Archives for September 2012

The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein captures his journey to the Far East while dealing with the consequences of celebrity in turbulent political times — PUBLICATION DAY

THE COLLECTED PAPERS OF ALBERT EINSTEIN
Volume 13: The Berlin Years: Writings
& Correspondence, January 1922—March 1923, Documentary Edition

Edited by Diana Kormos Buchwald, József Illy, Ze’ev Rosenkranz, & Tilman Sauer

Princeton University Press, the Einstein Papers Project at California Institute of Technology, and the Albert
Einstein Archives at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
, are pleased to be publishing the latest volume in the massively authoritative Einstein Papers Project THE COLLECTED PAPERS OF ALBERT EINSTEIN: Volume 13: The Berlin Years: Writings & Correspondence, January 1922—March 23, Documentary Edition on September 25, 2012.  When in the fall of 1922 it was announced that Albert Einstein had won the Nobel Prize in Physics, after more than a decade of nominations, Einstein was on a steamer headed for Japan. Although he was unofficially made aware of the upcoming award, he decided to leave Berlin, and makes no mention of the award in his detailed and poetic Travel Diary of his trip to the Far East, Palestine, and Spain, published here in its entirety for the first time. Together with a correspondence of 1,000 letters—most of which were never published before—with numerous colleagues, friends, and family members, the volume presents a rich trove of documents, central to understanding this period in Einstein’s life and work, heavily marked by the assassination of Germany’s foreign minister, his friend Walther Rathenau. As Einstein himself professed, the trip was an escape from the tense atmosphere in Berlin and rumored threats against his own life, as well as the fulfillment of his long-held desire to visit Japan.

Aside from his personal and political activities documented here, among which are his visit to Paris and his involvement in the League of Nations, Einstein was still heavily engaged in major current issues in theoretical physics. Thus, from among the thirty-six writings covering these fifteen months, a paper on the Stern-Gerlach experiment, written with Paul Ehrenfest, shows with uncompromising clarity that the experiment posed a problem that could not be solved by contemporary quantum theory and anticipates, in a sense, what later would become known as the quantum measurement problem.  In relativity theory, Einstein continued to be concerned with its cosmological implications, and with the extent to which Mach’s principle would be vindicated in special solutions.  He also began to investigate the possibilities and restrictions that relativity implied for a unified field theory of the gravitational and electromagnetic fields.  During periods of leisure on board the steamer on his return trip from Japan, he completed a paper which further developed Arthur S. Eddington’s recent reinterpretation of relativity as being based solely on the concept of the so-called affine connection.

THE COLLECTED PAPERS OF ALBERT EINSTEIN

Diana Kormos Buchwald, General Editor

THE COLLECTED PAPERS OF ALBERT EINSTEIN is one of the most ambitious publishing ventures ever undertaken in the documentation of the history of science.  Selected from among more than 40,000 documents contained in the personal collection of Albert Einstein (1879-1955), and 20,000 Einstein and Einstein-related documents discovered by the editors since the beginning of the Einstein Papers Project,  The Collected Papers will provide the first complete picture of a massive written legacy that ranges from Einstein’s first work on the special and general theories of relativity and the origins of quantum theory, to expressions of his profound concern with international cooperation and reconciliation, civil liberties, education, Zionism, pacifism, and disarmament.  The series will contain over 14,000 documents and will fill close to thirty volumes.  Sponsored by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Princeton University Press, the project is located at and supported by the California Institute of Technology, and will make available a monumental collection of primary material. The Albert Einstein Archives is located at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

ABOUT THE SERIES

Thirteen volumes covering Einstein’s life and work up to his forty-fourth birthday have so far been published. They present more than 300 writings and 5,000 letters written by and to Einstein. Every document in The Collected Papers appears in the language in which it was written, while the introduction, headnotes, footnotes, and other scholarly apparatus is in English.  Upon release of each volume, Princeton University Press also publishes an English translation of previously untranslated non-English documents.

About the Editors:
At the California Institute of Technology, Diana Kormos Buchwald is professor of history; József Illy, Ze’ev Rosenkranz, and Tilman Sauer are senior researchers in history

This Week’s Book Giveaway

Through the Eye of a Needle: Wealth, the Fall of Rome, and the Making of Christianity in the West, 350-550 AD
by Peter Brown

“Every page is full of information and argument, and savoring one’s way through the book is an education. It is a privilege to live in an age that could produce such a masterpiece of the historical literature.”
—Gary Wills, New York Review of Books

Jesus taught his followers that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. Yet by the fall of Rome, the church was becoming rich beyond measure. Through the Eye of a Needle is a sweeping intellectual and social history of the vexing problem of wealth in Christianity in the waning days of the Roman Empire, written by the world’s foremost scholar of late antiquity.

