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Einstein: A Biography

Albert Einstein is an icon of the twentieth century. Born in Ulm, Germany, in 1879, he is most famous for his theory of relativity, which is considered the founding principle of modern physics. He also made enormous contributions to quantum mechanics and cosmology, and for his work he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1921. A self-pronounced pacifist, humanist, and, late in his life, democratic socialist, Einstein was also deeply concerned with the social impact of his discoveries. Much of Einstein's life is shrouded in legend. From popular images and advertisements to various works of theater and fiction, he has come to signify so many things: the quintessential absent-minded professor; the gentle eccentric; the pacifist; the super-human genius. In Einstein: A Biography, Jurgen Neffe presents a clear and probing portrait of the man behind the myth. He recounts Einstein's life with detail and accuracy, presenting a comprehensive account of the educational, religious, psychological and historical conditions that enabled Einstein to become the ber-physicist of all time. Unearthing new documents, including a series of previously unknown letters from Einstein to his sons, which shed a new light on his role as a father, Neffe also paints a rich portrait of the tumultuous years in which Einstein lived and worked. With a background in the sciences, Neffe describes and contextualizes Einstein's enormous contributions to our scientific legacy. He leads his readers through today's institutes and laboratories worldwide, where Einstein's work continues to thrill researchers and scholars. A bestseller in Germany, Einstein is sure to be a classic biography of the man and proverbial genius who has been called the brain of the [twentieth] century.
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About the Author

Jurgen Neffe is affiliated with the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science.


An award-winning German journalist relies on newly unearthed letters and documents to examine the life and times of the man who gave us E=mc2. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

"Neffe gives us the full Einstein, warts and all. Crucially, he is as sound on the physics as he is sensitive to the great physicist's troubled personal life." -- Jon Agar, University of Cambridge "Neffe has written the most current and dynamic Einstein biography now on the market. His words magnificently restore Einstein to life." -- Handelsblatt "An intelligent, beautifully crafted narrative, enhanced with ample documentation, makes this book a pleasure to read ... This work will set the standard for all future biographies." -- Spektrum der Wissenschaften "Neffe's extraordinary ability to convey complex information in a manner that will appeal to a general audience in just under five hundred dazzling pages is particularly evident in the passages on Einstein's theories of the dual nature of light, of gravitation, and of spacetime, which are cleverly incorporated into accounts of the history of physics." -- Neue Zurcher Zeitung

Rarely has a single individual been so farsighted and myopic at the same time, Neffe observes, setting off to illuminate the truth behind the legend of Albert Einstein. This expanded version of Neffe's acclaimed biography first published in Germany in 2005 takes advantage of newly discovered documents, including the diaries of Einstein's Berlin physician, J nos Plesch, and letters from Einstein to his first wife, Mileva, and his sons, Hans Albert and Eduard. The biography is structured topically, with chapters devoted to Einstein's childhood and early schooling, his friendships, his physics research and how politics affected his work. Neffe repeatedly cites Einstein's dual nature: intelligent and serious, while simultaneously childlike and cheerful; a man whose theory of relativity changed the way we see the universe, yet who professed a decided ambivalence for the modern art and music influenced by his discoveries. Coupling insights into Einstein's character with clear descriptions of the physicist's groundbreaking research, Neffe creates a fascinating portrait of this egocentric loner with a sense of responsibility for all mankind, one of the most intriguing figures of the 20th century. While Walter Isaacson's new biography is bound to be the big seller, Neffe is more straightforward on Einstein's less appealing traits: the misogynist, the curmudgeon, the passive-aggressive father. (Apr.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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