INTRODUCTION

TO VOLUME

8

liii

the

publication

of

Weyl’s

first

paper

on

the

theory

in

the

proceedings

of

the Berlin

Academy.

Einstein

did

everything

he could

to

ensure

that the

paper,

Weyl

1918b,

was published anyway.

Throughout

their debate

over

the

new theory,

the mathematician

Weyl proved

remarkably

resourceful in

finding ways

to

counter Einstein’s

seemingly

devastat-

ing physical objections.

Einstein, however,

remained

unconvinced. In

one

of

the

last

letters

of

the debate

(Doc. 669), Weyl

conjured up

the

image

of

his

adversary

throwing up

his

hands, reproaching

him for his

mathematically

driven

speculative

approach,

and

exclaiming:

“That’s

not

how

you

do

physics!” Recalling

the debate

over

three decades

later,[44] Weyl

put

this

same phrase

in Einstein’s

mouth,

and

noted that he

and Einstein

had

since switched

positions

in this

regard.

Einstein

had

come

to

rely more

and

more on purely

mathematical

speculation,

whereas

Weyl

had been humbled

by

the

important

role

of

empirical

considerations in the devel-

opment

of

quantum physics.

The seeds for Einstein’s later attitude

may

have

been

sown during

the

period

covered

by

this volume.

Exchanges

with

prominent

math-

ematicians such

as

Levi-Civita, Hilbert, Klein,

and

Weyl

account

for

a growing per-

centage

of

Einstein’s scientific

correspondence during

the

war

years.

And it

seems

plausible,

as

has often been

suggested,

that

Einstein

took

away

a

powerful

lesson

from

his

experience

in November

1915,

when

Hilbert,

proceeding along entirely

mathematical

lines,

almost

stole his thunder

as

he

was finally getting

close

to

vic-

tory

in his

three-year struggle

to

overcome

various

physical objections

to

generally

covariant

gravitational

field

equations. Yet,

as we

leave Einstein at the end

of

1918,

he is still

relying

on

his

strong physical

intuition

rather

than

on

considerations

of

mathematical

elegance

in his search for

physical

truth.

[1]Vol.

5,

Doc.

493,

note 4.

[2]By

comparison,

the full

range

of

correspondence

presented in Volume

5

for the twelve

years

from

1902 until 1914 extends to just

over

500 documents.

[3]

Prospective

members

were

the scientific

paladins

of

Berlin: Fritz

Haber,

Walther

Nernst,

Max

Planck,

Heinrich

Rubens,

and

Emil

Warburg.

Einstein

was

to

be

“permanent honorary secretary”

(see

Vol.

5,

Doc.

513,

note

6).

[4]Due

to withdrawal

of

support by

the Prussian

government

at the outbreak

of

the

war

(see

Doc.

18,

note

1).

[5]Letters to

Otto

Naumann,

Adolf

von

Harnack,

Hugo

Kruss,

and Ernst

Trendelenburg.

[6]Einstein’s maternal

aunt

and

uncle,

Fanny

and

Rudolf

Einstein.

[7]Vol. 5,

Doc. 424.

[8]Gülzow

1969,

p.

234.

[9]Vol.

1,

Doc.

16.

[10]See, e.g.,

Fölsing 1993,

pp.

446-449.

[11]Einstein to

Kurt

Blumenfeld,

25 March 1955.

[12]See

Vol.

6, Introduction,

sec.

5,

for

a more

detailed

discussion of

these

papers.

[13]Einstein

1916j,

1916n

(Vol.

6,

Docs. 34 and

38).

[14]

See

Vol. 5,

Doc.

364, note 6,

for

more

details.

[15]Einstein

1913c

(Vol.

4,

Doc.

17).