In 1919, newspaper headlines said that a British expedition had confirmed Einstein’s general theory of relativity.


In 1911, Einstein had calculated that, based on his new theory of general relativity, light from another star would be bent by the Sun’s gravity. That prediction was claimed confirmed by observations made by a British expedition led by Sir Arthur Eddington during the solar eclipse of  May 29, 1919. International media reports of this made Einstein world famous. On  November 7,  1919, the leading British newspaper The Times printed a banner headline that read: “Revolution in Science – New Theory of the Universe – Newtonian Ideas Overthrown”.  Much later, questions were raised whether the measurements were accurate enough to support Einstein’s theory but the truth never got in the way of a good newspaper story nor could it slow down the unholy alliance of publicity, money and influence that would elevate an uncertain mathematician to the pantheon of 20th century genius. Actually the world’s reaction to the eclipse was more interesting than America’s reaction to prince Albert.

Albert meets America : how journalists treated genius during Einstein’s 1921 travel Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006      edited by Jozsef Illy Einstein, Albert, 1879-1955  Travel  United States Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. xvii, 345 p. : ill. ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. [339]-341) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

In 1919, newspaper headlines said that a British expedition had confirmed Einstein’s general theory of relativity. The news stirred the public imagination on both sides of the Atlantic and thrust the scientist into the spotlight of fame.

Two years later, Chaim Weizmann led a fund-raising mission to the United States and invited Einstein to join it. The mission traveled to New York, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Philadelphia, and Hartford to campaign for public awareness and support of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. This brought Einstein within the grasp of the American media. His lectures delivered in New York, Princeton, and Chicago, and comments on the Jewish presence in Palestine, made Einstein, on his first trip to America, one of the first media stars.

In Albert Meets America, József Illy presents a fascinating compilation of media stories of Einstein’s tour — which cover his science, his Zionism, and the anti-Semitism he encountered. As we travel with Einstein, from headline to headline, we experience his emotional connection with American Jews and his frustration at becoming world famous even though his theories were not truly understood.

This exciting collection gives readers an intimate glimpse into the life of one of the world’s first modern celebrities and a unique understanding of the media’s power over both its subject and its audience.

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