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Three letters written by Albert Einstein in 1945 are up for auction and offer an intriguing glimpse into the renowned physicist's criticisms of how scientists were interpreting physics at the quantum level.
The letters, which were addressed to Caltech theoretical physicist Paul Epstein, describe Einstein's qualms about quantum theory, which he called "incomplete" in one letter.
Letters - Pages - Diagrams - Auction - Block
The letters — eight pages of German writing and hand-drawn diagrams — will hit the auction block at Christie's in New York today (June 12) at 2 p.m. ET, as part of the "Fine Printed Books and Manuscripts Including Americana" auction.
Einstein's words in the letters demonstrate his fraught relationship with quantum physics, or the theories that describe the world of the very small (atoms and the subatomic particles inside them). For decades, he famously clashed with physicist Niels Bohr, whose views on the workings of the quantum world stated that particles behave differently when they are observed.
Element - Uncertainty - Behavior - Quantum - Particles
This introduced a fundamental element of uncertainty into the behavior of quantum particles; Einstein soundly rejected this perspective. Instead, Einstein argued that the rules for even tiny particles must be consistent whether the particles were observed or not.
"God tirelessly plays dice"
Einstein - Opinion - Physics - Letters - Phrase
Einstein described his "private opinion" of quantum physics in one of the 1945 letters by referencing a phrase that he had already made famous: "God does not play dice with the universe." In the letter, he wrote: "God tirelessly...
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