Thursday, February 8, 2024

Einstein's dreams - Alan Lightman

There have always been speculations about Albert Einstein getting his most inspired ideas while he was dreaming. Even though this has never been confirmed, it is true that our brain develops new connections providing insightful ideas during REM sleep, precisely when we are dreaming. Those of you who want to know more about what happens to our body and mind while we are comfortably slumbering on our beds can have a look at “Why we sleep”, a great popular science book written by Matthew Walker.
In “Einstein’s dreams” Alan Lightman, who is both a writer and a physicist, tries to figure out all the dreams that the famous Nobel prize winner could have had over the months preceding the publication of his revolutionary paper on relativity theory and specifically about the concept of time.
Each chapter deals with a possible explanation of how time works. Most of them are obviously not applicable to our reality but they could work in some parallel world and can definitely be used as founding structures for science fiction stories. Each version of time is explained through a fictional short story based in Bern, where Einstein was working as a clerk at the local patent office before becoming the greatest scientist of our time. Each story illustrates the impact of time on nature and human beings, in particular on their relationships, attitudes, aspirations and motivations. It is a very clever and engaging exercise and going through it will only take a few hours of your time.

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