I leafed through this book today. I like the theme, but I think the analogy of a story with two protagonists is taken a bit far. Still, looks like it could be fun. Might get it yet!
Some reviews follow.
Panek’s amazing point (kind of profound, when you think about it) is that Einstein began probing the heavens at the same time Freud began experimenting with his theories of the unconsicous — that basically both men (who did meet once, acc. to Panek!), were after the secrets that lay behind invisible screens — Einstein the sky, and what lay beyond it, and Freud our dreamworld and our id. Really fascinating stuff. Now as a topic, none of this is easy sledding. But it’s RIchard Panek’s great gift to make these profound contributions by two of the towering geniuses of the last century into something succinct, intriguing, readable, and easy-to-understand, while never patronizing the reader, or lapsing back into over-intellectual science talk. Except for the Bryson book, I didn’t think there was such a thing as a science book I could not put down. But this is one. Buy The Invisible Century right now! You’ll be glad you did!
Prologue They met only once. During the New Year’s holiday season of 1927, Albert Einstein called on Sigmund Freud, who was staying at the home of one of his sons in Berlin. Einstein, at forty-seven, was the foremost living symbol of the physical sciences, while Freud, at seventy, was his equal in the social sciences, but the evening was hardly a meeting of the minds. When a friend wrote Einstein just a few months later suggesting that he allow himself to undergo psychoanalysis, Einstein answered, “I regret that I cannot accede to your request, because I should like very much to remain in the darkness of not having been analyzed.” Or, as Freud wrote to a friend regarding Einstein immediately after their meeting in Berlin, “He understands as much about psychology as I do about physics, so we had a very pleasant talk.”