Second Looks: Einstein Edition

Even after these phenomenal scientific breakthroughs, he’s still a guy: music, hair, misunderstandings.

blue white ribbon on pink box

You know what I love about Einstein?

Relativity?

Of course, but it’s hard to love something you don’t know well, and I can’t say that my understanding of any of his theories goes very far beyond the basics of dinner party repartee.

That’s still happening?

Relativity? I assume, I mean, no one’s exactly––

No, dinner parties and such.

Well, I don’t know. I haven’t exactly been to too many since––

Just wondering. Anyway, what do you love about him, then?

The other things. Like how he played the violin and wrote all these letters back and forth with his wife, even when they weren’t getting along. Plus, of course his hair. I love that he makes this phenomenal scientific breakthrough, but he’s still a guy. With his music and his hair and his misunderstandings. It makes him even better somehow, knowing that.

You know, he spent a number of years working on refrigerators, too?

Huh. Well, everybody’s gotta start somewhere. I didn’t know he was a repairman, though.

No, I mean inventing a better one. And this was after he was the famous Einstein.

So, he just got it in his craw to start tinkering on home appliances? Did he do toasters, too, because this one I’ve got is a real––

He read a story about a family that got killed overnight from a leak. Back in the day, they were using chemicals like ammonia and sulfur dioxides as coolants. So, you can imagine. 

I am trying. So, you mean to tell me, my fridge is an Einstein invention?

Well, no. He got his patent for an induction cooling system right around the time that the great depression hit. Also, freon came around, and that took the issue of poison out of the equation. So, his invention wound up being applied to nuclear breeder reactors. 

I see. What about the rest? Did he keep on with the letters, the violin, the hair?

I like to assume so. We never actually met.

Me too. I like it when something or someone looks like one thing up close, and then when you zoom out and take them in––

They are so much more?

Exactly.

Cheers.

Have you had dinner yet?

Let’s go. Call it a party.

Notes:

Inspired by Steve Silverman’s Einstein’s Refrigerator and other Stories from the Flip Side of History (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2002), which I found at a library used book sale some years ago, and opened for the first time today. You just never know when you will have your day brightened by a a book like this, which is why I love used book sales.

Author: Stacey C. Johnson

I am here to wonder out loud. The point is not to get a clear answer, a complete picture, but to remember how incomplete the picture is, to embrace the process once again, of discovery, of questions, to notice the stirrings of wonder. To leave crumbs behind, for the next traveler.

Leave a Reply