A while back, I was reading about the h-index, a metric that some scientists use to put a number on how popular a scientist’s publications are: a high h-index means that you have published many papers that are all cited many times. I was curious what Albert Einstein‘s h-index was, both at the time of his death and today. The scientific community was much smaller back when Einstein was publishing, but those papers have continued to be important to scientists since his death. While getting lost in this internet vortex, I found a paper that Einstein published in 1940 (71 years ago today, actually) in the journal Nature. It’s not what I think of as typical Einstein fare, nor is it typical of the kind of piece that I expect to see in Nature these days. The content is thoughtful, and I was particularly taken by how well it is written, given that english was not his first language. I’m not sure whether to be impressed or disappointed by how timeless it seems to be. You can download the PDF here.
(By the way, Einstein’s h-index at the time of his death was 20; today it stands somewhere around 45-50. Here‘s a good commentary on that.)