The best biographies about famous scientists, focusing on their aha! moment

Bryant Wieneke Author Of The Day Albert Einstein Discovered Relativity
By Bryant Wieneke

Who am I?

Albert Einstein famously said that he wanted to know God’s thoughts. At least for now, the best I can hope for is knowing the thoughts of monumental figures of science through the ages. In my short and very readable biographies, I focus on the aha! moments when Einstein, Darwin, Carson, Edison, Carver, and others had their epiphanies, when they not only envisioned how to break through longstanding barriers, but understood how to create the foundation for a better future. I believe we can all not only understand how they did it, but we can identify with these inspiring—and very humancreative acts.


I wrote...

The Day Albert Einstein Discovered Relativity

By Bryant Wieneke,

Book cover of The Day Albert Einstein Discovered Relativity

What is my book about?

Albert Einstein is living a quiet life in Switzerland with his wife and baby, but his mind is not quiet. He is haunted by the belief that there’s something terribly wrong in the world of physics. The Day Albert Einstein Discovered Relativity tells the gripping story of how this simple yet brilliant young man changed the world by recognizing the earth-shattering importance of a common event. No one has ever told the Einstein story in such a personal and insightful way.

The books I picked & why

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Einstein: His Life and Universe

By Walter Isaacson,

Book cover of Einstein: His Life and Universe

Why this book?

Walter Isaacson may well be America’s pre-eminent biographer. Einstein: His Life and Universe is a powerful book that leaves no stone unturned in providing an understanding of the motivation and methods of this extraordinary scientist. It also provides the foundation for my book

There is both depth and feeling in Walter Isaacson’s biography. The reader comes away with an understanding and appreciation of how a patent clerk, whom no physicists wanted to work with, managed to find, through his vision and persistence, answers to the most challenging and complex scientific problems of his day. It is a great story.

Einstein: His Life and Universe

By Walter Isaacson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Einstein as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

By the author of the acclaimed bestseller 'Benjamin Franklin', this is the first full biography of Albert Einstein since all of his papers have become available. How did his mind work? What made him a genius? Isaacson's biography shows how his scientific imagination sprang from the rebellious nature of his personality. His fascinating story is a testament to the connection between creativity and freedom. Based on newly released personal letters of Einstein, this book explores how an imaginative, impertinent patent clerk - a struggling father in a difficult marriage who couldn't get a teaching job or a doctorate - became…

Darwin: The Life of a Tormented Evolutionist

By Adrian Desmond, James A. Moore,

Book cover of Darwin: The Life of a Tormented Evolutionist

Why this book?

In Darwin: The Life of a Tormented Evolutionist, Adrian Desmond & James Moore write almost poetically about a man whose passion for knowledge and understanding collided famously with the social norms of the time—and still do in some quarters. Their depiction of Charles Darwin provides the perfect foundation for my short biography, which focuses on the moment the notion of natural selection becomes the answer to Nature’s ultimate riddle.

Darwin: The Life of a Tormented Evolutionist

By Adrian Desmond, James A. Moore,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Darwin as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


On a Farther Shore: The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson

By William Souder,

Book cover of On a Farther Shore: The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson

Why this book?

Rachel Carson was one of the most popular nature writers in the country, and she could have had a great career if she had stopped there. But powerful new pesticides and insecticides were doing irreparable damage to America’s flora and fauna, and she could not sit by and watch this happen. Her full story is captured in William Souder’s comprehensive biography, The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson. Her courageous fight against the unconscionable contamination of the earth, while suffering from life-ending cancer, is a powerful story about a unique American heroine.

On a Farther Shore: The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson

By William Souder,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked On a Farther Shore as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


The Wizard of Menlo Park: How Thomas Alva Edison Invented the Modern World

By Randall E. Stross,

Book cover of The Wizard of Menlo Park: How Thomas Alva Edison Invented the Modern World

Why this book?

The Wizard of Menlo Park is written with a deep appreciation for the genius of Thomas Edison, following him from his youthful enterprises to his ground-breaking inventions. Edison was a fascinating character, brilliantly described in this full biography. If anyone had a full slate of aha! moments, it was Thomas Edison. 

The Wizard of Menlo Park: How Thomas Alva Edison Invented the Modern World

By Randall E. Stross,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Wizard of Menlo Park as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


George Washington Carver: A Life

By Christina Vella,

Book cover of George Washington Carver: A Life

Why this book?

As a man and a scientist, George Washington Carver is captured in impressive detail by Christina Vella. George Washington Carver: A Life chronicles the details of an extraordinary life upon which I have based my own short biography. I focus on how this towering figure conceptualized the future of America and then helped to shape it. Carver had to choose between becoming an artist or a scientist, but he chose to become a scientist so that he could open doors of discovery and opportunity that only a strong, proud, and brilliant man could have managed.

George Washington Carver: A Life

By Christina Vella,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked George Washington Carver as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Nearly every American can cite at least one of the accomplishments of George Washington Carver. The many tributes honoring his contributions to scientific advancement and black history include a national monument bearing his name, a U.S.-minted coin featuring his likeness, and induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Born into slavery, Carver earned a master's degree at Iowa State Agricultural College and went on to become that university's first black faculty member. A keen painter who chose agricultural studies over art, he focused the majority of his research on peanuts and sweet potatoes. His scientific breakthroughs with the crops-both…

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