A GENIUS LIKE ME…. & 10 Things you never knew about Einstein
Interesting thing about Genius is that it seems to come with a helping of madness, an inner drive perhaps boardering on a multiple personality disorder. It’s said to be the joy of making a new connection or obtaining a new insight, of accomplishing a new feat, that my friends is what motivates a Genius. Being a true Genius also includes the components of talent and technique and it is widely accepted that a huge part of said technique is an un-stoppable drive, a persistence to arrive at a conclusion, and to understand the mystery of what they have set their sights on in a chosen field or art form. But my 37 loyal readers, on top of these attributes, Geniuses are associated with curiosity , imagination, wisdom, inventiveness , some humor and finally vitality and I’m sure you are asking yourselves “how do you know this”? Well in short, it’s because I am one. I know this is no revelation to so many of you, especially to my close friends and family. And right now you my fellow Genius and “near” Genius readers must wonder what has prompted me to unleash this obvious statement of fact and what has brought my rare affliction out into the open? Geniuses are those rare individuals who have, among other qualities, the discipline and gifts to master the large domains of knowledge that allow them to come up with surprising combinations. We play in larger fields than most other people. More athletic moves, more musical memories, more images and words. A deeper knowledge of mathematics, of history, of art. We mentally map our fields in ways that access the right combinations at the right time. The very word Genius originated in ancient Rome where it related to the guiding spirt of a person. The word is also related to the Latin verb “genui or genitus” to bring into being, to create, to produce it would also explain the achievements of exceptional individuals who seemed to indicate the presence of a particularly powerful Genius. By the time of Augustas the word began to acquire its secondary meaning of “inspiration, talent”. But my fellow Genius readers, well by reading my writings you must be “fellow Geniuses”, what really got me inspired to write this excursion into madness and wonder was when a fellow Genius friend of mine named his racehorse, fittingly enough “Captain Genius”. No ordinary horse my friends, this one stumbles at the gate, spots the pack a huge almost insurmountable lead and still shows. Runs in a shut out fog, you can not even see the horses on the track and as the fog thins at the wire there’s Captain Genius for a win, as I said to his trainer Joe Woodard, “takes a good Captain and a Genius to win in that fog”. The 3 year old Florida bred colt has 5 top 3 showings out of 6 (3 firsts on two surfaces) only faltering when he “dropped a shoe” in one race. I know that I wonder sometimes if animals can be of a higher “IQ” than the normal ones or be Geniuses like us? It’s an abstract thought I give you that. My good friend Billy’s horse may go on to emulate the horse and the man I write of next, a man we all admire and a Genius who was named “Man of the Century” by Time Magazine and a man whos very name has become a synonym for Genius for who among us my friends has never said to another “yeah, you’re a real Einstein”.
“ EVERYTHING SHOULD BE AS SIMPLE AS POSSIBLE, BUT NOT SIMPLER”
He was a heavy smoker: Almost as famous as his eccentric hair and thrift store looking wardrobe was Albert Einstein with his Hiershom pipe hanging out of his mouth. The Genius himself said “I believe that pipe smoking contributes to a somewhat calm and objective judgment in all human affairs”. Einstein was very passionate about his pipe smoking, in fact my friends during one lecture he ran out of pipe tobacco and borrowed some cigarettes from his students so he could pack the tobacco in his pipe. But the true appeal to our formula minded friend was the soothing almost mathematical ritual pipe smoking gave. Carefully choosing from an amazing variety of pipes and tobacco then properly loading, tamping and packing it and then the gentle puffs required to ignite this ritualistic combo. Although he was more partial to pipes and their complexities he was not one to turn away from a cigarette or a good cigar. He once fell into shallow water during a sailing trip but managed to heroically hold on to his pipe even though he could not swim. Although his wife Elsa and all his doctors forbade him to smoke, he continued untill his death on Monday, April 18, 1955 from an abdominal aneurysm at age 76.
‘’IF WE KNEW WHAT WE WERE DOING, IT WOULD NOT BE CALLED RESEARCH, WOULD IT?”
He invented a refrigerator: 21 years after his epic writings of his “Special Theory of Relativity” and five years after he received the Nobel Peace Prize (1921). He would design and receive a 1926 patent on a refrigerator that ran on alcohol gas. He would design this with his former student Leo Szilard and using his experience with the Swiss Patent Office (Albert worked there from 1903 to 1909) they would receive 45 separate patents on 3 different models and although the pair didn’t put the refrigerator into production, the most promising patents would be bought up by the Swedish Company, Electrolux. The refrigerator was a unit that acted as an “absorbtion refrigerator” and had no moving parts. It was a very simple and effective machine . The refrigerator device required only a simplistic heat source for its operation (such as alcohol). It could be used in poor villages without electricity or in the outdoors, no motors and no “plugs”. You would heat up one end of the device and the other end became cold, it was almost like magic. A simple design to a complex problem. Although not a hit when designed (Freon would be the future of refrigeration) it is being looked at today as a very environmentally safe and “green machine” and is in use in some remote areas of the world as you read this tale.
