Alexandre Moatti

Einstein, Century Against Him Publication date : October 26, 2007

Einstein is the iconic figure of the twentieth century. His formula E = mc2 has come to symbolise both the century's greatest intellectual feats and its most deadly misdeeds. A singular thinker, a loner (when most research is the result of teamwork), Einstein is at the origin of the two great twentieth-century revolutions in physics: relativity and quantum mechanics.

Yet Einstein was also the most greatly criticised scientist of the century. The French criticised him because he was German; the Nazis attacked him because he was Jewish. And, during the past decades, as a result of the widespread recognition of his theory of general relativity (after the acceptance of special relativity) he has become the target of scientific revisionism and of so-called alternative science.

Alexandre Moatti analyzes the numerous controversies that raged around the greatest twentieth-century scientist. He examines the many attacks that were levelled against Einstein (often under cover of a critique of the theory of relativity). In the process, he makes frequent allusions to the history of the past century and shows that even the most abstract of sciences cannot escape from its time.

This is a fascinating study of the hidden face of the history of twentieth-century physics.

Alexandre Moatti is the author of Les Indispensables mathématiques et physiques. A graduate of Ecole Polytechnique, he is a senior mining engineer and the creator of the French government's official scientific website (www.science.gouv.fr).