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Letters from alums about Albert Einstein

May 20, 2004

I enjoyed your article on Albert Einstein (A Final Glimpse At Genius, May 12) .

My first encounter with Einstein was on my first weekend at Princeton. As a newly arrived Canadian, I chose to go paddling on Lake Carnegie. Einstein and a lady companion, possibly Johanna Fantova, were sailing their "primitive" dinghy without oars. The winds had died down and they waved me over. Could I please get them oars? I was thrilled to comply. Sometimes since I have mused about this demonstrated impractical side of genius.

My last encounter with Einstein was far more poignant for me. Towards the end of his life, in the spring of 1952, I attended a chapel service and found him to be the unannounced guest preacher. From the pulpit, he poured his heart out, leaning towards the congregation (including non-believers) with the greatest sincerity. What he said went something like this "Boys, I've lived a long life. I've studied it all. I've thought about it all. (Examples - moon and stars, etc.). And, it's all too perfect for there not to be something" I heard him say that. And, my gawd I thought, Albert Einstein, the world's greatest genius, has just said that he belives in God! Wow!

Stan Stevenson '53
Toronto, Can.

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May 10, 2004

Reading your recent article about Albert Einstein's genius and his wry sense of humor brought to mind an amusing encounter between the great man and two of my roommates — Beach Hazen '36 and Johnnie Sylvester '37.

Hurrying to class along the walk behind Prospect gardens, the boys caught up with Einstein on his way to the physics building. When within a few paces of the scientist, the two clowns began loudly debating the accuracy of a widely accepted truth in elementary mathematics. "Two and two equals three!" proclaimed one of the jokers.

The other retorted, "No, no, two plus two is five!"

After several reprises of this silly argument, Einstein about-faced, shook his finger at the boys, and told them to pipe down. "You both are right!", he declared. Then, smiling, he resumed in peace his purposeful walk.

Joseph C. Hazen Jr. ’35
Essex, Conn.

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