It is well known that Einstein founded twentieth-century physics with his work on relativity and quanta, but what do we really know about these ground breaking ideas? How were they discovered? What should we retain today from the conceptual upheavals he initiated? Through a selection of concrete scenes taken from Einstein's life, the author offers a view into the formation of his theories, as well as reminders of the day-to-day applications of his ideas. Simultaneously the reader is lead through a reflection on their philosophical impact: How should we think of time according to the theory of relativity, which removes any meaningful "now" and shows that twins can have different ages? How should we think of reality when quantum theory predicts that spatially separated objects nevertheless remain connected through Einstein's notion of "entanglement," which has recently been verified through scientific observation? This book puts readers in Einstein's place, allowing them to share some of those particular moments when he succeeded in "lifting a corner of the great veil."
" Upon Einstein is a quirky and delightful introduction to Einstein's ideas relayed in a friendly voice of a story teller."" -Alan Lightman, Author Of Einstein's Dreams, December 2005
""This is quite a wonderful book, unusual in several ways, and eminently readable. It should be of interest, and of use, to a number of different kinds of reader, from a newcomer to the life and works of Einstein to a seasoned veteran who’d like to revisit Einstein’s great adventures, and the wild times they took place in, without doing any real work, so to speak (what Einstein would call “xerei ”). ... Damour’s coverage is engaging, imaginative, and at the same time very scholarly. ... Obviously this is a fine (and fun) book. Highly recommended."" -Michael Berg, MAA Reviews, October 2006
""The vividness of historical background is brought to the page … An interesting feature of the book is that, after the period during which Einstein is shown contributing actively to physical theory, the next generation of physicists find inspiration for particular aspects of their own work in the influence of specific remarks or attributes of Einstein. Outside the technical exposition, Damour pursues many of the connections fo Einstein's thought with broader society. For example, he points to the scholarship on Proust revealing the influence of relativity on Remembrance of Things Past. Damour's book is a serious effort on the centenary of Einstein's annus mirabilis to examine his intellectual accomplishment, its sources and its influence. "" -Thomas Drucker, LMS, October 2006
""The reader is taken on a journey of discovery much as Einstein took himself. The writing is fluid, informative, and entertaining, and though directed at the layperson, the expert will undoubtedly find old ideas presented from new perspectives, surprising facts hidden in the notes, or philosophical points of view with which to agree or disagree."" -Alan S. McRae, AMS, February 2007
von mathematischen Formeln, in makellosem Stil und erzaehlerischer Sprache verfasst ... Es ist spannend von Anfang an."" -Thilo Koerkel ,, Spektrum der Wissenschaft, January 2008
name is readily acknowledged and celebrated as the founder of 20th century physics -- but where did he get his ideas, and what discoveries were they based on?. Once Upon Einstein blends scenes from his life and ideas on the formation of his theories and their modern applications to blend philosophy and science under one cover. Thibault Damour is a professor and a theoretical physicist himself with is own acclaim for work on black holes and string theory: his survey of Einstein is a 'must' for any college-level student."" -California Bookwatch, September 2006
""This book puts readers in Einstein's place, allowing them to share some of those particular moments when he succeeded in 'lifting the corner of the great veil.'"" -L'Enseignement Mathématique, May 2006"