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Einstein's Jewish Science: Physics at the Intersection of Politics and Religion
The Nazis denigrated Albert Einstein's revolutionary theory by calling it "Jewish science," a charge typical of the ideological excesses of Hitler and his followers. Philosopher of science Steven Gimbel explores the many meanings of this provocative phrase and considers whether there is any sense in which Einstein's theory of relativity is Jewish.
Arguing that we must take seriously the possibility that the Nazis were in some measure correct, Gimbel examines Einstein and his work to explore how beliefs, background, and environment may-or may not-have influenced the work of the scientist. You cannot understand Einstein's science, Gimbel declares, without knowing the history, religion, and philosophy that influenced it.
No one, especially Einstein himself, denies Einstein's Jewish heritage, but many are uncomfortable saying that he was being a Jew while he was at his desk working. To understand what "Jewish" means for Einstein's work, Gimbel first explores the many definitions of "Jewish" and asks whether there are elements of Talmudic thinking apparent in Einstein's theory of relativity. He applies this line of inquiry to other scientists, including Isaac Newton, Rene Descartes, Sigmund Freud, and Emile Durkheim, to consider whether their specific religious beliefs or backgrounds manifested in their scientific endeavors.
Einstein's Jewish Science intertwines science, history, philosophy, theology, and politics in fresh and fascinating ways to solve the multifaceted riddle of what religion means-and what it means to science.
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Sign up to the hive. Discover bookshops local to you. Enter your postcode and search for your nearest Hive network shop. The notion of "religious science" usually brings to mind creationism, but our two best theories of gravitation before Einstein, those of Rene Descartes and Isaac Newton, bore indelible marks of their founders' theology. How did science change in the time leading up to Einstein to remove theological influence from physics?
FREE admission — Everyone welcome, members and non-members. Refreshments and socializing after the talk. Free limited parking is available. The Bethesda Library is Metro accessible.
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