Denis Brian Einstein: A Life

ISBN 13: 9780471114598

Einstein: A Life

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9780471114598: Einstein: A Life
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Blends the brilliance of the scientific genius with the compassion, playfulness, and wit of the private figure

"A fascinating read with more interesting material about Einstein as a human being than I have ever seen before."--Robert Jastrow, astrophysicist and bestselling author

"A thoughtful and captivating account of one whom I had the joy of knowing and loving."--George Wald, Nobel Prize Laureate

His face is one of the most recognized on the planet. His very name is synonymous with genius. Yet, for all the attention and countless biographies, our images of Albert Einstein rarely go beyond the eccentric and larger-than-life scientist unraveling one cosmic mystery after another.

In this engaging popular biography, Denis Brian draws on a wealth of new information recently opened to the public to bring us a broader, more authentic portrait of Einstein than previously available. The first full-scale Einstein life published in 20 years, it is also the first to integrate Einstein's genius with his private and public life to give us a complete impression of the real person.

We meet an Einstein with a gift for friendship, a romantic with a roving eye for women. We confront a man whose countless scientific triumphs were tempered by tragic ironies in his personal life. We encounter Einstein the humanist who showed compassion for the children of others yet neglected his own sons. We learn from his former assistants how they revered Einstein, how he worked at his science, and of his warm relationships with other physicists.

Based on information drawn from new access to the Einstein archives as well as exclusive interviews with colleagues and friends, Einstein: A Life reveals an endearing and sensititve man, but one slightly detached from even those closest to him, as if he inhabited his own world of lofty thoughts and cosmic dreams.

DENIS BRIAN (West Palm Beach, Florida) is the author of The True Gen: An Intimate Portrait of Hemingway by Those Who Knew Him and Genius Talk: Conversations with Nobel Scientists and Other Luminaries.

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From the Publisher:

The first full-scale biography of the most renowned name in science to be written since those who closely guarded his privacy have died. Based on 20 years of research and interviews with intimate friends and associates willing to discuss Einstein as never before, this riveting book details his childhood and youth. Contains extensive material on his adult life never published before to reveal the crux of Einstein's personality and private life in a way few others have. Includes rare photographs.

From the Back Cover:

"An utterly fascinating life of a great scientist, full of new insights and very readable." —Ashley Montagu

His name is synonymous with genius. His work helped shape the twentieth century and point the way toward the next. In the more than forty years since his death, Albert Einstein has continued to intrigue and inspire new generations. Now, in the first full-scale biography of Einstein to be published in some twenty years, acclaimed author Denis Brian probes the private, public, and scientific personas of the enigmatic man behind the legend.

For two decades, Denis Brian pored over the Einstein archives and conducted extensive interviews with the scientist's friends and associates. In the process, he discovered a wealth of absorbing new information, much of it previously withheld by those closest to Einstein—including Helen Dukas, his personal secretary, and Otto Nathan, the executor of Einstein's estate. What emerges in Brian's brilliantly drawn life of Einstein is a down-to-earth and always compelling figure.

Brian skillfully illuminates the curious, quirky nature and the dreams and motivating events that drove the scientist-to-be on his improbable journey to the heights of achievement and worldwide admiration. Here is Einstein as a young boy, perplexing classmates and teachers alike with his refusal to conform. Here is the headstrong teenager, a seemingly reluctant student resolutely rejecting a life tied to a "practical" job. Yet, ultimately, his work changed forever the way scientists viewed the world, from the first draft of his revolutionary special theory of relativity in 1905—it took twenty-five years for his famous E = mc2 equation to be verified—to the development of the atomic bomb (and his controversial role as critic of the nuclear arms race that followed).

Exploring this staggering legacy in conversation with many of Einstein's contemporaries, Denis Brian penetrates the veil of formulas, theories, and experiments to expand our understanding of their meaning. With incisive, intimate detail, he recreates the world in which Einstein worked, in solitude and with others, revered by his assistants and enjoying warm relationships with other physicists.

Also included in Brian's comprehensive portrait are the FBI's investigation of Einstein's alleged communist connections, as well as his efforts on behalf of Europe's Jews during Hitler's rise to power, and his ardent support of the formation of the state of Israel. A complex man of many contradictions—a scientist engrossed in his work yet with a roving eye for women, a humanist whose compassion for the children of others did not extend to his own, a pacifist who helped create the most destructive weapon known to man—Albert Einstein is revealed as never before in this lucid, rewarding biography. With rare photos, many appearing here for the first time, Einstein: A Life is, as befits its subject, a masterful achievement.

"A fascinating read with more interesting material about Einstein as a human being than I have ever seen before . . . . Once I started it, I couldn't put it down." —Robert Jastrow astrophysicist and bestselling author

"A thoughtful and captivating account of one whom I had the joy of knowing and loving."—George Wald Nobel Laureate

"Does the best job of integrating the recognized genius of Einstein with the rest of his life . . . in a charming yet straightforward manner." —Stanley Goldberg author of Understanding Relativity

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