Einstein: Walter Isaacson
I came across this book while I was visiting India the past month. I have read a few of the other books by Walter Isaacson, like the recent book on the biotechnological revolution and the pioneer behind the invention named The Code Breaker, and the biography of Steve Jobs. I haven’t read the books in chronological order, so each book inspired me differently. While the other books have gained their importance in my life in different circumstances, I started reading Einstein while I was struggling through the course of my Ph.D. Often times I was having a thought that I might not be able to finish the degree and might have to quit it midway and felt frustrated and depressed. It's not that I will not be facing such emotions ever, but the book did help me come out of my negativity and averse towards my career. While reading through the pages of Einstein’s life, I felt he was just another human being, on one hand, there were disappointments, struggles, and sufferings while on the other he had his mind that generated postulates and evidence that changed the world of physics almost instantly.
He started off his life in financial hardships and never made a lot of money for himself throughout his life. His first marriage failed after a few years leaving a wife with two kids financially dependent on him, even while he was married to his first cousin Elsa, with whom Einstein had three children. He did his Ph.D. at ETH Zurich and later on worked in Berlin until later 1931 when he decided to move to America with a job in Princeton and finally settle there. He said, “Berlin is my home, I am never going to leave it”. Even though he would go for long tours all over the world and join as visiting professors in several universities including Oxford, Caltech, and Princeton, Einstein always came back to Berlin and spent the time in and never left his permanent job at the Prussian Academy of Sciences.
While most of the world believes Einstein to be a very successful individual, his theories and discoveries have paved a hard path throughout his career. While he was in his Ph.D. he worked on the photoelectric effect, his advisor did not accept the discovery as a part of his thesis, so he had to work in some allied path to get his thesis published. His thesis ended up being so short that his advisor didn’t want to approve it. With further help from the department, he was able to graduate.
Life has always been hard for Einstein. While his marriage was falling apart with Mileva Maric, he was supposed to pay all the money that he would receive through his Nobel Prize to Mileva and her two children. Eventually, that money fell short due to the medical conditions of his son and Mileva. Mileva died out of multiple strokes on Aug 4th, 1948. While the academic genius reflected upon his thoughts naturally, the audience has always questioned his brain. Not so much the brain, the mind. Once asked about his thought patterns, Einstein responded it’s intuition that matters, and intuition is nothing but an outcome of earlier intellectual exposure. Einstein, although an unmarked physicist, never took good care of his health. Stomach ailments continued for years and ultimately on April 15th, 1955, he died of an abdominal aortic aneurysm. He left us with a vision of forces that govern the universe, a relationship between space and time, soul and body. The more we delve into his thoughts, the more harmonic it becomes. He said, “ Just like music, physics has harmonies, it's just the pattern that's unexplored”