Albert Einstein: Word Gets Around

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Back in October I wrote about Charles Fischer meeting Albert Einstein on a 1930 world cruise, and an item now in the library collection that appears to be written in Einstein’s own hand. The call went out to try to identify the writing and perhaps determine if indeed it was written by Einstein himself.

Not long after, we received a call from Belgium. Author Alain Findling is working on a book about Albert Einstein—not Einstein the physicist or Einstein the philosophical genius, but Einstein the musician. Fascinating! Music it seems played an important role in Einstein’s life, as evidenced in the brief video from the Institute of Physics at the end of this post. Mr. Findling was intrigued by the photo of Einstein and Fischer, and wanted to know more about the story behind it. We’ll certainly be curious to learn more about Mr. Findling’s research.

And just this week, we received a communication from Osik Moses, Assistant Editor for the Einstein Papers Project at The California Institute of Technology. The Einstein Papers Project, “one of the most ambitious publishing ventures ever undertaken in the documentation of the history of science,” plays a leading role in the effort to document, preserve, and publish the written work of Albert Einstein.

Ms. Moses forwarded the following explanation from her colleague, Dr. Jeroen van Dongen from the University of Utrecht, The Netherlands. Van Dongen explains, “The calculations refer to Einstein’s attempts to develop a unified field theory of gravitation and matter. First he defines the Einstein tensor (G), next he studies the Euler-Lagrange variations.” (Heavy stuff indeed for a vacation cruise.) Van Dongen then adds, “ light of this explanation it is impossible that Einstein “collaborated” with Fischer. Maybe Fischer saw Einstein working on the unified theory and asked him for a page that Einstein was going to drop in the waste bin.” Again... fascinating!

So just as we might have surmised, the unidentified napkin appears to be a unique souvenir of world travel that Charlie Fischer brought home to Kalamazoo. A truly international effort now provides evidence to suggest that the writings are most likely the authentic scribblings of Albert Einstein. The world gets a little smaller every day.


Possible Einstein Writings

Posted by Keith Howard at 03/31/2011 11:23:13 AM | 

The pages that my wife inherited from her Great Uncle Carl Kay (Bassist for the Charlie Fischer Orchestra on the 1930 SS Belgenland World Cruise contain Professor Einstein's calculations and probably relate to the Unified Field Theory.
Posted by: Jed J. Rogers ( Email ) at 8/21/2012 9:07 AM

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