Effect Measure

A lot of kids have personal “culture heroes” when they are growing up. I suppose athletes and celebrities predominate, maybe a political personage here and there. But I suspect lots of kids also have scientists or artists as personal heroes. My own culture hero when I was a youngster (Elementary School) was Albert Einstein (March 14, 1879 – April 18, 1955). I once sent him a birthday card and I had a scrapbook of clippings about him.

He still is one of my heroes. And today is his birthday. I’ll celebrate it with this nice little animation that explains the key concept in the Special Theory of Relativity, simultaneity. It’s short, accurate and understandable. So is the Special Theory. There are lots of books for the general reader if you are interested.

Meanwhile, enjoy:


  1. #1 JimV
    March 14, 2008

    One of my all-time favorite sayings is attributed to Einstein: “All mathematicians make mistakes; good mathematicians find them.” (It gives me hope that if I keep plugging I may someday qualify as a good mathematician.) It can be generalized to any profession, I think.

  2. #2 Jonathon Singleton
    March 15, 2008

    Happy B-day to a guy who opened the world’s collective eyes to pomo-reality operating like multiple camera perspectives in a movie: “We’ll always be together, together in electric dreams” — Giorgio Moroder and Philip Oakey (1984)…

  3. #3 paiwan
    March 15, 2008

    See how Eintein’s reminder of avoiding scientism;

    “It would be possible to describe everything scientifically, but it would make no sense; it would be without meaning, as if you described a Beethoven symphony as a variation of wave pressure.” — Albert Einstein

    ( credit to windy’s post)

  4. #4 MoM
    March 16, 2008

    Sorry I missed it. Better late than never.

    How appropriate that a mathematician’s birthday falls on π day.

  5. #5 MoM
    March 16, 2008

    Nutz! It didn’t render properly. ‘Twas supposed to be the greek letter pi. Einstein’s birthday is on pi day.

  6. #6 revere
    March 16, 2008

    MoM: It renders appropriately under Unicode-8. The hyphen in the title also doesn’t come out with ordinary encodings, also a problem. I also thought about the coincidence but didn’t mention it for several reasons. Einsteins wasn’t a mathematician but a physicist. He always bemoaned his lack of mathematical skills (we should all be so unskilled!). Second, 3.14 is only approximately pi day although for an epidemiologist 3.14 is close enough,. Third, I didn’t want to associate Einstein with something irrational (that’s a math joke).

  7. #7 Blake Stacey
    March 17, 2008

    You say he was your hero, but you’re not willing to associate him with something transcendental? For shame.

  8. #8 revere
    March 17, 2008

    Especially something transcendental. Bad enough it’s irrational. For one thing, you wouldn’t be able to solve anything in polynomial time (not a mathematical statement, obviously).