Book Review and Visual Poem: Einstein’s Dreams

I don’t know about you, but I have some favorite books that I return to from time to time, reconnecting with the experience of that first read. Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman is one of those books. This small collection of creative vignettes that explores the concepts of time, as envisioned through the mind of Albert Einstein, is just a pitch-perfect example of how narrative and science can come together in an entertaining and educational way. Each chapter unfolds along one of the lines of Einstein’s thinking about time, and then Lightman creates a vision of what the world would look like.

And so, in one world, time runs backwards. In another, time runs concurrently with other time. In another, time is local, so that one minute in one city might be ten years in a neighboring town. In another, time is finite and always a ticking clock about to expire. In another, time is a memory, and then it is not. It’s hard to explain how Lightman accomplishes what he does here, but I always find my head racing around the concepts of time when I pick this one up to read (again).

The other day, I noticed that a friend — Steve Moore — had posted three digital responses to a book he was reading, showing how different apps from his cell phone could be used to approach a single topic from different angles. I was intrigued by that idea, so I decided to create a visual poem inspired by Einstein’s Dreams, as a sort of reader response to the book and also an extension of inspiration.

See what you think:


Peace (in time),


    • Hi Mary
      I did it in powerpoint and the used screencapture (Jing) to capture the show with animation.
      I used to have a PC software program that made a video of PP, with all transition and animation intact but I can’t find the equivalent for my Mac.

  1. Yesterday in tech class, I played around with with a short poem of mine in Keynote, using transitions and building in and out, and I think I’ll be able to do this. It will take lots of time and thought. A whole new kind of planning and drafting! With Keynote, I can share as a quicktime movie. I did get Jing, but I’m going to try the built-in first. Thanks for the help!

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