Friday, 20 February 2009

Background reading

I just spent a fantastic few hours at the Einstein Papers Project on CalTech campus. Einstein bequeathed all his papers to Jerusalem University, but a copy of them all is stored at CalTech, where they are gradually being translated (most are in German) and published. The archive includes correspondence between Einstein and Eddington, discussing the expedition and later works, as well as the fiasco over the Royal Astronomical Society Gold Medal, which was planned to be awarded to Einstein in 1920, but wasn't. Wow, scientific progress in those days was slow, being conducted by transatlantic airmail... and maybe more thoughtful than astro-ph... The archive also includes letters Eddington wrote to his mother during his (long) journey to Principe and from the island. More on those to follow.