Picasso Agatha and Chaplin
How art, literature, science, travelling in time and
mystery are interwined
to explain Einstein's theory?
“Imagine, for a moment, that this well tucked-in bed was huge.”
“Yes, I have already imagined that several times,” clucked Pablo to
“Well,” proceeded Albert, walking to the basket and picking up a
watermelon that he took back to the bed. “Now tell me, what will
happen if I drop this watermelon on the bed?”
He let go of the watermelon in front of everyone’s eyes and they
contemplated the demonstration in amusement.
“The sheet sank,” giggled Mary. “So much for making the bed.”
“In other words, my dear, the sheet curved. And what would happen if I
dropped this lemon?”
“It would also curve the sheet but just slightly,” answered Maurice,
approaching Gertrude. “What is your point exactly?”
Ignoring the question, Albert said, “And if I push the lemon next to
the watermelon?” He smiled as he slowly rolled the lemon to where
the watermelon sat.
“They’re together now,” observed Mary.
“So what, Albert?” interrupted Pablo, getting more and more
agitiated. “Just tell us. What is your intention? Create a still
life on the bed?”
“All right,” continued Albert, paying no heed to the wave of
laughter. “Now, imagine that this sheet and bed were transparent.
What impression would we get from both fruit?”
“Well,” said Caius, trying hard not to laugh even more. “It would
seem that the watermelon attracted the lemon and that’s why they are
“That is correct,” agreed the physicist,
touching the fruit. “The impression we have is that the heavier
fruit is attracting the little lemon. So, my friends, I believe this
is what happens in space. What you see here is how gravity works. The
Sun curves space, the same way this
watermelon does. The poor lemon is like
our planet Earth. If Earth didn’t have the translation movement that
keeps it in orbit, it would go straight towards
the Sun. The Sun, because of its mass, curves space and Earth moves in
this curvature. This curvature is the guilty party. It makes the
bodies attract each other. The matter always makes space-time curve
itself, in bigger or smaller proportion.”
“Amazing!” said Caius as he picked up the lemon from the bed. “If I
roll the lemon to the edge of the bed instead
of towards the watermelon, it could escape the depression and continue
to move in a straight line.”
“This would explain the reason why other stars aren’t attracted by
the Sun!” Maurice added. “This is very interesting. Why hasn’t
anyone noticed this before?”
Albert approached him and placed both hands on his back.
“My friend, when a blind beetle walks on the surface of a branch it
doesn’t realize that the path is actually curved. I am lucky enough
to perceive what the beetle does not.”
“That’s true, we’re like beetles,” said Caius. “We do not
notice that the Earth rotates, do we?”
“Not always,” Albert disagreed, drinking the last bit of wine from
the glass. “To me, it is sometimes too easy to see everything
“I’m starting to like this
concept a lot more,” said Pablo, waving his arms in the air. “Bravo,
wise one! What an imagination you have!”
“I do not have a special gift and not much imagination,” he said
gravely. “I’m just enthusiastically curious.”
“There is one more thing I would like to
know,” Mary declared, turning to
Albert. “What did you mean by
‘the bodies attract each other’?”
law of Gravity says that every body that is relatively close to any
other body, attracts it. The Sun attracts the Earth. The Earth
attracts a person. And the person attracts the Earth. But, gravity is
not responsible for the attraction people falling
he explained, smiling jestingly and making Mary blush.
you saying that I attract the Earth?” interrupted Andre.
“Of course! As incredible as it may
there’s a gravitational attraction between a person and the planet
although we don’t notice this
attraction. Do you know that this attraction also exists between you
and the note pad you’re holding?”
“Well, I agree with you on that,” he said, grinning. He held the pad
to his chest lovingly. “I don’t live without it. This is where I
keep many of my great ideas.”
“Funny,” remarked Albert, picking some grapes from the basket and
popping them into his mouth all at once. “I have only had one to
“Back to the fruit…” Maurice cut
in. “If this is the case, if
gravity is just a three-dimensional
reflex of a curvature in the
four-dimensional space, being that time is one of them, how do
you explain light?”
