D O C U M E N T 9 7 A U G U S T 1 9 2 3 9 7
My European trip pursues the dual purpose of feeling the pulse of theoretical
physics and seeing my friends again. I succeeded with the former—or more cor-
rectly—I established that quantum theory has run aground. The people here know
as little about which way to turn as we do in America. Couldn’t you help us further?
I have had little luck with the second intention. I missed various old friends in
Berlin, e.g., Hermann
In Zurich I am not going to see
Do you perhaps have a couple of concrete (i.e., already mathematically formu-
lated) tasks in the new theory of relativity that you would like to see being dealt
with? Next year I am going to have doctoral students available.
With cordial regards, yours very truly,
Paul S. Epstein
97. From Marcel Grossmann
Albisbrunn by Zurich, 1 August 1923
With delight I gather from the daily papers that you took back your incompre-
hensible step regarding the League of
It certainly did not help anyone,
you know, but surely damaged one hope for the future of mankind. One doesn’t put
in the mouth of a 3-year-old child, either, “in order to test his
performance.” It’s demanding too much to expect the young League of Nations to
clean up the chaos that the injudiciousness of the last few years has created. How-
ever, it is supposed to prevent such events in the future. But this evolution should
be measured in centuries, not in years.
The people who reject the present League of Nations because it does not corre-
spond to their (often freshly glossed) idealism always remind me of the boy who
said: “It serves my father right if my fingers freeze off; why doesn’t he buy me any
gloves?” And so actually: “It serves mankind right if it is annihilated by war atroc-
ities; why doesn’t it have a perfect League of Nations?”
I’m here, in the midst of green forests, recuperating and
Best regards also to your wife.
Hearty greetings to you, your old