Why Albert Einstein, the Genius Behind the Theory of Relativity, Loved His Pipe | At the Smithsonian | Smithsonian


Why Albert Einstein, the Genius Behind the Theory of Relativity, Loved His Pipe | At the Smithsonian | Smithsonian.

Apparently, the love of a good pipe does not require smoking it.

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The Stimulus of Teaching


karl-barth_with-pipeWhy did Karl Barth’s productivity as a writing scholar diminish following his retirement from teaching? Some say it’s because the pressure to produce had run out [see here].

What T. H. L. Parker wrote is that Barth “lost the stimulus provided by the need to give lectures.” The key word here is “stimulus,” not “pressure.” Teaching is the ideal stimulus for scholars who write, especially if they teach graduate courses to gifted students. The stimulus of teaching can be likened to the frequent re-lighting of tobacco in a well-used pipe.

Book and Briar


The second stanza of the five-stanza poem, “I Have a Few Friends,” by Canadian Poet Robert Service [1874-1958] elebrates the friendship of book and briar:

I have some friends, some honest friends,

And honest friends are few;

My pipe of briar, my open fire,

A book that’s not too new;

My bed so warm, the nights of storm

I love to listen to.

Source: Collected Poems of Robert Service

Dedication to Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow


Here is the unabridged dedication Jerome K. Jerome (1859-1927) wrote for his book The Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow (published 1886):

THE VERY DEAR AND WELL-BELOVED

FRIEND

OF MY PROSPEROUS AND EVIL DAYS—

TO THE FRIEND

WHO, THOUGH, IN THE EARLY STAGES OF OUR ACQUAINT-

ANCESHIP, DID OFTTIMES DISAGREE WITH ME, HAS

SINCE BECOME TO BE MY VERY WARMEST

COMRADE—

TO THE FRIEND

WHO, HOWEVER, OFTEN I MAY PUT HIM OUT, NEVER (NOW)

UPSETS ME IN REVENGE—

TO THE FRIEND

WHO, TREATED WITH MARKED COOLNESS BY ALL THE FEMALE

MEMBERS OF MY HOUSEHOLD, AND REGARDED WITH

SUSPICION BY MY VERY DOG, NEVERTHELESS,

SEEMS DAY BY DAY TO BE MORE DRAWN

BY ME, AND IN RETURN, TO MORE

AND MORE IMPREGNATE ME

WITH THE ODOR OF HIS

FRIENDSHIP—

TO THE FRIEND

WHO NEVER TELLS ME OF MY FAULTS, NEVER WANTS TO

BORROW MONEY, AND NEVER TALKS ABOUT HIMSELF—

TO THE COMPANION

OF MY IDLE HOURS, THE SOOTHER OF MY SORROWS,

THE CONFIDANT OF MY JOYS AND HOPES—

MY OLDEST AND STRONGEST

PIPE,

THIS LITTLE VOLUME

IS

GRATEFULLY AND AFFECTIONATELY

DEDICATED

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