Friday, December 16, 2011

Discussion Questons for Einstein Biography

1. Einstein was committed to the idea that imagination (or creative theorizing), as important as or more important than knowledge to the scientist. How did imagination play a role in special relativity? How did imagination play a role in Einstein’s criticism of quantum mechanics?

2. From the texts, it appears that Einstein and Poincare met only once at the 1911 Solvay Conference. Apparently Einstein was not particularly impressed with ole Henri, but Poincare thought Albert had a "most original mind". How did they view the world? How did they view the world of theoretical physics?

3. For Popper, verification and falsifiability were at the heart of science. For that reason, he considered psychoanalysis and Marxism to be flawed theories. How would he view the work of Einstein? Of Bohr? (He may have commented on these guys, but I could not find it discussed in the text).

4. I read that Proust wrote that "the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes but in having new eyes." Would Proust have approved of Einstein's approach to theoretical physics? Would Proust have understood even a small portion of his work?

5. What are your mechanics?

6. How did Einstein view reality? How did those views evolve over time? How did his love of simplicity mesh with his view of reality?

7. Einstein had issues with how Kant bifurcated knowledge. How would Einstein view the work of Ernie Mach and our old friend Wittgenstein? Would Mach and Wittgenstein agree with respect to their philosophies?

8. Compare Watson's and Einstein's use of models to explain theory? Would the Solvay physicists agree that Einstein theories are tight (or became tight) to use Mokyr's terminology?

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