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Just Being Einstein

The 10-part-series Genius began Tuesday night, on National Geographic. I taped it but haven’t started to watch it yet, so there are no “spoilers” in this blog. (I always wanted to write a TV review blog to say “spoiler alert” and I almost made it!)

The crazy part of it is that the subject matter is Albert Einstein. It’s hard to believe that an anticipated series is about Albert Einstein. So, I suppose a true story can’t really have any spoilers. The NY Times wrote a review of the series in case you want a quick summary without watching the 10 episodes. (Here)

His story really is a reminder that success doesn’t come easily, even if you are “an Einstein”. He did not speak until he was four. He didn’t read until he was seven. That understandably concerned his parents and caused his teachers to believe that he was mentally handicapped.

Eventually, he was expelled from school and was refused admittance to the Swiss Federal Polytechnic School in Zurich. At that point, there was no expectation that he would develop the theory of relativity, win the Nobel Prize in Physics and ultimately be considered the authority on our universe. (and my summation of “authority on our universe” is almost laughable, but it does make my blog short enough to read this morning)

J.Edgar Hoover, as Director of the FBI, was adamant that Einstein should be kept out of the United States. The FBI even kept a file on him that grew to 1427 pages. Hoover was overruled by the State Department, and the “rest is history”.

I blog on Einstein today because I am fascinated by some of the explanations of his success. Perhaps his own words are a good explanation, and also a challenge for us:

Learn from yesterday; live for today; hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.

I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious. The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.

And finally, I also like his hair. It became a symbol of why he was also known as the Father of Distraction. 


One story from reflects what apparently was his way of life:

When Einstein is on a train in Germany. He is then a famous researcher. The conductor enters the wagon and Einstein desperately looks in his pockets for the ticket.

“Oh, but I recognize you, of course: doctor Einstein. You can ride for free. Don’t worry about the ticket,” says the conductor.

“Thank you, but if I don´t find my ticket, I won’t know where to get off the train,” says Einstein.

And for pic o’ day, with every outfit it all starts with the shoes:



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