Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Of Bodies, Space, Time & Mystiques of Science's Heroes of Theories :
Okay, so . . . there was this touchy (and the touchy-feely-"erotic") Einstein --
and then there was also the electro-techno, tekkie Einstein :
. . . [I]t seems Elsa did not interfere with his having many friendships —- erotic or not -— with women in Berlin. Perhaps the stories of Einstein and others point to a kind of man who is most comfortable and engaged when in the company of women. Reading about his relations with them, we can ask whether there is an erotic component to some kinds of scientific and mathematical creativity.
. . . Moreover, as Peter Galison convincingly shows in his 2003 book, Einstein's Clocks, Poincaré's Maps: Empires of Time, the young Einstein developed his science while being closely involved with the technology of his time. Einstein's father and uncle were high-tech entrepreneurs, which in those days meant they took part in the electrification of cities. In the patent office he dealt every day with cutting-edge technology, and some of it had to do with the issue of defining time and establishing simultaneity. The problem of synchronizing clocks in distant places, leading to a definition of simultaneous time, is central to Einstein's 1905 special theory of relativity. From Galison we learn that the same problem was crucial for coordinating railway timetables and more generally for the establishment of national and global systems of time, and that Einstein likely examined patents relevant to this problem in his work in the Swiss patent office. . . . --Lee Smolin
--italicized portions are quoted from Lee Smolin's "The Other Einstein" @ The New York Review of Books, 14 June 2007