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Australia Albert Einstein wrote a letter 72 years ago that showed his curiosity about birds and bees

11:05  13 may  2021
11:05  13 may  2021 Source:   abc.net.au

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Einstein wrote in his letters to Marić that he preferred studying alongside her.[35] In 1900, Einstein passed the exams in Maths and Physics and was awarded the Federal teaching diploma.[36] There is eyewitness evidence and several letters over many years that indicate Marić might have Much of his work at the patent office related to questions about transmission of electric signals and electrical-mechanical synchronization of time, two technical problems that show up conspicuously in the thought experiments that eventually led Einstein to his radical conclusions about the nature of light and the

A letter penned by Albert Einstein which is rare for containing his famous 'E = mc²' mass–energy equivalence formula has gone on sale for the sum of £282,000. The German-born theoretical physicist corresponded with a fellow researcher in October 1946, telling him a question Given this, the formula shows how a small amount of mass at rest is equal to a massive amount of energy. This accounts, for example, for the phenomenal amounts of energy that can be released by nuclear reactions, which convert tiny amounts of mass into energy. E = mc² was derived by Albert Einstein as a result of his

Albert Einstein sitting at a desk in front of a window: German-born physicist Albert Einstein in his study at Princeton University, where he met Karl von Frisch in 1949. (Getty Images: Ernst Haas/Contributor) © Provided by ABC NEWS German-born physicist Albert Einstein in his study at Princeton University, where he met Karl von Frisch in 1949. (Getty Images: Ernst Haas/Contributor)

Developing groundbreaking physics theories wasn't the only thing on Albert Einstein's mind.

It turns out he also had a keen interest in the birds and the bees.

In a previously unknown letter penned by the Nobel prize-winning physicist, Einstein considered whether new physics insights could come from studying how animals sense the world around them.

The short letter was addressed to Glyn Davys, an engineer with the Royal British Navy, in October 1949, and mentioned the prominent bee researcher Karl von Frisch.

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The story of Albert Einstein ’s ‘God Letter ’, his single most famous letter on the subject of God, his Jewish identity, and man’s eternal search for meaning, which sold for ,892,500 — a world record for an Einstein letter — at Christie’s in New York. This private, remarkably candid letter was addressed to Eric Gutkind, whose book, Choose Life: The Biblical Call to Revolt, had been published the year before. Two months after writing to Gutkind, Einstein would celebrate his 75th birthday, declaring that he was ‘a deeply religious non-believer’.

Albert Einstein is known all over the world as a brilliant physicist and the founder of the theory of relativity. He is perhaps the greatest scientist of the 20th century. Some of his ideas made possible the A-bombs, as well as TV and other inventions. In 1921 Einstein received the Nobel Prize for Physics and became very famous. A Jew, and a pacifist, he was attacked by the Nazis, and when Hitler came to power in 1933 he decided to settle in the USA. In 1939 Albert Einstein wrote a letter to President Roosevelt, at the request of several prominent physicists, outlining the military potential of nuclear

Its content suggests that Einstein's thought processes were ahead of his time, with research on animal sensory systems not emerging for another seven decades.

The letter, which was studied by a team led by RMIT researchers, was published this week in The Journal of Comparative Physiology A.

Adrian Dyer, a vision scientist at RMIT in Melbourne, said the letter demonstrated that Einstein was curious about science outside of physics and mathematics.

"One of the reasons I think Einstein is still so well known and prominent in today's society is that he had a very multidisciplinary way of thinking about the world," said Dr Dyer, who co-authored the paper on the letter.

Bees learn maths and a letter resurfaces

In 2019, Scarlett Howard, who studies bee cognition at Monash University in Melbourne, and colleagues published a series of papers demonstrating bees' cognitive powers, such as their ability to grasp the concept of zero and solve simple maths problems.

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Quotes tagged as " albert - einstein " Showing 1-30 of 72 . “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” “Much later, when I discussed the problem with Einstein , he remarked that the introduction of the cosmological term was the biggest blunder he ever made in his life. But this 'blunder,' rejected by Einstein , is still sometimes used by cosmologists even today, and the cosmological constant denoted by the Greek letter Λ rears its ugly head again and again and again.”

This writer has heard this quote for years and always grown up with the assumption that it was, in fact, from Einstein himself. In hindsight, it should make sense that Einstein never said this as his work remains some of the most complex and thorough explanations of modern physics. However, it still doesn't belong to Einstein . Matthew Kelly started a chapter of his self-help book The Rhythm of Life: Living Every Day with Passion and Purpose with the quote. The actual origins of similar quotes have a much older history. Aesop and such stories contained plenty of animal-based aphorisms.

"If we showed them three blue dots, we trained them to add one, and if we showed them three yellow dots, then they needed to subtract one," said Dr Howard, also a co-author of the paper.

"We basically taught them plus one and minus one."

The research grabbed the spotlight in the media, but also caught the eye of Judith Davys, a widow living in the UK.

Ms Davys had read the researchers' paper on bees' mathematical problem-solving abilities, and reached out to Dr Dyer about a 72-year-old letter she had kept.