Peter Brown examines the rise of the church through the lens of money and the challenges it posed to an institution that espoused the virtue of poverty and called avarice the root of all evil. Drawing on the writings of major Christian thinkers such as Augustine, Ambrose, and Jerome, Brown examines the controversies and changing attitudes toward money caused by the influx of new wealth into church coffers, and describes the spectacular acts of divestment by rich donors and their growing influence in an empire beset with crisis. He shows how the use of wealth for the care of the poor competed with older forms of philanthropy deeply rooted in the Roman world, and sheds light on the ordinary people who gave away their money in hopes of treasure in heaven.

Through the Eye of a Needle challenges the widely held notion that Christianity’s growing wealth sapped Rome of its ability to resist the barbarian invasions, and offers a fresh perspective on the social history of the church in late antiquity.

The random draw for this book with be Friday 9/28 at 11 am EST. Be sure to like us on Facebook if you haven’t already to be entered to win!

Safari Time: G is for Go-away-bird

 

This post is part of a Safari Series to celebrate the publication of Birds of Masai Mara by Adam Scott Kennedy and Animals of Masai Mara by Adam Scott Kennedy and Vicki Kennedy.

Check out additional Safari photographs of birds and animals here.

Animals of the Masai Mara
Adam Scott Kennedy & Vicki Kennedy

Birds of the Masai Mara
Adam Scott Kennedy

“The Undecided Voter” a la Saturday Night Live

Our author Lynn Vavreck wrote eloquently for the New York Times last week about the movements of “the undecided voter.” Perhaps SNL writers read Campaign Stops too?

It turns out a lot of people do, and we’ve seen responses from all over the web:

  • Dylan Matthews at the Washington Post’s Wonk Blog sums it up saying, “So the “undecided” count has stayed pretty constant at 6 percent. It’s just a different group of people each week.”
  • PostBourgie writes, “this year’s presidential election might ultimately come down to the mercurial whims of a few thousand people who don’t really pay attention to or care all that much about this stuff.”
  • Larry Bartels writes at Washington Monthly, “To readers versed in election studies, these findings will seem very reminiscent of those from the first scholarly analysis of campaign effects: “conversion is, by far, the least frequent result and activation the second most frequent manifest effect of the campaign.” However, whereas Lazarsfeld and his colleagues in 1940 studied 600 prospective voters in Erie County, Ohio, Vavreck and her colleagues in 2012 have 44,000 nationwide. That’s real scientific progress.”
  • At The Week, they include the “6 percenters” among “a handful of key figures that have entered the political lexicon this year.”

 

 

bookjacket

Sample Free Chapters from The Gamble

John Sides & Lynn Vavreck

 

 

Safari Time: F is for Fly-catcher

 

This post is part of a Safari Series to celebrate the publication of Birds of Masai Mara by Adam Scott Kennedy and Animals of Masai Mara by Adam Scott Kennedy and Vicki Kennedy.

Check out additional Safari photographs of birds and animals here.

Animals of the Masai Mara
Adam Scott Kennedy & Vicki Kennedy

Birds of the Masai Mara
Adam Scott Kennedy

Safari Time: E is for Elephant

 

This post is part of a Safari Series to celebrate the publication of Birds of Masai Mara by Adam Scott Kennedy and Animals of Masai Mara by Adam Scott Kennedy and Vicki Kennedy.

Check out additional Safari photographs of birds and animals here.

Animals of the Masai Mara
Adam Scott Kennedy & Vicki Kennedy

Birds of the Masai Mara
Adam Scott Kennedy

BOOK FACT FRIDAY

FACT: “Farming began in Bali with the arrival of the Austronesians, who colonized the Indonesian archipelago between 4,500 and 3,000 years ago. The Austronesians were farmers and fishermen whose agricultural assemblage included pigs, dogs, and chickens; root and tree crops such as coconuts, bananas, taro, and bamboo; and a tool technology that included stone adzes.”

Perfect Order: Recognizing Complexity in Bali
by J. Stephen Lansing

Along rivers in Bali, small groups of farmers meet regularly in water temples to manage their irrigation systems. They have done so for a thousand years. Over the centuries, water temple networks have expanded to manage the ecology of rice terraces at the scale of whole watersheds. Although each group focuses on its own problems, a global solution nonetheless emerges that optimizes irrigation flows for everyone. Did someone have to design Bali’s water temple networks, or could they have emerged from a self-organizing process?

Perfect Order—a groundbreaking work at the nexus of conservation, complexity theory, and anthropology—describes a series of fieldwork projects triggered by this question, ranging from the archaeology of the water temples to their ecological functions and their place in Balinese cosmology. Stephen Lansing shows that the temple networks are fragile, vulnerable to the cross-currents produced by competition among male descent groups. But the feminine rites of water temples mirror the farmers’ awareness that when they act in unison, small miracles of order occur regularly, as the jewel-like perfection of the rice terraces produces general prosperity. Much of this is barely visible from within the horizons of Western social theory.

