DOC.
229
JUNE
1916 225
229. From
Michele
Besso
Zurich,
28
June
1916
Dear
Albert,
I’m
a
lazy
loaf:
first,
I
never
write
you;
and
second,
when
I
do write
you
it
is
in order to
save myself
work.
First:
I
heard
your
boys’
voices
Friday evening. They
were
bathing
and
are
well.
Little Albert
is
a
bit
earnest.
Second:
I
am fighting an uneven
battle
with
my
lecture
material;[1]
I
simply
can’t succeed in
gaining
and
retaining
an
overview
that
would make
the
work
productive.
And
I’m
too
unorganized
for
a more
external order.
I
therefore
ought
to concentrate
my
little bit
of
diligence
on
this
self-imposed responsibility.
But the
devil has taken
my
friends at
the
Physical
Society
and
they
want
a
talk
from
me on
your
papers:
even
though
there
are
at least
three, Abraham, Grossmann,
and
Weyl,[2]
who
are a
hundred[3]
times
more
familiar with
the
subject
than
I. I
feel like
someone
to whom Beethoven
whistled his
symphony
and who must
now
whistle back
a
part
of
it-albeit
with
the
score
in front
of
his
eyes,
but
being
able to
it
only as
well
as
I
can
...
Well,
I
did
enjoy myself
when
I
a
look at
the
score
again.
But
I
must
prove
to
you
right
away
how insecure
I
am
in the
details[4]
despite
the demonstration
whistling
and
despite
the
score.
First:
k
=
1.87

10-27gr
cm-1
is
an
absolute
natural
constant, is
it
not?[5] I
do not
even
know
definitely!
Second:
Although
I
have
your
Viennese lecture
as a
(1d)
and
(7e’),
page
19,[6]
I cannot
manage
to
develop
the
corresponding
relations
according
to
the
new
gravitation equations.
The result
will probably
dilfer in
the
numerical
factors.[7]
Third
(and
if
misunderstandings by
me
exist,
then
my
case
is
severe indeed!):
ds2 is
an
invariant.
I.e.:
The world distances between
every
two
space-time
points
yield
the
same
numerical
result,
whatever
might
be
the
coordinate
system
selected for
their
categorization.
The
transformation
x'i
=
axi
is not
a
permissible
transformation?
Third: In
a
finite
portion of
a
mass-point’s vicinity,
coordinates
can
be intro-
duced in such
a
way
that
with reference to
the
same
the
centripetal
acceleration
vanishes in
the
entire finite
portion.
How
do the
guv’s
look for
this?[8]
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