Peter L. Galison
Mallinckdrodt Professor of the
History of Science and of Physics
"The Assassin of Relativity"
Einstein maintained a strong personal and scientific friendship with Friedrich Adler. They went to university together, shared a house and, when Adler triumphed over Einstein for a physics position at the University of Zurich, Adler declined it in favor of the young patent clerk. In turn Einstein wanted Adler to take over when Einstein left Zurich. Then, in October 1916, Adler took a Browning pistol and assassinated Count Stuergkh, Prime Minister of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Einstein leapt to his defense. While Adler sat in prison-waiting to be hanged-he launched a detailed correspondence with Einstein, and wrote two books that range over an immense epistemo-physics-political field. Understanding the Adler-Einstein conversation, their clashes and their sympathies sheds much light not only on a path not taken by Einstein but on the explosive brew of Machism, Marxism, and the relativity theory that so transformed the early twentieth century.
Official Website: http://www.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/events.pl/ZOOM/22877
Added by qparadox on October 17, 2006