Hannelore Hahn

April 9, 2002
NYC
#V0049

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28 August 2011
Since 9/11, human consciousness of every stripe and in every corner of the world has woken up to the fact that our world has become much more unsafe.
And yet, even in darkness, and possibly because of it, we must believe in an ultimate purpose that emanates from an ultimate source…
In the early 20th century, Albert Einstein and the scientific community of the time carried on a lively correspondence with each other. These letters were collected and preserved at the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton University. However, at the request of Albert Einstein, they were to be permanently deposited in Israel. Thus one summer, before this voluminous correspondence was to be shipped to Israel, I was asked to translate the letters from German into English. The person who asked me to do so was Professor Gerald Holton of Harvard University. He knew I was not a scientist, but he said: “We want to communicate something of the true nature of the man, i.e. his humanity. We can always do the science.”
Additionally, the scientific community of the early 20th century had an in-joke, which was: “Does God play dice?” In other words, is the world just happenstance, or is there an overall purpose to the universe and our existence?
In the course of my translation work, I had, for some reason, paid particular attention to the correspondence between Einstein and the physicist Max Born which had started enthusiastically and strong, but grew less so. Then I came upon this letter from Einstein:
“My dear Born,” Einstein wrote, “I believe in an ordered universe, but my approach to finding this order, is in a wildly experimental way. You, my dear Borne, do not believe in an ordered universe, but you approach chaos in an orderly fashion.

- Hannelore Hahn