Brain Pickings

Albert Einstein: How I See The World

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What the theory of relativity has to do with barefoot lectures and antisemitism in Europe.

Today is 3.14, which, besides being Pi day, is also Albert Einstein’s birthday. The iconic German theoretical physicist would’ve been 131 today, so we’re celebrating with Albert Einstein: How I See The World — a fantastic 2006 PBS documentary exploring his life, work and legacy, now free online in six parts. From his audacious scientific exploits to his notorious personal quirks to his controversial political convictions, the film is an essential piece of cultural history and a rare look at one of humanity’s greatest minds.

Historians, philosophers and scientists alike have spent decades trying to dissect the specific source of Einstein’s genius and his gift for ideas. Was it his keen analytical mind? His extraordinary computational ability? His eccentric way of withdrawing into his work? We believe a lot of it had to do with his remarkable curiosity and penchant for cross-disciplinary pattern recognition, something Hanna Loewy captures with wonderful eloquence:

It was like someone who looked for many, many, many dimensions, whether they be proven or not, and could see the whole.” ~ Hanna Loewy, family friend

You can catch the remaining four parts on YouTube. In a similar vein, OpenRoad Philosophical Library just released The World As I See It — a fascinating anthology of Einstein’s observations about life, religion, nationalism, and various personal topics that engaged his intellect. For more on Einstein’s unique brand of genius, you won’t go wrong with Einstein: His Life and Universe.

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