“THE ONLY REASON FOR TIME IS SO EVERYTHING DOESN’T HAPPEN AT ONCE”
Albert Einstein was offered the job as President of Israel : Only days after the first President of Israel died (Chiam Weizmann) on Nov. 9, 1952. Einstein was asked if he would accept the position of being their second president. Albert was a Jew but not a citizen of Israel and although this was mostly a ceremonial post at the time (the Prime Minister has the power of the state) it was a deeply respectful offer by the Jewish people. However my 97 loyal readers, Einstein declined, mostly because of his age (73 at the time) but said he was “deeply moved” by the gesture. He is quoted as saying, “All my life I have dealt with objective matters, hence I lack both the natural aptitude and experience to deal properly with people and to exercise official function. I am more distressed over these circumstances because my relationship with the Jewish people became my strongest tie, once I achieved complete clarity about our precarious position among the nations of the world”. To the state of Israel he was truely “The Greatest Jew Alive” at this time in history, having fled Nazi Germany in the early 30′s. He would spend much of his time during World War II fighting to help other Jewish refugees escape from Europe. He also raised money to create the homeland of Jews in Palestine that would later become Israel and my good readers despite having helped create the State of Israel maybe the true reason Albert turned down the Presidential Office can be found in this quote. “ I should much rather see reasonable agreement with the Arabs on the basis of living together in peace than in the creation of a Jewish State. My awareness of the essential nature of Judaism resists the idea of a Jewish State with borders, an army and a measure of temporal power no matter how modest. I am afraid of the inner damage Judaism will sustain, especially from the development of a narrow nationalism within our own ranks, against which we have already had to fight strongly even without a Jewish State”. Einstein obviously had a genius even beyond his chosen field of mathematics I think many would say.
“SCIENCE IS A WONDERFUL THING IF ONE DOES NOT HAVE TO EARN ONES LIVING AT IT”
A compass made him who he is: Many have asked what triggered his path to Genius? When Albert was five years old and sick in bed his father Hermann Einstein brought him a device that stirred his intellect. It was the first time Albert had ever seen a magnetic compass, he twisted it, he shook it certain he could make the device point in a new direction. But my 53 loyal readers, no effort by our young Genius could make the needle move from pointing in the direction of magnetic ”North”. A true wonder he thought. The invisible force that guided the compass needle was proof to Einstein that there was more to our world than we can see, there was something behind things, sometimes deeply hidden. Later as a child, Albert would patiently and methodically build houses of cards up to 14 stories high, when all the other children would only build to 4 before they would teeter and fall. Later he would say, “ It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just I stay with problems longer”. At age 12 he came upon what he called his “Holy Book of Mathematics.” It was on Euclidean plane geometry and was the concept that one could prove with certainty theorems of angles and lines that were in no way “obvious”. This my 42 gifted readers, made an indescribable impression on the young Genius. He adopted mathematics as the instrument that he would use to prove his ideas of the behavior of the universe. And it all began my friends with a simple magnetic compass.
“EVERYTHING THAT IS REALLY GREAT AND INSPIRING IS CREATED BY THE INDIVIDUAL WHO CAN LABOR IN FREEDOM”.
