________________ CM . . . . Volume XX Number 32. . . .April 18, 2014


Albert Einstein: Forging the Path of Modern Physics. (Crabtree Groundbreaker Biographies).

Diane Dakers.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2014.
112 pp., pbk., hc., pdf & html, $14.95 (pbk.) $24.95 (RLB.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-1190-2 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-1188-9 (RLB.), ISBN 978-1-4271-8937-0 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-4271-8935-6 (html).

Subject Headings:
Einstein, Albert, 1879-1955-Juvenile literature.
Physicists-Biography-Juvenile literature.

Grades 5-8 / Ages 10-13.

Review by Thomas F. Chambers.

***˝ /4



After only three years at the primary school, Albert was accepted into the Luitpold Gymnasium. This was a more competitive institution, similar to a middle school or high school, that prepared students for college. He found it more rigid and stifling than his first school had been. His teachers placed no value on creativity, imagination, or ideas. They did not allow discussion or debate. There were too many rules. Albert’s fellow students called him Biedermeier, the equivalent of today’s “nerd.” His teachers called him a “dreamer” because he was always thinking his own thoughts. One teacher even announced to the class that Albert would never amount to anything.


Albert Einstein: Forging the Path of Modern Physics tells the story of this remarkable man’s life from his birth in Germany to his death in the United States. As geniuses often are, Einstein was not an ordinary boy, nor an ordinary adult. Unlike most children, he did not speak until he was three years of age and then spoke in complete sentences. From the age of 13, he loved the music of Mozart, another indication that he was different. He loved music so much that he is quoted as saying, “If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music.” Simply put, Einstein was an eccentric.      

      There are, however, other things that occurred in Einstein’s life that set him apart. The best known is his discovery of the General Theory of Relativity for which he won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1921. Stated simply, this theory says that everything, even light, has weight and is influenced by gravity and that starlight passing the sun would be bent by the sun’s gravity as it passed. As a result of this theory, Einstein soon became the most famous person in the world.

     People who met Einstein really enjoyed his company. He was a loveable eccentric because he was a humble man with an unusual sense of humour. One example of his humour is seen in the following quote: “Only two things are infinite--the universe and human stupidity--and I’m not sure about the former.” Another is his algebraic equation: “If A equals success, then the formula A= X + Y + Z, where X is work, Y is play and Z is keep your mouth shut.” Unusual humour to be sure, but it made people laugh.

     Albert Einstein has numerous teaching aids, including an Index, Further Information (which includes books, videos and websites), a Glossary, and a Chronology of Einstein’s life. It is well-illustrated throughout with many decorative black and white photographs and has several interesting sidebars in each chapter. It has six chapters of varying lengths from eight to twenty one pages. It is well-written, easy for the intended readership to understand, factual and very interesting. It creates a profile of Einstein that young readers can relate to because it mentions some of the problems he faced at school by being different from other children. He was different, of course, from other adults, too, but his fame made him a media darling, and he was often hounded by the public as entertainers are. Albert Einstein could be used for recreational reading.

     Diane Dakers, the author of Albert Einstein studied math, physics, and chemistry in university. She owns Tick Talk Communications and previously taught television journalism at Carleton University.

Highly Recommended.

Thomas F. Chambers, an author and retired college teacher, lives in North Bay, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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