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Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

Visit our Exhibit: Einstein - Image and Impact
Photo A15; portrait.
CREDIT: AIP Emilio Segrè
Visual Archives,
W.F. Meggers Collection.

After he became famous, Einstein got many letters from children. He answered as many as he could, giving simple answers to their questions, and sometimes adding a wry comment. For example:

Photo B29;
Old age, seated on steps.
CREDIT: AIP Emilio Segrè
Visual Archives,
Dorothy Davis Locanthi

I hope that your and your friend’s future astronomical observations [sneaking out at night to use a telescope] will not be discovered anymore by the eyes and ears of your school government. This is the attitude taken by most good citizens toward their government and I think rightly so.

Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that some spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe, one that is vastly superior to that of man.

Do not worry about your difficulties in mathematics; I can assure you that mine are still greater.

See Dear Professor Einstein: Albert Einstein’s Letters to and from Children, edited by Alice Calaprice (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2002)

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