Книги по философии

Альберт Эйнштейн
The world as I see it

(страница 4)

In Honour of Arnold Berliner's Seventieth Birthday

(Arnold Berliner is the editor of the periodical Die Naturrvissenschaften.)

I should like to take this opportunity of telling my friend Berliner and the readers of this paper why I rate him and his work so highly. It has to be done here because it is one's only chance of getting such things said; since our training in objectivity has led to a taboo on everything personal, which we mortals may transgress only on quite exceptional occasions such as the present one.

And now, after this dash for liberty, back to the objective! The province of scientifically determined fact has been enormously extended, theoretical knowledge has become vastly more profound in every department of science. But the assimilative power of the human intellect is and remains strictly limited. Hence it was inevitable that the activity of the individual investigator should be confined to a smaller and smaller section of human knowledge. Worse still, as a result of this specialization, it is becoming increasingly difficult for even a rough general grasp of science as a whole, without which the true spirit of research is inevitably handicapped, to keep pace with progress. A situation is developing similar to the one symbolically represented in the Bible by the story of the Tower of Babel. Every serious scientific worker is painfully conscious of this involuntary relegation to an ever-narrowing sphere of knowledge, which is threatening to deprive the investigator of his broad horizon and degrade him to the level of a mechanic.

We have all suffered under this evil, without making any effort to mitigate it. But Berliner has come to the rescue, as far as the German-speaking world is concerned, in the most admirable way: He saw that the existing popular periodicals were sufficient to instruct and stimulate the layman; but he also saw that a first-class, well-edited organ was needed for the guidance of the scientific worker who desired to be put sufficiently au courant of developments in scientific problems, methods, and results to be able to form a judgment of his own. Through many years of hard work he has devoted himself to this object with great intelligence and no less great determination, and done us all, and science, a service for which we cannot be too grateful.

It was necessary for him to secure the co-operation of successful scientific writers and induce them to say what they had to say in a form as far as possible intelligible to non-specialists. He has often told me of the fights he had in pursuing this object, the difficulties of which he once described to me in the following riddle: Question : What is a scientific author? Answer: A cross between a mimosa and a porcupine.* Berliner's achievement would have been impossible but for the peculiar intensity of his longing for a clear, comprehensive view of the largest possible area of scientific country. This feeling also drove him to produce a text-book of physics, the fruit of many years of strenuous work, of which a medical student said to me the other day: "I don't know how I should ever have got a clear idea of the principles of modern physics in the time at my disposal without this book."

Berliner's fight for clarity and comprehensiveness of outlook has done a great deal to bring the problems, methods, and results of science home to many people's minds. The scientific life of our time is simply inconceivable vzthout his paper. It is just as important to make knowledge live and to keep it alive as to solve specific problems. We are all conscious of what we owe to Arnold Berliner.

*Do not be angry with me for this indiscretion, my dear Berliner. A

serious-minded man enjoys a good laugh now and then.

Popper-Lynhaus was more than a brilliant engineer and writer. He was one of the few outstanding personalities who embody the conscience of a generation. He has drummed it into us that society is responsible for the fate of every individual and shown us a way to translate the consequent obligation of the community into fact. The community or State was no fetish to him; he based its right to demand sacrifices of the individual entirely on its duty to give the individual personality a chance of harmonious development.

Obituary of the Surgeon, M. Katzenstein

During the eighteen years I spent in Berlin I had few close friends, and the closest was Professor Katzenstein. For more than ten years I spent my leisure hours during the summer months with him, mostly on his delightful yacht. There we confided our experiences, ambitions, emotions to each other. We both felt that this friendship was not only a blessing because each understood the other, was enriched by him, and found ins him that responsive echo so essential to anybody who is truly alive; it also helped to make both of us more independent of external experience, to objectivize it more easily.

