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133. To Carl H. Becker
[Berlin,] 15 October 1919
Mr.
Undersecretary,[1]
A colleague, Mr. Born, sent me the enclosed letter with the instruction that I for-
ward it to
you,[2]
relying on me to give my opinion on it. I am firmly convinced that
his descriptions are, unfortunately, in complete conformity with reality. I see the ul-
timate cause of this lamentable decline in the dwindling force of the scientific ideal
within the faculties. A change for the better could only be achieved by having men
accredited with unquestionably important accomplishments somehow be allowed
to influence the selection of professors. Whether or not a legally established proce-
dure is needed for this is rather a secondary question, on which I do not want to
elaborate here.
However, I take the liberty of using this opportunity to point out two more cases
which pose an impending threat of serious damage to German science.
1. The faculty in Bonn has nominated Mr. Konen, a scientific nonentity, for the
regular professorship in physics (against the courageous resistance of an opposing
minority).[3]
2. The Geodetic Institute in Potsdam, hitherto one of the most reputable scien-
tific institutes throughout the world in this field, is in danger of coming under the
leadership of a general who is but remotely concerned with scientific
projects.[4]
If
this choice materializes, it would inflict serious harm on our scientific interests and
even severer harm on the prestige of German science
abroad.[5]
I am enclosing two letters that highly esteemed colleagues have directed to me
about these two affairs.
With great respect.
134. To Paul Ehrenfest
[Berlin,] 15 October 1919
Dear Ehrenfest,
It’s all arranged. I depart from here Saturday morning, 7 o’clock, and should ar-
rive at your home on the same day, God willing at least, on
Saturday.[1]
Thanks very much for all your
effort![2]
Until our happy reunion, yours,
Einstein.
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