the attributes of the Nature will pop out. This is an active field of research in theoretical physics of our present time to search for a theory that unifies the quantum and the classical domains. Such were “The aspiration of truth is more precious than its assured possession”. Those were Albert Einstein’s words from his autobiographical note written about a month prior he took his last breath. The spirit with which he wrote bears the seed of the pursuit of an unified field theory from which all the attributes of the Nature will pop out. This is an active field of research in theoretical physics of our present time to search for a theory that unifies the quantum and the classical domains. Such were many of Einstein’s work which he did and it opened doors to uncharted territories of the laws of Nature which got unraveled during his time. It has been over a century that the theories given by him on quantum mechanics and relativity holds remarkable consistency with experiments. The latest of which is the detection of gravitational waves by LIGO experiments(USA) on September 2015 upon merger of two black holes 1.3 billion years ago from now, affecting detectors in a way persistent with the prediction obtained from Einstein's theoretical work. Mathematician & physicist Henri Poincaré was the first person to mention about the existence of gravitational waves and with stupendous effort in formulating General Theory of Relativity from which the equations of gravitational waves was found by Einstein. Although we realize the need of revising his extremely elegant theories owing to the concepts of high gravitational field regime like singularities in black holes, his zeal for the unified theory still stays put. In his book, author Abraham Pais sketches a biography of Albert Einstein which ponders in Einstein’s work in much of technical depth and also paints an excellent picture of the progress of late 19th to mid 20th century physics. This beautifully written book will help readers to appreciate the Genius of Einstein and how his ideas and work perpetuated during his lifetime. The author does justice in focusing on contribution of many other scientists those who had very crucial contribution in raising apt and subtle questions that led to revolutionary ideas in physics. I will highly wish the readership of the book to be extended more and more for everyone to have an understanding of how the modern science had humble beginnings in very subtle questions and ideas. It is very important to know through Einstein’s life as an example how a human being is potent of imagining great heights and human abilities of extreme determination to remain fixated on fundamental queries that can unleash the answers to how all of Nature works. One would not fail to notice the ideas Einstein never renounced even though the success was no where close and the majority, including finest of physicists, walked on different paths. Einstein’s dedication, tenacity and strength remind me of the song written by Bengali poet & First Indian Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore: "Jodi tor daak shune keu na ashe, tobey ekla cholo re". (Should no one come to your call, then walk alone). Walked alone he did for the last three decades of his life in the pursuit of unified field theory, a theory which paved the foundation for modern theories aiming to unite all the forces of Nature. Such a theory he foresaw, should be of simplistic structure being pregnant with all the attributes of our reality that we perceive. Einstein’s life runs parallel with a majestic revolution in laws of physics of which he was one of the pioneers and learning about the ways he adopted and the intellect he possessed is one of the bliss of knowledge in itself.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Graham

