The Science and the Life of Albert Einstein
Subtle is the Lord: The Science and the Life of Albert Einstein by ABRAHAM PAIS
‘Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.’ So Einstein once wrote to explain his personal creed: ‘A religious person is devout in the sense that he has no doubt of the significance of those super-personal objects and goals which neither require nor are capable of rational foundation.’ His was not a life of prayer and worship. Yet he lived by a deep faith—a faith not capable of rational foundation—that there are laws of Nature to be discovered. His lifelong pursuit was to discover them. His realism and his optimism are illuminated by his remark: ‘Subtle is the Lord, but malicious He is not’ (‘Raffiniert ist der Herrgott aber boshaft ist er nicht.’). When asked by a colleague what he meant by that, he replied: ‘Nature hides her secret because of her essential loftiness, but not by means of ruse’ (‘Die Natur verbirgt ihr Geheimnis durch die Erhabenheit ihres Wesens, aber nicht durch List.’).
But why should we still trust the views of a man whose instincts were fashioned by the physics of over one hundred years ago? Surely Einstein’s initial insights into the quantum structure of things were simply overtaken by the impressively successful theories of younger men.
Why should we go along with Einstein’s “nineteenth-century” view of an objective physical reality when modern quantum theory seems to be presenting us with a more subjective picture? Whatever one’s beliefs may be on this matter, Einstein’s extraordinary record tells us that his views are always worthy of the greatest respect.
To understand what his views actually were, you cannot do better than to read on…
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