The fruit of a decade of multidisciplinary research, this absorbing book shows that even as researchers probe the foundations of cooperation in the water temple networks, the very existence of the traditional farming techniques they represent is threatened by large-scale development projects.

We invite you to read Chapter 1 here: http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/s8186.pdf

Lynn Vavreck on the movement of undecided voters, #TheGamble2012

Lynn Vareck, author of The Message Matters and co-author of our innovative forthcoming book The Gamble, writes at the New York Times’s Campaign Stops site about shifts among undecided voters. Who is moving from the undecided column to the either Romney or Obama, and why? To set the stage, she draws on data from December 2011:

In a December 2011 YouGov poll for the Cooperative Campaign Analysis Project, 94 percent of those polled had already made up their minds about whom to support in a Mitt Romney-Barack Obama contest. Got that? Before the Republican primaries even began, before Romney was even the nominee, only 6 percent of voters were undecided.

For such a small portion of the total voting population, they receive an awful lot of attention. But has all this attention and the efforts of the campaigns helped to move them into the decided column? And if so, do they actually stay there or do they pendulum back and forth from decided to undecided? Here’s what Vavreck writes,

Let’s start with the easy part – on average, half of the 1,543 initially undecided voters report that they are still unsure in 2012. But the closer we get to the election, the fewer people remain undecided. The latest two surveys (one after each convention) show that the share of still uncommitted voters (from that initial group) had dwindled to 25 percent.

Where are these voters going as they make up their minds?  On average, over the course of 2012, 28 percent of December’s undecided voters moved to Romney, and 26 percent to Obama.

But, there is a lot more to this as Vavreck makes clear. More undecideds are swinging into the Obama column as we get closer to the election. But, this movement is a two-way street. Some voters who were previously decided for Obama or Romney are moving into the undecided column, writes Vavreck:

So far, this seems pretty straightforward: the share of undecided voters is going down as the election gets close, and in the last few weeks as these voters make up their minds, they have started to break slightly for Obama. But just to keep it interesting, at the same time that more people are finally making a decision, other people are moving away from their initial choice.

Between 3 and 4 percent of early deciders abandon their initial choice and have not made another when we re-interview them in 2012. That’s right: They have become undecided.

For more on Vavreck’s findings, please go read her fascinating, data-rich article at the New York Times Campaign Stops blog: http://campaignstops.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/20/the-a-little-bit-less-undecided/

 

bookjacket

Sample Free Chapters from The Gamble

John Sides & Lynn Vavreck

 

 

PUP author E.J. Dionne Jr. is mentioned as a noteworthy intellectual of liberal Catholicism in a New York Times op-ed

In last weekend’s NY Times, Molly Worthen laments the caricatured, politically right-wing version of Catholicism portrayed in the U.S. Presidential campaign, and argues for increased attention to an all-too-often ignored and ill-understood social justice orientation of liberal Catholicism. The tradition of liberal Catholicism, which is incompatible with the Ayn Randian visions of Vice-Presidential candidate Paul Ryan, remains alive and well, and is discussed and defended with eloquence in a recent Princeton University Press book by EJ Dionne Jr. policy making:

If the Democratic Party is not listening to liberal Catholics, it is partly because they are not in a position to speak very loudly. They are dodging the sights of a Roman hierarchy more preoccupied with smoking out left-leaning nuns than nurturing critical thinking.

“Is liberal Catholicism dead?” Time wondered a few years back. The answer is no: in some regards, liberal Catholic intellectuals are flourishing. They are writing and teaching, running social justice initiatives at the church’s great universities, ensconced in professorships around the Ivy League. Yet a cozy academic subculture can be as isolating as it is empowering.

The handful of nationally known Catholic political thinkers who might be called progressive, or at least compassionate and cosmopolitan — like the journalist-scholars Garry Wills and E. J. Dionne Jr., blogmeister Andrew Sullivan, or the feminist nun and blogger Sister Joan Chittister — are far outnumbered by the ranks of prominent Catholic conservatives in the trenches of activism and policy making.

Read more over at the NY Times op-ed pages.

bookjacket

Souled Out:
Reclaiming Faith and Politics after the Religious Right
E. J. Dionne Jr.

 

 

Safari Time: D is for Dove

 

This post is part of a Safari Series to celebrate the publication of Birds of Masai Mara by Adam Scott Kennedy and Animals of Masai Mara by Adam Scott Kennedy and Vicki Kennedy.

Check out additional Safari photographs of birds and animals here.

Animals of the Masai Mara
Adam Scott Kennedy & Vicki Kennedy

Birds of the Masai Mara
Adam Scott Kennedy

Official #ExamSchools trailer–Checker Finn on three myths about selective public high schools

 

 

bookjacket

Exam Schools:
Inside America’s Most Selective Public High Schools
Chester E. Finn, Jr. & Jessica A. Hockett

Filmmaker and personality Jason Silva finds inspiration awe in Nicholas Humphrey’s SOUL DUST in film short

Check it out!