Author(s): Jean-Claude Carrier
A young woman enters a building in a nameless contemporary European city. She walks into a waiting room where a dozen people, with briefcases or sheaves of documents, are gathered. She is ushered into a large office where she meets Albert Einstein who is engaged in trying to figure out the equation that explains the universe. He is charmed by her, and agrees to answer her questions. He seems very used to receiving visitors. Among them, Isaac Newton is certainly the most regular and the most argumentative, desperately trying to prove Einstein wrong. Einstein and the student start discussing the concepts of time and space. He explains his theories about relativity and his responsibility in the creation of nuclear weapons. Einstein also talks about the difficulty of being famous, about his relationship with other scientists and how his dreams of worldwide peace were shattered. He appears bright, witty, hugely sympathetic but also tormented and dreamy. This is a remarkable book that makes complex concepts of physics and philosophy accessible to the non-scientific reader in a captivating and utterly charming manner.