These Science Fiction Writers Inspired Einstein...

5fish

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I was listening to an old Radiolab show and it was about Einstein. He read one German science fiction writer a bunch and another writer wrote about a time traveler traveling at the speed of light. @rittmeister one was a Prussian...


Already in the edition of 1855, Bernstein published ideas on space, time and the speed of light which had appeared in the anonymous treatise The Stars and the Earth (German: Die Gestirne und die Weltgeschichte) written by 'an unknown clear-sighted thinker.'[4] It was not until 1874 when a new German edition appeared that the name of the author – Felix Eberty – was made public. When this edition was re-published in 1923, Albert Einstein wrote a preface.[5][6]


As a young boy, Albert Einstein had read a book by Aaron Bernstein, entitled The People's Book on Natural Science. In one section, Bernstein asked the reader to imagine riding alongside a current of electricity as it raced down a telegraph wire. This image stuck in young Albert's mind, and when he was 16, he began to wonder what a light beam would look like if he could catch up to it. As a child, he thought that a light beam would appear frozen, like a motionless wave, if one were racing alongside it. But no one had ever observed frozen light, and he began to wonder why this might be.

https://www.reddit.com/r/PhilosophyofScience/comments/171vwg

Aaron Bernstein wrote a series of popular science books that Einstein was introduced to at age 10 by a student boarder at the family house. Einstein himself later stated that he had read them "with breathless attention".

In one volume, Bernstein describes a thought experiment involving a speeding train and the constancy of the speed of light which likely influenced Einstein's own thought experiment as a 16 year old, and perhaps those in his 1905 special relativity paper. In another volume, Bernstein speculated about the existence of gravity waves. Like Einstein, Bernstein was also eager to tie together all of nature's forces. The philosophy of science underlying Bernstein's writings seemed to mirror Einstein's later scientific realism and trust in the power of rational thought over experiment. For example, Bernstein wrote of the discovery of Uranus: "Praised be this science! Praised be the men who do it! And praised be the human mind, which sees more sharply than does the human eye."

Here is a passage (pp 18-19) from a recent biography of Einstein which describes in more detail, the influence Bernstein's books had on his development. For those who can read German, here is the excerpt from the Bernstein book describing the light thought experiment. An English translation of a different volume by Bernstein can be found here.


This raises the question of how strongly childhood preconceptions influenced the later physics and philosophy of science of Einstein and other physicists.
 

5fish

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Here is the other writer


While he was still working in the judicial service, Eberty published the 28-page work The Stars and World History in Breslau under the pseudonym FY. Thoughts about space, time and eternity. [3] It was translated into English and published in London in the same year - without an author being named. [4] A year later, Eberty published a supplement, still as FY, and under the same title with the addition of II. Heft . [5] In the foreword he points out that the English edition of the first issue is not authorized.

In 1855, in the first edition of his Natural Science People's Books, Aaron Bernstein presented observations about space, time and the speed of light that "an unknown, sharp-sighted thinker" had made in an anonymous writing. [6] Albert Einstein read these popular science books in his youth, which are considered to have shaped his interests and his future career. [7]

In 1874 Eberty published a second German edition, this time under his full name. [8] The work has since enjoyed great success in England and the USA. In the preface to the 1874 edition, Eberty states that the sixth edition was already sold out in London in 1854. [9] W. von Voigts-Rhetz considered this edition to be the work of an English-speaking anonymous person and translated it into German in 1859. [10]

Albert Einstein wrote a preface for a new edition of Eberty's work in 1923. [11]

In his 2006 book Between the Stars: Photo Archives, the image scientist Karl Clausberg claims an influence of Eberty's writing on Camille Flammarion , Hermann von Helmholtz , Albert Einstein , Ludwig Klages and Thure von Uexküll , as well as on Walter Benjamin . [12] He included Eberty's writing as a facsimile in his book and commented on it extensively. [13]

The Einstein biographer Jürgen Nephew also sees an influence on the young Albert Einstein and writes about Eberty's writing: “Here you can also find a crucial idea about the special theory of relativity: the moment travels with light.” [14] The scientific justification for “such Einstein later delivered fantasies


A link...


And as it turns out, the ideas in several stories may have provided inspiration for some of Albert Einstein's theories. What's more, Einstein used stories to explain complex concepts to lay audiences. In particular, he relied on the fiction of writers named Felix Eberty and Aaron Bernstein. "He recalled devouring Bernstein's work, in particular, 'with breathless attention,' and it may have inspired one of the conjectures that led to his special theory of relativity," writes Jimena Canales in The New Yorker.

