(photo credit: ACME / AFP)
Five letters written by Albert Einstein to quantum physicist David Bohm covering topics including God, McCarthyism and the new state of Israel will be auctioned off next week.
The letters will be sold in a live auction with participation online by the Winner’s auction house in Jerusalem.
They were put up for sale by the estate of David Bohm’s widow, who died a year ago. The letters were written between 1951 and 1954, are in good shape, and were personally signed by Einstein. The bidding for at least one of the letters opens at $8,000. The entire collection is expected to sell for about $20,000.
Bohm was working at the University of Sao Paulo, and living in Brazil in 1951, where he fled after refusing to testify about his alleged links to the Communist Party to the House Un-American Activities Committee. He told Einstein, who he met when they were both working at Princeton, how unhappy he was in Brazil.
Einstein told Bohm that, for the foreseeable future he did not see a “more reasonable political attitude” arising in the United States, and that Bohm ought to hold out in Brazil until he gets citizenship before leaving for a more “intellectual atmosphere.”
Bohm left Brazil for Israel in 1955, where he taught at the Technion Institute of Technology for two years. He met his wife, Sarah Woolfson, who he married in 1956, in Israel. A year later the couple moved to the United Kingdom, where Bohm taught at Bristol University until his death in 1992
“Israel is intellectually active and interesting but has very narrow possibilities,” Einstein wrote. “And to go there with the intention to leave on the first occasion would be regrettable.”
David Bohm’s wife died in Jerusalem, where she lived, in April 2016.