    Hmmm... well I think this book should have been called: " The SCIENCE SCIENCE SCIENCE of Albert Einstein (with a tiny bit of context about his life)" This is a book by a physicist, for physicists. (I am in no way a physicist.) To his credit, the author makes clear in the introduction that the purpose of the book is to cover Einstein's work, and he even highlights in the contents the (very few) sections in the book which deal with Einstein's life rather than work. Despite knowing that, I made an att Hmmm... well I think this book should have been called: " The SCIENCE SCIENCE SCIENCE of Albert Einstein (with a tiny bit of context about his life)" This is a book by a physicist, for physicists. (I am in no way a physicist.) To his credit, the author makes clear in the introduction that the purpose of the book is to cover Einstein's work, and he even highlights in the contents the (very few) sections in the book which deal with Einstein's life rather than work. Despite knowing that, I made an attempt to read through the book hoping to stretch my brain on the topic of physics. Pretty much every page has at least a couple of formulas, which I skipped straight over, and much of the content is discussing either the details of the most recent formula or how it was arrived at and inspired by others. For a layperson, these parts are sometimes very interesting and sometimes unintelligible. The start and end of the chapters usually provided some (scientific) background on the papers and periods of Einstein's career, and these served to form an interesting history of physics over the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I did learn a lot of things. I learnt about the old, mistaken concept of an aether. I read the material about special relativity slow enough to grasp most of it and to be able to explain it to others in laymen's terms. As for general relativity, I understood very little except that Einstein managed to solve the age old riddle of what caused gravity and predicted a few other related phenomena, such as the bending of light around the sun, which were later confirmed to great fanfare. I saw how Einstein worked mostly alone, especially in his early years, having very little knowledge of what else was going on in the world of physics, even re-discovering some phenomena by his own derivation because he wasn't widely read. I was looking forward to reading about his involvement in the development of the atom bomb, but came to learn that all he did was write a letter urging the US to get to work on it. I saw how theoretical physics is so, so, so coupled with complex mathematics; Einstein in fact teamed up with gifted mathematicians in order to solve some of his biggest challenges. Most surprisingly for me, I learnt that, aside from relativity, Einstein made massive contributions to quantum physics, and that he spent a large part of his career on that issue and on trying to unify it with relativity. And finally, I learnt that, without his make-up on, Charlie Chaplin looks like this. I struggled my way through to the half way point trying to read every page, but had grown very tired by that point, so I made a resolution to only read pages with no formulae on them and I sped through the rest quite quickly without feeling like I was missing much. tl;dr - If you're a physicist, you'll probably love this book. If you're not, you probably won't, but you might learn some interesting stuff by reading it.

  8. 4 out of 5

    F Avery

    There's a saying from "A Brief History of Time" by Steven Hawking to the effect that "For every equation in the book the readership would be halved...". Clearly that doesn't hold in the limit, because by rough estimate this book has 300 or so equations, implying that even if the original readership with no equations were the entire earth's population of seven billion, as published it would be 7 X 10^9 X 2^(-300). So I could not have read the book, but I did. I have advanced degrees in mathematics There's a saying from "A Brief History of Time" by Steven Hawking to the effect that "For every equation in the book the readership would be halved...". Clearly that doesn't hold in the limit, because by rough estimate this book has 300 or so equations, implying that even if the original readership with no equations were the entire earth's population of seven billion, as published it would be 7 X 10^9 X 2^(-300). So I could not have read the book, but I did. I have advanced degrees in mathematics and engineering and have studied my share of physics (30 or so years ago). But this was still a hard read for me. Although I did make my way through some fraction of the equations I can't claim to have fully understood 1/2 of them. Nevertheless it was a fascinating read, made all the more so by the equations. I'm glad that Pias did not shy away from outlining the technical details of the half starts and final conclusions of the subjects of Einsteins study. I gave it a score of 4 because 3 is too low, but I really thought it was a 3.5. I did not care for some aspeccts of Pais' writing style, and I would have prefered a "popular" introduction to or summary of each concept. But all in all I enjoyed the book because it gave me an insight into the physics of the first half of last century and the nature of the genius behind the name "Albert Einstein".

  9. 5 out of 5

    Peterajohnson59yahoo.com

    Terrifically clear exposition of Einstein's development as a thinker....Not for those intimidated by equations; but from Brownian motion to Einstein-Bose condensate, one comes away with how his supple mind fit things together. Far more respectful of science - and the scientifically interested reader - than any of the other more superficial biographies of Einstein I've read... Terrifically clear exposition of Einstein's development as a thinker....Not for those intimidated by equations; but from Brownian motion to Einstein-Bose condensate, one comes away with how his supple mind fit things together. Far more respectful of science - and the scientifically interested reader - than any of the other more superficial biographies of Einstein I've read...

