As arguably the most important intellectual of his time, Albert Einstein exchanged letters with powerful contemporaries: fellow scientists, heads of state, dignitaries, philosophers. But what most might not know is that he also corresponded with children around the world. That’s right–curious children would write and Einstein would reply, even at the height of his career and influence. Their letters back and forth are touching, honest, often hilarious but also poignant, thanks to the tone Einstein took with every note, never talking down to the children. A selection of these can be found in the book Dear Professor Einstein: Albert Einstein’s Letters to and from Children, as well as a sprinkling below.
In a 1920 response to the question of what he looked like, Einstein wrote
Let me tell you what I look like: pale face, long hair, and a tiny beginning of a paunch. In addition, an awkward gait, and a cigar in the mouth … and a pen in pocket or hand. But crooked legs and warts he does not have, and so is quite handsome – also no hair on his hands as is so often found with ugly men.
In 1943, a young girl wrote to Einstein about her difficulties with mathematics in school. He encouragingly replied
Do not worry about your difficulties in Mathematics. I can assure you mine are still greater.
Professor Albert Einstein.
Linguists have unlocked the key to what our ancient ancestors may have sounded like, and it sounds pretty amazing.
Did you know that 6,500 years ago English and Farsi were the same language? How’s that for world unity.
From there, the language morphed into the single descendant of all modern Indo-European languages: PIE (which stands for Proto-Indo-European). Since recording equipment was sparse 4,500 years ago and PIE left no written texts, nobody has ever known what the language might have sounded like. Until now, that is.
Below is a recording of a fable, “The Sheep and Horses,” read in what linguists believe to be an accurate reconstruction of PIE.