Einstein and his blindfriend. This story shows how complex Einstein could be. Not long after his arrival in Princeton he was invited, by the wife of one of the professors of mathematics at Princeton, to be guest of honor at a tea.-Reluctantly, Einstein consented. After the tea had progressed for a time, the excited hostess, thrilled to have such an eminent guest of honor, fluttered out into the center of activity and with raised arms silenced the group. Bubbling out some words expressing her thrill and pleasure, she turned to Einstein and said: "I wonder, Dr. Einstein, if you would be so kind as to explain to my guests in a few words, just what is relativity theory ? "
Without any hesitation Einstein rose to his feet and told a story. He said he was reminded of a walk he one day had with his blind friend. The day was hot and he turned to the blind friend and said, "I wish I had a glass of milk."
"Glass," replied the blind friend, "I know what that is. But what do you mean by milk?"
"Why, milk is a white fluid," explained Einstein.
"Now fluid, I know what that is," said the blind man. "but what is white ? "
" Oh, white is the color of a swan's feathers."
" Feathers, now I know what they are, but what is a swan ? "
"A swan is a bird with a crooked neck."
" Neck, I know what that is, but what do you mean by crooked ? "
At this point Einstein said he lost his patience. He seized his blind friend's arm and pulled it straight. "There, now your arm is straight," he said. Then he bent the blind friend's arm at the elbow. "Now it is crooked."
"Ah," said the blind friend. "Now I know what milk is."
And Einstein, at the tea, sat down.
Some Einstein quotes.
1.. "Common sense," Einstein once remarked, "is nothing more than a deposit of prejudice laid down in the mind before you reach eighteen."
2. Religious thought is an attempt, he said, "to find out where there is no door."
3. In reply to critics who preferred the probabilistic interpretation of quantum theory as the proper basis of an understanding of physics, he said, "I cannot believe God plays dice with the universe."
4. He once summed up his general outlook on the wc,rlel hi, Qua "God is subtle, but he is not malicious."
5. He maintained that in science, though the world can be understood in terms of reason, the criteria for the acceptance of a theory are, in the last analysis, aesthetical.
6. In regard to the real nature of scientific truth in contrast to mathematical truth, Einstein said, "As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality."
Einstein's early public address in America. Here is a story to show how naive Einstein was on occasion. Shortly after he moved to America, he was inveigled into giving an address before a group of mathematicians at Princeton University. It took some coaxing, for, with characteristic twisting and squirming, he claimed he had nothing to say that the audience wouldn't already know. At last he agreed to talk on some aspects of tensor analysis, a tool essential to the mathematical treatment of relativity theory. A small card, announcing the speaker, time, and place, was put up on the notices board of Fine Hall, where the talk was to be given.
When the day for the address arrived, Princeton University campus was filled with automobiles, suggesting a Princeton-Yale football game, and great crowds of people were milling about Fine Hall, trying to get into the small auditorium there. It turned out that the little card posted in Fine Hall, and intended only for the interested mathematicians, was read by some students. These informed other students. Students wrote home to parents, and the parents came, picking up friends on the way. The townspeople of Princeton also arrived. Everyone wanted to hear the great man speak.
Einstein was led through the shoving crowd and placed in a seat in the front row of the little auditorium, to await introduction at the proper moment. Swiveling his head and looking about in surprise at the excited and pushing crowd struggling to get into the hall he exclaimed: " I never realized that in America there was so much interest in tensor analysis."