Posts Tagged ‘book club’

The Expanded Quotable EinsteinWhen I was young, I remember telling someone that I wanted to grow up to be a scientist only to have that person tell me that “scientists don’t believe in God”. That bothered me a bit since I was brought up in the church (or at least went to church regularly) and had a fascination with science. Still, I kept on with my studies. It was during my later years in high school as I was I studying Physics I came across the story of Einstein. A little detour if you may. During my high school years, back in Guyana, I got labelled as “The Daydreamer” mostly by a good portion of my teachers and eventually some of my classmates. Yes, my grades suffered a bit, but I was a teenager with raging hormones and all that usual jazz. So what was I daydreaming about? Phoebe Cates in that red swimsuit? No. Virginia Madsen in that Ophelia scene in “Fire with Fire”? No (but there were those few moments). I was actually thinking about how to create nanoscopic conductive fibers that could be used to siphon electrical impulses from active parts of the body to reanimate the inactive parts such as those in person that suffered from partial to complete paralysis. For some reason that consumed my thoughts. I know, quite a mouthful on that one there. I once brought this up to my Biology teacher and was told that I should stop “daydreaming”. A nutcrusher, yes, but I’m wired differently than most so I continued daydreaming of other stuff. I was never content to just learn a principle of Physics, Biology or Chemistry just for the sake of regurgitation. I was always thinking about how this stuff can be applied beyond the class room. Years ahead. Of course, this sort of behaviour made me a sort of threat during Chemistry lab hours and my name got upgraded from Daydreamer to Mad Scientist. Trust me, that’s a long story on that one.
There were times when that “daydreamer” crap got to me, but when I read about Einstein I found out that he wasn’t exactly an Einstein in high school. In some cases he was seen as daydreamer of sorts. That gave me a boost. The other part was his spiritual views on the use of scientific discoveries. This was significant since it told me that it was okay to be a scientist and yet have some spiritual insight on things. Even though The Expanded Quotable Einstein was a collection of quotes on Einstein’s views of Germany, religion, politics, and all those other little elements of his life, it is the next best thing to an autobiography. Actually, it seemed more like an autobiography … in 3D. We get to see Einstein in many dimensions, and you’re left fascinated after each chapter. Interspersed throughout the book, readers are treated to photographs (some very personal) that shows the many aspects of Einstein life. Yes, he was family man, played the violin and apparently loved big fuzzy bedroom slippers (good taste). And then there are those dark moments such as his disappointment with path taken in the use of atomic energy and the J. Edgar Hoover file on his activities.
Compiled and editted by Alice Calaprice, this book is a pure delight to read on one of the greatest minds there is. I said “is” and not “was”. Everything, from cell phones, chip miniaturization and MP3 players are innovations that are constantly being derived from Einstein’s exploration in the field of quantum physics. One of my favourite quotes: “Faith without logic is blindness, and logic without faith is madness.” It is the antidote for pseudo-intellectuals that like to toss out that overused Nietzsche quote of “religion is the opiate of the masses”. Sure. Whatever floats your boats, mates.
By the way, to the snarky few that might wander onto this humble blog, this was not an attempt to compare my life to Einstein’s. Heaven forbid. He’s a world famous genius, and I’m an underworked techie turning librarian. That’s a very big chasm there. Trust me. And yes, I do have that poster with Einstein sticking his tongue out.

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