Chaotic behaviour became part of the story, but mostly it seemed under control. For example, in the stock market a share price goes up and down unpredictably from day to day, but there was a way to hedge against such variations by using options. This led to options trading, and Mackenzie tackles the Black-Scholes equation, which gives a means for pricing options. The trouble is that it assumes the spread of variations fits a normal distribution, and when that fails the equation delivers the wrong answer. Then all bets are off.
Now back to Einstein. After introducing his "Special" Theory of Relativity in 1905 he went further. The theory dealt with uniform motion, but what about acceleration? In the 1960s a debate raged in the pages of the Listener, where Herbert Dingle, a philosopher at University College London, insisted that Special Relativity had an inherent inconsistency. The space twins paradox brought it into focus: if one twin went off by spaceship he or she might experience a mere ten years, while the sibling on Earth might experience 20. After 40 years of earth time the twin would return a mere 20 years older. Fine, but what if you interchanged roles? Could you not argue that the travelling twin was "relatively" equivalent to the one left at home, and the 40 years and 20 years should be switched? The answer — and much hot air was expelled on this — is that the twins are not equivalent because of acceleration and deceleration for the travelling twin. But this was precisely Dingle's point.
Years earlier, Einstein himself had thought about the problem of acceleration. He asked what the difference was between the force of gravity one feels standing in a stationary elevator, and the force one feels when the elevator sits in space and accelerates upwards? No difference, he concluded.
By 1908, Hermann Minkowski had put Einstein's Relativity into a new form, mingling space and time in a four-dimensional space-time that made the equations of Special Relativity perfectly natural. In 1915, Einstein showed how to use Minkowski's space-time, along with the mathematics describing curvature, in a way that incorporated gravity, and acceleration. This was the "General" Theory of Relativity, his greatest achievement, which incidentally underpins the accuracy of our modern global positioning system.
But look at how Einstein did it. He dwelt deeply on things. Would that our bankers could do the same, to say nothing of our politicians. If Special Relativity was at fault for not including acceleration, and Black-Scholes was at fault for assuming normal distributions, how do we describe the fault of those who handed out mortgages to people who couldn't pay when house prices fell and they could no longer raise money by refinancing, or the misguided idealists who created the euro?
Einstein saw beyond his creation to correct its faults, but our politicians can't do that. It's no longer nuclear bombs that worry us, but the folly of human beings. An old story, I'm afraid.