Monday, August 04, 2008

"The" Albert Einstein

This is how Einstein would begin telling a story: "Once upon a space-time..." !

To read Einstein is simply highly inspiring and am glad for it.
Here is a gist of his quotes which I thought were a great ‘statement of facts’:

His thoughts on relativity: Click here for the original- 'a must read'
Two hairs in my cup of milk is too much and two hairs on my head is too less, now that's relativity for you!

* You can say that you go and all else is at rest, or you can say that you are at rest and all else goes. It all adds up the same both ways. But old Al then said not only that, but that you can't even tell if you have a pull on you or not. So, at no time, in no way, can you act so that you can't be seen as "at rest". You can go this way or that way or jump up or down or what.. you can say that you are at rest -- and it will all add up just the same.

* "Not only do rays move at c if what puts them out is held fast or not: they move at c even if you are held fast or not." What this says is that you can move as fast or as slow as you want, and rays will go by you at c all the time. So, you can see how fast the rays go by you, and how far off that is from c will tell you how fast you move! Hell, you don't even need the sun for that!

* 'We all start from naive realism, i.e., the doctrine that things are what they seem. We think that grass is green, that stones are hard, and that snow is cold. But physics assures us that the greenness of grass, the hardness of stones, and the coldness of snow are not the greenness, hardness, and coldness that we know in our own experience, but something very different. The observer, when he seems to himself to be observing a stone, is really, if physics is to be believed, observing the effects of the stone upon himself.'

Thoughts on Religion/Society:

* Einstein refers to cosmic religion, as a seeking on the part of the individual who feels it "to experience the totality of existence as a unity full of significance"
*That deep emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God!

* Our situation on this earth seems strange. Every one of us appears here involuntarily and uninvited for a short stay, without knowing the whys and the wherefore. My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind.

* It was the experience of mystery--even if mixed with fear--that engendered religion. A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, of the manifestations of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which are only accessible to our reason in their most elementary forms--it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute the truly religious attitude; in this sense, and in this alone, I am a deeply religious man!!

* To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their primitive forms - this knowledge, this feeling is at the center of true religiousness.
*A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest- a kind of optical delusion of consciousness.

* Without language our mental capacities would be poor indeed, comparable to those of the higher animals; we have, therefore, to admit that we owe our principal advantage over the beasts to the fact of living in human society. The individual, if left alone from birth, would remain primitive and beastlike in his thoughts and feelings to a degree that we can hardly conceive!

* Now he has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.

* Concept of 'I': We are succumbing to illusions produced by our self-created language, without reaching a better understanding of anything. Most of so-called philosophy is due to this kind of fallacy.

* The eternal mystery of the world is its comprehensibility...The fact that it is comprehensible is a miracle.
Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe!
* Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen! :-)

(Albert Einstein on the occasion of Mahatma Mohandas Gandhi's 70th Birthday in 1939)

A leader of his people, unsupported by any outward authority… a victorious fighter who always scorned the use of force; a man of wisdom and humility, armed with resolve and inflexible consistency.. a man who had confronted the brutality of Europe with the dignity of the simple human being, and thus at all times risen superior. Generations to come, it may be, will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked on this earth. (Albert Einstein, 1939)

Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts. (Sign hanging in Einstein's office at Princeton)


Praveen Pai said...

I think I am nobody and Einstein is a genius, and if Einstein even thinks about me, what I think, I am a genius to others, that Einstein is thinking about me and they are nobody, thats relativity :).

me said...

You must watch the movie "Einsteins Big Idea". Its an interesting movie about evolution of scientific ideas.