With his resistance to McCarthyism and quantum uncertainty, was Einstein disillusioned at the end?
Einstein was not destined to die a bitter man. He came to understand America's freedoms, and he was pleased that democracy tended to balance itself after such excesses as the McCarthy investigations. On his deathbed in 1955, he worked on a speech he was scheduled to give for Israeli independence day. "I speak to you today not as an American citizen and not as a Jew, but as a human being," it began. He put it aside on that final night to pick up a notebook that was filled with scribbled calculations. To the very end, he struggled to find his elusive unified field theory. And the last thing he wrote, right before the pain overwhelmed him, was one more line of symbols and numbers that he hoped might get him, and the rest of us, just a little step closer to the spirit manifest in the laws of the universe.