EINSTEIN, Albert. Typed letter signed ("A. Einstein.") to Moses Gordon, Princeton, N.J., 14 October 1943. 1 page, 4to, on Einstein's personal stationery, separate envelope. [With:] Carbon copies of two letters from Gordon to Einstein, 17 September 1941 and 14 October 1943. Together 9 pages, 4to.
EINSTEIN TO A BLIND SCIENTIST ON QUANTUM THEORY: "SUCH [A] SOLUTION CAN BE FOUND ONLY IN A DEEP CHANGE OF OUR FUNDAMENTAL IDEAS IN PHYSICS"
Einstein thoughtfully considers theoretical questions of Moses Gordon, a blind scientist of Brooklyn, N.Y., who writes that "I just finished reading The Evolution of Physics...in the embossed braille edition, since I cannot see." The Russian born Gordon, who designed a portion of the New York Subway system before graduating from the Brooklyn College of Pharmacy, lost most of his eyesight when struck by a car in 1931. After a 1942 meeting with Einstein in Princeton, Gordon here inquires about possible applications of the new quantum theory to light. Einstein explains: "That a pure wave theory of light is not sufficient for an explanation of the energetic qualities of light has been concluded before it was known that in the light electronical effect the velocities are independent from the intensity of the light. It is no question that the electro-magnetical wave theory is not sufficient to explain the totality of light phenomena. The present quantum theory is a partial solution of those difficulties. But I am convinced that a real understanding of the quantum phenomena will be found in the future in an other [sic] way. The difficulty must be connected with the understanding of atomistic constitution of matter. Despite the hard work of the theoretical physicists a satisfactory solution has not been found, but it is sure that such solution can be found only in a deep change of our fundamental ideas in physics."
The book which provoked Gordon's question, The Evolution of Physics (1937), was a collaboration between Einstein and Leopold Infeld and was conceived as a text on modern physics for the layman. It described "the rise and fall of the mechanical view of the natural world, the concept of field, the idea of relativity, and the development of the quantum theory, " and was "far more than a survey of physics," constituting "[a] connection between the world of ideas and the world of phenomena" (Clark, Einstein, The Life and Times, p. 656). Together three items. (3)