Was Einstein Right?; September 2004; Scientific American Magazine; by George Musser; 4 Page(s)
Einstein has become such an icon that it sounds sacrilegious to suggest he was wrong. Even his notorious "biggest blunder" merely reinforces his aura of infallibility: the supposed mistake turns out to explain astronomical observations quite nicely [see "A Cosmic Conundrum," by Lawrence M. Krauss and Michael S. Turner, on page 70]. But if most laypeople are scandalized by claims that Einstein may have been wrong, most theoretical physicists would be much more startled if he had been right.
Although no one doubts the man's greatness, physicists wonder what happened to him during the quantum revolution of the 1920s and 1930s. Textbooks and biographies depict him as the quantum's deadbeat dad. In 1905 he helped to bring the basic concepts into the world, but as quantum mechanics matured, all he seemed to do was wag his finger. He made little effort to build up the theory and much to tear it down. A reactionary mysticism - embodied in his famous pronouncement, "I shall never believe that God plays dice with the world" - appeared to eclipse his scientific rationality.