Saturday, June 29, 2019

Einstein's War (Matthew Stanley)

In Einstein’s War, author Matthew Stanley covers the backdrop of proving Einstein’s theory of relativity amid the increasing hostility in Europe during that time. The world changed markedly during the 1910’s, with nationalism taking root and entrenching itself. Einstein’s personal world was also flipped upside down due to a failing marriage. There were exceptions to these trials and tribulations, as Stanley points out in this stirring account of how science won over fierce tribalism.

Relativity deals with gravity and its relation to other forces of nature, with Einstein’s theory augmenting long-standing conventions that dated back to Isaac Newton.

Stanley talks about the development of Einstein’s theory, his communication with supporters of his theory and the struggles in getting the theory proved. Scientists seeking to confirm Einstein’s ideas were harassed or arrested as spies. During World War I, colleagues of his died in the trenches. His ally was separated by those trenches, a naval blockade, and U-boats - residing in England and fighting his own battle against being conscripted. His ally ultimately was able to prove Einstein’s theory correct, leading an expedition to observe a solar eclipse to verify Einstein’s theory.

Einstein's War is a great read if you love science and history. It’s fun, educational, and a reminder that in a time of trial and lots of evil that good can ultimately triumph through people working together.