Einstein and other gods of science

Historical insights & thoughts about the world we live in - and the social conditioning exerted upon us by past and current propaganda.

Re: Einstein and other gods of science

Unread postby ICfreely on Sun Jan 13, 2019 7:49 pm

Einstein's Medical Friends and Their Influence on His Life


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Abstract -- Albert Einstein had at least six medical friends who influenced his thoughts. In each period (Munich, Switzerland, Berlin and Princeton) of his life, one could identify the medically qualified individuals with whom Einstein was in close contact. These include Max Talmey, Heinrich Zangger, George Nicolai, Hans MLihsam, Janos Plesch and Gustav Bucky. They probably enriched Einstein's life and thoughts significantly by being mentors, confidants, intellectual sparring partners and research collaborators to him. With MLihsam, Einstein published a paper in a German medical journal. In collaboration with Bucky, he also received a US patent for a light-intensity self-adjusting camera in 1936.


While engaged in studying the life of physicist Albert Einstein (1--4), I was amused to find that he had at least six medical friends who were close to him. It is not unusual for a scientist, who specialized in physical sciences, to have friends trained in a medical discipline. But, in Einstein's case, this observation may have some significance. Since this aspect has not been explored by any of the Einstein scholars so far, I present my thoughts on the influence of these medical friends on Einstein's life.

Biographical sketches

The table lists six medical friends who influenced Einstein's life. The biographical sketches provided below about each of them are arranged in the chronological order of their acquaintance with Einstein.

1. Max Talmey (1869 – 1941)

Thus, Talmey deserves the credit for introducing Einstein to the world of science. He matriculated in 1889 from Munich University and eventually emi- grated to the USA at the beginning of this century to practise [sic] medicine in New York. His own popular book, The Relativity Theory Simplified, and the Formative Years of its Inventor, was published in 1932.

2. Heinrich Zangger (1874-1957)

Zangger was Einstein's friend in Zurich, who held the position of Director of the Institute for Forensic Medicine at the University of Zurich. Zangger first met Einstein in 1905 according to Highfield and Carter (9): 'to discuss Brownian motion, and [he] gradually came to act as a personal and professional confidant'. He was also instrumental in bringing Einstein back to Zurich from Prague in 1913. When not residing in Zurich, Einstein corresponded with Zangger to express his thoughts and solicit advice on various issues affecting his life. Since he lived in Zurich, Zangger also served as a 'substitute father' to Einstein's two sons, when Einstein was living apart from them, following separation from his first wife Mileva Maric in 1914 (9).

3. George Nicolai (1874-1964)

An outspoken German pacifist and a professor of physiology at the University of Berlin from 1910- 1915, in late 1914, Nicolai coauthored with Einstein a manifesto entitled Manifesto to Europeans, espousing pacifism. This manifesto, which asked the intellectuals to join forces in demanding a just peace and to work towards the establishment of a united Europe, was a rebuttal to the Manifesto to the Civilized World signed by 93 German intellectuals, among whom Wilhelm Rrntgen [sic], Ernst Haeckel, Paul Ehrlich and Max Planck were giants in science of that era. The manifesto coauthored by Nicolai and Einstein was signed by only two other colleagues, though circulated among all the professors employed at the University of Berlin, and many had expressed their sympathy with the document. During World War I, Nicolai continued his campaign and published a tract entitled Die Biologie des Krieges (1916; with a Foreword by Romain Rolland). An American translation of this work appeared in 1918 as The Biology of War. Nicolai paid the price for his pacifism and was ...'dishonored and made to work as an orderly in a field hospital' (8), and ...'during the closing months of the war [Nicolai] made a sensational escape from Germany by plane' (6). In 1922, he also produced a movie entitled Der Einstein Film, on the theory of relativity (11).

4. Hans Miihsam (1876-1957)

Mtthsam was a Berlin-born medical doctor who, after graduation in 1900, established a private practice in Berlin. According to Pais (7), Einstein first met Mtihsam in 1915 which led to 'Sunday hikes during which they discussed physics and also medical and biological problems'. Einstein published a paper with Mtihsam in 1923, related to the experimental determination of the size of pores in filters (12). This is the only research paper of Einstein's which appeared in a medical journal. Pais (7) also mentions that 'Mtihsam became Einstein's closest confidant in the Berlin days'. Eventually Mtihsam moved to Israel to escape from the Nazis and died there.

