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brain sizes: Einstein's and women's

Cary Kittrell cary at afone.as.arizona.edu
Tue Oct 29 11:50:13 EST 2002

In article <Vbnv9.45836$C53.1979516 at news2.west.cox.net> "John Knight" <jwknight at polbox.com> writes:
<You believe any jew LIE that's written, don't you, cary?

Yeah, that noted "jew", Walter Sullivan.  The most respected journalistic
popularizer of science of the last twenty-five years or so.  I met
Sullivan, John, when he was out here doing research for a New York Times 
article on astronomy.  Notice that word, "research"?  "Research" is not
defined as "sitting on one's ass making up convenient facts".  Sullivan
was doing the former, you do the latter.

He was a most impressive intellect.

So, your question comes down to "Do I believe someone with a 
quarter century of dead-nuts accurate articles on science, or
do I believe John Knight, who ... well, who is John Knight"?

Ah geez, what to do, what to do...

You've seen one of my sources Bunky, now it's your turn: what is 
your source -- and it better be a damned good one -- for your
claim that Einstein flunked algebra?

You're busted again, Johnny.  Doesn't you ever grow weary of it?

-- cary

<> Copyright 1984 The New York Times Company
<>                                The New York Times
<>               February 14, 1984, Tuesday, Late City Final Edition
<> SECTION: Section C; Page 1, Column 5; Science Desk
<>  BODY:
<>    CONTRARY to a popular legend that has given comfort to countless
<> slow starters, young Albert Einstein was remarkably gifted in
<> mathematics, algebra and physics, academic records recently acquired
<> from Swiss archives show.
<>     The records, contained in a collection of the great theorist's
<> papers now being prepared for publication at Princeton, confirm that
<> Einstein was a  child prodigy, conversant in college physics before he
<> was 11 years old, a ''brilliant'' violin player who got high marks in
<> Latin and Greek. But his inability to master French was the bane of
<> his school days, and may have been chiefly responsible for his failing
<> college entrance examinations.
<>    The documents ''place Einstein in the context of his times much
<> more  than in the past, providing details of his education in Germany
<> and  Switzerland and his more human contacts,'' said Dr. John Stachel,
<> editor  of the papers.
<>    A prime objective of Princeton University Press, which plans to
<> publish the first volume of the Einstein papers in 1985 after years of
<> controversy and lawsuits, is to seek out the roots of Einstein's
<> sudden  penetration to a deeper understanding of nature. The series
<> may run to 38 volumes when complete.
<>    The initial volume includes Einstein's first scientific essay,
<> dealing  with the effect of magnetism on the hypothetical ''ether.''
<> It was written  when he was 16, apparently as part of his first,
<> unsuccessful effort to gain  admission to the Federal Institute of
<> Technology in Zurich.
<>    Although some Einstein biographers have disputed the widely held
<> belief that Einstein was a poor student, the papers at Princeton lay
<> this to rest, once and for all. According to Dr. Stachel, those who
<> saw  Einstein's academic records may have been misled by a reversal in
<> the grading system of his school in Aargau, Switzerland.
<>    Those records show that, for two successive terms, when Einstein
<> was  16, his mark in arithmetic and algebra was 1 on a scale of 6, in
<> which 1  was the highest grade. For the next term his mark was 6,
<> which would have  been the lowest grade,except that the grading scale
<> had been reversed by school officials.
<>    Examination of the papers, now numbering in the tens of thousands,
<> is a journey into the academic world of the 19th century, with
<> emphasis, in Einstein's elementary school experience in Munich, on
<> regimentation and  learning by rote. The curriculum, however, was less
<> rigid in the  preparatory school heattended in Switzerland.
<>     {...}
<> Neglected Math for Physics
<>    His academic records there were destroyed in World War II, but Dr.
<> Stachel and his colleagues at Princeton have in hand a letter sent to
<> a Munich  newspaper in 1929 by H. Wieleitner, then principal of the
<> Luitpold  Gymnasium. He had examined Einstein's school record to
