Albert Einstein’s tenure as a professor of theoretical physics in Prague is often noted in passing – as an “interlude” or a “sojourn” of no great significance, even though it was in the Czech capital where his most extraordinary work, the theory of general relativity, truly began to emerge. With his new book Einstein in Bohemia, Princeton University history professor Michael D Gordin makes a compelling case that not only did Einstein’s time in Prague shape the science, literature, and even politics of the city for decades to come, the same is true in reverse: the acquaintances Einstein made in Bohemia and ideas he was first exposed to there continued to occupy him.

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