“If I had only known, I would have been a locksmith.”
“Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.”
“Do not worry about your difficulties in Mathematics. I can assure you mine are still greater.”
"Since the mathematicians have invaded the theory of relativity, I do not understand it myself anymore."
Quoted in P A Schilpp, Albert Einstein, Philosopher-Scientist (Evanston 1949).
Now a days, for a scholar trained in physics, there seems to be two ways to impress academia or media: He may talk about theory of relativity and rhapsodize it or talk about impossibility of perpetual motion and free energy, and take pleasure in ridiculing the inventor, he often does so without the investigation of facts and on the very account of his own ignorance.
Today parrot professors chirrup a lot about the theory of relativity without any questioning, with the pride that they know theory of relativity well, along with all of its manifestations across the universe, and some of them may even think that they are now in position to help even Einstein if he has any problem in the understanding of the relativity but they must know that even some physicists of the first rank found it very difficult to accept relativity right away when it was launched by Einstein. Many eminent physicists found it even totally false.
“Some of them wondered quite sincerely how some younger physicists went ahead with the new theory as if they saw nothing at all unnatural in it” Rayleigh “found it very difficult to adapt his mind to so strange a train of thought (relativity), and expressed surprise at so many of the younger generation professing, at least, to be at home with it.”[i] The theory of relativity is so complex and abstruse that one always feels some difficulty in understanding what it preaches. Yet, the sacrosanct status of theory of relativity at present is such that anyone who does not understand, and does not show his enthusiasm for theory of relativity is seen as a fool. If you don’t understand words of the priest, you are a fool. If you want to act intelligently, never let others to know that you have any doubts against the theory of relativity, but keep talking about Einstein’s greatness and let other to puzzle that you have all wisdom.
Albert Einstein's Relativity Theory is much popular for being unintelligible. Einstein who enjoyed the ‘comprehensibility’[ii] of the universe was surprised to see that his contemporary scientists even enjoyed the ‘incomprehensibility’ of his theory of relativity. Let me recall a popular anecdote about incomprehensibility of the theory of Relativity. Please remember that popularity of any anecdote is proportional to the truth it contains, though it may be a quaint truth. Eddington stands as one of the active forces behind the popularization of relativity, both in the scientific world and among laymen. During one of Eddington's lectures, when Ludwik Silberstein asked Eddington, whether he was one of three persons in the world who understood general relativity, Eddington could not immediately reply. Unable to answer promptly, Eddington paused, but Silberstein continued “Don't be modest, Eddington!” Finally, Eddington answered- “On the contrary, I'm trying to think who the third person is.”[iii] Today every Harry, Tom and Dick may claim that he understands Relativity well, but it is hard to believe that any one could truly be the third person to his claim to have understood the theory of relativity today. In fact, there is nothing revolutionary in relativity that deserves understanding.
Robert L. Henderson in his thought-provoking new book entitled “Einstein and The-Emperor's-New-Clothes Syndrome: The Exposé of a Charlatan“[iv] has shown that most people do not understand Einstein's theories of relativity. He suggests that the reason for this is because the theories simply are not true. Rational and forthright, Henderson argues that Einstein's thinking was distorted and that his science and mathematics were severely flawed.
“When I was younger, it was repeated and written everywhere that only three people understood (Einstein's) theories ... I always thought science was supposed to clarify things, so that didn't make much sense to me... I said to myself this is the greatest intellect in the world, I need to understand him. I believed that because everybody did... I started reading everything I could by him and about him and every one of them was double talk. It began to occur to me that this is all gobbledygook... His theory was so lacking in common sense. It became clear to me that Einstein was a dunce.”[v]
[i] Rayleigh's biography by his son Robert J. Strutt, Longmans Green & Co., New York (1924) p. 349. quoted by V.V.Raman
[ii] Einstein’s quote: “The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is at all comprehensible.” Einstein’s quote on website “American Right to Life”. Article “Einstein in His Own Words” states quote as :
"the eternal mystery of the world is its comprehensibility." In 1944, remarking about atheist Bertrand Russell, he described the ability to get from matter to ideas as a "gulf–logically unbridgeable," which some scientists and linguists refer to as Einstein's Gulf. For while matter can be arranged to represent data, information itself is not material.”
[iii] Quoted in wikipedia article ‘History of general relativity’ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_general_relativity
[iv] Bob Henderson is an 80 year old retired electrical engineer who thinks “Albert Einstein was a dunce.” So convinced is he of this that he has written a third book on the subject: Einstein and The-Emperor’s-New-Clothes Syndrome: The Exposé of a Charlatan.
[v] Henderson Quoted in Article “Einstein was a dunce” found at website “Stranger Fruit- A strange and Bitter Crop”