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Einstein's Dreams

Einstein's Dreams

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Einstein's Dreams is a 1992 novel
Novel
A novel is a book of long narrative in literary prose. The genre has historical roots both in the fields of the medieval and early modern romance and in the tradition of the novella. The latter supplied the present generic term in the late 18th century....

 by Alan Lightman
Alan Lightman
Alan Lightman is an American physicist, writer, and social entrepreneur. He is a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the author of the international bestseller Einstein's Dreams. He was the first professor at MIT to receive a joint appointment in the sciences and the...

 that was an international bestseller and has been translated into thirty languages. It was runner up for the 1994 L. L. Winship/PEN New England Award
L. L. Winship/PEN New England Award
The L.L. Winship/ PEN New England Award is awarded annually by PEN New England to honor a New England author or book with a New England setting or subject. The award was established in 1975 by The Boston Globe in conjunction with PEN to honor the veteran Boston Globe editor Laurence L. Winship. It...

. Einstein's Dreams was also the March 1998 selection for National Public Radio's "Talk of the Nation
Talk of the Nation
Talk of the Nation is a talk radio program based in the United States, produced by National Public Radio, and is broadcast nationally from 2 to 4 p.m. Eastern Time. Its focus is current events and controversial issues....

" Book Club. The novel has been used in numerous colleges and universities, in many cases for university-wide adoptions in "common-book" programs.

Einstein's Dreams was first adapted for the stage by David Gardiner and Ralf Remshardt and performed at the University of Florida in 1996. An off-off-Broadway
Off-Off-Broadway
Off-Off-Broadway theatrical productions in New York City are those in theatres that are smaller than Broadway and Off-Broadway theatres. Off-Off-Broadway theaters are often defined as theaters that have fewer than 100 seats, though the term can be used for any show in the New York City area that...

 production of this stage version ran briefly at the New York Fringe Festival in 2001; it has also been performed in Beijing (2009).

Plot


The novel fictionalizes Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of general relativity, effecting a revolution in physics. For this achievement, Einstein is often regarded as the father of modern physics and one of the most prolific intellects in human history...

 as a young scientist who is troubled by dreams as he works on his theory of relativity
Theory of relativity
The theory of relativity, or simply relativity, encompasses two theories of Albert Einstein: special relativity and general relativity. However, the word relativity is sometimes used in reference to Galilean invariance....

 in 1905. The book consists of 30 chapters, each exploring one dream
Dream
Dreams are successions of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations that occur involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep. The content and purpose of dreams are not definitively understood, though they have been a topic of scientific speculation, philosophical intrigue and religious...

 about time that Einstein had during this period. The framework of the book consists of a prelude, three interludes, and an epilogue. Einstein's friend, Michele Besso
Michele Besso
Michele Angelo Besso was a Swiss/Italian engineer of Jewish Italian descent. He was a close friend of Albert Einstein during his years at the Federal Polytechnic Institute in Zurich, today the ETH Zurich, and then at the patent office in Bern...

, appears in these sections. Each dream involves a conception of time
Time
Time is a part of the measuring system used to sequence events, to compare the durations of events and the intervals between them, and to quantify rates of change such as the motions of objects....

. Some scenarios may involve exaggerations of true phenomena related to relativity, and some may be entirely fantastical. The book demonstrates the relationship each human being has to time, and thus spiritually affirms Einstein's theory of relativity.

External links



Stage adaptations:

Music adaptations: