Albert Einstein: A Biographical Portrait by Anton Reiser, Rudolf Kayser, Albert Einstein

By Anton Reiser, Rudolf Kayser, Albert Einstein

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If he had been discovered, he would have been ridiculed as well as harmed. The Director would have laughed at him in addition to being angry; he was too great a positivist to think much of speculative science. Shortly after Albert had made his appearance at the Patent-Office, he had been joined by a young engineer caIled Besso who had been his friend at Zurich. Besso was one of the finest and most versatile talents imaginable. He was equally interested in technology, physics and sociology, and was of sound judgment in these as in all phases of life.

In so far as his administrative duties and social connections do not make for spiritual expansion and scientific discussion, they are superficialities from which he gladly withdraws. The modest circumstances of the German university at Prague did not make too many demands 011 him in a social direction. His connections were limited to German circles. He had not mastered the Czech language. Now the accepted language of the country, Czech at that time did not yet rule the city. It was spoken only in low circles and among the Czech revolutionaries, who already represented a strong, united political group.

The Zurich professor was not very pleased and wrinkled his brow. At the close of the session, Kleiner spoke quite frankly to Einstein. But there was no fear in the youthful face, no plea for indulgence, as Kleiner probably expected. Albert calmly explained that a professorship was quite unnecessary to him, he could perfectly well stay at Bern, and suggested that Zurich possessed another capable man, his fellow classmate, Friedrich Adler. Adler’s chances were very favorable. He was not only an excellent physicist, but his socialistic tendencies had found the protection of the director of public education, who was likewise a socialist.

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