I N T R O D U C T I O N T O V O L U M E 9 l i
be produced by identifying the electromagnetic field components with some of the
Christoffel symbols. Einstein’s initial reaction was very positive. He at first liked
Kaluza’s idea “very much,” and considered it much more promising “from the
physical point of view than the mathematically probing approach by Weyl” (Doc.
26). But after receiving the manuscript, and after discussion of some preliminary
questions about its physical viability, he found a serious objection that Kaluza was
unable to refute. With this objection, Einstein, for the time being, held back his sub-
mission of Kaluza’s paper, despite his “respect for its beauty and daring” (Doc. 48).
While he dismissed Weyl’s and Kaluza’s theories on grounds of being, respec-
tively, “removed from factual reality” (Doc. 332) and empirically inadequate, Ein-
stein would nevertheless eventually elaborate on Weyl’s theory in a publication of
Likewise, Kaluza’s approach would give rise to a later joint publi-
cation of Einstein and Jakob Grommer on the existence of regular, spherically sym-
metric solutions in the five-dimensional
By late 1919, Einstein was overwhelmed by public attention, and his scientific
and administrative activities were trumped by public demands. The success of the
eclipse expedition was hailed by those who, like Einstein and Eddington, sought
postwar reconciliation in the international scientific community. His newly won
fame could be put to good use. Yet the turmoil also extended to the unfortunate
Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) gold medal “affair.” In December 1919 the
RAS voted to award its annual prize to Einstein. By January 1920, however, the
confirming vote at the RAS council meeting failed to meet the required two-thirds
majority, and as a result, no gold medal would be awarded. Eddington, who had
earlier notified Einstein of the expected prize, was obliged to report the embarrass-
ing reversal (Doc. 271). News of what would have been a remarkable distinction,
given the political circumstances, had leaked as far as Vienna (Doc. 319), as did
subsequent reports that it was not to be (Doc. 319). Eventually, as the German press
attempted to come to grips with conflicting reports, at times taking the failed vote
as evidence of British resentment toward Germany, Einstein was obliged to say
publicly that he had not received a medal (see entry of 9 March 1920 in Calendar).
The outcry for and against the award both in England and in Germany reflected the
swiftly intensifying public interest in anything related to Einstein, as well as of the
uncertain relations and perceptions between two former enemy nations.
Although the general public was not able to appreciate the complexity of Ein-
stein’s scientific achievement, the wide publicity accorded to him in the daily Eu-
ropean press was contributing to the emergence of an “Einstein cult.” Both Einstein
and Elsa sensed the idolatry (Doc. 244 and Calendar entry of 10 December 1919):
for the Allies, Einstein was a Swiss scholar, not to be barred from the international
scientific community; in Germany, he was hailed as the representative of the
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