Daniel Kennefick, associate professor of physics at the University of Arkansas and leading Albert Einstein scholar, has co-authored a new book on the scientist known as the “Father of Relativity.”
An Einstein Encyclopedia coincides with the centennial anniversary of Einstein’s famous discovery in November 1915, the theory of general relativity.
Kennefick coauthored the book with fellow Einstein experts Alice Calaprice, who has written several books on Einstein, and Robert Schulmann, former director of the Einstein Papers Project. The trio used their knowledge gained on the scientist during their work on the Collected Papers of Albert Einstein.
“The book is an accessible but authoritative guide to Einstein’s life, family and work,” said Kennefick, who serves as scientific editor of the Einstein Papers Project at the California Institute of Technology.
Kennefick wrote the section of the book focused on Einstein’s scientific achievements, including the Nobel Prize in physics in 1921. He began studying Einstein as a graduate student at Cal Tech.
“What has really impressed me about Einstein as I’ve studied him more and more was his amazing ability to read or listen to the work of others and realize what was good in it, even if they didn’t know themselves,” Kennefick said. “He was an insightful and gentle reader. For example, when Satyen Bose wrote to him in the 1920s with a paper about calculating Planck’s Law in a new way, it was Einstein who realized that Bose’s idea was based upon treating the quantum particles as indistinguishable. This became the concept of the boson particle.”
Kennefick is the author of the 2007 book Traveling at the Speed of Thought: Einstein and the Quest for Gravitational Waves. He recently contributed chapters on Einstein and his work for three books: Oxford Handbook on the History of Physics, The Cambridge Companion to Einstein and A Companion to the History of American Science.
An Einstein Encyclopedia is published by Princeton University Press.