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Dr. Albert Einstein: Theoretical Physics, Relativity and the Photoelectric Effect, 1935

Fan Mail

Many inquisitive schoolchildren mailed letters to Albert Einstein, asking the famous physicist questions about science and about his personal life. Einstein's letters to and from children are bound together in a book entitled Dear Professor Einstein, and the abbreviated text of one of these exchanges is reproduced below. You can follow the example of the children who sent their questions to Dr. Einstein by writing to your own favorite scientists. Talk to your teacher about the kinds of questions you could ask, and how you should go about contacting the scientists whose work is of interest to you.

Cape Town, South Africa
10th July, 1946

Dear Sir,

I am awfully interested in Science, so are quite a lot of people in my form at school. My best friends are the Wilson twins. Every night after Lights Out at school, Pat Wilson and I lean out of our cubicle windows, which are next to each other, and discuss Astronomy, which we both prefer to anything as far as work goes. Pat has a telescope and we study those stars that we can see. We usually have to creep past the prefect's room to other parts of the building to carry on our observations. We have been caught a few times now, though, so it is rather difficult.

What worries me most is How can Space go on forever? I have read many books on the subject, but they all say they could not possibly explain, as no ordinary reader would understand. If you do not mind me saying so, I do not really see how it could be spiral. But then, of course you obviously know what you are saying, and I could not contradict!

I trust you are well, and will continue to make many more great Scientific discoveries.

I remain,
Yours obediently,
Tyfanny

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August 25, 1946

Dear Tyfanny,

Thank you for your letter of July 10th.

Be not worried about "curved space." You will understand at a later time that for it this status is the easiest it could possibly have. Used in the right sense the word "curved" has not exactly the same meaning as in everyday language.

I hope that yours and your friend's future astronomical investigations 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.

Yours sincerely,
Albert Einstein