One of the most original thinkers I have ever met

In November of 1911, two of the world’s most revered scientists, Henri Poincaré and Marie Curie, were asked to write letters of recommendation for a 32-year-old man who was looking to become a professor of theoretical physics at ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), and who, 6 years previous, had authored a renowned set

Dear Einstein, Do Scientists Pray?

As one of the world’s great intellects and arguably the most famous of all scientists, Albert Einstein was regularly questioned about his views on religion. In January of 1936, a young girl named Phyllis wrote to Einstein on behalf of her Sunday school class and simply asked, “Do scientists pray?” Einstein soon replied. (This letter,

Never from so many at once

In 1932, a Mrs Randolph Frothingham, then President of the “Woman Patriot Corporation,” wrote a lengthy letter to the US government and demanded that Albert Einstein be barred from the country due to his being “affiliated with more anarchist and Communist groups than Josef Stalin himself.” The charges against him spanned 16 pages, and included

When Einstein wrote to Gandhi

In 1931, Albert Einstein wrote the following short letter of admiration to another of the world’s greatest minds, Mohandas Gandhi. Despite their intentions, the pair never met in person. Einstein can also be heard speaking of Gandhi in the above clip — an excerpt from an interview recorded in 1950, two years after Gandhi’s death. Transcript

The delusion

A grieving father named Robert S. Marcus — then-Political Director of the World Jewish Congress — was the recipient of the following letter of condolence in 1950, not long after his son succumbed to polio. It was written by Albert Einstein. Transcript follows. Image courtesy of On Being. Image: On Being Transcript February 12, 1950

Scientists have a special responsibility

On the 5th of April, 1955, Nobel laureate Bertrand Russell sent the following letter to Albert Einstein along with a rough draft of what would soon be known as the Russell-Einstein Manifesto – a written warning to the world’s population on the dangers of nuclear weapons, and a plea for all leaders to avoid war when faced with

My position concerning God is that of an agnostic

In 1954, in a much-debated letter we featured here back in October, Einstein wrote, ‘The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weakness, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still purely primitive, legends which are nevertheless pretty childish’. Today we have another of Einstein’s letters, again concerning

Einstein on astrology

A brief 1943 letter from Albert Einstein to a Eugene Simon, care of Rabbi Herman Simon, in which the renowned scientist clearly makes his opinion of astrology known. This flies in the face of many astrologers’ claims that Einstein was a firm supporter of the subject; these beliefs all stemming from the following quote, incorrectly

When a real and final catastrophe should befall us…

On April 9th, 1948, a month before Israel declared independence, just over one hundred residents of Deir Yassin were massacred by members of two militant Zionist groups – Lehi and Irgun – as part of an effort to cleanse the area of its Arab population. The next day, Albert Einstein wrote the following passionate letter

President Einstein

On November 17th of 1952, following the death of Israel’s first President, then-Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion decided to offer the job to Albert Einstein by way of the following letter via the Embassy of Israel in Washington. As we now know, the offer was declined; the response can also be read below. Less than three years later, Einstein passed away. Transcript follows. (Source:

Einstein’s One Great Mistake

On August 2nd, 1939, after consultation with fellow physicists Leó Szilárd and Eugene Wigner, Albert Einstein signed the following letter to then-U.S. President, Franklin Roosevelt. The letter warned that the construction of an atomic bomb using uranium was indeed possible, advised the U.S. Government to invest time and money into its research, and then hinted that

The word God is the product of human weakness

In January of 1954, just a year before his death, Albert Einstein wrote the following letter to philosopher Erik Gutkind after reading his book, “Choose Life: The Biblical Call to Revolt,” and made known his views on religion. Apparently Einstein had only read the book due to repeated recommendation by their mutual friend Luitzen Egbertus