By Burton Feldman, Katherine Williams

As international struggle II wound down and it grew to become more and more transparent that the Allies may emerge positive, Albert Einstein invited 3 shut friends—all titans of latest technological know-how and philosophy—to his domestic at 112 Mercer highway in Princeton, New Jersey, to debate what they enjoyed best—science and philosophy. His site visitors have been the mythical thinker and pacifist, Bertrand Russell; the boy ask yourself of quantum physics, Wolfgang Pauli; and the intense philosopher, Kurt Gödel. Their informal conferences came about faraway from the bad battlefields of the warfare and the (then) mystery lair of experimental atomic physicists in Los Alamos, New Mexico.

Using those historical conferences as his launching pad, Feldman sketches the lives and contributions of the 4 acquaintances, colleagues, and rivals—especially Einstein, innately self-confident yet pissed off in his try to get a hold of a unified thought, and the aristocratic yet self-doubting Lord Russell. Masterfully researched, this ebook accessibly illuminates the emotions of those striking males in regards to the international of technological know-how that used to be then commencing to cross them by means of, and concerning the dawning atomic age that terrified them all.

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Extra resources for Einstein's Genius Club: The True Story of a Group of Scientists Who Changed the World

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Einstein, though close to both Pauli and Gödel, seems to have been unaware of their otherworldly interests. Perhaps it is no wonder, as Russell complained, that the group could not find common premises, at least when it came to philosophizing about science. AGING GENIUS Besides tangled friendships and rivalries, the four men who met in Einstein's living room shared something else: the common fate of being past their prime. By 1944 each had already done his important scientific work. Einstein had already spent the last twenty years pursuing his hope of a grand unified theory for physics—a pursuit destined for failure.

The latter is a bit more fathomable among laypeople—the neutrino being first of many particles found to exist within the atom, beyond the electron, proton, and neutron. Within the world of physics, however, Pauli is legendary. His exclusion principle is indispensable to our understanding of matter. In 1930, he postulated the existence of the neutrino, the confirmation of which came a year before Pauli's death. Equally important, though, was his centrality to quantum theory. In the 1920s, as the world entered a depression and headed toward world war, Pauli helped foment a revolution that overturned classical physics.

Not until the late nineteenth century, however, did logicians develop the tools (in the form of definitions and methods) needed to place mathematics more or less within the realm of logic. In 1879, the German logician Gottlob Frege began his life's work on a system to formalize logic and to develop a logical foundation for mathematics. In their Principia, Russell and Whitehead solved inconsistencies that Frege and others could not. ) In its three lengthy volumes, the Principia devised a comprehensive and very usable notation system; by demonstrating the power of logic, it inaugurated the field of metalogic; it placed logicism comfortably within the realm of traditional philosophy and even made it fashionable.

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