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[文化博览] 【整理】2012-05-02 阿尔伯特·爱因斯坦 Einstein—21

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Einstein is to present his theory of General Relativity. The problem for Einstein is he hadn't finished it yet.

In the fall of 1915, Einstein was hardly thinking about anything else. He was completely focused on finding the solution to a puzzle that had occupied him for more than eight years.

Einstein is trying to come up with these equations that will describe how space is curved. He's working deep into the night.

If you look closely, it's really trial and error. You are not seeing a mathematician who just, you know, throw the ideas, you know, perfect formulas onto the paper of the notebook. He cancels everything and says nonsense, these terms disturb, so he sort of talking to the math. Sometimes he turns the notebook around and he, you know, throws it away with disgust.

It can be real blow when an idea you've been working on doesn't work out, this gut-wrenching feeling.

Since discovering his math error, Einstein believes he's making real progress. His equations are nearly complete. He accepts an invitation to speak at Göttingen University, essentially, a dress rehearsal for the Prussian Academy.

Einstein is up at the board writing his equations and trying to describe his problem. In the audience is one of the greatest mathematicians of all time--David Hilbert. Hilbert sits there and listens very carefully to Einstein. He thinks I can solve the problem. I can do it better than Einstein.

There is always this worry that you might get scooped. You become a little bit paranoid, or sometimes, a lot paranoid. There's always the feeling I have when I have a good idea which is that well, if I've had this good idea, that probably means that someone else is gonna have, or has had this good idea, too.

Einstein goes back to Berlin and Hilbert goes into his own office. And Hilbert sits there and thinks and tries to race Einstein to the big prize of General Relativity.

He was one of the greatest mathematicians of his time.

A controversy between the two giants, a giant of physics and a giant of mathematics.

Hilbert, the nasty guy here, who thinks he can beat Einstein, starts working.
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