Albert Einstein autographed letter (PT44)
A rare Einstein autographed letter with a stinging dismissal of an aspiring scientist
Typed letter signed "A. Einstein", one page, 8.5 x 11, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton letterhead, March 21, 1951.
Einstein writes a decisive, stinging dismissal to Raymond C. Miller, an aspiring scientist who had proposed a new law of nature.
In full: "I am very sorry to say that your formula for the velocity of a planet is in contradiction with Newtonian mechanics and consequently also with Kepler's empirical laws.
It seems to me that you have not studied sufficiently elementary celestial mechanics....".
Included with the letter is a comprehensive group of related documents, including drafts of Miller's paper, titled 'A Study of the Movements of Free Bodies in Space.'
The third draft is 46 pages in length, while an earlier draft contains several carefully drawn (but evidently faulty) graphs relating to "the velocities of satellites about their respective planets."
Among the other documents is an unsigned letter from Miller to Einstein, dated March 5, 1951: "I am writing to give to you a brief report on what I believe to be a new fundamental law of nature.
In a study of the physical sciences, it is said that 'The actual type and degree of curvature of space prove to be uniquely fixed in terms of the masses of the gravitating body,' and that 'The motions of the planets of our solar system have the appearance of being intimately related under a fundamental law that applies to all.
I believe I have this fundamental law. I have written a corollary and equations in regards to the movement of the satellites and planets of our solar system.
Movements are positively related to mass and I have written that relationship. My equations are derived from the curves from observed data and I can find no deviations.
It explains your curvature of space, although I do not interpret space as curved. I would appreciate if you would bring my reports to the attention of others that I may be recognized for my efforts.
I am not known in the scientific world, but I believe I have recognized a new relationship that has been overlooked. I wish to think [sic] you for reading my report and rendering any criticism you wish to offer."
Miller also sent his findings to other notable figures, including astronomer Harlow Shapley, who responded with a dictated letter signed in his absence by his secretary:
It would be entirely impossible for me to undertake a critical reading of the manuscript which you have submitted.
I must return it therefore without prejudice, and with sincere regret that I am not able to handle all the problems that are put in front of me.
It is no simple matter to be the director of six observatories and have a hundred persons on the staff whose projects and plans and ideas demand first attention.
Some professor of physics and mathematics in the University of Nebraska should be able to give your work the attention it merits."
All of the documents are neatly housed together in the original brad-bound folder with a typed label on the cover reading "Permanent Copies: A Study of the Movements of Free Bodies in Space by Raymond C. Miller."
Binding holes to letter, otherwise fine, bright, clean condition.
A fine example of Einstein asserting his vastly superior knowledge against the legions of would-be "rivals" who plagued him constantly.
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