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Topic: [HM] Emmy Noether & Einstein
Replies: 1   Last Post: Feb 10, 2000 11:19 AM

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Clark Kimberling

Posts: 20
Registered: 12/3/04
[HM] Emmy Noether & Einstein
Posted: Feb 10, 2000 11:19 AM
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Peter Ross finds it hard to believe that Einstein and Noether didn't
meet. I do, too, hence our shared interest in a note that the two
hadn't met. Peter suggested that I may have more information on this

I contacted the Bryn Mawr Alumnae Bulletin, and that office forwarded
my inquiry to the College archivist, who kindly responded this
morning. Some of the files of the office of the Bryn Mawr Alumnae
Bulletin at the time of my correspondence (between 1968 and 1972) have
since been moved to the Bryn Mawr Archives. The files now in the
Archives were checked. Neither a copy of the letter sent to me about
the note, nor the note itself, were located.

My Noether files are stored off-campus during a building-renovation.
I'm pretty sure I could find the letter in question and will delighted
to try if someone asks. Arrangements would have to be made, as the
storage building is kept locked, and the "Noether boxes" are among
hundreds of boxes belonging to other faculty.

As the quotation in Peter's message suggests, the note that "Mr.
Einstein had never met Miss Noether," was written by someone who may
have been upset about the New York Times's response to an obituary
note received from Weyl. Weyl's oft quoted memorial address at Bryn
Mawr and gratefully received there, had just been delivered on April
26, 1935, and the Times's article, written by Einstein, appeared on
May 4, 1935. As reported in Brewer and Smith, page 52:

(According to one source, Weyl sent an obituary
note to the Times, and the Times reacted, "Who is
Weyl - have Einstein write something, as he is the
mathematician recognized by the world." There was,
at the time, some indignation about the Times'
attitude regarding Weyl.)

Also in Brewer and Smith, page 48, is a translation (preceded by the
German original of Einstein's letter dated January 8, 1935:

Frl. Dr. Emmy Noether undoubtedly possesses great
creative talent, to an extent which cannot be justifiably
said about many mathematicians of a generation. To
enable her to continue her scientific work means, in my
opinion, the fulfilling of a duty of honor and a genuine
advancement of scientific research.

This was a letter addressed to Jacob Billikopf in support of continued
financial support for Noether.

Einstein's letter calls to mind the repeated efforts by Weyl and
others to ensure Noether's well-being, first at Goettingen, and then
in America. A trace of Weyl's role is his sponsoring of Noether's
membership in the American Mathematical Society. A copy of the AMS
membership application, showing Noether's and Weyl's signatures, can
be seen at .

Clark Kimberling

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