I N T R O D U C T I O N T O V O L U M E 1 0 x l i x
to him in relativity theory, and he repeatedly insisted that one particular quantity,
the “period” of a clock multiplied by the time it measured, was an invariant for any
In their correspondence over the last six months of 1920, Einstein showed a
great deal of patience in trying to unravel Guillaume's somewhat convoluted expla-
nations of his relativity theory. Einstein’s friend and former collaborator Marcel
Grossmann was concerned with the respectful hearing that Guillaume was obtain-
ing for his wrongheaded theorizing in Swiss scientific circles. Even Michele Besso
appeared to give some credibility to Guillaume’s arguments (Doc. 85). In addition,
Guillaume’s claim that the failure of solar astrophysicists to find any evidence for
the existence of gravitational time dilation was a point in his favor undoubtedly
struck a nerve with the supporters of relativity. When Guillaume published a letter
describing his main claims in an English astronomy journal, he was rebutted in the
same issue by no less a figure than Arthur S.
Grossmann wished Ein-
stein to do the same in Switzerland, but Einstein proved reluctant to criticize Guil-
laume in public.
But there was simply no common ground upon which Einstein and Guillaume
could debate. In the end, Einstein could do nothing but say to Guillaume “to do
what you just cannot keep yourself from doing” (Doc. 250). He also provided
Grossmann with the public statement he sought (Doc. 148). That statement assert-
ed that Guillaume simply did not understand the theory. It seems to have been too
harsh to print, and Grossmann published a milder, but still critical, note under his
Meanwhile, the debate over the gravitational redshift proceeded among the as-
trophysicists. Although Einstein, in this volume, continued to be convinced that the
work of Leonhard Grebe and Albert Bachem had shown the way forward in how
the solar redshift data should be interpreted (Vol. 9, Docs. 25 and 57), in practice
he accepted that further detailed studies by the astronomers were needed for a final
decision. If Einstein’s faith in the theory had ever been tested by the emphatic op-
position of even such sympathetic solar astrophysicists as Willem Julius (Doc. 8),
it was fully restored by the work of Grebe and Bachem. In this he differed from his
colleagues, even from the most enthusiastic advocates of relativity theory, some of
whom, such as Adriaan Fokker, were on the lookout for a more viable theory in re-
lation to this test (Doc. 40). At the same time, Erwin Freundlich worked to replicate
Grebe and Bachem’s work, and funds were raised for the Einstein Tower Solar Ob-
servatory, where Freundlich would expand his research, even while Einstein enter-
tained reservations about his efforts to observe the gravitational redshift in the
spectra of fixed stars (Doc. 101).
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