A Talk with Einstein about Theorizing.

Essay by romcheatUniversity, Master'sA+, February 2006

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Much has been written about the truly remarkable and unique contribution of Einstein in the realms of science and humanities. It is ardently hoped that what is presented here is not merely a recapitulation, nor a senseless addition to the already highly developed and abundantly available knowledge. Nevertheless, certain of Einstein's thoughts were felt to be usefully expanded upon and an attempt has been made to highlight his unique and unusual capacity for insisting on naturalness of theory and its immediacy to daily experience. Therefore, to illustrate the elements of wholeness and comprehensivity in Einstein's mind, we draw upon a conversation which occurred between Heisenberg and Einstein. Hopefully at an even deeper level, the power and utility, even the essentiality, of the experience and understanding of wholeness as expressed in the thought of Einstein, will be illustrated. We begin with a quote taken from a discussion in which Heisenberg and Einstein are discussing the validity of Heisenberg's theory.

At this point in time, Einstein had been established as the eminent authority on the field of physics, while Heisenberg is merely a young but brilliant physicist who has just recently suggested his famous concept of the uncertainty principle.

"But you don't seriously believe," Einstein protested, "that none but the observable magnitudes must go into the physical theory?"

"Isn't that precisely what you've done in relativity?" I asked in some surprise.

"After all, you did stress that it is impermissible to speak of absolute time, simply because absolute time cannot be observed; that only clock readings, be it on a 'moving reference system or the system at rest, are relevant to the determination of time."

"Possibly I did use this kind of reasoning," Einstein admitted, "but it is nonsense all the same. Perhaps I could put it more diplomatically by saying...