Einstein’s Persistence, Not Genius, Is the Reason We Know His Name

237

In 1905, Albert Einstein's mother thought he was a genius, his sister thought he was a genius, his father thought he was a genius – but that was about it, says author David Bodanis. His latest book is "Einstein's Greatest Mistake: A Biography"

Transcript - 1905 Albert Einstein's mother thought he was a genius; his sister thought he was a genius; his father thought he was a genius, but he was stuck in the patent office in Bern Switzerland and nobody else thought he was a genius at all. We had mouthed off to his professor at his university. He didn't get any good job. His department of theoretical physics was the top drawer of his desk and he would slam it close. And he had tried all sorts of things. He was about 25/26, we had tried lots of ideas while he was stuck at the patent office. Nothing had really come together. And then suddenly in the spring of 1905 it was like a storm burst in his head. He poured out one of paper after another about four of them were worthy of the Nobel Prize. And the final two were Special Relativity and E=mc2.

Einstein once said he wasn't smarter than other people but he said I have the persistence of a mule. And he was really honest about it. When he was a little kid and he made card castles he'd make layer after layer after layer of card castles and if they blew down well he'd take a deep breath and build it up again. So he knew he wanted to understand how the universe worked. He'd always thought the universe was like a series of books waiting on a shelf that if we were really lucky we could take them down and look inside and there would be all the truths of the universe inside there. It might be the Sermon on the Mount for Matthew, it might be what he later discovered things like E=mc2, and most of the time we couldn't look in those books, but occasional he we could and that's what drove him. All through his early 20s he was happily married at the beginning to a really hot young Serbian physics students the only woman in his class and Polytech in Zürich And they had great dreams of maybe becoming professors together, but reality got in the way. He was stuck at the patent office and until 1905 when he was 25/26, he couldn't get any fresh ideas and he and his wife they begin slowly to drift apart. They didn't have money for childcare. She was stuck at home taking care of the kids. She couldn't really participate in his work. Read Full Transcript Here: https://goo.gl/J6Fzh0.

Related Videos

Media type
6:05
How to Rise Above Emotional Conflict
How to Rise Above Emotional Conflict
Details
in Attitude Adjustments
So look, we all experience emotionally charged conflicts: whether it’s in the workplace, whether it’...
Media type
14:17
Domestic Violence Destroys the Sanctity of Home
Domestic Violence Destroys the Sanctity of Home
Details
in Attitude Adjustments
Callers weigh in on domestic violence, gun control, and other related issues.
Media type
9:38
The Difference Between Justice and Revenge
The Difference Between Justice and Revenge
Details
in Attitude Adjustments
Institutions—governmental, religious, financial, even revolution itself—have a way of turning stale...
Media type
5:27
The Neuroscience of Lies, Honesty, and Self-Control
The Neuroscience of Lies, Honesty, and Self-Control
Details
in Attitude Adjustments
So when we look at the world’s ills one of the biggest sources of it is us failing to do the right t...
Media type
16:10
What makes life worth living in the face of death
What makes life worth living in the face of death
Details
in Attitude Adjustments
In this deeply moving talk, Lucy Kalanithi reflects on life and purpose, sharing the story of her la...
Media type
6:39
Alan Alda Shares Tips on Using Empathy to Make a Point Stick
Alan Alda Shares Tips on Using Empathy to Make a Point Stick
Details
in Attitude Adjustments
Alan Alda chats with Seth about the keys to communication from his book If I Understood You, Would I...
Media type
5:38
Why Schools Should Teach Skepticism Above Obedience
Why Schools Should Teach Skepticism Above Obedience
Details
in Attitude Adjustments
“You can can get more information in your cell phone now than you can in any school, but you can als...
Media type
15:52
The biology of our best and worst selves
The biology of our best and worst selves
Details
in Attitude Adjustments
How can humans be so compassionate and altruistic -- and also so brutal and violent? To understand w...
Media type
13:33
Building bridges of understanding
Building bridges of understanding
Details
in Attitude Adjustments
More people are displaced than ever before ­– currently 65 million. People have been migrating since...
Media type
8:36
Why Controlling the Masses Through Media No Longer Works
Why Controlling the Masses Through Media No Longer Works
Details
in Attitude Adjustments
When television took over from print and radio as the dominant media in the second half of the 20th...
Media type
9:45
The Science of Optimism: How Gender, Age, and Race Affect Your Outlook
The Science of Optimism: How Gender, Age, and Race Affect Your Outlook
Details
in Attitude Adjustments
Optimistic people tend to live longer than pessimistic people. That's true whether you're rich or po...
Media type
33:10
Anxiety and Mood Disorders In Children
Anxiety and Mood Disorders In Children
Details
in Attitude Adjustments
Dr. Angela Mattke and Dr. Rachel Lynch discuss anxiety and depression in children.