Auction No. 100

Rare and special items

June 20, 2017
Opening $ 500
Estimate $ 1,000 - $ 1,500
Sold for $ 610
Including buyer's premium

Letter signed by Prof. Leon Rosenfeld to Prof. David Bohm, Manchester University Laboratory, 1952.

Specifications: [1] leaf, letterhead. 26x20 cm. Typewritten letter on both sides of the leaf, signed by Prof. Rosenfeld with his manual corrections.

Unique features: In his letter, the writer refers to his research experiments with Prof. Bohr. He noted that the errors that cropped up during their studies led them to purify their scientific discoveries and prove their presence:

"… I and even Bohr are also subject to error. I may reassure you by telling you something of my experience in working on this subject with Bohr. In our work on the problem of measurability of fields we have made probably all the errors that could conceivably be made before reaching at last solid ground. It is just because we have undergone this process of purification through error that we feel so sure of our results."

He also notes the difficulty that most people have adopting a scientific approach, because of metaphysical worldviews they have held since their childhood and the influence of religion and idealistic philosophy. The researcher should not ignore this phenomenon, but rather should learn to shed metaphysics and view reality in a dialectic manner.

Regarding Bohm's tendency to prefer explanations due to their simplicity, Rosenfeld writes that the compatibility of a physical theory is not dependent on its simplicity; a physicist should harmonize his thoughts with nature, whether the ideas are simple or not.

Background: Leon Rosenfeld (1904-1974) was a Belgian physicist who collaborated with physicist Niels Bohr. He researched many elements of physics: quantum electrodynamics, statistical mechanics, the quantum field theory and more.

Condition: Fine. Minimal stains.

Category
letters by Professor Albert Einstein and Colleagues