Edition: 2017
Pages: 188
Series: EL
ISBN: 9788858128299

Builder of Universes

Vincenzo Barone


- Intervencion Cultural (Spagna) - De Boeck Superieur (Francia)



There is a vast literature on Einstein, mostly comprising traditional accounts of his life and work, weighty biographies and studies of his scientific output. One hundred years after the formulation of the general theory of relativity, this book unites the life story of the great physicist with an analysis of his work and ideas, combining narrative style with historical accuracy and scientific rigour.

When, at the end of 1999, Time elected to put the person of the century on their last cover of the 1900s, Einstein’s name slayed giants of the calibre of Roosevelt, Churchill and Gandhi. It may seem odd that this acknowledgment went to a “maker of universes, not empires” as George Bernard Shaw put it. Yet the choice was entirely appropriate. No-one has yet fully captured the extent to which Einstein embodied the two distinctive traits of the past century: the extraordinary progress of science and the battle against totalitarianism and in favour of civil rights.

The most gripping introduction ever written to the life and ideas of a genius intolerant of all forms of orthodoxy. Giulio Giorello


«Among the numerous myths that have sprung up around Einstein there is one which claims that as a boy he failed at mathematics. The story is untrue: his results in the sciences were excellent and they were also very good in the more mnemonic subjects such as Latin and Greek, which he didn’t love (the Greek teacher told him in front of his peers that he would not amount to anything to life –earning himself a place of honour in the history of mistaken prophecies). His mathematical skills went well beyond the class programmes. He had started to study algebra and geometry at an early age, helped above all by his uncle Jakob, an electrical engineer, who played a key role in his education. Jakob Einstein taught his nephew about the beauty of mathematics, transmitting his passion for certain concepts and often putting him to the test with questions and stimulating problems. One day he talked to him about the theory of Pythagoras and Albert discovered an ingenious proof all on his own, based on the similarity of the triangles and completely unlike the ones in the traditional textbooks. As Einstein himself would one day say at a conference on physics in 1933: “If Euclid failed to kindle your youthful enthusiasm, then you were not born to be a scientific thinker.»

The author

Vincenzo Barone

Vincenzo Barone teaches theoretical physics at the University of Piedmont Orientale. He has carried out extensive research on the theory of fundamental interactions and for many years in the field of communication sciences. He is a member of the scientific committee of Asymmetries, a popular review published by the National Institute of Nuclear Physics, and contributes to the Sunday supplement of Il Sole 24 Ore. His book Relativity. Principles and Applications (Bollati Boringhieri 2004) is one of the most popular manuals on the argument. The Order of the World. Symmetries in Physics from Aristotle to Higgs (Bollati Boringhieri 2013) was a finalist in the Premio Galileo 2014. He has edited the Italian editions of works by Dirac and Einstein.

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