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[文化博览] 【整理】2012-04-13 阿尔伯特·爱因斯坦 Einstein—13

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They said if we bring Einstein here, people will look at this and say Berlin is where the action is. It's worth whatever it takes to get him here.

On July 11, 1913, two men arrived at Zurich train station, Max Planck and Walther Nernst, a renowned German chemist. They are hoping that a personal appeal will pursuade the rebellious young scientist to return to his German homeland.

Two men, middle aged guys in dark clothes, get off the train and they go find Einstein.

They are so different. Max Planck is very proper Prussian, always very well dressed and well-groomed, wearing the monocle, talking in very formal tones. And then there is Einstein in his refusing, even back then, to comb his hair and dressed in, you know, sort of old coats and however he feels like I already starting not to wear socks.

They made a great offer to him. He will be a professor at the University of Berlin. He will be a member of the Prussian Academy. He won't really have to teach classes. He will have all the research help he needs.

It was Max Planck. It was Nernst. It was the Prussian Academy of Sciences. It was the entire world of physics that had said no, bearing down and saying we want you.

Einstein did not answer the offer. Einstein says why don't you just go and take a trip for the rest of the afternoon up the mountain.

He said I will meet you at the train station when you come back. I will be carrying a bunch of flowers. And if the flowers are red, I'm coming to German; if the flowers are white, sorry though go, thanks for coming.

I've made the argument that Einstein delayed his answer to this question in part because he sort of wanted to leave with the pleasure of being so deeply sought after.

But it's certainly true that this was not simply a snapped decision. As he often does when he has a difficult problem to solve, Einstein takes a long walk.

Zurich was comfortable. There was lots to love there, you know, you don't just sort of walk away from there.

His wife really wants to stay in Zurich. On the other hand, they've offered him the greatest job imaginable.
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