  10. 4 out of 5

    Dinesh Krithivasan

    There is one target audience and one target audience only that this book is meant for and that is serious physicists who are at home with GR/QM mathematics who would like an up close and personal account of the history behind Einstein's breakthroughs. There is no effort to make the book accessible in any way to amateur physics enthusiasts. I still took away a few things from the book. For instance, I had always imagined that Einstein spent an intense couple of years to formulate GR which was the There is one target audience and one target audience only that this book is meant for and that is serious physicists who are at home with GR/QM mathematics who would like an up close and personal account of the history behind Einstein's breakthroughs. There is no effort to make the book accessible in any way to amateur physics enthusiasts. I still took away a few things from the book. For instance, I had always imagined that Einstein spent an intense couple of years to formulate GR which was then born as a full fledged theory in one fell swoop - while this image is true for special relativity, I was surprised to learn that Einstein had many false starts before finally fleshing out GR. Other learnings were on just how revolutionary his photoelectric effect paper was, how he was pretty much the sole champion of the physical reality of the light quanta for many years and about how there are quantum mechanical effects exhibited in room temperature (specific heat of diamonds) that he was the first to explain. Despite all this, look elsewhere unless Lorentz groups and Bianchi identities are second nature to you!!!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Michael McEllin

    This has been on my bookshelf for many years and has been read and reread several times. OK, you probably need to be a physicist or a mathematician to really understand the technical detail, because this is quite definitely a history of the intellectual development of Einstein rather than a personal biography. For those able to cope with that it is by far the best history of Relativity and Einstein's love-hate relationship with quantum mechanics that is available. This has been on my bookshelf for many years and has been read and reread several times. OK, you probably need to be a physicist or a mathematician to really understand the technical detail, because this is quite definitely a history of the intellectual development of Einstein rather than a personal biography. For those able to cope with that it is by far the best history of Relativity and Einstein's love-hate relationship with quantum mechanics that is available.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mohan

    This is not just a biography of Einstein but a detailed scientific exposition of his theories from mass energy equivalence to relativity to his thoughts on quantum mechanics. This biography is for physicists and for those who love physics.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rick

    A surprising collection of physical formulas and biographical notes. Interesting but the different subjects do not really bland into a biographical story. For me not a nice read but the very interesting contents compensate a lot.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Otto Lidenbrock

    Another great biography by Pais. The fact he knew personally and worked professionally with these scientific giants grants him a much more broader landscape with which to separate the public figure from the man.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Carlo Monilla

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  16. 5 out of 5

    Raymond

    I read the Chinese version.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ansove

    This history is so great.

  18. 5 out of 5

    William Schram

    Subtle is the Lord is a biography of Albert Einstein by Abraham Pais. It brilliantly tells the story of Einstein and his development into a world-renowned Physicist. While covering his life, the book also covers the work that Einstein did in Physics. Starting with his youth and childhood, Subtle is the Lord addresses the theories of Einstein being bad in school by presenting his report card. Although it is true that Einstein didn’t particularly like the authoritative atmosphere of his school, he Subtle is the Lord is a biography of Albert Einstein by Abraham Pais. It brilliantly tells the story of Einstein and his development into a world-renowned Physicist. While covering his life, the book also covers the work that Einstein did in Physics. Starting with his youth and childhood, Subtle is the Lord addresses the theories of Einstein being bad in school by presenting his report card. Although it is true that Einstein didn’t particularly like the authoritative atmosphere of his school, he did not get terrible marks. He taught himself Differential and Integral Calculus by the time he was 16 or so and was wonderful at math. While Einstein might have had some professional stumbling blocks, most people can agree that 1905 was the year for Einstein. He published six papers that year, with one of them gaining him the Nobel Prize and the others firmly planting him in the upper echelons of physicists. The six papers are: (1. The light-quantum and the Photoelectric Effect. This one led to the Nobel Prize and was completed on March 17. (2. A new determination of molecular dimensions, completed April 30. This one became his doctoral thesis and was quoted quite often. (3. Brownian Motion, received May 11. A direct outgrowth of his thesis work. (4. The first paper on Special Relativity, received June 30. (5. The second paper on Special Relativity, containing E = mc^2 received September 27. (6. The second paper on Brownian Motion, received December 19. I particularly like the book because it doesn’t shy away from the Mathematics of Einstein’s theories. It discusses the ideas behind the things he developed and shows the state of affairs for each thing beforehand. For instance, before 1905 Einstein published some papers that he felt were lacking once he discovered the works of Gibbs and Boltzmann. It talks about his work on Brownian Motion, his work on the Photoelectric Effect, Special and General Relativity and many of the other things that he had a hand in. With Pais being a Physicist himself, he is able to explain the equations and what they mean. This particular copy of Subtle is the Lord was printed in 1982, so it does not have further developments on Einstein’s theories and how they are accepted or denied now.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Saurabh Jha

