Even Einstein got a little short of cash now and then


Albert Einstein has never reminded me much of Dr. Evil. Quite the opposite, in fact. But even Einstein occasionally had to ask for one MEEEEL-LION dollars - for a good cause, of course:

Dear Friend:

I write to you for help at the suggestion of a friend.

Through the release of atomic energy, our generation has brought into the world the most revolutionary force since prehistoric man's discovery of fire. This basic power of the universe cannot be fitted into the outmoded concept of narrow nationalisms. For there is no secret and there is no defense; there is no possibility of control except through the aroused understanding and insistence of the peoples of the world.

We scientists recognize our inescapable responsibility to carry to our fellow citizens an understanding of the simple facts of atomic energy and its implications for society. In this lies our only security and our only hope -- we believe that an informed citizenry will act for life and not death.

We need $1,000,000 for this great educational task. Sustained by faith in man's ability to control his destiny through the exercise of reason, we have pledged all our strength and our knowledge to this work. I do not hesitate to call upon you to help.

Faithfully yours,

[A. Einstein]

Honestly, if this letter weren't from Mike Rhode's blog, I'd think it was made up. It's just too odd! But it's real, all right - and here's the archived text at FAS. Anybody out there have a similar letter?

I wonder if Einstein ever got his $1M?

PS. "Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists" may be among top ten letterheads ever. "It's not just an emergency, dammit, it's an ATOMIC emergency!"

More like this

Why is strange that Einstein would write a fund-raising letter for a non-profit organization which he was a part of?

It seems likely that the Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists was a charitable organisation seeking donations from existing or potential major donors for an educational campaign about the positive & peaceful uses of atomic energy. Not so odd... and even more cool!

Didn't Einstein know you should make the money sound like less by calling it $999,000?

Interesting list of trustees - Einstein, Urey, Linus Pauling, and Fred Seitz, back when he was still a scientist.