Letters from kids to Einstein
November 16, 2002 7:52 AM   Subscribe

Letters from kids to Einstein - NYT article. I love the simple outlook kids have. The few replies from Einstein included seem to have the same simple flavor. We could use more Einsteins, not just brain but conscience.
posted by yoga (9 comments total)
This Christmas I'm going to go down to the post office and get a handful of letters to Einstein to answer, instead of letters to Santa Claus.
posted by Mo Nickels at 7:56 AM on November 16, 2002

I agree. Modern scientists have no conscience and they're probably mean to childern as well.
posted by lazy-ville at 8:06 AM on November 16, 2002

These are lovely, yoga, thanks.

I particularly like (and not for humor value, just for quality) his response to the question of humans being animals. It's a model for how teachers should speak:

Dear Children:

We should not ask "What is an animal" but "what sort of thing do we call an animal?" Well, we call something an animal which has certain characteristics: it takes nourishment, it descends from parents similar to itself, it grows, it moves by itself, it dies if its time has run out. That's why we call the worms, the chicken, the dog, the monkey an animal. What about us humans? Think about it in the above mentioned way and then decide for yourselves whether it is a natural thing to regard ourselves as animals.

With kind regards,
Albert Einstein
January 17, 1953

What would our world be like if all children had been talked to this way during childhood?
posted by argybarg at 10:08 AM on November 16, 2002

this is about the cutest thing ever.
posted by oog at 10:59 AM on November 16, 2002

What would our world be like if all children had been talked to this way during childhood?

No kidding! Or even if adults were addressed that way, for that matter. (We're all big kids, right?)

When I was in 1st grade, I misspelled beautiful as 'beatiful'. When my teacher came around to correct me, she gently said, "Well, this is how we spell it," and added the 'u'. I remember thinking, "oh, ok.", instead of, "gee I'm an idiot". If all my teachers had been that way, I'd be so much better off!
posted by yoga at 11:04 AM on November 16, 2002

conscience? didn't einstein beat his first wife and wasn't he married multiple times?
posted by banished at 11:52 AM on November 16, 2002

This guy was a regular Einstein. About a year ago the times did a piece on his Love Letters.
posted by Duck_Lips at 1:44 PM on November 16, 2002

conscience - my reference was to his letters to FDR, found here, and to his thoughts from The World as I See It:

"This topic brings me to that worst outcrop of herd life, the military system, which I abhor... This plague-spot of civilization ought to be abolished with all possible speed...

As for his personal life: online research turned up no reference to physical abuse, but he did have several affairs. He wasn't perfect.
posted by yoga at 3:41 PM on November 16, 2002

Well, there is life on this planet where there is no light, in the ocians, powered by heat from the earth's core. Without the sun, that stuff might survive.

I also think that if this were to happen some of humanity could survive underground, powered by nukes or geothermal energy
posted by delmoi at 9:25 PM on November 16, 2002

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