January 2018

Robert L. Wolke: What Einstein Told His Barber

“Well, Professor Einstein,” he asked, “what's new in science?” Einstein looked at him with his deep, soft eyes and replied, “Oh? Have you already written about all the old science?” What he meant was that science isn't to be characterized only by the latest headline-making discovery. Scientific observation has been going on for centuries, and in that time we have learned a tremendous amount about the world around us. There is a vast heritage of knowledge that explains ordinary, familiar happenings. That's the “old science”. Everyday science. That's what this book is about.

Robert L. Wolke, a currently retired professor of sciences from the University of Pittsburgh, set himself the target to explain phenomena we encounter every day as comprehensible as possible. Even particularities that we accepted as given will be put under inspection anew. “Why do we drive on the right?”, “Why is the bathroom floor so cold on our bare feet?” and “If you shoot a bullet into the air, can it kill somebody when it comes down?” are just some questions that are sure to ignite the reader´s curiosity. Supported by the author`s witty remarks and insight into the oddities of our everyday life this book practically enthralls the reader with sheer bliss. As the second part of his nonfiction series “What Einstein…” it enjoyed overwhelming positive publicity throughout the United States and Europe. When asked what his readers should take from it, Wolke stated: “I think it's the importance of curiosity. The mind-set of wanting to know why this or that is happening. Once you have that mind-set, you keep learning. It’s fun to know why, and that’s why I’m a science teacher, I guess.”

Indeed this book is a delight to read. You can simply put the book down for a while and return to it without any complications to get in back on topic. Surely this is a book to read whenever you feel like it. It doesn´t require much energy to comprehend and you can´t help it but crack a smile whenever you wander through the lines. All in all is this is a perfect piece of literature against upcoming boredom during the dull winter evenings. It was definitely one of my favourite time-killers and of course worthy of being this Book of the Month!



Pitt von Keitz, Year 12



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