Einstein’s Brain: When he passed in 1955 his body was cremated and as he wished his ashes were scattered at a still today undisclosed location (said to be the Shark River in New Jersey near the Science Hall of Fame). He died at the age of 76 in Princeton Hospital. Albert would refuse surgery saying, “I want to go when I want. It is tasteless to prolong life artificially. I have done my share, if it is time to go I will do it elegantly”. During the autopsy the head patholigist of Princeton Hospital Thomas Stoltz Harvey removed Einstein’s Brain without the permission of the family. Days later he convinced Einstein’s son that it would help Neuro Science and tell us why he was so “smart”. The brain was sectioned into 120 pieces and then into 12 sets of slides. Harvey retained two complete sets for himself and stored them in his closets as he moved through the years to various homes across the United States, in two large mason jars in a cider box. Upon the doctor’s death in 2007 they were given back to Princeton Hospital. In the end Einstein’s brain was found to be 15 percent over the size of the average brain, due to the fact that the “inferior parietal” regions on both hemispheres were much more developed than most. This would have given Einstein some powerful visualization skills, seeing that this region of the brain is responsible for much of our visiospatial cognition, mathematical thought and imagery of movement. They also found his brain lacked the groove which usually runs through part of this area which suggests that his neurons may have been able to work more closely together and more easily given their proximity to each other. Einstein often said that he visualized his problems in mathematics more so than “thinking them out”, maybe that is why Dr. Harvey also removed the eyes of Einstein but that my fellow brainiacs is another story
“INTELLECTUALS SOLVE PROBLEMS, GENIUSES PREVENT THEM”
Einstein had an affair with Marilyn Monroe: While Albert was quite the ladies man (for his time) and had quite a few extramarital affairs but I have to tell you, my 23 gifted readers, this is pure urban legend. Although its reported by many reliable sources that Marilyn was a huge fan of Albert Einstein, and in fact they may have once stayed in the same hotel, but alas just not in the same room. In the same “legend” it is said that he sat next to Monroe at a large dinner party and that she whispered in his ear, “I want to have a child with you, Albert, with my looks and your brains it would be the perfect child”, to which Einstein replied, “Ah, but what if it has my looks and your brains”? Very funny stuff indeed but it was never said. Although in the late 1940′s actress Shelly Winters shared an apartment with Marilyn and later in her written autobiography, Winters claimed that Monroe had hinted about an affair with the Genius, so fact or fiction my 61 loyal myth busters? Let me know if you discover any details to this “legend”. Albert would be married twice. Once to Mileva Maric whom he divorced in 1919 and then to Elsa Loewenthal (nee Einstein) his cousin. How close a cousin you ask, my amazed friends, very close. Elsa was related to both sides of the family. Albert’s mother and Elsa’s mother were sisters, plus Albert’s father and Elsa’s father were cousins. Elsa and Albert had actually played together as small children, however their romance did not begin untill Elsa had married and divorced Max Lowenthal. She would die in 1936 after Albert and she emigrated to the U.S.A.
“IT HAS BECOME APPALLINGLY OBVIOUS THAT OUR TECHNOLOGY HAS EXCEEDED OUR HUMANITY”
He played the violin? Albert’s mother Pauline was an accomplished pianist and she so wanted her young son to love music. So at the young age of six she started him on violin lessons. But my 31 loyal readers he hated playing it, well at first. But around the age of 13, my fellow virturosous, he heard the music of another Genius … Mozart and for the next seven decades of his life he would play. Becoming a very good “Social Player” he would often play at local recitals and join in small groups such as garden parties and at Christmas time. He would also use the violin to relax and would often play for hours when stuck on an equation or mathematics problem using music to think things through in his head. A few great violinists said of Einstein the player, “There are many musicians with much better technique, but none, I believe, who ever played with more sincerity or deeper feeling”. The last few years of his life he felt dexterity leaving his left hand and my good readers he laid his violin down, never to play it again. However Einstein never lost his love for the instrument. As he would still say “I know the most joy in my life has come from my violin”.
“THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN STUPIDITY AND GENIUS IS THAT GENIUS HAS ITS LIMIT”
Einstein invented the Atomic Bomb? No, my good friends Albert is not the “inventor”. That honor belongs to Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer who was the director of America’s Manhattan Project. But it would be Einstein and physicist Leo Szilard who togather would write a letter that led to the creation of that very project, and yes it would be the Atomic Bomb that would prove the true validation of Alberts famous E=MC2 equation where he predicted that an incredible amount of energy would be released if matter were converted into energy, he had also found out very early that this could be explained by studying radioactive elements. It would be in 1939 that physicist (and friend) Leo Szilard would attempt to alert Washington D.C. of an ongoing Nazi Atomic Bomb research project, but alas my 41 loyal readers his warnings were not heeded. Einstein with his fame was persuaded to come aboard and was quoted saying, “It is their responsibility to alert the Americans to the possibility that German scientists might win the race to build an Atomic bomb. And to warn that Hitler would be more than willing to resort to using such a weapon”. In the summer of 1939 just a few months before WW II would begin in Europe the letter was delivered to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. This letter also recommended that the U.S. Government pay attention to and become directly involved in uranium research and its associated chain reaction research. This letter is said to be “ Arguably the key stimulus for the adoption of serious investigation into nuclear weapons on the eve of the U.S. entry into WW II“. Roosevelt could not ignore the warning and could not let the madman Hitler possess Atomic bombs first. The U.S. would embark in a race to build the bomb that could prove Einstein’s equation correct, they would form the Manhattan Project led by Dr. Oppenheimer and America would become the only country to successfully develop an Atomic weapon during World War II. Oddly enough J. Edgar Hoover the director of the F.B.I. would deem Albert Einstein a security risk and he was allowed to only work on a few small details of it, never seeing it or its complete engineering or testing. This seems so odd that the physicist whose equation led to the “idea” of the Atomic Bomb and whose letter explained the need for a bomb making project was considered too “risky” to aid in its design and building. Albert would say after the Great War ended “had I known the German’s would not succeed in producing the Atomic bomb, I never would have lifted a finger” and this would haunt our peace loving and eccentric Genius. In 1954 a year before his death he said to his old friend Linus Pauling, “I made one great mistake in my life, when I signed the letter to President Roosevelt recommending atomic bombs be made, but there was some justification………….The danger the Germans would make them”.
