Einstein: The “Jewish” Physicist

Monday, 17 February 2014
Columbus AB (Hyatt Regency Chicago)
Steve Gimbel , Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, PA
Between the World Wars, Nazi sympathizers labeled the theory of relativity "Jewish science" in an attempt to denegrate it.  They were, of course, wrong.  Although Descartes' and Newton's theories of space, time, and gravitation (those that preceded Einstein's) were directly influenced by their Catholicism and Protestantism, respectively, Einstein's theory was not based in any way on anything Judaic.  But while everyone loves Einstein, Jews really love Einstein.  Is there any way the phrase "Jewish science could be reinterpreted and applied to the theory of relativity to ground the pride Jews feel in having the greatest name in physics as a member of the tribe?  The answer is typically Jewish -- yes and no.