David Bodanis

Sightseeing Scientist

The Travel Diaries of Albert Einstein: The Far East, Palestine & Spain, 1922–1923

By

Princeton University Press 357pp £29.95 order from our bookshop

In the summer of 1922, Albert Einstein was getting ready to leave Berlin forever. The German foreign minister, Walther Rathenau, had just been shot in broad daylight, largely for being a Jew, and although many Germans were dismayed, some conservatives thought it was a wonderful thing.

Einstein himself was in danger. Already nationalists had held rallies against his ‘Jewish science’, and he had been warned that he was ‘supposedly among the group of persons being targeted by nationalist assassins’. There was a gyrocompass factory in Kiel where he could get a job, and he began to enquire about the pay. ‘He just had the feeling: get away from here to work in tranquility,’ his wife, Elsa, wrote.

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