The Big Questions to Einstein

Ask anyone of the older generation whether he liked the cold war and he will answer, gosh NO. But ask him whether things were clearer then and he will most certainly answer, golly YES. Are these answers consistent? Yes. Clarity could exist when no questions are made and therefore no answers are required.

The world has always shown the tendency to cuddle up in the arms of the very comforting but still quite illusory certainty that is provided by a clear divide; them and us; black and white; false and wrong and the ever ruling “this is so because it is so”. Human nirvana could therefore seem to be reached when there are no more questions but, contradictory, we also know that there should be no other way of possibly reaching human nirvana, than by making the right questions.

In this respect, and just as Einstein stated through his E=mc2 that energy and mass are functions of each other, we could perhaps say that A= Qc2. Give an answer and that’s it, a bit of matter, a bit of know-how. Pose a good question instead and it will be multiplied into an answer by c, the speed of light, elevated to the exponent of two. In this new formula c seems also provides the same relativity fundamentals as in Einstein’s this year a one hundred year old formula, since, the better the questions, the further away seem the real answers.

A=Qc2 is indeed a very humbling formula as it forces all those who “know” they have the right A., to ask themselves whether they have the right Q. It is equally a very powerful formula in that it teaches us that the real value of education lies not in the answers we can provide our children, but in the questions we can stimulate them to make.

I am no physicist and I have never really understood, nor do I believe I ever will, the exact significance of Einstein’s formula, and I admit it is a source of extreme frustration not being able to fully understand the greatest genius, and that belongs, on the margin at least, sort of to your own time. That said I have never felt being closer to an A. on Einstein than this year, when helped by those extraordinary Q’s presented by NOVA in their program Einstein’s Big Idea, based on the book by David Bodani, and that I saw on WETA. They all helped remind us that when we celebrate an A. we should never forget to celebrate those who had pose the right Q., and we all sincerely thank them for that.

P.S. If I got it all wrong, please leave me in my blissful ignorance.