Four hundred and fifty miles west of the University of Texas at Austin, thirty-seven miles (as the car drives) north of the town of Marfa, Texas, and almost 6,800 feet above sea level sit the white and silver domes of the McDonald Observatory.
It is well-known that decades later he made witty statements about God: that He does not play dice; that God is crafty but not malicious. Einstein famously wrote: “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”
Albert Einstein is perhaps the most recognizable figure of modern times. In 1999 Time magazine picked him as its “Person of the Century,” and in the public mind he certainly stands as the iconic scientist. He is generally pictured as an otherworldly genius, inhabiting a cosmic realm far above the mundane affairs of ordinary life, and in some ways he was. Yet when Einstein hit on his most famous and revolutionary idea, his Theory of Relativity, in 1905, he was working as a patent examiner at the Swiss Federal Patent Office in Bern, spending his days scrutinizing the designs of electrical machinery.
On a mid-July day in 1939, Albert Einstein, still in his slippers, opened the door of his summer cottage in Peconic on the fishtail end of Long Island. There stood his former student and onetime partner in an electromagnetic refrigerator pump, the Hungarian physicist Leo Szilard, and next to him a fellow Hungarian (and fellow physicist), Eugene Wigner. The two had not come to Long Island for a day at the beach with the most famous scientist in the world but on an urgent mission.