On A Beam Of Light

A boy rides a bicycle down a dusty road. But in his mind, he envisions himself traveling at a speed beyond imagining, on a beam of light. This brilliant mind will one day offer up some of the most revolutionary ideas ever conceived. From a boy endlessly fascinated by the wonders around him, Albert Einstein ultimately grows into a man of genius recognized the world over for profoundly illuminating our understanding of the universe.

One thought on “On A Beam Of Light

  1. Pritchard & Martens says:

    Prisca’s Take
    “He asked questions never asked before. Found answers never found before. And dreamed up ideas never dreamt before.” That is such a powerful statement to me and really highlights what an amazing and fascinating person Albert Einstein was. I’m struck by so many aspects of this book. The power of thinking and dreaming and asking questions really comes through. It’s interesting to me that someone would wonder about seemingly (to me!) inconsequential details like why sugar dissolves in tea or why smoke swirls and disappears into the air, too; yet, Einstein was driven by inquiries like that. There were no limits to his imagination!
    I’m always intrigued by people like Einstein who have rich imaginations, are confident and comfortable in whom they are, and are not particularly bothered by what others think of them. Winter’s (2012) recent biography Just Behave, Pablo Picasso! portrays Picasso in a similar way: imaginative, strong, and determined to be himself and paint his way, not as others wanted. That was not me as a child and it took me years to even approach that attitude and perspective of myself. I somewhat envy people who had that view of themselves early in life and wonder what sparked that in them.
    I very much appreciate the ways Jennifer Berne works to inspire confidence and imagination in readers of On a Beam of Light. She dedicates (on the inside cover) the book “To the next Einstein, who is probably a child now” and ends the book with “Questions that someday you may answer…by wondering, thinking, and imagining.” Throughout the pages of the book she talks about the big things and the small things Einstein wondered about, pushing readers to think and ask questions and be curious about things in their world. I think the book has the potential to awaken curiosities in readers that thoughtful parents and teachers could build on.
    Gail’s Take
    Similar to Prisca’s intrigue, I’ve always wondered about how some people are so driven from a young age to great achievement in a particular field—how did they know this was their future? How were they able to stay the course over their lifetime?
    I recently read a quote by Gloria Steinem and immediately connected it with On a Beam of Light, “Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.” As I thought about the quote and Berne’s work, I began to see that maybe this quote was the answer to my question and Einstein was the example.
    Throughout his life, Einstein showed us that we must dream and we must question, and it is through this the process the plan of our life unfolds. As Berne’ describes him, from even before he chose to speak, Einstein was dreaming, imagining, and planning:

    He just looked around with his big, curious eyes. Looked and wondered. Looked and wondered….

    Perhaps, then, the ‘spark” Prisca mentioned, the “drive” I questioned, and the “plan” Steinem referenced, are the imagining and dreaming of possibilities….

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