Pictures at an Exhibition

I went to a museum.

It was not a museum with a permanent display on show, it was temporary and would move on.

The museum was hosting a display of work, an exhibition of artefacts both personal and professional of that great man Albert Einstein.

I wandered slowly around the exhibition and then came to an archway the size of a door and walked through.

On the other side of the archway was a room, bare, except that running down the length of one side was a row of simple but beautifully framed sheets of A4 sized pieces of paper, all spaced equal distance from each other and hung at a height made easy for reading.

There were 15 of them.

I stopped at the first frame and read the sheet of paper beneath.

I found it to be unintelligible. It was full of mathematical and scientific workings the like of which I could not understand.

I moved to the second one.

This too was just as baffling, but the workings seemed to my feeble mind somehow to follow on from the first frame that I could not decipher.

I moved to the third frame. More equations apparently following the last one.

The fourth and the fifth, the same.

The sixth, seventh and eighth were no different, each one full of the most complex symbols and arrangements that for all intents and purposes could have been a language spoken by an alien race.

The ninth, tenth and eleventh showed no mercy.

The twelfth, thirteenth and fourteenth reached no conclusions.

I moved to the fifteenth, bewitched, bothered and bewildered.

I stopped at the fifteenth. I stopped and stared. I stopped and stared and something happened to me that I have no real explanation for, something that occurs perhaps when for a moment one seems to grasp the greatness of a power beyond oneself, a glimpse into something so fundamental and so awe-inspiring as to make you feel so small and yet so illuminated. Maybe it was with a realisation that a man had grasped by his own heart and mind a principle power that belonged to a greater whole, something that is a cog in a huge universal wheel that turns unceasingly and unflinchingly and with effortless grace.

On the fifteenth sheet of paper there were no hefty calculations. There were only two lines written.

The first line simply read, “Therefore”.

The second line stated humbly, succinctly and with great clarity,

E = mc2.

I wept.

 

 

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1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Lloyd Stuve said,

    Sub specie aeternitatis,


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