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David Bodanis + David Auburn

Einstein's Greatest Mistake

Wednesday, October 19, 2016
7:00 PM–8:30 PM

“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” ““ Albert Einstein

David Bodanis, the author of E=mc2 and Einstein’s Greatest Mistake, discusses imagination, hubris, and genius at the frontiers of scientific thought with David Auburn, playwright of Proof, which won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Play.

Widely considered the greatest genius of all time, Albert Einstein revolutionized our understanding of the cosmos with his general theory of relativity and helped to lead us into the atomic age. Yet in the final decades of his life he was also ignored by most working scientists, his ideas opposed by even his closest friends.

As David Bodanis explains in Einstein’s Greatest Mistake, this stunning downfall can be traced to Einstein’s earliest successes and to personal qualities that were at first his best assets. Einstein’s imagination and self-confidence served him well as he sought to reveal the universe’s structure, but when it came to newer revelations in the field of quantum mechanics, these same traits undermined his quest for the ultimate truth.

A book signing will follow the talk.

About the Speakers

David Bodanis studied mathematics, physics, and history at the University of Chicago and for many years taught the “Intellectual Tool-Kit” course at Oxford University. He is fascinated by storytelling and the power of ideas. His books include the New York Times bestseller, The Secret House (1986), the Samuel Johnson Prize longlisted E=MC2 (2001), which has been translated into twenty-eight languages, a Channel 4/PBS documentary, and a ballet at Sadler’s Wells, the Royal Society Science Book of the Year Electric Universe(2006); and the BBC Book of the Week Passionate Minds (2007). His newest work, Einstein’s Greatest Mistake, will be published this year.

David Auburn is a playwright, screenwriter, and director. Plays include Lost Lake (Manhattan Theatre Club), The Columnist (Broadway), and Proof, which won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Play. Recent directing credits include Cat on a Hot Tin Roof for the Berkshire Theatre Group, and the Jefferson-nominated revival of Long Day’s Journey into Night in Chicago. Films include The Girl in the Park (writer/director) and The Lake House. A former Guggenheim Fellow, he lives in New York City.

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​Tickets: $25.00

Member Tickets: $23.50