“Einstein Was Right,” declared the New York Times on May 22, 2011, when it alluded to the fact that now, fifty-two years later, technology was catching up with Einstein’s mathematical inquiries regarding the nature of the universe. Currently, our latest technology is able to test and prove the validity of Einstein’s “math,” i.e., his concepts of time, space, black holes and an expanding universe. But before this was possible, lack of scientific proof did not stop the 20th century conversation. Before email, the leading scientists at the time carried on a lively correspondence with each other for decades.

In the 1960s, Professor Gerald Holton, Mallinckrodt Research Professor of Physics and Research Professor of the History of Science, Emeritus, at Harvard University, asked me to translate these letters from German into English. They had been collected and stored at the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton University and were labeled as “The Scientific Correspondence of Albert Einstein.”

In the course of my translations, I noticed a decided “cooling off” between Einstein and the physicist Max Born. They had sparred over the in-joke of the time which hinged on the question: “Does God play dice?” And on the seminal question: “Is the world happenstance, or is there meaning and purpose to it?” Thus, I came upon this final letter from Einstein to Born:

“My dear Born,” Einstein had said. “As far as God playing dice is concerned, I believe in an ordered universe. But I approach this order in a wildly disorderly way. You, my dear Born, do not believe in an ordered universe, but you approach chaos in an orderly fashion.”

As far as I know, there never was another exchange of letters between the two scientists.

Please click on the following links to read additional published essays:

A Fair Exchange

Black Mountain College: Part One

Both Cheer-and-Sad

Celestial Light in Soda Bottles

Koskina’s To the Rescue

Ladies Specials (2009)

Lunch at the Guggenheim

My Address Book

Museum Visit (2010)

Next Time… (Lunch at the Guggenheim)

Nicholas Berg Speaks

Questions and Answers

Shoe Repair

Word Lapidary: Roadside Pebbles Now Shine with Poignancy