ENG 111

Fall 2002


READING GUIDE:  Einstein:  A Life in Science, chapters 7-9


Vocabulary . . .


Peripatetic (p. 101)

Rapport (p. 102)

Raison d’etre (p. 102)

Exude (p. 105)

Gregarious (p. 111)

Uncouth (p. 113)

Paradigm (p. 119)

Un-/abate (p. 121)

Esoteric (p. 143)

Lay (p. 146)

Stolid (p. 147)

Euphemism (p. 148

Insidious (p. 155)

Eclectic (p. 159)



Notes . . .


Chapter 7:  The Peripatetic Professor


At this point in his life, immediately following his breakthrough articles and notoriety in the scientific community, Einstein had a succession of jobs.  Note how those jobs required him to relocate—and relocation raised the (by now) familiar issues of citizenship, religion, and office politics.


p. 117      Einstein’s response to World War I.


p. 122      Einstein needs someone to take care of him.  His second marriage.


Chapter 8:  The Masterwork


Here’s another even-numbered chapter time-out from the narrative of Einstein’s life.  This one explains and illustrates the general theory of relativity.  The authors claim that it really isn’t so hard to understand.  Read the chapter and see for yourself!


Chapter 9:  Fame But No Fortune


p. 146      Four categories of opposition to the theory of relativity.  Note how the authors dismiss the first three.  The fourth, though, was much more dangerous—and on p. 149 we see Einstein’s response to it.  I wonder if this act was as courageous at the time as it seems to us now, knowing (as we do) what happened in Germany in the 1930s and 40s.


p. 153      Einstein as a social being.  He was brilliant, but, when I read this, I wonder:  was he happy?


p. 166      The final section in this chapter.  “The great awakening” that our authors speak of here is called “modernism.”  We can—and probably should—take some class time to locate Einstein in this period of intellectual history.  Here’s an appetizer for you:  a new book contends that Einstein and Picasso were really solving the same problem of spacetime, but in different disciplines . . . Einstein in physics; Picasso, with cubism, in painting.