Interview with Michael Gordin by Jan Surman
In his new book "Einstein in Bohemia", Michael Gordin, Poletayev Institute for Theoretical and Historical Studies in the Humanities Chief Research Fellow and Princeton University Professor, deals with Albert Einstein, taking Einstein’s brief period as a professor at the German Charles-Ferdinand-University in Prague (April 1911-July 1912) as a point of departure to discuss Prague, Bohemia, Habsburg intellectual life, and of course Einstein and his work before World War I and then traces of Bohemia in his later life. The interview, released by IQ.HSE, discusses this study.
When Einstein was in Prague, Charles-Ferdinand-University existed as two parallel institutions, a Czech one and a German one. The cultural conflict was intense, and had an impact also on private lives — Einstein was at the German university, but his wife, Mileva Marić, was Serbian. In the Habsburg Empire, Einstein had to declare as a Jew, which brought about reflections about his identity. Prague resounded also later in his life — be it through his fascination with Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, whom Einstein nominated twice for a Nobel Peace Prize, support for scholars emigrating from the country after 1938, to being entwined into recollections of scholars. Gordin’s book is thus not only an inquiry into Einstein and his life, but also into ways his brief period in Prague was remembered and mythologized.
Read the full interview on IQ.HSE