<> refute a report  in a Berlin magazine that Einstein had been a very
<> poor student.
<>    With 1 as the highest grade and 6 the lowest, the principal
<> reported, Einstein's marks in Greek, Latin and mathematics oscillated
<> between 1  and 2 until, toward the end, he invariably scored 1 in
<> math. Nevertheless, as  pointed out by Banesh Hoffmann of Queens
<> College in his book on  Einstein, the latter confessed that he later
<> neglected mathematics in favor of physics.
<>    Another testament to his childhood precocity comes from Dr. Max
<> Talmey, who, as a medical student in Munich, knew Einstein when he was
<> ten and a half years old. His ''exceptional intelligence,'' Talmey
<> wrote  later in a book, enabled him to discuss with a college graduate
<> ''subjects far beyond the comprehension'' of so young a child.
<>    Talmey gave him two books on physics, one of which was entitled
<> ''Force and Matter,'' as though anticipating Einstein's famous
<> definition  of the relationship between mass and energy.
<> A Weakness in French
<>   It was chiefly Einstein's weakness in French that led to his failure
<> to  pass the entrance examinations for the Federal Technical Institute
<> in Zurich. According to the documents assembled at Princeton, he had
<> been allowed to  take the examinations even though he was two years
<> younger than the normal  admission age of 18, thanks in part to
<> intervention by a family friend.
<>    The friend was Gustav Maier, whose banking house in Ulm, Germany,
<> many  years earlier had been on the same street as the feather-bedding
<> factory of Einstein'sgrandfather. Maier wrote to Albin Herzog, head of
<> the Zurich institute, which was then as now of international repute,
<> extolling Einstein's genius and urging that he be allowed to take the
<> exam even thoughhe lacked a school diploma.
<>    While Maier's letter has not been found, the archives of the Zurich
<> institutehave produced Herzog's reply. ''In my opinion,'' he wrote,
<> ''it is not advisable to remove even so-called 'Wunderkinder' from an
<> institution in which they have begun studies before they have been
<> fully completed.''
<>    He recommended that Einstein finish his preparatory studies, but
<> said hecould take the examinations if he wished. When Einstein failed
<> them, Herzog suggested that he enter the Aargau Cantonal School, whose
<> graduates were automatically admitted to the institute. This was the
<> course that Einstein followed and he was admitted to the Zurich
<> institute in 1896.
<> Faulty Essay Gives Insights
<>    Before that, at Aargau, French was almost his nemesis. Swiss
<> archives have produced the minutes of a teacher's conference held on
<> March 15, 1899, in which it was noted that a written reprimand from
<> the French teacher had been entered in Einstein's record.
<>    When he finally graduated this blemish was again noted. He was
<> ''promoted with protest in French,'' his transcript read.
<>    It may be that Einstein, reared in a German-speaking environment,
<> had difficulty competing with Swiss students who, though in the
<> German- speaking region, were taught French from childhood.
<>    The essay that Einstein wrote in French on his original examination
<> for acceptance at the institute in Zurich was full of errors, but also
<> very revealing. It is quoted in part by Abraham Pais in his recent
<> book on  Einstein, ''Subtle Is the Lord.''
<>   Entitled ''My Future Projects,'' the essay says he hopes to
<> concentrate on mathematics and physics. ''I see myself becoming a
<> teacher of these  branches of natural science, chosing the theoretical
<> part of these  sciences.''
<>    ''Here are the causes which have led me to this plan,'' he
<> continued.  ''It is above all my personal disposition toward abstract
<> thought and mathematics, lack of imagination and of practical
<> talent.''
<>    The Aargau records include an ''inspector's report'' on 17 students
<> of the violin and piano. ''One student, named Einstein'' it says,
<> ''gave a brilliant, as well as understanding, rendition of an adagio
<> from a Beethoven sonata.'' Einstein continued to play the violin
<> during his years at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton,
<> until his death in 1955.

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