Monday 17 June 2024

The World of Einstein - Part 2

 


**

On March 14, 1955, Einstein celebrated his seventy-sixth birthday. His friends wanted to organize a grand celebration, but Einstein was not interested. Instead, a simple and modest gathering was held with a few close friends. A week later, he received the news that his dear friend Michele Besso had passed away. Michele Besso had always been by Einstein's side through thick and thin, from the time of special relativity to Einstein's separation from Mileva. Einstein was deeply saddened by this loss.

The Soviet Union had developed an atomic bomb, and America had already demonstrated its power several times by detonating hydrogen bombs. The threat of nuclear war between America and the Soviet Union loomed large. In this situation, British philosopher Bertrand Russell requested Einstein to join him in urging world leaders to halt the nuclear arms race. Bertrand Russell drafted an appeal, and on April 11, Einstein signed and sent it to him.

Israel was preparing to celebrate its seventh anniversary. Einstein had previously declined the offer to become Israel's president. This time, the Israeli government wanted to bring Einstein as the chief guest to Israel. However, due to his physical illness, Einstein could not travel to Israel. It was decided that Einstein's speech would be recorded and broadcast on Israeli radio. Einstein began drafting his speech. 

On April 13, Einstein experienced severe abdominal pain. He had felt similar pain before. Several years earlier, an aneurysm had developed on the wall of his abdominal aorta, and it had been growing over time. It could rupture at any moment. The pain kept increasing, and it was more intense than ever before. His secretary, Helen Dukas, called the doctor. Einstein's personal doctor advised him to be admitted to the hospital. However, Einstein refused to go to the hospital. But as the pain worsened, he was taken to the hospital on April 15, almost by force. The doctors said surgery was necessary. Einstein refused, saying that the shorter the death, the better, and there was no point in dying with elaborate interventions. His eldest son, Hans, came from California, and Walter Baki, Otto Nathan, and many other doctor friends came from New York. They all tried to persuade Einstein to undergo the surgery, but he refused. The pain subsided somewhat over the next few days. 

On the night of April 17, feeling a bit better, Einstein worked for a while on the draft of his speech for Israel and then went to sleep. But a few hours later, around 1 a.m. on April 18, he woke up in intense pain. His aneurysm had ruptured. Nurse Alberta Rozell rushed to his side. Einstein muttered something in German, which the nurse couldn't understand. Within minutes, Einstein passed away.

Upon hearing the news, doctors, nurses, and friends hurried to the hospital. During the autopsy, the hospital pathologist, Dr. Thomas Harvey, removed Einstein's brain without anyone's permission. Another pathologist, Dr. Henry Abrams, removed Einstein's eyes with the hospital's approval. Einstein had long ago stated that his body should be cremated after his death and had forbidden any kind of memorial service, procession, or ceremony. He even requested that there be no grave marker for him.

On the afternoon of April 18, 1955, Monday, without any ceremony, Einstein's body was cremated. Some of the ashes were scattered in the Delaware River. News of Einstein's death spread across the world's media.




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The World of Einstein - Part 2

  ** On March 14, 1955, Einstein celebrated his seventy-sixth birthday. His friends wanted to organize a grand celebration, but Einstein was...

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