My dad was a simple person who worked hard to raise his family. Most of his life centered around profession and caring for family. The word ‘hobby’ would be considered foreign to him. His only quality was that he lived his life based on integrity and hard work. Never compromising these values, he raised his family and did his bit for society. He always looked contended, probably because he never had any personal ambitions.
While my dad has a very modest introduction, Albert Einstein needs NO introduction. He is arguably the most known person on this planet. Anyone who is even remotely connected to science would know him. Most others would also have heard his name. His theory of relativity crossed science circles and percolated social life in many ways. Time travel has been a theme of numerous movies. The concept that mass can be converted to energy and back is another popular science fiction theme. His theory is also central to vast amount of humor. Einstein is equally famous for his quotations related to life and philosophy.
So, where is the comparison between my dad and Einstein! Seems there IS no comparison.
Well, let’s flip the coin and see the other side.
Let’s ponder over a very hypothetical question – what would have happened if Einstein was never born? There can never be a definite answer to this, but let’s just think through. For one thing, scientific progress would lag to some extent. How much would that be – 5, 10 or 50 years? It is not realistic to say that his theory and subsequent progress would never have come by. After all, his theories were not just a result of his imagination. The prior existence of some unsolved problems had created a compelling environment for some such theory to evolve. Around 1881 (about 25 years before Einstein published his theory of relativity), it was experimentally shown that speed of light is same relative to any stationary object or object moving at constant speed. It implied that if a space craft traveled towards Sun, then to the observer inside the space craft, the speed of light coming from Sun would appear to be the same as that to an observer on Earth. Shrodinger’s equations posted another set of un answered questions related to energy balance in closed systems. Einstein’s spatial theory of relativity provided answers to all these problems.
It is therefore inconceivable that in the absence of Einstein, these unsolved problems would remain unresolved for ever. After all, in the realm of research on origin of universe and space/time, by mid 1950s (even while Einstein was alive), science had progressed much beyond what Einstein’s theories alone could explain. (Ironically, part of it was because of Einstein’s own insistence of not believing in quantum mechanics, of which he himself was one of the founders!). Assuming a loss of 5,10 or 50 years of scientific progress, how much would it matter to the human civilization which has had a life of hundreds of millions of years and many more to come. On social front, one could say that Einstein is a role model to many and in his absence we would have lost that role model. But it is unthinkable that world would really miss Einstein, if he was never born, at least I wouldn’t.
I can’t imagine my life if my dad was not around when I was growing up. At best, I would have had some other father figure, potentially as much or more competent as my dad. But still, seeing everyone around having ‘real’ dad, I would have still felt a void. With his basic simplicity, humbleness, integrity, putting family’s needs before his own, and not to forget – hard work, my dad has instilled in me all these qualities. He has not only given me tools to be a person of integrity myself, but also motivation and desire to carry the torch and impart the same values to my kids and others in my area of influence. There is nothing that could substitute my dad and in his absence there is no way I would have have been the person I am today. He is undoubtedly my biggest hero.
Coming back to ‘where is the comparison between my dad and Einstein!’. There INDEED is no comparison.
Look closely, not even Einstein is not your biggest hero, it is your parents.
(It is father’s day. On any other day I would say that in fairness to all moms, this story applies equally or more to them. After all, more often kids spend more time and thereby get influenced more by moms than dads. )
Happy father’s day.