6 4 0 D O C U M E N T 3 9 9 K Y O T O L E C T U R E (Ogawa 1979, p. 79) “Although the idea of this experiment is very similar to that of Michelson, I did not put this experiment to the test” (Ono 1982, p. 46) and “This idea is similar to that of Michelson’s experiment, but I did not carry out this experiment” (Stachel 1982). Itagaki proposed to render the crucial half sentence as “I did not yet know this experiment well enough” (Itagaki 1999). Later trans- lations agreed with Itagaki: “This idea was of the same sort as that of Michelson’s experiment, but I did not know this experiment very well then” (Abiko 2000, p. 13) and “The fundamental idea was the same as in Michelson’s experiment, with which I was not sufficiently acquainted at the time” (“Der Grundgedanke war der gleiche wie bei Michelsons Experiment, das mir damals noch nicht hin- reichend bekannt war” Haubold and Yasui 1986, p. 273). An indication that Einstein was thinking about ether drift experiments is corroborated by Wertheimer’s account: “[…] he tried to find methods by which it would be possible to establish or to measure the movement of the Earth—and he learned only later that physicists had already made such experiments” (Wertheimer 1945, p. 169). For a dis- cussion of what can be inferred about Einstein’s thinking, see Stachel 1982 and Abiko 2000. [5]At this point, Itagaki suggested to render the Japanese text with an entirely different meaning. Pointing to the possibility of a grammatical subjunctive past perfect, he translated the preceding two sentences as: “But when, still as a student, I had these thoughts in my mind, if I had known the strange result of this Michelson’s experiment and I had acknowledged it as a fact, I probably would have come to realize it intuitively as our mistake to think of the motion of the Earth against the ether” (Itagaki 1999). None of the existing translations follow Itagaki in this interpretation. Due to the significance that interpreters have attached to the issue, we give here the various pub- lished translations of the relevant passage: “When I had these thoughts in mind, still as a student, I got acquainted with the unaccountable result of the Michelson experiment, and then realized intuitively that it might be our incorrrect think- ing to take into account of the motion of the Earth relative to the ether, if we recognized the experi- mental result as a fact” (Ogawa 1979, p. 79). “While I was thinking of this problem in my student years, I came to know the strange result of Michelson’s experiment. Soon I came to the conclusion that our idea about the motion of the Earth with respect to the ether is incorrect, if we admit Michelson’s null result” (Ono 1982, p. 46). “When I was still a student, and still playing with this idea, I learned of the strange result of Mi- chelson’s experiment, and I realized that if one accepts his result as correct, it would probably be wrong to consider the Earth as moving relative to the ether” (Stachel 1982). “While I had these ideas in mind as a student, I came to know the strange result of Michelson’s experiment. Then I came to realize intuitively that, if we admit this as a fact, it must be our mistake to think of the movement of the Earth against the ether” (Abiko 2000, p. 13). “Ich trug diesen Gedanken in mir bei meinem Studium, und als ich von den interessanten Ergeb- nissen des Michelsonschen Experiments erfuhr, erkannte ich intuitiv, daß die Annahme der Erdbewe- gung gegen den Äther wahrscheinlich falsch wäre, wenn Michelson bei seinem Versuch keine Meßfehler begangen haben sollte” (Haubold and Yasui 1986, p. 273). [6]Lorentz 1895. In late 1901, Einstein wrote to Mileva Maric that he intended to study Lorentz’s theory: “I now want to buckle down and study what Lorentz and Drude have written on the electro- dynamics of moving bodies” (“Ich will mich nun dahinter machen, zu studieren, was Lorentz und Drude über die Elektrodynamik bewegter Körper geschrieben haben” Einstein to Mileva Maric, 28 December 1901 [Vol. 1, Doc. 131]). At the end of his life, Einstein claimed that in 1905 he only knew Lorentz 1895: “As far as I am concerned, I only knew Lorentz’s important work of 1895 but not Lorentz’s later work, nor did I know Poincaré’s investigation which follows up on the latter. In this sense, my work of 1905 was independent” (“Was mich betrifft, so kannte ich nur Lorentz’ bedeuten- des Werk von 1895, aber nicht Lorentz’ spätere Arbeit, und auch nicht die daran anschliessende Untersuchung von Poincaré. In diesem Sinne war meine Arbeit von 1905 selbständig” Einstein to Carl Seelig, 19 February 1955 [39 069] see also the discussion in Vol. 2, the editorial note, “Einstein on the Theory of Relativity,” p. 259). [7]The friend was Michele Besso see the acknowledgment at the end of Einstein 1905r (Vol. 2, Doc. 23, p. 306). The time span of five to six weeks is corroborated in a much later letter from Einstein to Carl See- lig of 11 March 1952 [39 013.1], where he writes: “Between the conception of the idea of the special
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