The letter, which was addressed to her late husband Mr Davys, was from none other than Einstein.

After verifying with the Albert Einstein Archives at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem that the letter was genuine, Dr Dyer and his team spent a year analysing it and piecing together what prompted Einstein to write it.

A lasting impression

The team suspected the letter was a reply to Mr Davys, who studied the use of radar to detect ships and aircraft, a top-secret research topic at the time.

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Albert Einstein is known to have loved children, and many of them must have sensed this affection and therefore felt free to write to him over the years . Obviously, he did not have time to answer them all. Yet some of the letters , questions, or the children themselves must have held special appeal to him, and they are the ones who were lucky enough to receive a reply. The simple tone and nature of this correspondence make them an ideal compilation for readers of all ages. Some of the approximately sixty children's letters you will read in this little book were written with all the innocence and spelling

20. Though I … swim well some years ago , once I … to help a drowning man. 21. No man … serve two masters. 22. In Ancient Rome traffic was so bad that Julius Caesar … to ban all wheeled vehicles during daylight hours. 10. Scientists … be completely sure how birds know where to migrate: some believe that they … have a built-in compass that senses the Earth's magnetic field. 11. The American President is elected for four years of serv- ice and … be re-elected for four additional years . 12. I believe him, he … deceive me.

To put the letter in context, the researchers dived into archives of news articles that had been published in England in 1949.

They found a news story that discussed von Frisch's discovery that honey bees use polarised sunlight — which travels in one direction — to find their way around, a finding that eventually earned him a Nobel Prize in 1973.

The story had been published in The Guardian newspaper in London in July, 1949, which may have prompted Mr Davys to write to Einstein.

The team also discovered that Einstein had attended a lecture by von Frisch at Princeton University in April 1949.

The following day, Einstein and von Frisch met in private, and while there are no records of what the two scientists discussed, Einstein's letter to Mr Davys offers a clue.

“I am well acquainted with Mr. v. Frisch’s admirable investigations," Einstein wrote in his letter to Mr Davys.

Dr Dyer said the letter's opening line suggested von Frisch's bee discoveries had made an impression on Einstein.

"The fact that Einstein took the time to go and listen to von Frisch's lecture, meet with him after and then respond to Davys later, means that he was very aware that to do good research, it's good to look at other opportunities and other ways of thinking about the world," Dr Dyer said.

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The secrets of animal senses

In the letter, Einstein went on to discuss whether studying bees could help uncover new physics insights.

"But I cannot see a possibility to utilize those results in the investigation concerning the basis of physics," Einstein wrote.

"Such could only be the case if a new kind of sensory perception, resp. of their stimuli, would be revealed through the behaviour of the bees."

Andrew Greentree, a physicist at RMIT, said Einstein's comments here reflected that the physics of the time could not explain sensory perception in animals.

For instance, concepts that we are now beginning to understand — such as the way dolphins and bats use sound as a navigation guide — were not understood then, said Professor Greentree, one of the paper's co-authors.

But there is still more to learn about the connections between biology and physics.

"Biology is perhaps the ultimate proving ground for physics," Professor Greentree said.

"Nature — using nothing more complicated than natural selection — has taken subtle effects and turned them into wondrous and practical features of the world around us."

A scientist ahead of his time

The limited knowledge of animal sensing at the time didn't stop Einstein from exploring the possibilities.

In just one sentence, Einstein proposed that studying animal behaviours could be the key to new discoveries, decades before scientists began unravelling how animals perceive their environment.

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"It is thinkable that the investigation of the behaviour of migratory birds and carrier pigeons may someday lead to the understanding of some physical process which is not yet known," Einstein wrote.

Indeed, research over the past decade has revealed how birds use the Earth's magnetic field to help keep them on track while migrating over thousands of kilometres.

And one of the theories for birds' magnetic-sensing capabilities is underpinned by ideas that Einstein proposed himself: quantum randomness and entanglement.

While Einstein dismissed these physics concepts as "spooky action at a distance", research today shows he was actually onto something when it comes to how birds perceive magnetic fields.

Quantum randomness and entanglement suggests certain chemical reactions that occur in light-sensitive proteins in bird retinas are influenced by the Earth's magnetic field, enabling birds to use it like a compass.

Professor Greentree said Einstein's musings suggested he was broad-minded and willing to share his ideas with anyone who asked a question.

"He was open to new ideas about the origins of sensory perception, even if they might conflict with the physics that he himself helped to forge," Professor Greentree said.

Dr Dyer said we could all learn something from Einstein's letter.

"If elite-level researchers like Einstein were willing to look at information with very open eyes, then perhaps we should all have very open eyes for how we approach new solutions for the world," Dr Dyer said.

"apicultural stops" and "honey highways" to preserve bees in urban areas .
© Ihor Hvozdetskyi / Shutterstock according to numbers of the international union for the conservation of nature, a kind of bees and Of ten European butterflies is threatened with extinction. "Avangles of honey", hotels for bees, apicultural stops ... In Europe, citizen and municipal initiatives to protect bees blooming, whether to enable them to feed or find a shelter.

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