    This book describes in detail the scientific accomplishments of Albert Einstein, the most important scientific figure of the twentieth century. Prof. Pais describes in detail how concepts were when Prof. Einstein started working on those problems, how he changed those concepts, and what new problems or areas of research were generated from them. I am going to list some points which struck me when I read this book. Hopefully, one will not interpret them as giving out spoilers as this is not a work This book describes in detail the scientific accomplishments of Albert Einstein, the most important scientific figure of the twentieth century. Prof. Pais describes in detail how concepts were when Prof. Einstein started working on those problems, how he changed those concepts, and what new problems or areas of research were generated from them. I am going to list some points which struck me when I read this book. Hopefully, one will not interpret them as giving out spoilers as this is not a work of fiction and there is no dramatic ending. They are: 1. Einstein essentially rediscovered the basic principles of statistical mechanics in his papers from 1902-1904 without knowing that similar investigations had been done by James Clerk Maxwell, Ludwig Boltzmann, and Willard Gibbs. 2. Einstein believed in an ether at least as late as 1902. He showed in his special relativity paper of 1905 that ether is unnecessary in descriptions of physical phenomena. 3. A paper by Einstein in 1904, though not containing any novel results, contained an expression which later led him to partical-wave duality for radiation in 1909, momentum properties of photon in 1916, and partical-wave duality for matter in 1924 before the discovery of wave mechanics! If he had extended his results of 1924-25, he would have become a co-discoverer of wave mechanics. The first paper by Erwin Schrödinger was published in January 1926. I should mention that Einstein did knew of de Broglie's work on matter waves by the time he did this last work. 4. Only 3 pages of Einstein's light-quantum paper of 1905 dealt with photoelectric effect. Rest of the paper dealt with statistical and thermodynamic considerations. This paper had 16 pages in total. 5. If Einstein hadn't introduced his "cosmological" term in his gravitational field equations to model the universe, he would have become a theoretical discoverer of the fact that universe is expanding.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    A very in depth look at the history of Einstein's life work, with enough biography to provide context. This book is replete with the math and details of the theories of Einstein and his contemporaries. The problem is that unless you majored in physics or even studied at the graduate level, you aren't going to comprehend the details. Terms like Brownian motion, blackbody radiation, and covariance are not defined in the text. It is assumed that you have the background in physics to hang with the a A very in depth look at the history of Einstein's life work, with enough biography to provide context. This book is replete with the math and details of the theories of Einstein and his contemporaries. The problem is that unless you majored in physics or even studied at the graduate level, you aren't going to comprehend the details. Terms like Brownian motion, blackbody radiation, and covariance are not defined in the text. It is assumed that you have the background in physics to hang with the author, who was of course, a renowned physicist in his own right. I toughed it out for about 1/3 of the book, constantly checking Wikipedia before I gave up. I turned to "Einstein's Cosmos" by Kaku, which is perfect for the layperson.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sharan Banagiri

    An excellent book, a one of a kind biography of Einstein. Pais was a physicist himself who personally knew both Einstein and Bohr, and made this unique biography of the science of Einstein. If you want to know more about the personal life of Einstein, look elsewhere for Pais only gives a faint sketch of it. On the other hand he delves into the science, the philosophy and the thinking of the man. Pais doesn't shy away from equations and leads he reader with the actual math Einstein and others wer An excellent book, a one of a kind biography of Einstein. Pais was a physicist himself who personally knew both Einstein and Bohr, and made this unique biography of the science of Einstein. If you want to know more about the personal life of Einstein, look elsewhere for Pais only gives a faint sketch of it. On the other hand he delves into the science, the philosophy and the thinking of the man. Pais doesn't shy away from equations and leads he reader with the actual math Einstein and others were doing, and the book is so much richer for it. I dare say that Einstein would preferred this biography of his over all others! PS: If you plan to read this, have a pencil and notebook on the side to work through the math. It is more fun that way

