Tag Archives: Einstein

Jews of the Week: Nathan Rosen & Brian Podolsky

Podolsky and Rosen

Nathan Rosen (1909-1995) was born in Brooklyn and studied at MIT during the Great Depression. While still young, he published several famous papers, including ‘The Neutron’, which predicted the structure of the nucleus a year before it was discovered. Between 1935 and 1945 he was Albert Einstein’s personal assistant at Princeton. Together, they discovered (mathematically) a “bridge” connecting distant areas of space – now called a wormhole. With Einstein’s encouragement, Rosen moved to the nascent State of Israel and joined Haifa’s Technion in 1953. He later served as President of Ben-Gurion University, founded the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, the Physical Society of Israel, and the International Society for General Relativity and Gravitation. Aside from all this, he is most famous for coming up with the well-known “EPR Paradox” together with Einstein and a fellow Jewish scientist named Podolsky (hence “EPR”).

Boris Yakovlevich Podolsky (1896-1966) was born in Russia to a poor Jewish family which immigrated to the U.S. in 1913. He served in the US Army and worked as an electrical engineer before returning to school and earning a PhD from Caltech. In 1933 he was given a fellowship at Princeton, which led to his collaboration with Einstein and Rosen on the EPR Paradox. Interestingly, some have suggested that Podolsky was a Soviet spy, codenamed “Quantum”, and helped the Soviets start their nuclear program during World War II. His major legacy, however, is in the great work he did on solving various complex physics problems of the day.

Words of the Week

Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.
– Albert Einstein

Jew of the Week: William Sidis

The Smartest Man That Ever Lived?

Genius.

William James Sidis (1898-1944) was born to Ukrainian Jews who fled to America because of the pogroms. Sidis was quickly recognized as a child prodigy. His parents were geniuses in their own right – doctors, polyglots and professors – but Sidis would outdo them both. At 1.5 years, he was already reading the New York Times.¬†At age 4, he wrote his first book (in French). By 8, he spoke fluently in English, Russian and Hebrew, as well as Latin, Greek, French, Russian, German, Armenian and Turkish. He later invented his own language called Vendergood. At age 11, William enrolled in Harvard, becoming the youngest person in history to do this. A year later, he was lecturing at the Harvard Mathematical Club. At 17, he had a teaching job at Rice University, where he wrote a geometry textbook in Greek. At 21, he was thrown in prison for participating in violent Communist rallies. After his release, he lived in seclusion and isolation until his death of a brain hemorrhage at age 46. He spoke 40 languages. New York’s Aptitude Testing Institute placed his IQ between 250 and 300, giving him the highest intelligence quotient in history (in comparison, Einstein’s was around 170). Despite his genius, he appears to have left no legacy. Much of his life remains clouded in mystery.

Boston Herald Headline – 1909

Words of the Week

A person is forbidden to eat before he feeds his animals.
– Talmud, Brachot 40a