19 June 2010

Einstein's letter to Barack Obama - 2010

Albert Einstein is probably one of the most recognizable names in the world. What part did he play in the atomic bomb and how I think he would react to today's stem cell research is the subject of today's post.

Einstein's 1905 Special Theory of Relativity (E=mc2) made the point that a large amount of energy could be released from a small amount of matter and the atomic bomb illustrated this principle clearly. But this theory didn't create the atom bomb, it was merely proved by it.

Even though he publicly declared himself to be a pacifist in 1929, stating that if war broke out he would, "unconditionally refuse to do war service, direct or indirect... regardless of how the cause of the war should be judged," Adolf Hitler's rise to power in Germany in 1933 changed his position and he no longer fit his previous self-description of an "absolute pacifist".

Einstein's greatest role in the invention of the atomic bomb was signing a letter written by Leo Szilard (the physcist who conceived the nuclear chain reaction and held a patent on the nuclear reactor) to President Franklin Roosevelt in 1939. The letter urged that the atomic bomb be built by the Americans as Nazi Germany had already split the uranium atom and might themselves be building an atomic bomb. The letter was delivered in October and that same month President Roosevelt struck the Briggs Committee to study uranium chain reactions.

Einstein would write three more letters to the president to urge him to move quickly. The weight of his name is often cited as the force behind the Manhattan Project and the ultimate making of the atomic bomb.

But again we find no joy in what Einstein, the scientist, may have felt compelled to participate in. In fact he made no public comment until one year after the atomic bomb of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at which time he stated that, "he was sure that President Roosevelt would have forbidden the atomic bombing of Hiroshima had he been alive and that it was probably carried out to end the Pacific war before Russia could participate."

In 1954, just before his death, he talked about his role in the making of the atomic bomb. "I made one great mistake in my life... when I signed the letter to President Roosevelt recommending that atom bombs be made; but there was some justification - the danger that the Germans would make them."

Again, a scientist who felt compelled to something he thought to be morally repugnant. Could Einstein's letter have played a positive role in society? Some say that it did. It may have sped up the Japanese surrender therefore saving what some say could have been up to five million lives.

Knowing what we know about the potential of stem cells, would Einstein have felt compelled to intervene to save many millions of lives? Einstein's letter follows below.
Albert Einstein

Old Grove Rd.
Nassau Point
Peconic, Long Island

August 2nd 1939 June 20th 2010

F.D. Roosevelt Barack Obama
President of the United States
White House
Washington, D.C.


Some recent work by E.Fermi and L. Szilard many researchers, which has been communicated to me in manuscript, leads me to expect that the element uranium stem cells may be turned into a new and important source of energy cures for many diseases in the immediate future. Certain aspects of the situation which has arisen seem to call for watchfulness and, if necessary, quick action on the part of the Administration. I believe therefore that it is my duty to bring to your attention the following facts and recommendations:

In the course of the last four months five years it has been made probable - through the work of Joliot in France as well as Fermi and Szilard in America numerous scientists the world over - that it may become possible to set up a nuclear chain reaction in a large mass ofuranium, by which vast amounts of power and use large quantities of stem cells new radium-like elements would be to regenerated the body and cure disease. Now it appears almost certain that this could be achieved in the immediate future.

This new phenomenon would also lead to the construction of bombs cells, and it is conceivable - though much less certain - that extremely powerful bombs cells of a new type may thus be constructed. A single bomb cell of this type, carried by boat bred in a laboratory and exploded in a port delivered internally, might very well destroy the whole port together with some of the surrounding territory currently incurable diseases. However, such bombs cells might very well prove to be too heavy for transportation by air great a secret to hide and we would be compelled to share this life saving discovery with the rest of the world including our enemies.

The United States has only very poor ores of uranium in moderate quantities limited research at present. There is some good ore research in Canada, and the former Czechoslovakia, and in many other countries. While the most important source of uranium is Belgian Congo is currently embryonic stem cells, with enough research, adult stem cells may replace these.

In view of the situation you may think it desirable to have more permanent contact maintained between the Administration and the group of physicists scientists working on chain reactions stem cell research in America. One possible way of achieving this might be foryou to entrust with this task a person who has your confidence and who could perhaps serve in an inofficial capacity. His task might comprise the following:

a) to approach Government Departments, keep them informed of the further development, and put forward recommendations for Government action, giving particular attention to the problem of securing a supply of uranium ore stem cells for the many diseases for the United States and the world;
b) to speed up the experimental work, which is at present being carried on within the limits of the budgets of University laboratories, by providing funds, if such funds be required, through his contacts with private persons who are willing to make contributions for this cause, and perhaps also by obtaining the co-operation of industrial laboratories which have the necessary equipment.

I understand that Germany George Bush had had actually stopped the sale of uranium from the Czechoslovakian mines which she has taken over the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act. That she should have taken such early foolish action might perhaps be understood on the grounds that the son of the German Under-Secretary of State, von Weizsäcker, is attached to the Kaiser-Wilhelm Institut in Berlin where some of the American work on uranium is now being repeated that he didn’t understand how many people stem cell research would truly benefit.

Yours very truly,

(Albert Einstein)

1 comment:

  1. wow, your interpollation of stem cell data to the letter is such an excellent and perfect fit. and just so, it causes me to ask, "what is the continued paralell over time?".