07 January 2010

All the King's Men

I've had many inquiries about the cover of my latest book.  It shows Einstein and company during a visit to the top of California's Mount Wilson on 29 January 1931. It was the one and only time Einstein made the trip. The group is standing in front of the dome of the observatory's historic 100-inch telescope, the instrument Edwin Hubble used to make his major discoveries.

Everyone wants to know, who are those other people? Here's the scoop (as far as I know it): The tall man right behind Einstein's hair and above the short guy in front of him is Hubble. The short guy is Walther Meyer, Einstein's assistant. The man in the hat, slightly leaning in the center, is astronomer Walter Adams, then head of the Mount Wilson Observatory. The stiff-looking man on the right with the distinguished chapeau is William Campbell, who at the time was directing Lick Observatory (Mount Wilson's competitor to the north). The other men, I believe, are professors from Caltech. (If anyone knows who they are, please contact me.) I feel sorry for the man in the very back who is viewed only as a forehead, a lost opportunity at being seen with the world's most famous scientist. What I love best is the old car in the background.

I was happy to learn recently that Vintage Books will be using the same cover for my paperback, coming out in March. I can't imagine any other depiction that captures the topic and the era so well.

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