Be the first to ask a question about 112 Mercer Street

Unha casa de madeira branca con polo menos 112 Mercer Street, onde A. Einstein viviu en 1935 - 1955. Princeton, New Jersey, 07 de marco de 2007

112 Mercer Street: Einstein, Russell, Godel, Pauli, and the End of Innocence in Science

$26.00
  • Review
  • TAG : Jenna Lyons | 112 Mercer Street - The Real Deal
ADD TO CART
  • The Albert Einstein House at 112 Mercer Street in , , , United States was the home of from 1935 until his death in 1955. His wife died in 1936 while living in this house.

    The Albert Einstein House at 112 Mercer Street in , , , United States was the home of from 1935 until his death in 1955. His wife died in 1936 while living in this house.

  • During the winter of 1943-1944, Albert Einstein met weekly with three other aging geniuses-philosopher Bertrand Russell, mathematician Kurt Gödel and physicist Wolfgang Pauli-in the study of his home at 112 Mercer Street in Princeton, N.J. Feldman (who died in 2003) and Williams (who chairs the English department at the New York Institute of Technology) admit early on that "[n]othing really emerged from their meetings, so far as we can tell." What the authors present are illuminating biographical sketches of these men and their earlier, groundbreaking work. By 1943, the four European-born friends found themselves "sidelined and isolated" from the war effort, such as the atomic research at Los Alamos. To balance their stories, Feldman () and Williams also review Werner Heisenberg's fission research in Nazi Germany and J. Robert Oppenheimer's work as leader of the Manhattan Project. While the book adds nothing to current scholarship on these individuals, it sheds light on a moment when architects of the early 20th century's most important discoveries in science and logic could only stand by and watch as their scientific discoveries directly affected the outcome of world events.

    And there's more. The hike not only passes through the beautiful woods around the battlefield but also around the world reknowed where Einstein, Von Neumann, Oppenheimer, Panofsky, and Goedel taught at one time or another. In fact, on the drive to the park we passed 112 Mercer Street, where Einstein lived from 1936 until he died in 1955. Of course I had to pull over and get a photo that!



    Princeton Woods, in and around Princeton Battlefield State Park (7/11/2009)

    This is hike #24 ("The Princeton Woods") in Hiking New Jersey: A Guide to 50 of the Garden State's Greatest Hiking Adventures (1st edition). The basic hike described is a 3.5-mile loop in and around Princeton Battlefield State Park. But it was such a beautiful day we did every suggested side trip in the itinerary which brought the total distance for us to nearly 6 miles.

    It's an amazingly varied trek which visits several sites on and around the field where the Battle of Princeton was fought in January, 1777. There's the Mercer tree (or at least the remaining stump, since the tree toppled in 2000) under which General Hugh Mercer died of battle wounds; the Thomas Clarke house (built in 1772) at the top of the battlefield; the Quaker Meeting house and burial ground where the remains of Richard Stockton, signer of the Declaration of Independence, are buried; the path that George Washington took from Trenton; and the Ionic Colonnade which memorializes the 500 American and British soldiers who died in the battle, in front of the grave site where many of them were buried.

    And there's more. The hike not only passes through the beautiful woods around the battlefield but also around the world reknowed Institute of Advanced Study where Einstein, Von Neumann, Oppenheimer, Panofsky, and Goedel taught at one time or another. In fact, on the drive to the park we passed 112 Mercer Street, where Einstein lived from 1936 until he died in 1955. Of course I had to pull over and get a photo that!

    (Click on the thumbnail to bring up a bigger image in a pop-up window)

  • [+princeton new jersey  
    [+112 mercer street  
    [+new houses  

    As World War II wound down and it became increasingly clear that the Allies would emerge victorious, Albert Einstein invited three close friends-all titans of contemporary science and philosophy-to his home at 112 Mercer Street in Princeton, New Jersey, to discuss what they loved best, science and philosophy, and perhaps to ponder their vision of the postwar world. His guests were the legendary philosopher and pacifist Bertrand Russell; the boy wonder of quantum physics Wolfgang Pauli; and the brilliant logician Kurt Gödel, whose "incompleteness" theorems a decade before had shattered the link between logic and mathematics. Their casual meetings took place far from the horrific battlefields of the war and the (then) secret lair of experimental atomic physicists, Los Alamos, New Mexico. Just how many times they met and precisely what they discussed remains a matter of conjecture. All four men were well along in years by scientific standards-where youth tends to dominate with major breakthroughs-and they had to be aware of what Feldman terms "the pathos of science," that their own work would one day be superseded. As they met, they and their scientific brethren were awakening to the dire consequences of atomic power-as well as the fact that henceforth science and politics were inextricably intertwined. It was, as Feldman notes, the end of innocence in science.
    Taking these historic meetings as his starting point, Feldman sketches the lives and contributions of the four friends, colleagues, and rivals-especially Einstein, innately self-confident but frustrated in his attempt to come up with a unified theory, and the aristocratic but self-doubting Lord Russell. In a final section, Feldman also discusses the roles of J. Robert Oppenheimer and his German counterpart, Werner Heisenberg. Though neither was present at any of these meetings, they both cast long shadows over 112 Mercer Street during that cold winter of 1943-44.

From left, Jenna Lyons, 112 Mercer Street

The Mercer Oak was rendered by the artist after a visit to Princeton in March of 2000 – just one week before the famous tree was ravaged by a storm on March 8 of that year. Berger calls his inkjet painting of 112 Mercer Street his "a homage to Albert Einstein". Upon careful examination, it includes some Einstein artifacts – an extract from his 1905 landmark paper on spatial reality and portions of significant equations about relativity. Foremost, 112 Mercer Street was a house and home, but with the underlying significance and overlay of history.