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Einstein in Bohemia

Professor Michael D. Gordin



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Princeton University Press
20 April 2020
A finely drawn portrait of Einstein's sixteen months in Prague
In the spring of 1911, Albert Einstein moved with his wife and two sons to Prague, the capital of Bohemia, where he accepted a post as a professor of theoretical physics. Though he intended to make Prague his home, he lived there for just sixteen months, an interlude that his biograp
Imprint:   Princeton University Press
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 216mm,  Width: 140mm, 
ISBN:   9780691177373
ISBN 10:   0691177376
Pages:   360
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  Professional and scholarly ,  General/trade ,  ELT Advanced ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Michael D. Gordin is the Rosengarten Professor of Modern and Contemporary History at Princeton University. His books include A Well-Ordered Thing: Dmitrii Mendeleev and the Shadow of the Periodic Table and Five Days in August: How World War II Became a Nuclear War (both Princeton). He lives in Princeton, New Jersey. Twitter @GordinMichael

Reviews for Einstein in Bohemia

Through extensive primary sources, Gordin explores the effect that Prague's rich history infused into Einstein's life, and the way that Einstein made his own significant mark on Bohemia's story. ---Alden Hunt, Princeton Alumni Weekly I was gripped . . . this is such a delightful and unusual book. ---Richard Joyner, Times Higher Education Gordin handles the theme of 'belonging' with great nuance and understanding. ---David Luhrssen, The Shepherd Express Einstein in Bohemia is as much a series of essays on historical method and memory as it is a biography that uses Einsteinian ideas about perspective and spacetime to riff about the relationship between past and present, space and place. It's also very much a book about Prague. It works in movements, looking backward and forward from Einstein's Bohemian interlude to explore issues of biography, physics, Czech and German nationalism, the philosophy of science, literature, Jewishness, and public monuments. It is best savored in chunks, to better indulge in moments of reflection. ---Audra J. Wolfe, Los Angeles Review of Books Gordin explores unknown connections and forgotten biographies with impressive scholarly meticulousness and fervor. ---Tilman Sauer, Science [This] book paints a rich picture of a small part in Einstein's life that will be fascinating to anyone interested not only in the scientist but also his historical context. * Nature Astronomy * Gordin's Einstein in Bohemia affords us a refreshingly different kind of perspective on Einstein in context. The book treats its location - Prague in 1911 and 1912 - not merely as a backdrop, but as an integral part of the drama. ---Don Howard, Physics Today Meticulous in scholarship and erudite in tone . . . [Einstein in Bohemia] will doubtless become an essential reference for anyone researching what has usually been seen as a minor chapter in Einstein's life. ---Andrew Crumey, Wall Street Journal A meticulously researched, accessible, and fascinating portrait of Einstein. ---Glenn C. Altschuler, Jerusalem Post His original and illuminating study . . . is a fascinating mix of urban and scientific history, and a genuinely original contribution to Einstein studies that explores both the effect of the city on the scientist and the lasting impact Einstein's presence had on the cultural and scientific life of Prague itself. ---P. D. Smith, Times Literary Supplement In this deeply researched and documented study, Gordin treats this brief period in Einstein's life as a prism through which the physicist refracts a broad range of intellectual, personal, scientific, and religious topics. The author sees Einstein as a window to understand Prague, and vice-versa, and reveals, in elegant and engaging prose, stimulating insights into many larger issues. ---P. W. Knoll, Choice [Gordin] explodes the narrative out of what he calls the 'spacetime interval' of 1911-12 to follow a host of figures who were involved with Einstein in Prague, in some cases very tangentially. In so doing, he careers through the history of ideas as well as the political turmoil of Bohemia (now part of the Czech Republic) during most of the twentieth century, touching on physics, philosophy, nationhood, anti-Semitism and the rise of Prague as a centre of intellectual life. ---Pedro Ferreira, Nature [A] deeply researched, wide-ranging and original book. ---Andrew Robinson, Physics World

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