My life changed one day in college when my astronomy class was treated to a look at Saturn through a small telescope. I was astounded. Why didn’t it fall? What kept the beautiful, ringed planet suspended in space? This one event, and that course, inspired me to learn all I could about gravity, Albert Einstein, and the universe on its largest scales of space and time. For many years, on March 14th I would bake and decorate a cake and throw a party for Albert.
In the course of his life, Einstein published more than 600 scientific papers, books, essays, reviews, and opinion pieces. Collins Library has no less than 127 titles about Einstein and 30 works written by Einstein.
He is most famous for developing the Special Theory of Relativity (1905) which has to do with what happens as an object approaches the speed of light (time slows, mass increases and distances shrink), and the General Theory of Relativity (1916) which goes beyond Isaac Newton’s description of gravity to one that explains the force in terms of warped spacetime. He won a Nobel Prize in 1921 for work on the photoelectric effect (1905), did important work on Brownian Motion, and is also widely remembered for his opposition to the use of nuclear weapons, which are the horrible manifestation of his famous equation E=mc2. Here you can listen to him speak on nuclear weapons and world peace: http://www.aip.org/history/einstein/voice3.htm
However, Einstein was as eloquent with words as he was with equations. The Einstein book I have read and re-read the most is Albert Einstein, The Human Side, a small compilation of his writings selected and edited by Helen Dukas and Banesh Hoffman and published in 1979. Here is one of his quotations from 1920:
Measured objectively, what a man can wrest from Truth by
passionate striving is utterly infinitesimal. But the striving frees
us from the bonds of the self and makes us comrades of those
who are the best and the greatest.
Head to the fourth floor of Collins Library to browse books on or by Einstein (call numbers start with QC 16 E5), visit this American Institute of Physics online exhibit: http://www.aip.org/history/einstein/ , or explore the Albert Einstein Archive http://www.alberteinstein.info/, for more on this remarkable man.
Submitted by: Elizabeth Stiles Knight, Interim Science Librarian, firstname.lastname@example.org