In his 1846 story "The Stars and World History," Eberty speculated on what might happen if humans could travel faster than the speed of light. He also wondered what would you would see if you observed events that had unfolded on Earth from a faraway star. You might, he wrote, "see the earth at this moment as it existed at the time of Abraham." As for Bernstein, he wrote about a great cosmic postal service for which the past and the present were outdated concepts. If you traveled faster than light, you could deliver mail to historical figures.
 

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I found this on the topic... I like the words " Works of speculative fiction" and we use the words Science Fiction today...



Time travel was a popular theme for science fiction stories of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. A story by Eberty, “The Stars and World History,” published in 1846, explores the idea of humans being able to travel faster than the speed of light and thus being able to travel so far away that they could only observe events on earth many centuries after these events had taken place. Not everyone saw the link between science fiction and mainstream scientific theories as a good thing though.

Henri Bergson, a philosopher, disparagingly likened Einstein’s treatment of time as a fourth dimension in the theory of relativity to H.G. Wells’ treatment of the same subject in his novel The Time Machine, implying that the statements made by Einstein were no less fictional than those made by Wells.
 

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I found Einstien's advice about literature a sample read the link...


Albert Einstein shared neither Lewis’ religion nor Bulwar-Lytton’s love of semicolons, but he did share both their outlook on reading the ancients. Einstein approached the subject in terms of modern arrogance and ignorance and the bias of presentism, writing in a 1952 journal article:

Somebody who only reads newspapers and at best books of contemporary authors looks to me like an extremely near-sighted person who scorns eyeglasses. He is completely dependent on the prejudices and fashions of his times, since he never gets to see or hear anything else. And what a person thinks on his own without being stimulated by the thoughts and experiences of other people is even in the best case rather paltry and monotonous.
There are only a few enlightened people with a lucid mind and style and with good taste within a century. What has been preserved of their work belongs among the most precious possessions of mankind. We owe it to a few writers of antiquity (Plato, Aristotle, etc.) that the people in the Middle Ages could slowly extricate themselves from the superstitions and ignorance that had darkened life for more than half a millennium.
Nothing is more needed to overcome the modernist’s snobbishness.
 

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I was listening to an old Radiolab show and it was about Einstein. He read one German science fiction writer a bunch and another writer wrote about a time traveler traveling at the speed of light. @rittmeister one was a Prussian...


Already in the edition of 1855, Bernstein published ideas on space, time and the speed of light which had appeared in the anonymous treatise The Stars and the Earth (German: Die Gestirne und die Weltgeschichte) written by 'an unknown clear-sighted thinker.'[4] It was not until 1874 when a new German edition appeared that the name of the author – Felix Eberty – was made public. When this edition was re-published in 1923, Albert Einstein wrote a preface.[5][6]


As a young boy, Albert Einstein had read a book by Aaron Bernstein, entitled The People's Book on Natural Science. In one section, Bernstein asked the reader to imagine riding alongside a current of electricity as it raced down a telegraph wire. This image stuck in young Albert's mind, and when he was 16, he began to wonder what a light beam would look like if he could catch up to it. As a child, he thought that a light beam would appear frozen, like a motionless wave, if one were racing alongside it. But no one had ever observed frozen light, and he began to wonder why this might be.

https://www.reddit.com/r/PhilosophyofScience/comments/171vwg

Aaron Bernstein wrote a series of popular science books that Einstein was introduced to at age 10 by a student boarder at the family house. Einstein himself later stated that he had read them "with breathless attention".

In one volume, Bernstein describes a thought experiment involving a speeding train and the constancy of the speed of light which likely influenced Einstein's own thought experiment as a 16 year old, and perhaps those in his 1905 special relativity paper. In another volume, Bernstein speculated about the existence of gravity waves. Like Einstein, Bernstein was also eager to tie together all of nature's forces. The philosophy of science underlying Bernstein's writings seemed to mirror Einstein's later scientific realism and trust in the power of rational thought over experiment. For example, Bernstein wrote of the discovery of Uranus: "Praised be this science! Praised be the men who do it! And praised be the human mind, which sees more sharply than does the human eye."

Here is a passage (pp 18-19) from a recent biography of Einstein which describes in more detail, the influence Bernstein's books had on his development. For those who can read German, here is the excerpt from the Bernstein book describing the light thought experiment. An English translation of a different volume by Bernstein can be found here.