“Imagination is more important than knowledge”
EINSTEIN LOVED SAILING: He would be given a sailboat for his 50th. birthday, a very nice 1929 German designed coastal cruiser that he would name ”Tummler” and he would often call it his “thick little yacht”. He would receive the sailboat in 1929 but by 1930 he was driven out of Germany as the Nazi’s would rise to power. A close friend would write in 1930, “While his hand holds the rudder Einstein explains with joy his latest scientific ideas to his present friends. He sails the boat with the skill and fearlessness of a child. He himself hoists the sails, climbs around the sailing boat to tighten the tows and ropes and and handles bars and hooks to set sails. The joy with this hobby can be seen in his face, it echoes in his words and in his happy smile”. He has said losing his little yacht was one of the worse parts of having to flee Europe. He would then have a little 15 foot day sailor (named Tineff) that he would sail on Long Island Sound, often being towed in and off of local sand bars, as he despised outboard motors, even returning one given to him as a gift.
“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones”.
EINSTEINS LAST WORDS: Shortly after midnight he muttered a few sentances in German but the night nurse did not understand the language and with that the last words of the greatest minds in the world would be lost forever, but Albert would take the draft of a speech he was preparing for a TV appearance commemorating the State Of Isreals seventh anniversary with him to the hospital that day, but my good readers he did not live long enough to finish it, no it wasn’t an epic mathematical equation, or a new rocket fuel formula or a cure for anything except maybe World stupidity, it lay next to him at his death, an unfinished idea, an incomplete statement: “In essence, the conflict that exists today is no more than an old style struggle for power, once again presented to mankind in semi-religious trappings, the difference is that, this time, the development of atomic power has imbued the struggle with a ghostly character. For both parties know and admit that, should the quarrel deteriorate into actual war, mankind is doomed”. Despite this knowledge, statesmen in responsible positions on both sides continue to employ the well known technique of seeking to intimidate and demoralize the opponent by marshaling superior military strength. They do so even though such a policy entails the risk of war and doom. Not one statesman in a position of responsibility has dared to pursue the only course that holds out any promise of peace, the course of supranational security, since for a statesman to follow such a course would be tantamount to political suicide. Political passions once they have been fanned into flame, exact their victims……….Citater fra. No one has made much sense of the final two written words.
And yes my loyal readers there was a horse named “Einstein”. He would make his debut on Feb.26, 2006 at Gulfstream Park where he would win the first of two (2004-2005) Gulfstream Park Turf Handicaps, he would then go on to win on three different track surfaces, dirt, turf and synthetic which is impressive by itself. Over his long career he would try and set a world record by winning on all three surfaces in one season but after winning on two would have an off race on the third surface and the Genius horse would be denied this amazing feat. The 8 year old Einstein would win 11 of 30 starts including four grade 1 races and retire from 5 years of racing with $2,945,238 in winnings. Einstein is now at Adena Springs Farm in Paris, Ky. and is to become a “Ladies Man” much as our E=mc2 Genius was renowned to be.
So my intellectual friends there you have it, I have been “rated” as the Genius. I am by my good friend honoring my name and vast knowledge of useless information with what seems to be a horse that may follow in Einstein’s footsteps or should I say “hoof-steps”, depends on which “Einstein” we are comparing him to. But we all have a touch of Genius don’t we my 32 loyal readers? It is said the line between Genius and insanity is a matter of perception. Maybe many of us are just “perceived” wrong? and we are all Einsteins at certain tasks. I’ve met many of you out in the world we live in bartenders, police, doctors, mechanics and soldiers, you’re a diverse lot and are obviously well read and very well versed and I truly do believe that there are many more Geniuses then we know among us, but one Genius will always be the example to all of us, the one we will use to describe someone with this affliction, this curse, this gift to be as “Yogi” put it, smarter than the average “bear”.
So there you have it my fellow superstars Albert Einstein pacifist, Jew, father, sailor, musician and chick magnet, he was all of these and so much more, but Einstein was never a follower, he acted on and pursued what he thought was right. Yes its clear he was a Genius but he also seemed to have an immense amount of common sense and that seems to me to be a key to being a true Genius. Stick to a problem don’t come back to it, think before you speak and most of all be in Einstein’s and Captain Geniuses hoofsteps and don’t be a follower and with that my loyal superstars I will leave you with a last quote from Mr. Einstein that is very relevant today. “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing”