Einstein — A Memoir

  • E. P. Wigner
Part of the Historical, Philosophical, and Socio-Political Papers book series (WIGNER, volume B / 7)


The personal characteristic of Einstein that is most vividly in my mind and that I like to recall most is his feeling of equality with his colleagues, his appreciation and in fact reciprocation of their friendship. My love and early admiration of physics (I studied chemical engineering) owes very much to the seminar he organized in the early twenties in Berlin on statistical mechanics. Many of the participants at the seminar, including myself, were encouraged to visit him at his home, to have personal conversations with him We discussed, at such occasions, not only statistical mechanics, not only physics, but also personal problems, and the problems of society. His deep insights had a lasting effect on most of us, but the exchange of opinions was on an equal basis and he responded with interest to the remarks which his visitors made. In somewhat later years the subject of such conversations often turned toward politics, and his condemnation of all dictatorships, particularly Hitler's, had a great deal of influence on his friends and students. But even as far as the USSR is concerned, he wrote, when he was asked to sign a petition: ‘Because of the glorification of Soviet Russia, which it includes, I cannot bring myself to sign it.’

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2001

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  • E. P. Wigner

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