Why do you write about Einstein so much?
My father passed away when I was 10. He was a good man, but I didn’t know him very well, and I was always fascinated with the question: what survives? What lasts over time? I’ve written some mediocre books—where I was responding to what I thought the market expected—and they were hard to do. But the ones that are good—that wrote themselves, that had a real pull—they always answer that question: what survives?
What’s this invisible world around us that, if you could see microscopically, if you could see various chemicals in the air, we’d be like the ridiculous giants in Gulliver’s Travels and these microscopic things treat us nicely. They observe us, in ordinary life we don’t know anything about them, but they’re benevolent towards us and they’re always there. I love that. It’s similar for these equations that surround us; that explain how the whole universe works. Einstein, this massive mind whose insights surround us and possibly will last forever, he tapped into them. It’s not that I can see my father through writing these books, but it gives me a feeling that I’m going into a waiting space where something eternal can be brought down to earth.