5. Janos Plesch (1875-?)

Plesch was a Hungarian-born medical doctor, who built a successful medical practice in Berlin. Einstein came to know Plesch in 1919, when the latter attended to Einstein's mother Pauline Einstein during her terminal illness. Then, for more than a quarter of a century, they remained close friends. In 1928, when Einstein collapsed during his trip to Zuoz, Switzerland, it was Plesch who diagnosed inflammation in the walls of Einstein's heart and guided the physicist to recovery. Plesch also dedicated his book, Physiology and Pathology of the Heart and Blood Vessels to Einstein. In his autobiography, Plesch had written, 'It has always struck me as singular that the marvelous memory of Einstein for scientific matters does not extend to other fields'. Einstein himself agreed with this assessment.

6. Gustav Bucky (1880-1963)

This Leipzig-born physician friend of Einstein first came to know the physicist while treating his step- daughter Ilse Einstein. Bucky was a specialist in radiology. Like Einstein, he also emigrated to the USA and settled in New York. Einstein enjoyed Bucky's friendship at social and academic levels and collaborated with him to receive a US patent for a light-intensity self-adjusting camera (a photoelectric device) in 1936 (13,14). Writing in the early 1940s, Frank (5) observed .... 'even today he (Einstein) is often in the company of his friend Dr Bucky of New York, a well-known physician and specialist in the construction of X-ray machines, and together they have devised a mechanism for regulating automatically the exposure time of a photographic film depending on the illumination on it. Einstein's interest in such inventions depends not on its practical utility but on getting at the trick of the thing'.


I conclude that, during each major period of his life (which spanned Germany, Switzerland and the USA), Einstein had close friends in the medical disciplines. Apart from providing routine diagnostic services and guidance on health problems, they served Einstein in multiple roles as mentors, confidants, intellectual sparring partners and research collaborators.


I conclude that, it has always struck me as singular that the “marvelous” memory of St. Einstein for scientific matters does indeed extend to the medical field.
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Re: Einstein and other gods of science

Unread postby ICfreely on Mon Jan 14, 2019 1:24 am

But, again, please don't take my word for it. I submit the following excerpts from Dr. Hom's (someone with much more impressive credentials and better written communication skills than yours truly) enlightening article for your perusal.

Radiology: Combining Quantum Theory, Medicine, and Artistic Vision

More than any other profession, radiologists and radiologic technologists put theoretical quantum physics to practical use to improve the health and lives of their patients. Although quantum light theory can explain everything from the tiniest subatomic particles to immense galaxy-devouring black holes, radiologists apply this technology at the human level to diagnose and treat disease and thus alleviate human suffering.

More than 100 years ago in 1895, Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen discovered a form of radiation which had strange new properties. These new rays were so unique and mysterious that he named them “X-rays”, for the unknown. Although often described as a fortuitous discovery, chance favors the prepared mind, and Roentgen’s astute observations back then are still accurate today.

For the very first time, doctors (without using a scalpel) could see beyond the skin surface of their patients and peer deep inside the human body. It was later found that X-rays were a form of electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths shorter and with energies greater than visible light. Subsequent research into particle theory by Albert Einstein and others led to the physics principles that not only laid the groundwork for state-of-the-art medical imaging but also changed the understanding of our entire universe, from the mechanics of the atom to the largest objects in the universe. In 1901, Roentgen received the very first Nobel Prize awarded in physics, an indication that his discovery of a form of invisible light was the beginning of a remarkable scientific journey.

Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein’s theories of relativity soon followed and would explain the space time continuum and the equivalence of mass and energy. Throughout his brilliant career, Einstein was fascinated and preoccupied with the strange properties of light. Einstein once said, “For the rest of my life I will reflect on what light is.” His concept of special relativity came to him when he was riding his bicycle towards a lamp post. He realized that the speed of light was the only constant for all observers and that the classic Newtonian measurements of mass, distance, and time were all subject to change at velocities approaching the speed of light. Einstein’s relativity means that the science fiction adventures of galaxy-hopping space travel in Star Trek and Star Wars are mere fantasy. The vast distances of space and the universal speed limit of light make intergalactic travel too impractical. If a hypothetical space craft approaches the speed of light, time slows, length compresses, the mass of the space craft increases, and impossibly high amounts of energy are required. At a certain point, the space craft stops accelerating, despite greater and greater energy input.

