There is an emanation from the heart

which cannot be described,

but is immediately felt and puts

the stranger at his ease.

~Washington Irving

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough...

.........and more.

It turns denial into acceptance,
chaos to order, confusion to clarity.

It can turn a meal into a feast,

a house into a home,

a stranger into a friend.

~Melody Beattie

Don't be satisfied with stories,

how things have gone with others.

Unfold your own myth.

May my life be like a great

hospitable tree, and may

weary wanderers find in

me a rest.

~John Henry Jowett

Monday, 14 March 2016

Einstein's Blackboard

Albert Einstein, born today in 1879.
"Try not to become a man of success,
but rather try to become a man of value."
~Albert Einstein

Because they've become like old friends, there are so many places and things in Oxford that I like to go back to and see over and over again.  One of these is Einstein's blackboard in Oxford's History of Science Museum on Broad Street. After a lecture Einstein gave at Oxford in 1931, other blackboards he had used were wiped clean, but one clear-headed person made sure this one was kept and preserved .

I found the blackboard when I was wandering through the museum, one rainy afternoon many years ago--which is probably the reason I love it so much; I just stumbled upon it one day.

The History of Science Museum holds an impressive collection of early scientific instruments--astrolabes that are works of art, sundials, early microscopes, telescopes, cameras, and so much more. I made my way through the museum and down to the displays in the basement, and there it was, up on a wall in the corner.  I walked up to the blackboard interested, but not realizing at first that it was Einstein's equation. I also didn't understanding a single letter or number written on it, and certainly didn't know that it was an equation for the age of the Universe. I later discovered that the last three lines of the equation give some 'minor' details--only the density, radius and age of our Universe.

As I gazed up at it though, it hit me like a wave of light.  For one very brief second I suddenly felt and understood the expanse and genius of Einstein's mind--and I mean expanse.  It lasted hardly longer than a breath, but in that moment I could feel how far out into the Universe and back again his mind had travelled.  It took my breath away and then it was gone.

So, even though I still don't understand one line of the equation, every once in awhile I pop into the museum and pay my respects to the famous blackboard, and the man who left his mark on it and our world.

The History of Science Museum itself is impressive, the world's oldest surviving purpose-built museum.  It sits on Broad Street, next to the Sheldonian Theatre and across from Blackwell's bookstore.  Admission is free and it's open Tuesday to Sunday, 12 to 5pm.  There's also an introductory tour of the museum every Thursday, 2:15-3pm.  When you visit, be sure to find the simple, little, wooden blackboard that holds some of the very keys to our understanding of the Universe.

"If you want your children to be
intelligent, read them fairy tales.
If you want them to be more intelligent,
read them more fairy tales."

"In matters of truth and justice, there is
no difference between large and small
problems, for issues concerning the 
treatment of people are all the same."

~Albert Einstein


  1. Hi Carrie! I am so excited to come across your blog, and I found it through googling images of Oxford!

    My sister Emily and I stayed with you in July last year, and after the stay I emailed you a gorgeous picture of Max-he was such a favourite of ours. I'm from Melbourne, Australia and my sister lives in England. How is Max?!

    I hope you are all well there in Oxford. My family and I are hoping to get to the UK later this year, and a stay at Holywell has been on our 'to do list' from the very beginning-my parents and sister can't wait to see it!

    I've bookmarked your blog and look forward to reading further!
    p.s. I also have a blog; and by a funny coincidence, my latest post is about cookies and Oxford! it's at

  2. there were 3 boards but the cleaners wiped 2 overnight. Lots of red faces in the morning...!