Friday, April 2, 2021

How Einstein Became a Celebrity

'His theory of general relativity was well known in the U.S., but his 1921 visit caused a sensation.'

Livia Gershon at JStor Daily.

"Asked to think of a genius, almost anyone in the United States will immediately form a mental picture of a certain wild-haired, gently smiling Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany. But how did Albert Einstein earn this place in our mental maps of extraordinary humans? As philosopher Marshall Missner writes, it all goes back 100 years, to Einstein’s arrival in New York on April 2, 1921."


"Media accounts referred to the new theory [if general relativity] as a 'revolution,' overturning the reign of Newton and Euclid—though Einstein himself noted that this wasn’t really accurate. ...

"Einstein’s reception in the media also got a boost from the throngs who, apparently, showed up to greet him. But, Missner argues, this was a bit of an illusion. Einstein arrived as part of a delegation of Zionists, and it’s likely the largely Jewish crowds were mainly enthusiastic about the cause. The major newspapers had little interest in Zionism but a lot in the intriguing idea of general relativity, so they focused on Einstein. ..."

See Albert Einstin, "The Rise and Fall of Classical Physics", from The Evolution of Physics (with Leopold Infeld), in Gateway to the Great Books (10 Vol., 1963) volume 8; Relativity: The Special and the General Theory, in Great Books of the Western World (second edition, 60 Vol., 1990) volume 56.

See Newton, Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, and Optics, in Great Books of the Western World (first edition, 52 Vol., 1952) volume 34, and (second edition, 60 Vol., 1990) volume 32.

See Euclid, Great Books of the Western World (first edition, 52 Vol., 1952) volume 11, (second edition, 60 Vol., 1990) volume 10.

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