A result of Einstein’s special theory of relativity has been called the most famous equation in all of science. Energy (E) equals mass (m) multiplied by the speed of light squared (c2), that is E=mc2. This simple equation, which states that energy and mass are interchangeable quantities, is often misinterpreted as the formula of the atomic bomb. The principle of the atomic bomb is bombardment of a uranium atom with a neutron that splits the uranium atom into two smaller atoms and more neutrons that trigger a fission chain reaction. Although tremendous energy is released, it is the energy of internuclear binding forces, and there is no appreciable change in mass. A much better demonstration of E=mc2 is the physics of positron emission tomography (PET scanning), in which an electron and positron (the antiparticle of an electron) annihilate each other and convert their masses into pure light energy, consisting of photons traveling in opposite directions. This light is detected and calculated as a three dimensional image of the patient. Einstein was another founder of radiology because his theory of the Photoelectric Effect (published in 1905 and awarded the Nobel Prize in 1921) explained how X-rays interact with matter. This theory also showed that light was absorbed and emitted in discreet packets of energy, leading to the Quantum Theory revolution in physics.

Quantum Theory
This finding was unsettling for physicists who strove for precise measurements, because precision was not possible at the atomic and subatomic levels. Heisenberg showed that every experiment (and radiologic examination) is subject to limitation. Einstein objected to this inherent fuzziness, stating that “God does not play dice with the Universe.”

The Doppler Effect

Using Doppler ultrasound, a technologist can screen for: the risk of stroke from carotid artery stenosis, renal arterial causes of hypertension, abdominal aortic aneurysms, peripheral vascular disease, deep vein thrombosis, portal vein thrombosis and varices, and post-catheterization pseudo-aneurysms. Countless lives have been saved or improved because of a phenomenon originally observed in starlight. Doppler’s idea extends well beyond the sonography suite and even tells us about the origins of our universe. Edwin Hubble demonstrated that all objects observed in deep space have a Doppler red-shifted velocity that is proportional to the object’s distance from the Earth and all other interstellar bodies. This tells us that our universe is expanding and supports the theory that the universe was created by the Big Bang, which occurred about 13.7 billion years ago.

Old Master Painters
Artists such as Rembrandt and Vermeer (17th century) were adept at depicting light to create the illusion of realistic three dimensional subjects on two dimensional canvases. These artists studied the interaction of light with their models and understood visual perception of subtle shading and light to make their artwork dramatic and convincing. Rembrandt van Rijn’s famous portraits and self-portraits displayed skill with light source positioning and intensity, later duplicated by movie director Cecil B DeMille who coined the term “Rembrandt lighting,” a technique that is still used today by portrait photographers…Experienced radiologic technologists use artistic vision when they create radiographs. By positioning and framing their subjects and by adjusting contrast and exposure, each image can be a work of art, not only pleasing to the eye but also containing a wealth of information.

Light as the Medium for Medical Imaging
Light, as visual information, is portrayed in art. Light also is the medium for medical imaging, whether in the form of a backlit film, cathode ray tube monitor, liquid crystal display screen, or plasma monitor. The eye is our most complex and highly evolved sense organ, capable of detecting subtle changes in light and color, and transferring this information (via the optic nerves and optic tracts) to the visual cortex of our occipital lobes. However, what distinguishes artists and seasoned radiology professionals from other people is post-processing (i.e., the thinking that occurs after perceiving visual data). Much of science and medicine is about logic, language, analysis, and categorization (left brain functions). However, visual processing (the artistic eye) is about conceptualization, spatial orientation, and pattern recognition (right brain functions). These right brain skills are harder to teach and measure but are just as important in radiology. With the rapid increases in digital image resolution and in the number of multi-planar images involved with each case, developing the right brain is crucial to make sense of this visual information overload. Knowingly or unknowingly, seasoned radiologists develop the right side of their brains through the experience of viewing thousands of medical images. This “artistic eye” can be further enhanced in radiologists and radiologic technologists who appreciate the techniques used by great artists. Or better yet, they can train their right brains by creating original art themselves.

Radiologists and radiologic technologists use light technology and artistic vision in their daily work. They sense subtle shades, recognize patterns, and use symmetry and balance to detect abnormalities. When this artistic skill is applied in combination with an appreciation for the underlying physics that created the images, a thorough knowledge of human anatomy, and an understanding of the pathophysiology of disease, they serve their patients by providing timely diagnosis and excellent medical care.

Dr. Mark Hom is a Johns Hopkins University trained biologist, an award-winning medical illustrator, an interventional radiologist, an educator of young doctors, an Elsevier author, and an avid fitness cyclist...

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