Event Detail

Event Type: 
Department Colloquium
Monday, April 12, 2004 - 05:00

Speaker Info

University of Mainz

Einstein was always puzzled by the public's fascination with the theory of relativity following the announcement of its confirmation in 1919. Photos and caricatures of Einstein circulated widely after November 1919 in the same newspapers that reported on the Versailles Treaty and German Field Marshall Hindenburg's claim that the German army had been stabbed in the back by traitors. Einstein's wartime support for pacificism, internationalism, and Zionism strongly colored the reception of relativity in Weimar Gemany, and many German anti-relativists came to regard Einstein and his theory as distinctly un-German. In the United States, Henry Ford's Dearborn Independent published tirades against Einstein and "Jewish influences," and an organization of self-proclaimed patriotic women sought to deny Einstein an entry visa. After Hiroshima and Nagasaki, when Einstein's formula E=m c^2 became synonymous with nuclear war, his campaign for disarmament and the creation of a world government made him a target of prolonged FBI investigation. These aspects of Einstein's life and legacy as a political and cultural figure are the subject of close scrutiny in this lecture.