CM . . .
. Volume IX Number 14. . . . March 14, 2003
Once settled in Princeton, Albert was again consumed by his study of physics. That made him absentminded. One day the university office got a call from a man asking directions to Albert's house. When the clerk wouldn't tell him, the man sighed, "This is Albert Einstein. I got lost walking home."
One of four titles in the "Snapshots" series, Albert Einstein: A Life of Genius offers readers a glimpse into the life of Time magazine's "Person of the Century" for the 20th century. MacLeod is very successful at depicting Einstein, not only as a brilliant scientist and researcher, but also as a normal human being, complete with flaws. Following a brief introduction, the book begins with Einstein's birth, his early education (he was a teacher's nightmare) and his first job at a patent office. From there, it chronicles his personal and professional life and the various experiments and research questions for which he is so famous. Though he is best known for his e=mc2 formula. Einstein's legacy goes far beyond that. The discovery of nuclear power, radiation therapy to treat cancer, gamma ray scans, fluorescent light, lasers, automatic doors and the big bang theory are all related to Einstein's theory of relativity. So often, Einstein proved to be a man ahead of his time. Even now, NASA is testing two important predictions from Einstein's theory. Remaining humble throughout his life, Einstein derived great pleasure from simple things, such as riding his bicycle, playing the violin and engaging in water pistol fights with the local children. Through her writing, MacLeod helps readers to see Einstein not just as someone with "star" quality, but also as a real person. The vocabulary is fairly simple, despite the complicated nature of the scientific concepts presented. Illustrations, all suitably labelled and ranging from colour and archival photographs to maps, sketches and newspaper clippings, are arranged in a collage format. They are peppered with quotes from Einstein and sketches of the man accompanied by speech bubbles to explain certain photographs. A table of contents, a time line of the important discoveries and events in Einstein's life, an index and a short list of places to visit to learn more about Einstein, are provided. An excellent book, worthy of purchase.
Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian at Bird's Hill School in East St. Paul, MB.
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