Einstein : His Life and Universe
Today’s book, Einstein: His Life and Universe, is recommended by Elon Musk. If you enjoy these popular highlights and want to learn more you can:
- Beneath all of his theories, including relativity, was a quest for invariants, certainties, and absolutes.
- He made imaginative leaps and discerned great principles through thought experiments rather than by methodical inductions based on experimental data.
- As a young student he never did well with rote learning. And later, as a theorist, his success came not from the brute strength of his mental processing power but from his imagination and creativity. He could construct complex equations, but more important, he knew that math is the language nature uses to describe her wonders.
- His success came from questioning conventional wisdom, challenging authority, and marveling at mysteries that struck others as mundane.
- Field theories use mathematical quantities, such as numbers or vectors or tensors, to describe how the conditions at any point in space will affect matter or another field.
- Skepticism and a resistance to received wisdom became a hallmark of his life.
- It became clear that light was the visible manifestation of a whole spectrum of electromagnetic waves.
- Some scientific theories depend primarily on induction: analyzing a lot of experimental findings and then finding theories that explain the empirical patterns. Others depend more on deduction: starting with elegant principles and postulates that are embraced as holy and then deducing the consequences from them.
- His head-snapping insight was that gravity could be defined as the curvature of spacetime, and thus it could be represented by a metric tensor.
- Freedom and individualism are necessary for creativity and imagination to flourish.
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