"Einstein in Bohemia: Science and Prague before and after the Habsburgs"
Friday, February 22, 2019 - 3:35pm
Nicholson 155
Michael Gordin
Princeton University

Abstract: Before Albert Einstein became the most famous scientist in the world, he taught for three semesters at the German University in Prague (1911-1912). Although this time was brief compared to the course of a long and eventful life, and although both Einstein and Prague intellectuals tended after the fact to minimize the significance of this period, there turn out to be a number of resonances of Einstein’s Prague ‘intermezzo’ in later decades, ranging from general relativity to the philosophy of science, from the scientist’s interaction with Zionism to the development of physics in independent Czechoslovakia. This presentation traces these and other implications, examining the impact of the scientist on the city, and vice versa.