Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Future

Einstein and his wife Elsa onboard the ship
Belgenland, December 1930.

“I never think of the future. It comes soon enough.” —Albert Einstein

This aphorism came from an interview onboard the ship Belgenland in December 1930. The Evening Post reported that the welcoming party for Dr. Einstein was “a spectacle unequaled in the history of New York, or, perhaps, the well-known universe.” Einstein jokingly said of the reporters, “These men are like wolves. Every one of them wants to have a bite at me.”

David Senter, a reporter for the International News Service, asked Einstein “Can you explain your theory simply for the masses of America?”

“No, it would take me three days to do it.” was Einstein's reply.

Professor Einstein spoke almost entirely in German, and the barrage of questions and answers were translated for the benefit of the distinguished visitor and reporters by a number of interpreters. When asked whether he had anticipated that the interview would be such a trying ordeal, he quipped “I never think of the future. It comes soon enough.”

Einstein's future would change dramatically a few years later. In 1933, Einstein was again aboard the Belgenland heading for Berlin when they received word that Adolph Hitler had become chancellor of Germany and that Einstein himself had become a target of assassination by the Nazis. Einstein left the ship in Belgium, vowing never to return to Germany. After emigrating to the United States, Albert Einstein became a U.S. citizen in October 1940.

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