50 Famous People – Einstein

(All rights belong to their owners. Images used here for review purposes only.)

Mook #7 brings us to Albert Einstein.  For those of you with a public school education, he’s that old guy that did that stuff a long time ago.  For the rest of the world, he’s that theoretical physicist that everyone seems desperate to refute.  This mook takes something of a biographical approach in trying to explain how he came to develop the formula that energy = mass times the speed of light squared (E = mc^2).  Otherwise, the bulk of the science stuff is more-or-less glossed over, with just some brief mentions of what the theory of general relativity means to us in daily life terms.  The main manga isn’t particularly bad, but the character designs are overly stylized again and seem intent on portraying Einstein as being years younger than whatever age he was at the time for the given scene.  His hair color also goes from red to black to yellow before finally getting to white.  Since the photos from that time are all B&W, there seems to be some artistic license being taken here.

The intro manga starts with Merrino and gang watching a drama featuring a prince.  Mami asks why Merrino doesn’t act like a real prince, and he answers that he doesn’t have to.  He adds that he has a butler that is always around to serve him, and suddenly Angora, the ninja butler materializes.  He points out that he’s been in the background no matter what the others are doing, and this segues to Einstein’s formula, followed by Angora’s attempts to lecture them about relativity.  Merrino desperately asks Study Bell to start the main manga to save them.  In the wrap-up, Merrino says that Angora only has one flaw – he likes to eat paper.  This explains why the toilet paper disappears so fast, and why all of Mami’s homework has been devoured.

According to to the main manga, Albert was slow to start speaking as a child, then suddenly at age 5 he started talking like an adult. He was given a compass as a present from his father, and he spent hours trying to understand how to measure something invisible to the eye. When he was close to graduating from a German middle school, his family moved to Italy for work, leaving Albert to live on his own for a year.  However, the teachers at his school would slap his hands with a ruler for studying physics and math during the boring classes, and he didn’t like seeing other students marching in rank and file for military training. So he dropped out without telling anyone, got accepted to a university in Switzerland, and enrolled in a prep school to get the necessary pre-reqs.  The Swiss school was much more accommodating, and he eventually graduated and got a job at the patent office.  He’d developed an interest in the study of light, and at night would pour over formulas trying to figure it out.  He’d be so focused that when his wife laid out breakfast, he’d eat a boiled eat without realizing the shell was still on.  Finally, one morning he woke up, grabbed his notebook, and wrote down “E=mc^2”.  Everything else from there is history.  Some time later, he’s approached by a reporter trying to needle him about not being associated with a famous research lab.  Einstein pulls out his notebook and says, “with this, my pencil and my brain, I have all the laboratory I need”.

The textbook section talks more about how Albert grew up somewhat unattended, and how he flourished in the Swiss school system.  There’s mentions of his playing violin, traveling to Japan, and apologizing to the Japanese people for how the results of his work had culminated in the deaths of so many civilians.  What interests me the most in this section are reproductions of three of Ippei Okamoto’s cartoons featuring Einstein (Ippei was an early editorial newspaper manga artist, and father of surrealist artist Taro Okamoto).  The last 2 pages contain short write-ups of the 7 Japanese researchers that have received Nobel Prizes so far: Makoto Kobayashi, Toshihide Masukawa, Youichiro Nanbu, Hideki Yukawa, Reona Esaki, Masatoshi Koshiba and Shinichio Tomonaka.

The TCG cards this time are: Emperor Guangwu, Augustus Caesar, Cleopatra, Saint Peter, Christ, The Trung Sisters, Ban Zhao, Ban Chao and Pliny the Elder.  Overall, this mook is a nice introduction to Einstein as a person, and there are a couple good photos of an cyclotron and a neutrino detector. Recommended also if you want to learn more about Japanese researchers.


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