Sit Up! History Time!
August 21, 2008, 4:53 am
Filed under: Blips, books, history, library | Tags: , , , ,

Einstein. You know him, the man with the crazy hair. The guy who brought us his theory of relativity. But do you really know him? I didn’t until I read Dear Professor Einstein by Evelyn Einstein, and I now fall among the many who wish they could have had just half an hour with this man. One misconception about him that I had was that he was brilliant at math. Turns out he had to ask for help from other scientists. In fact it turns out that although he was considered a genius he was just a regular guy.

My fascination with him began when I was little and I found him intriguing but I never really went out of my way to discover just what was so exciting about him. When I found something with his picture on I would smile as if he were some long gone ancestor that we still tell stories about. I once bought a coffee mug with his picture and the famous mathematical scribblings on it, it was black and it fell one day and the handle broke and I couldn’t bear to throw it away.

And then I grew up, and had babies and husbands and groceries and bills and I forgot all about him. That is till just the other day when I was struggling to take my library books to the counter and I happened to catch the title as I was stumbling by. I stopped and balanced my teetering tower of knowledge to pull it from the shelf and add it to the top. It was like the icing on the cake.  Three of my children went along that day and I left with 32 books. I love the library, I sometimes fantasize that I am homeless and this is the only place I can get out of the rain, and the sun, and whatever other excuse I can dream up to be there. But that is a topic for another day.

Now that I have finished the book I can tell you why I was so attracted to this German Genius at such a young age.  As an adult I can tell just by looking at his pictures that he was the kind of person you want to hang with on the front porch and have an iced tea. He looks laid back and carefree. Maybe a sense of humor and definitely a sense of wonder. Someone that will consider even the craziest of ideas and give you his down right honest opinion. And the number one reason I liked him so much but didn’t know it was that he loved children. Not in a pedophile kind of way but in that way that not many adults see children. He knew that they were little sponges and they need to be nurtured and encouraged and gently led the way. When he was a young man himself he was subjected to many cracks across the knuckles just because he didn’t think quickly enough. He liked to do something I do, take forever to make up his mind. He goes at it from all sides and angles and from other points of view. So what I am saying is that I believe children, including me, could sense his love and kindness just by looking at him. And that is most intriguing to me because it proves my theory that children can be very good judges when it comes to character.

Another interesting tidbit was that his sister Maja looked just like him. There is a picture of her with him at the New York World’s Fair in 1939 and they have the same crazy hair, face and posture. They could have been twins!

I may not have gotten to meet him. He may not be my relative, but I have learned from him in a way that I would not have expected. I wouldn’t have guessed that a book about a scientist who was crazy for math, my most hated subject, would teach me a little bit about life and the search for the soul.  And I still think he would have been a pleasure to meet!


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the most haughty statement I ever heard was from a female patient. I hope i can quote it right –
‘I work in radio. Mostly i play myself but the writers say i have an IQ of 120 when it is really 150. Like Einstein. I met Einstein once. He said he wished he had my beauty.’

Comment by urspo

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