Albert Einstein

Photo Of The Day

Marie Curie - portrait of the French scientist, pioneer in the fields of radiation, radioactivity and ... French physicists Paul Langevin.

Marie Curie – portrait of the French scientist, pioneer in the fields of radiation, radioactivity and … French physicists Paul Langevin.

The Secret Passions of Marie Curie

Madame Curie, the discoverer of radium and of polonium, was a woman of passion. The popular view of her life is a tale of almost elemental force of character.

Marie Skłodowska-Curie, the famous female scientist whose death was caused by her own radioactive endeavors, was involved in a highly publicized affair after her husband, Pierre Curie, died in a carriage accident in 1906. One of Pierre’s former students, Paul Langevin had been sharing a “love nest” with the mother of two. The affair was busted when Paul’s wife hired a man to investigate the happenings of her husband, breaking into their Parisian apartment and stealing letters that were then leaked to the press.

The French newspapers contrived various accusations regarding Marie, calling her a home-wrecker and a “seductive Jew, even though she wasn’t Jewish.” Paul came to her defense, as well as Albert Einstein. Although Einstein was trying to stick up for Marie, his comment was quite rude, saying Curie “has a sparkling intelligence, but despite her passionate nature, she is not attractive enough to represent a threat to anyone.” Although Einstein wasn’t anything to drool over, either, somehow, he was notorious for reeling in lots of ladies.

In November 1911, Curie was weeks away from being awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. She received her first Nobel in 1903 for Physics, and the new award meant that she was the first person ever to receive two Prizes. She remains the only person to be recognized in two different sciences. Though her extraordinary work as a scientist should have been all anyone cared about, it seemed that many were preoccupied with her personal life.

Pierre Curie died in 1906, leaving Marie as a widow. A few years later, she became romantically involved with physicist Paul Langevin, who had been a doctoral student of Pierre’s. Though Langevin was separated from his wife, they were still technically married. The relationship caused troubles in the Langevin home, but that was nothing compared to what was about to spill over into the public eye.

Curie, Langevin, and about 20 other scientists were invited to an elite, invitation-only conference in Brussels in the fall of 1911. During this time, love letters between Curie and Langevin had been given to members of the media by Langevin’s wife, who portrayed Curie as an evil homewrecker.

Read more »

Photo Of The Day

Albert Einstein

The Day Albert Einstein Died

A Photographer’s Story

 “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”

― Albert Einstein

Photo taken mere hours after Einstein died, April 18, 1955, Princeton, New Jersey.

Read more »

Rodney Hide on the fools who have good intentions

Rodney Hide slips the knife into Seeby Woodhouse, tickles his ribs up for several paragraphs then right at the end twists hard.

I can remember a similar sentiment I expressed to Seeby over lunch one day shortly after he blubbed on the stage at one of Dotcom’s manufactured public events, though I was rather more brutal and nuanced like Rodney is.

Seeby Woodhouse is a smart and successful tech entrepreneur. He exemplifies the barminess that comes over even the best and brightest when it comes to environmental policy.

He told NBR’s Ask Me Anything he votes Green: “Although the Greens’ policies may cost me a little more as a high-income taxpayer, I’m happy to pay that in return for clean rivers, a non-polluted environment, freedom from internet spying, Kiwi kids who go to school with lunches, a future for my kids where the planet doesn’t boil and generally sound economic policies that deliver for all sectors of society.”

I, too, would vote Green – and pay more tax – if the results were as Mr Woodhouse believes them to be.

But noble intentions aren’t enough; they don’t guarantee good results. And belief is no substitute for reason.

The century just gone was choc-a-bloc with noble intention and naive belief. The result? Unrivalled human misery. Nationalistic fervour and the promise of workers’ paradises delivered gulags, death camps and a world at war.

Naive political belief – as exemplified by Mr Woodhouse – is at once charming and beguiling and the most dangerous thing on the planet.

Read more »

Winston Peters and Tosh

Karl du Fresne writes about Winston Peters and tosh…of which Peters is a world renowned exponent of.

SOME people are in the fortunate position of being able to write or say almost anything and get away with it.

Take art critics, for example. Most contemporary art is, almost by definition, incapable of being explained coherently. It follows that a critic can interpret it any way he or she chooses and sound authoritative, at least to the gullible.

Often the artists themselves have no idea what their works mean. Some of the more honest ones admit it.

The critic therefore has total freedom to decide what the artist’s creation represents – and if the critique is phrased in words whose exact meaning is impossible to pin down, so much the better.

Much the same applies to wine writers, some of whom are in danger of displacing art critics as the most infamous creators of pretentious tosh.

Because the flavour, aroma and texture of wine is subtle, nuanced and hard to capture in words, a wine writer can use outrageously fanciful descriptive terms and appear knowledgeable. I know, because I used to be one.

Tosh writers all of them…but the best of them all?    Read more »

Labour Education Spokeman Chris Hipkins posts a fake quotation about education

I hope Shearer cuts off Chris Hipkins internet access in case he thinks he might send a few thousand dollars in advance fees to get millions from the coffers of  his dead Nigerian relative as it appears Hipkins thinks everything on the internet is true.

If Einstein made this inspiring quote it would have been included in the comprehensive collection of quotations “The Ultimate Quotable Einstein” from Princeton University Press, but it’s not there.

Untitled Read more »