Allison Schwartz's Reviews > Einstein's Dreams

Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman
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's review
Sep 18, 2012

really liked it

The book I chose off the list to read over the summer was “Einstein’s Dreams” by Alan Lightman. The story that Lightman narrates is not a story rather than a collection of what Albert Einstein’s dreams might have been in the year 1905 while he was in Switzerland studying patents. During this time he also completed a manuscript on the theory of time, and all of his dreams reflected that theme. The dreams were unrelated to the events in Einstein’s life. They were all visions of worlds with a different concept of time. It was less like Lightman wrote a book about Einstein, rather than him demonstrating the imagination of his thoughts.
I’m not sure if the book directly related to any type of science, unless the study of time is considered a science on its own. Time is just math when you really get down to it. What we feel is happening is all broken up and decided by calculations. As the book implies though, time is much more than calculations. Time is determined by physics and astronomy, but to oneself it is reliant of your perception of the universe and the events constantly in movement. Throughout all the scenarios in Einstein’s dreams, time had been infinite, backwards, faster, slower, ect., but what that change in time meant to the people living those worlds was only determined by how their minds as individuals perceived that time. So, maybe even more than calculations and physics, this book discussed psychology.
Though I enjoyed the abstract style of the book, I would have enjoyed learning more about Einstein. I don’t know much about Einstein and would have enjoyed expanding my knowledge on his life. The book never spoke of what his theory of relativity actually was, just that he was creating a manuscript on the theory of time. Knowing what he got out of these “dreams” would have further enhanced my experience with this book. Overall, I enjoyed the book and was glad I had chosen it.

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