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ronald Wise

    Much of this book was way above my level of scientific/mathematical comprehension, but described in a manner through which I could understand the gist of Einstein's obsessions and moments of excitement. Occasional chapters in the book were purely biographical, and in them I was able to enjoy the details of his life without the clutter of formulæ. My knowledge of Einstein's history had been too vague, and I now feel much more informed about the man and the state of science in which he arose. This Much of this book was way above my level of scientific/mathematical comprehension, but described in a manner through which I could understand the gist of Einstein's obsessions and moments of excitement. Occasional chapters in the book were purely biographical, and in them I was able to enjoy the details of his life without the clutter of formulæ. My knowledge of Einstein's history had been too vague, and I now feel much more informed about the man and the state of science in which he arose. This biography came to my list via the bibliography of James Gleick's book Genius: The life and science of Richard Feynman.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Daphnée Kwong Waye

    Don't get me wrong: the book is interesting and rich. However, for someone who has barely touched science at school like me, at some point, I got lost. The language was clear and easy; the flow of reading was smooth but it was still too scientific for me. I believe this is what the author intended but sadly the book thus cannot reach out to the wide audience. However, I will probably refer to it and go back to it later. Maybe re-read it and then maybe my understanding of science and maths would Don't get me wrong: the book is interesting and rich. However, for someone who has barely touched science at school like me, at some point, I got lost. The language was clear and easy; the flow of reading was smooth but it was still too scientific for me. I believe this is what the author intended but sadly the book thus cannot reach out to the wide audience. However, I will probably refer to it and go back to it later. Maybe re-read it and then maybe my understanding of science and maths would have improved.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Olga

    Without question, it's an outstanding biography, highly recommended to anyone related to physics. To my personal taste, the structure of the book is a bit irritating: the author tries to follow the chronological order and at the same time to organize the story according to the scientific subjects on which Einstein was working during his life. Thus, if in the same period E. was working at several topics, the author treating separately each topic, has to describe several times the same personal ba Without question, it's an outstanding biography, highly recommended to anyone related to physics. To my personal taste, the structure of the book is a bit irritating: the author tries to follow the chronological order and at the same time to organize the story according to the scientific subjects on which Einstein was working during his life. Thus, if in the same period E. was working at several topics, the author treating separately each topic, has to describe several times the same personal background and related ideas from other subjects, and go back and forth in chronology as well.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    Just starting. Looking for a nice easy book about Einstein to read? This ain't it. However, I think it is going to be worth the efforts. Just finished. I won't pretend that I followed all the math, but I did gain an appreciation for the methods that were used both in mathmatics and seeking to derive the theories using both past advances and indeptedant thought. A very rewarding book and one that is extremely difficult to read. But very much worth the entire five stars. Just starting. Looking for a nice easy book about Einstein to read? This ain't it. However, I think it is going to be worth the efforts. Just finished. I won't pretend that I followed all the math, but I did gain an appreciation for the methods that were used both in mathmatics and seeking to derive the theories using both past advances and indeptedant thought. A very rewarding book and one that is extremely difficult to read. But very much worth the entire five stars.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ashish Jaituni

    A very good biography on Einstein. For a long time and even today it is considered to be among the best biographies of Einstein. I read it a long long time ago in my early days as a student of Physics.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Federico Kereki

    The historical parts are good, but the Math and Physics parts require serious advanced knowledge; if you are not into tensors, semivectors, Lagrangian, Hermitian, and other similar terms, those parts will be impregnable.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Luís

    Although being a very well written and informative biography, the book is mostly oriented to Physics lovers and enthusiasts as the author spends a great amount of time talking about physics and explaining the deductions, etc.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Yanni

    Given the genius of Einstein, I found this biography positively uninteresting and did not learn much about him or his works or thoughts that I already did not know.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rik

    Very nice, very detailled, very informative. Also a bit tough.

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