"Einstein's Clocks, Poincare's Maps" is, ironically, the most oddly out-of-synch book title I've seen when it comes to reflecting the content of the work. This was a story of establishing commonality of time and measuring longitude. "Poincare's maps" occupied less than 5 pages (although I do recognize the broader application to his contribution to longitude measurement), and "Einsteins clocks" was a mechanism to bring a universally-known scientific name to a French science apologist's account of Poincare's accomplishments.
Had this book simply told the story of synchronizing clocks and learning how to measure longitude, it would have been a worthwhile read. The inclusion of and stretched comparisons to Einstein left the work disjointed, as well as leaving the reader with the impression the author has an axe to grind. Galison seems almost personally offended that Einstein dismissed Poincare as a scientific relic whose relevance had faded.
I would recommend the 40% of this book that dealt with time and longitude. 2/5 seems an appropriate rating... if only Anobii had 5 stars to give....Continua
Not much Einstein in the content but the book is all the more interesting because it does bring together a lot of less known aspects of pre-relativistic society to convincingly illustrate the ways 19th C technology prepared us for 20th C ways to look at science and the world....Continua