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Student Colloquium - Jeanette Gedsø: Heroes of Physics?

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Thursday 5 April 2018,  at 15:15 - 16:00

Supervisor: Kristian Hvidtfelt Nielsen

Why are some physicists called heroes? Are they heroes? If they are, why do we need them, and if they aren’t, why do we call them that?

Using the differences between hagiography and biography, these and other questions are answered, as I look at the development in the perception of Einstein – from a hero, solitary genius, of physics to a man with a troubled personal life himself.

The Einstein biographies depict Einstein in very different ways. The older ones portray him as a hero and others seem to trivialize Einstein by examining a troubled personal life. The idea of the newer biographies, in contrast to the older ones, is merely to separate the person and the scientist and is not to diminish the contributions he has made to physics.

We use the constructed hero of physics to motivate each other, and to remember those better, who are considered worth remembering.