physicists and psychologists
January 6, 2006 4:32 PM   Subscribe

Ring of Letters
The Einstein-Freud Correspondence (Einstein furthers the cause of peace)
The Freud-Jung Correspondence (Freud is Jung's father-figure)
The Jung-Pauli Correspondence (A QM founder buys into Jung's synchronicity)
The Pauli-Heisenberg Correspondence (The Uncertainty Principle was a letter to Pauli)
The Heisenberg-Bohr Correspondence (Was Heisenberg a Nazi?)
The Bohr-Einstein Correspondence (What is the fundamental nature of reality?)
posted by vacapinta (33 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Was Heisenberg a Nazi?

We can't be certain.
posted by Protocols of the Elders of Awesome at 4:36 PM on January 6, 2006

posted by cortex at 4:37 PM on January 6, 2006

I thought Heisenberg was the zeppelin that crashed.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:38 PM on January 6, 2006

posted by Protocols of the Elders of Awesome at 4:41 PM on January 6, 2006

Oh, c'mon. You know that Pauli and Einstein must've written each other at least once!
posted by Eideteker at 4:42 PM on January 6, 2006

Nope. Pauli was excluded.
posted by eriko at 4:50 PM on January 6, 2006

Of course the entire ring revolves around Bohr.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:52 PM on January 6, 2006

I started in the middle, happening upon the Pauli-Jung correspondence. Here's an excerpt from that link:

"In 1952 Jung, and Pauli published a juxtaposition of their ideas in The Interpretation of Nature and the Psyche. In their work, they crossed paths on complementary vectors.

As the phenomenal world is an aggregate of the processes of atomic magnitude, it is naturally of the greatest importance to find out whether, and if so how, the photons (shall we say) enable us to gain a definite knowledge of the reality underlying the mediative energy processes Light and matter both behave like separate particles and also like waves. This . . . obliged us to abandon, on the plane of atomic magnitudes, a causal description of nature in the ordinary space-time system, and in its place to set up invisible fields of probability in multidimensional spaces.2

Pauli? No, Jung.

Division and reduction of symmetry, this then the kernel of the brute! The former is an ancient attribute of the devil If only the two divine contenders--Christ and the devil--could notice that they have grown so much more symmetrical!3

Jung? No, Pauli, in a letter written a year before his death to Werner Heisenberg, a lifelong friend and colleague. "
posted by vacapinta at 4:54 PM on January 6, 2006

Very nice post. Kudos.
posted by languagehat at 5:06 PM on January 6, 2006

Fascinating. I love that picture of Bohr and Einstein in the last link.
And this, from Einstein's letter to Freud, in the first link:
It would almost appear that the very domain of human activity most crucial to the fate of nations is inescapably in the hands of wholly irresponsible political rulers.
Thanks, vacapinta
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 5:08 PM on January 6, 2006

Fan. Freaking. Tastic.
posted by gleuschk at 5:28 PM on January 6, 2006

Thanks, nthdegx. I came up with the "brilliant" plan to google up the cache of the article to avoid NYtimes reg. hassles but messed up the link.
posted by vacapinta at 5:33 PM on January 6, 2006

its cool how all these old leters exist. Sadly, email will never have the same perminance.
posted by delmoi at 5:46 PM on January 6, 2006

delmoi: Huh? Paper degrades, and is tedious to duplicate. Email requires much less effort to preserve...
posted by phrontist at 5:50 PM on January 6, 2006

I approve of this. Coolness.
posted by parki at 6:05 PM on January 6, 2006

phrontist, optical discs degrade, magnetic likewise; hard drives crash; tapes get corrupted; and any and all of these can be damaged beyond repair by a fire or a flood or any number of other things likely to hurt paper as well.

Serious, systematic efforts for duplication and redundancy can make archival more practical, but few people will take such precautions.
posted by cortex at 6:05 PM on January 6, 2006

This is good! Thanks!
posted by Freen at 6:14 PM on January 6, 2006

Excellent job!
posted by StarForce5 at 6:44 PM on January 6, 2006

Paper degrades, and is tedious to duplicate. Email requires much less effort to preserve...

Someday, historians will thank their lucky stars for the NSA.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 7:46 PM on January 6, 2006

This is great. I've been wanting to read the Pauli-Jung correspondence for a while.
posted by painquale at 9:33 PM on January 6, 2006

excellent post!
posted by arcticwoman at 9:42 PM on January 6, 2006

Unless I'm missing something, in which case please enlighten me, with the exception of the first link, which is actual correspondence between Einstein and Freud, the rest of the links are merely descriptive reviews by other people, which I found disappointing.
posted by semmi at 9:56 PM on January 6, 2006

Unless I'm mistaken, I dont think most people are aware of the extensive cross-fertilization going on among the leading thinkers in areas from physics to psychology during this time.

Many of the Pauli letters have not yet been released but there is speculation that they will show that Pauli had a greater role in much of the work today credited to Heisenberg than is currently believed.

Although the primary sources are (as above) not released or only available in print today, I linked to some deeper reviews about the flavor of the correspondence and the effects on the men involved.

The article on Jung-Pauli in particular shows how much one of the main founders of quantum mechanics was delving into spirtituality and mysticism. To be honest, i thought that would be a decent single-link post in itself but as I was reading more about the exchange of ideas at the time I realized that the correspondences I had found formed a nice little ring. So i decided to post and share this with others even with the dearth of primary sources available on the web.
posted by vacapinta at 10:17 PM on January 6, 2006

Excellent post! Thank you, vacapinta.
posted by madamjujujive at 10:22 PM on January 6, 2006

So cool! You can even hear Einstein talk about nuclear weapons and world peace.
posted by sacrilicious at 12:56 AM on January 7, 2006

Not one of these exchanges quite reaches the intellectual heights of The Gossage—Vardebedian Papers.
posted by MrMustard at 2:07 AM on January 7, 2006

By far my favourite post of the year so far!
posted by Marquis at 6:48 AM on January 7, 2006

"Thanks, nthdegx. I came up with the "brilliant" plan to google up the cache of the article to avoid NYtimes reg. hassles but messed up the link."

Aye, smart move. I just get distracted by pretty colours ;)
posted by nthdegx at 7:49 AM on January 7, 2006

Great stuff vacapinta.

This from the Bohr-Heisenberg correspondence. A letter written by Bohr to Heisenberg but never sent in 1962.

...what I am thinking of ... is the conversation we had in my office at the Institute, during which... I carefully fixed in my mind every word that was uttered. It had to make a very strong impression on me that at the very outset you stated that you felt certain that the war, if it lasted sufficiently long, would be decided with atomic weapons. At that time I had no knowledge at all of the preparations that were under way in England and America, and when I did not reply and perhaps looked doubtful, you told me that I had to understand that in recent years you had occupied yourself almost exclusively with this question and were certain that it could be done. ...There was no hint on your part that efforts were being made by German physicists to prevent such an application of atomic science. alarm was not lessened by hearing from the others at the Institute that Weizsäcker had stated how fortunate it would be for the position of science in Germany after the victory that you could help so significantly towards this end.
posted by storybored at 8:11 AM on January 7, 2006

flagged as excellent!
posted by moonbird at 8:49 AM on January 7, 2006

In what language(s) where these letters originally written?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:38 AM on January 7, 2006

Excellent post!
posted by OmieWise at 12:56 PM on January 9, 2006

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