The other Einstein theory

by Lorin Michel Tuesday, June 5, 2012 1:43 AM

I’ve never been much for science. I believe in it and its power to change the world; I have the greatest admiration for those who understand it, especially for those who excel in it. I was never good in science in school; I passed, but it never intrigued me like it does those who pursue first degrees and then careers in science. Thank dog for those people. Doctors, chemists, biologists, physicists.

One of the most famous physicists in the world remains Albert Einstein. He was considered a brilliant man, and produced the theory of relativity. Everyone knows the equation – E=mc2 – but I suspect that there are more that a few people out there, much like me, who really don’t know what it means. Evidently, he began developing his theory at the age of 6, and then developed the combination of time and space, matter and energy in 1902. By 1905, he published his first paper on his theory, which shows mathematically that the speed of light is constant and not relative to its source or to the viewer. He essentially proved that any increase in the energy, E, of a body must lead to a corresponding increase in its mass, m, with the increases in the velocity of light, squared. C in the equation represents light’s velocity.

This theory immediately explained some of the major problems in the physics and astronomy of his day, including helping prove the existence of black holes. Space and time aren’t nearly as unchanging as we think, and empty space can contract, expand or curve depending on how close we are to objects. It can even change depending on who is measuring the space and time.

I still don’t understand it and I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t need to understand it. I know it exists. I know from whose mind the theory sprung. I’m thinking that at this age, that’s really all I need to know. Einstein was brilliant; he was a bit of an eccentric as well who spent much of his time in solitude, even though he had a wife and children. His brain was a constant whirl, expending countless bits of E. Ideas flew into his head and took up lodging and the only way he could get them out was to write them down.

I heard today that Einstein wrote everything down, in journals and on scraps of paper. When he died, supposedly those charged with chronicling his life and collecting his ‘stuff,’ discovered hundreds of thousands of pieces of paper, some with one word, some with a phrase, some with equations. Evidently his other major theory, one he’s perhaps less famous for, is this:  if you write things down, you get them out of your head to make room for more stuff to accumulate in your head.

This is a theory I can actually understand and appreciate. It’s one I have long practiced myself. I have little notes all over my office, largely scribbled on the small square pieces of paper that come from equally square towers of notepaper. Sometimes it gets so bad that my notes have notes. I have an idea, I scribble. It’s why I also keep paper and pen next to my side of the bed. I often have my best ideas when I’m in bed and supposed to be sleeping. Instead, as my husband snores, I’ll lie there with my eyes wide open, staring up at a ceiling I can’t see, my brain spinning as I think and formulate and fabricate and dissect. Once I have something that I think really works, I have to get it out of my head or I won’t ever be able to sleep. Hence, the paper and pen.

Years ago, Kevin bought me a pen that lights up so I can see while I scribble. I don’t have to worry about holding a flashlight, pen and paper; I don’t have to turn on a light. My light is the pen. I have been known to write quite the screed at 2 in the morning. I can also read it in the morning, even better.

The theory of getting things out of your head and onto paper where you can see them, where they become real, is a good one. It has long helped me to see things more clearly. I believe that when ideas and thoughts are rattling around inside it can only lead to self-doubt, self-recrimination and insomnia. But once those same ideas and thoughts are out where they can be seen, then they become real. They become tangible and actionable. This is why journals exist, why people say to write that letter to the person who has wronged you but not to send it until days later, after you’ve had a chance to live with it. But getting it out of your head can help you to see it for what it really is.

What it is might be brilliant, it might be duller than dirt. But it is out in the world and ready for its close-up.

If it’s good enough for Albert Einstein, it’s good enough for me.


live out loud

Comments (2) -

6/5/2012 9:53:19 AM #

E-4h squared here. Your four H's now:

How's the pupple? AWESOME bear, who continuously broadens and deepens my life in so many unexpected ways by her just being her, and living it out loud much like a certain Maguire we continue to feel such a loss for here in lil' ol Utah.

How's the book? No movement externally. Not even one Einsteinian scrap of note paper. But, nevertheless, something is still brewing underneath. (Btw, he wasn't considered a brilliant man when he was young at all. He was a mediocre student in school who teachers thought "wondered" too much! And he did his most brilliant work as a lowly partent clerk in a Swiss patent office!)

How are you? I've been better but I have my health, my dog, and my drums in Kanab later today. If you get a chance, or are still interested, ask my twin.

Hope. Nice word, which reminds me it's the last word heard and spoken by Morgan Freeman in the movie, "Shawshank Redemption", one of the all-time greatest films. Talk about relativity. Now that movie says it all about E equaling MC squared on this little planet located in a minor outward suburb of an insignificantly and completely unnoticed spiral tentacle of an equally most minor galaxy belonging to the Universe. Or is it a Multiverse? We need to consult Lawrence Krause in Arizona now that Einstein is gone.

Or we can look at yesterday's "Non Sequitor" comic strip, which shows old man "God" standing on heaven's clouds, looking down at the distant Earth and saying to one of his minions, "Truth be told, I would have blown the place up long ago if it weren't for dogs..."

Blues and drums in Kanab today, and all for "Best Friends" the local animal shelter there. Dog bless you, your caring, Range Rovers, and your essay on Einstein here.

Hope you're well, too. Relatively speaking?

Fred United States

6/6/2012 1:09:58 AM #

So good to see your comment!

Interesting that you'll be doing the blues for Best Friends. I've actually done quite a bit of pro bono work for them and know the two people who started the organization. In fact, one of my closest friends here in LA – Diane, whom I've mentioned often in the blog – worked for them for well over 10 years. She's a very big animal rescue person. You'll have to let me know how it goes; sounds like fun.

Totally agree about Shawshank Redemption. One of our favs, too.

Be good, and keep living it out loud. Sometimes it's the only thing we can do.


Lorin United States

Add comment

  Country flag

  • Comment
  • Preview

Filter by APML