Monday, December 21, 2009

Albert Einstein - Giants of Science

In sports, awards are given to the athlete who has had the best year. For example, Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts stands to garner many accolades for the great football season he is having at the moment. Manning's accomplishments, however inspiring they may be in the sports world, pale in comparison to the year that Albert Einstein had in 1905. Kathleen Krull, author of the Giants in Science series, sums up Einstein's season as such: "Einstein's so-called miracle year, 1905, remains almost impossible to fathom. In one creative burst, he came up with a quantum theory of light, gave decisive proof for the existence of atoms, explained Brownian motion, and altered our notions of space and time, matter, and energy." Throwing a gazillion touchdown passes is terrific, but altering human thinking is a little more mind blowing to say the least.

Krull does a fabulous job of taking a complex life and subject and making it accessible to middle grade readers and above. She presents Einstein's life, warts and all, and doesn't shy away from explaining some difficult to understand theories.  Some of Krull's best work comes when she helps the reader visualize Einstein's theory of special relativity. 

This would be a good book to use for teaching how to use fix-up strategies.  Unless you are a physicist, you will find yourself rereading a few times, but it is definitely worth the effort.  I learned a lot of new information about Einstein and had some myths exploded.

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