In this essay, Dilantha Gunawardana tries to explore the romance between Albert Einstein and South Asia giving it a humorous perspective.
Strange but something outright odd and idiosyncratic can get your creativity flowing and I thought of something topsy-turvy, outright-mad and got curiosity’s combustion engine running faster than a ray of sun stimulating photosynthesis. What if Albert Einstein was South Asian? Albert Einstein only had one name and that immediately disqualifies him from being South Asian where names are classically longer than a train going from South Bengal to Tamil Nadu or the roots of a Banyan tree.
Let me take for example, the genius Ramanujan, whose full name was Srinivasa Ramanujan Aiyangar whose name length in letters is 26 to Albert’s 14. They were both good at Math, in a world – due to Climate Change and COVID-19 – where STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) fields have a knack of climbing on top of the saddle of empiricism to make sense of it all. University students of today dream of the Large Hadron Collider and aspire to find meaning to the unresolved questions in particle physics, as they neglect their lips and hearts, that too a burning query, “why is horizontal gravity – like its vertical counterpart – such a weak force?”. There are only quarks here and no hadrons, gluons or the Higgs boson, AKA the God Particle.