4 things Einstein said to cheer up his sad friend
Letters up for auction shed a light on a touching friendship Einstein shared with his colleague.
Albert Einstein was many things – Nobel Prize-winning physicist, inspiration for artists, an unwieldy sailor and much more. But to his network of colleagues at Princeton University, he was also a dear friend.
That aspect of Einstein's personality is on full display in a cache of letters he wrote to fellow physicist David Bohm. And the letters can be yours – they're currently being auctioned by Winner's Auction & Exhibitions in Israel. The auction will take place on June 20, but bids are already being accepted online.
Bohm left his post at Princeton and moved to Sao Paulo, Brazil, for a teaching position. The only problem? He was miserable in South America and almost immediately regretted his decision. He wrote letters to Einstein seeking advice and counsel, both of which Einstein was willing to dole out in these typed and handwritten letters to be auctioned.
Below, we look at four pieces of advice Einstein gave the depressed Bohm in these letters, on everything from relativistic field theory to kitchen help.
The first thing Einstein did was encourage his friend to cheer up. "Although I fully understand your feeling of frustration," Einstein wrote, "I feel that patience, combined with an attempt to enjoy your life there as well as possible, seems to me the best you can do for the moment."
Hire a cook
Some of Einstein's favorite foods include scrambled eggs, lentil soup, asparagus and porcini mushrooms. (Photo: Shurkin_Son/Shutterstock)
Bohm complained about many things in Brazil, including the local cuisine. Einstein empathized with his friend. "What impressed me most was the instability of your belly, a matter where I have myself extended experience," Einstein wrote before suggesting that Bohm hire a "reliable cook." (For more genius food advice, check out the book "What Einstein Told His Cook.")
Bohm asked Einstein if he should bail on his Brazilian adventure and seek employment in another country. Einstein wrote back the pros and cons of many places, saying "Israel is intellectually alive and interesting" and that he shouldn't move to Ireland. Einstein added that "in spite of this, you should, in my opinion, hold out until you have acquired Brazilian citizenship." (Bohm would eventually move to Israel, where he met his wife.)
Put things in perspective
Between worrying about meals and moving, Bohm was also desperately trying to solve a scientific equation, but was feeling discouraged. So Einstein wrote back: "You should not be depressed by the enormity of the problem. If God has created the world, his primary worry was certainly not to make its understanding easy for us."'
Einstein bequeathed his papers to Hebrew University in Jerusalem, which is home to the official Albert Einstein archives. But items that were sent to others, like the letters being auctioned off next week, are often sold to collectors. "I screamed 'Wow!' when I first saw it," Gal Wiener, who will be auctioning off these letters, told From the Grapevine from his office in Jerusalem. "I was very enthusiastic. It's not something you see that often."
As expected, word of the auction of Einstein memorabilia has interested people all across the globe. Wiener told us that he was just contacted by an American man who says his mom was friendly with Einstein's wife Elsa. He has some items he might want to auction off. So stay tuned – perhaps there's some Einstein advice about love in that stash.
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Related Topics: Albert Einstein