Einstein's world


Einstein's world

It would be wrong to cashier 2005 without a few words about Albert Einstein. A century ago, Einstein dazzled the world with a torrent of brilliance that lit the universe and changed forever the way humans think about time and space. Even if you don't ponder time and space much, even if you don't understand his theory of relativity ?and a lot of smart people don't (ahem) you are living in Einstein's world.

2005年已然過去,卻不能不提到亞伯特.愛因斯坦。一世紀前,愛因斯坦的絕世才華照亮了整個世界並徹底改變人類對於時間與空間的思維,全世界為之震驚。就算你很少思考時間空間的問題,抑或壓根不了解相對論 — (嗯…很多聰明的人也不了解) — 你正活在愛因斯坦的世界中。

Because of Einstein, humankind has the atom bomb ?and nuclear energy. Because of Einstein, we know that a small amount of matter can yield enormous energy: If all the energy in this newspaper could be released, for example, it would power Chicago for more than a month.


Because of Einstein, we know that time and space aren't separate, but inextricably entwined to the point that you can slow the rate you age by traveling faster through space.


Because of Einstein, we know about black holes and that the universe is expanding. Because of Einstein, scientists have developed lasers, global positioning systems, telescopes and scanners capable of peering into the human body.


Last year, librarians at Princeton University discovered a 62-page manuscript of Johanna Fantova, who was 22 years younger than Einstein and known around the campus as his girlfriend. She recorded his musings, opinions ?of which he had plenty ?and grousings over the last year and a half of his life. Fantova died in 1981, and last year the manuscript was discovered.

去年,普林斯頓大學圖書館員發現了約漢娜.凡托娃長達六十二頁的手稿。校園中大家皆知約漢娜為愛因斯坦女友(小他二十二歲),她記錄了他的思考與想法 — 其中多半為愛因斯坦對於人生大半輩子的不滿與牢騷。凡托娃於1981去世,手稿於去年被發現。

The portrait of the genius as an old man is fascinating. He complained about his faulty memory and the endless stream of visitors. Sometimes, he pretended to be ill in bed so he would not have to pose for photographs with them. He idolized his pet parrot, Bibo, but believed the bird was depressed. So he tried to cheer him up by telling bad jokes. He wrote poems to Fantova full of puns.


In the end, he worried that his name meant both too much and too little in the world. He had tried to stop the arms race after his theories set the stage for the atomic bomb. He was still trying when he died.

最後,他則擔心自己名氣過於響亮或微不足道,自從完成原子彈的理論之後,他曾試圖停止武器競賽 — 直至去世前。

A century from now, we have no doubt, his ideas will shine just as brightly, setting the stage for discoveries as exciting and revolutionary as his own.


Updated : 2021-04-17 09:40 GMT+08:00