I was a free man, bound neither by many duties nor by harassing responsibilities; my friend, on the contrary, was never free from the grip of urgent duties and anxious fears for the fate of those in peril. If, as was invariably the case, he had performed some dangerous operations in the morning, he would ring up on the telephone, immediately before we got into the boat, to enquire after the condition of the patients about whom he was worried; I could see how deeply concerned he was for the lives entrusted to his care. It was marvellous that this shackled outward existence did not clip the wings of his soul; his imagination and his sense of humour were irrepressible. He never became the typical conscientious North German, whom the Italians in the days of their freedom used to call bestia seriosa. He was sensitive as a youth to the tonic beauty of the lakes and woods of Brandenburg, and as he sailed the boat with an expert hand through these beloved and familiar surroundings he opened the secret treasure-chamber of his heart to me--he spoke of his experiments, scientific ideas, and ambitions. How he found time and energy for them was always a mystery to me; but the passion for scientific enquiry is not to be crushed by any burdens. The man who is possessed with it perishes sooner than it does.

There were two types of problems that engaged his attention. The first forced itself on him out of the necessities of his practice. Thus he was always thinking out new ways of inducing healthy muscles to take the place of lost ones, by ingenious transplantation of tendons. He found this remarkably easy, as he possessed an uncommonly strong spatial imagination and a remarkably sure feeling for mechanism. How happy he was when he had succeeded in making somebody fit for normal life by putting right the muscular system of his face, foot, or arm! And the same when he avoided an operation, even in cases which had been sent to him by physicians for surgical treatment in cases of gastric ulcer by neutralizing the pepsin. He also set great store by the treatment of peritonitis by an anti-toxic coli-serum which he discovered, and rejoiced in the successes he achieved with it. In talking of it he often lamented the fact that this method of treatment was not endorsed by his colleagues.

The second group of problems had to do with the common conception of an antagonism between different sorts of tissue. He believed that he was here on the track of a general biological principle of widest application, whose implications he followed out with admirable boldness and persistence. Starting out from this basic notion he discovered that osteomyelon and periosteum prevent each other's growth if they are not separated from each other by bone. In this way he succeeded in explaining hitherto inexplicable cases of wounds ailing to heal, and in bringing about a cure.

This general notion of the antagonism of the tissues, especially of epithelium and connective tissue, was the subject to which he devoted his scientific energies, especially in the last ten years of his life. Experiments on animals and a systematic investigation of the growth of tissues in a nutrient fluid were carried out side by side. How thankful he was, with his hands tied as they were by his duties, to have found such an admirable and infinitely enthusiastic fellow-worker in FrДlein Knake! He succeeded in securing wonderful results bearing on the factors which favour the growth of epithelium at the expense of that of connective tissue, results which may well be of decisive importance for the study of cancer. He also had the pleasure of inspiring his own son to become his intelligent and independent fellow-worker, and of exciting the warm interest and co-operation of Sauerbruch just in the last years of his life, so that he was able to die with the consoling thought that his life's work would not perish, but would be vigorously continued on the lines he had laid down.

I for my part am grateful to fate for having given me this man, with his inexhaustible goodness and high creative gifts, for a friend.

Congratulations to Dr. Solf

I am delighted to be able to offer you, Dr. Solf, the heartiest congratulations, the congratulations of Lessing College, of which you have become an indispensable pillar, and the congratulations of all who are convinced of the need for close contact between science and art and the public which is hungry for spiritual nourishment.

You have not hesitated to apply your energies to a field where there are no laurels to be won, but quiet, loyal work to be done in the interests of the general standard of intellectual and spiritual life, which is in peculiar danger to-day owing to a variety of circumstances. Exaggerated respect for athletics, an excess of coarse impressions which the complications of life through the technical discoveries of recent years has brought with it, the increased severity of the struggle for existence due to the economic crisis, the brutalization of political life--all these factors are hostile to the ripening of the character and the desire for real culture, and stamp our age as barbarous, materialistic, and superficial. Specialization in every sphere of intellectual work is producing an everwidening gulf between the intellectual worker and the non-specialist, which makes it more difficult for the life of the nation to be fertilized and enriched by the achievements of art and science.

Название книги: The world as I see it
Автор: Альберт Эйнштейн
Просмотрено 27265 раз