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Professor Steven Gimbel - Albert Einstein

Previous Chair of the Philosophy Department

Gettysburg College

Noted speaker and author

Focuses primarily on issues in the philosophy of science


Selected Works

  • Isn’t That Clever: A Philosophy of Humor and Comedy

  • Einstein’s Jewish Science: Physics at the Intersection of Politics and Religion

  • Einstein: His Space and Times


Episode #1

Q: Albert Einstein – Professor Steven Gimbel - Introduction:


  • Enjoyed science documentaries as a kid

  • Studies physics and philosophy at university

  • Dissertation on interpretations of the General Theory of Relativity

  • Studies metaphysics of Einstein

  • Einstein’s work as “Jewish Science” comparable to Talmudic methodology

Episode #2

Q: Einstein: What were the early influences? 


  • Raised in Southern Germany, secular, anti-religious Jewish home

  • Received Jewish studies from a religious uncle

  • At age 9 becomes observant, religious, sings psalms to God

  • At age 10 religion goes away, replaced by science

  • Story of compass – invisible forces of nature at play

  • Influenced by medical student Max Talmud

  • Enamored with Euclidian Geometry based on proofs

Episode #3

Q: Was Einstein a Good Student? 


  • Myth: Einstein was a bad student

  • Always thought he knew better

  • Hated the German schools

  • Did not finish his high school in Germany

  • Zurich Engineering University

Episode #4

Q: What is the Theory of Relatively?


  • Theory of Relativity

  • Covariant – relative to your perspective

  • Invariant – doesn’t vary with perspective

  • Newton- space, time & mass all invariant

  • Einstein & Relativity: They are NOT!

  • New way to look at reality & universe

Episode #5

Q: Was Einstein’s Science, Jewish? 


  • Einstein’s theory was revolutionary

  • Upset many scientists

  • They called his work, derogatorily, “Jewish Science”

  • Is there any truth in that?

  • Similar to Talmudic Reasoning!

  • Different seemingly contradictory perspectives resolved by higher understanding

Episode #6

Q: Was Einstein Religious?


  • Newton studied Solomon’s Temple, Maimonides

  • Einstein was not like Newton

  • Cosmic Religion

  • Universe “governed” by natural laws

  • Jew of Mosaic Persuasion

  • Greater affinity to Jewish friends

Episode #7

Q: Was Einstein Political?


  • Used his platform as the most famous scientist

  • Anti-Nationalist, Anti-Military

  • Wrote “Why Socialism?”

  • Proponent of human equality

  • Advocate for the vulnerable people

Episode #8

Q: Was Einstein a Pacifist? 


  • Fundamentally a pacifist

  • Against Belgium pacifists as Hitler to invade

  • Fearful Germany would develop Nuclear weapons

  • Signed letter to Roosevelt

  • Led to Manhattan Project

  • Abhorred by atomic bombing of Japan

  • Would “burn my fingers”

Episode #9

Q:  Was Einstein a Zionist?


  • Hot & Cold

  • His Own Version of Zionism

  • Thought Nationalism was bad

  • Save Haven for Jews – Important

  • Enamored with idea of Jewish University

  • Hebrew University

  • Collective wisdom of the Jewish people

  • Not a traditional Zionist

Episode #10

Q: How did Einstein view himself?


  • Newton sees himself as historic like Adam, Moses…

  • Einstein had the common touch

  • Famous, sense of humor

  • Used his fame as a platform for his views

  • Not a political leader

  • Understood his theories changed the world


Full Interview - Professor Steven Gimbel

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