This raises the question of how strongly childhood preconceptions influenced the later physics and philosophy of science of Einstein and other physicists.
Here is the other writer


While he was still working in the judicial service, Eberty published the 28-page work The Stars and World History in Breslau under the pseudonym FY. Thoughts about space, time and eternity. [3] It was translated into English and published in London in the same year - without an author being named. [4] A year later, Eberty published a supplement, still as FY, and under the same title with the addition of II. Heft . [5] In the foreword he points out that the English edition of the first issue is not authorized.

In 1855, in the first edition of his Natural Science People's Books, Aaron Bernstein presented observations about space, time and the speed of light that "an unknown, sharp-sighted thinker" had made in an anonymous writing. [6] Albert Einstein read these popular science books in his youth, which are considered to have shaped his interests and his future career. [7]

In 1874 Eberty published a second German edition, this time under his full name. [8] The work has since enjoyed great success in England and the USA. In the preface to the 1874 edition, Eberty states that the sixth edition was already sold out in London in 1854. [9] W. von Voigts-Rhetz considered this edition to be the work of an English-speaking anonymous person and translated it into German in 1859. [10]

Albert Einstein wrote a preface for a new edition of Eberty's work in 1923. [11]

In his 2006 book Between the Stars: Photo Archives, the image scientist Karl Clausberg claims an influence of Eberty's writing on Camille Flammarion , Hermann von Helmholtz , Albert Einstein , Ludwig Klages and Thure von Uexküll , as well as on Walter Benjamin . [12] He included Eberty's writing as a facsimile in his book and commented on it extensively. [13]

The Einstein biographer Jürgen Nephew also sees an influence on the young Albert Einstein and writes about Eberty's writing: “Here you can also find a crucial idea about the special theory of relativity: the moment travels with light.” [14] The scientific justification for “such Einstein later delivered fantasies


A link...


And as it turns out, the ideas in several stories may have provided inspiration for some of Albert Einstein's theories. What's more, Einstein used stories to explain complex concepts to lay audiences. In particular, he relied on the fiction of writers named Felix Eberty and Aaron Bernstein. "He recalled devouring Bernstein's work, in particular, 'with breathless attention,' and it may have inspired one of the conjectures that led to his special theory of relativity," writes Jimena Canales in The New Yorker.

In his 1846 story "The Stars and World History," Eberty speculated on what might happen if humans could travel faster than the speed of light. He also wondered what would you would see if you observed events that had unfolded on Earth from a faraway star. You might, he wrote, "see the earth at this moment as it existed at the time of Abraham." As for Bernstein, he wrote about a great cosmic postal service for which the past and the present were outdated concepts. If you traveled faster than light, you could deliver mail to historical figures.
took me a bit (i didn't know them) but neither of those two wrote science fiction so why on earth do you say otherwise
 

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5fish

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that's not scifi, it's popular science
Their works were put into popular science but they were "Works of speculative fiction" which science fiction is part of as well. I noted this back in post 5# of this thread. I doubt there was a a bookshelf for science fiction work in the mid to early 19th-century book stores or libraries.

There is a lot of debate around what books actually fall under the label of speculative fiction. Dictionary.com defines it as “a broad literary genre encompassing any fiction with supernatural, fantastical, or futuristic elements,” which means all our fave fantasy/sci-fi/dystopian books are technically speculative fiction.

Plus, RadioLab called them science fiction writers. I think you could write a scholarly work making these two guys the first science fiction writers in German history instead of Lasswitz...

you were saying?
Wiki says it was translated in 1971...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two_Planets

Here is Amazon itas 400 pages and it's the abridged version...


A pricey book...


 

rittmeister

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Their works were put into popular science but they were "Works of speculative fiction" which science fiction is part of as well. I noted this back in post 5# of this thread. I doubt there was a a bookshelf for science fiction work in the mid to early 19th-century book stores or libraries.

There is a lot of debate around what books actually fall under the label of speculative fiction. Dictionary.com defines it as “a broad literary genre encompassing any fiction with supernatural, fantastical, or futuristic elements,” which means all our fave fantasy/sci-fi/dystopian books are technically speculative fiction.

Plus, RadioLab called them science fiction writers. I think you could write a scholarly work making these two guys the first science fiction writers in German history instead of Lasswitz...
they were not - they speculated about scientific issues. there was nothing remotely fictional in their works
 
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