“What about light?” asked Albert, trying hard to keep his eyes open.
“Does light suffer the effects of this curvature?” he insisted.
“Are you saying that light can make curves?” Mary said, getting some
bananas and apples.
“Yes,” confirmed Albert. “You are right. After all, light
propagates through space and, as space is curved, it must also follow
“I don’t believe it,” muttered Dur, taking a handkerchief from his
trouser pocket and wiping his sweaty forehead “This is too much!”
“And why not?” snapped Pablo. “This is getting very animated.”
“I would just like to see,” sniffed Dur, pointing his handkerchief at
the physicist, “how will you prove this!”
“I can’t prove a definition. Nobody can. What we can do is show that
it makes sense.”
“This is nonsense. It’s impossible!” he yelled angrily, punching
“My dear Dur, something is impossible only
until someone doubts it and proves the contrary,” smiled Albert
patiently, leaning on Caius´s shoulder
“I insist that it does not make sense. It’s not logical.”
“There is no logical path to discover laws of the universe young man.
The only path is intuition. I have a question for you. How does a poet
“What do you mean?” said Dur, apprehensively.
“I mean, how does the conception of a poem come to you?”
“I don’t know. I just feel it. It just comes to my mind.”
“But that is exactly what happens with a scientist,” contended
Albert. The mechanism of discovery is not logical… Don’t you see?
It’s a sudden illumination, almost ecstasy. There’s a connection
with the imagination. And imagination is more important than
“And what an imagination!” Caius teased.
know what he’s talking about, Dur,” Pablo intercepted. “I’m a
painter and I can’t explain with words why I paint this or that way…
I just do it!”
think 99 times and I don’t discover anything,” murmured Albert,
returning to the discussion. “I stop thinking, dive into a deep
silence and the truth comes to me. The mind advances up to the point
where it can analyze, but after that, it enters a higher dimension, not
knowing how it got there. All the great revelations undergo this
you ask me, this will always be a big mystery without solution,”
muttered Mary, looking desolate.
dear,” said Albert, approaching her, “the most beautiful thing that
man can experience is mysterious.”
He picked up her hand and kissed it softly. “It
is the source of all true
and all science,
don’t you think?”
cried Dur. “All this is nothing but utter hogwash.”
right about one thing, young man,” said the professor impatiently,
letting go of Mary’s hand delicately and turning to face Dur. “Only
two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity. I’m not
sure about the universe.”
stop arguing, Pierre!” Gertrude was also getting irritated.
I don’t agree with any of this, cousin Gertie, and that’s it!”
mind your cousin, my dear,” he reassured her. “A discussion in which
everyone is unanimous is a lost discussion.”
could be crazier than that, after all?” teased Andre.
what do you think of the idea that we travel toward the future but what
we see around us is the past?” inquired Maurice, taking a silver
cigarette case out of his pocket.
do you mean, ‘the past’?” asked Mary, completely baffled.
from the Caius Zip's book).
Picasso Agatha and Chaplin
to explain the theory of relativity, cubism, travelling in time and
unmask a murderer
pages of this
DO EINSTEIN AND PICASSO HAVE IN COMMON?
HERE TO FIND OUT
Zip, the Time Traveller, in:
Zip, the young time traveller, arrives at Paris in 1905. The turn of
the 20th century is a period that sizzles with ideas and realizations and
the Universe is about to be contemplated as it never was before.
night that Einstein launched the famous E=mc2 formula on paper, he
disappeared for a few days. Where was he?
work of fiction, Einstein was resting in Paris before his innovating
Theory of Relativity enlightened him. At that same time, Picasso was just
starting on his idea of breaking with conventional perspective.
characters seek the same concept: space-time relation. The encounter
between art and science is finally possible by means of a limitless
penetrates the birth of the theory of relativity and cubism and also
manages to solve a murder mystery with the help of his two teenage
friends, Agatha Cristie, with her investigative mind and Charlie Chaplin,
who provides a touch of magic to this surprising work of fiction.
all and as Einstein once said:
“The most beautiful thing we
can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and
science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to
wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed”.