"A storm broke loose in my mind"

October 17, 2005


These were the words Albert Einstein used to describe the events of 1905, the most productive year of his life. At age 26, he published five papers that had a lasting influence on physics and twentieth century thought.

Last week I read John Rigden’s Einstein 1905: The Standard of Greatness. It’s a history and explanation of Einstein’s 1905 papers. I found Rigden’s descriptions of the five papers to be just detailed enough for me to understand them intuitively as a technically trained non-physicist.

In this short and accessible book, Rigden gives us a great description of Einstein’s work and life. He makes a strong case that Einstein is one of the most brilliant scientists in history. But as a lifelong student and hopeful parent, I find the most interesting parts of the story to be the characteristics of Einstein’s life that enabled him to do so much.