“I don’t believe that the fundamental physical laws may consist in relations between probabilities for the real things, but for relations concerning the things themselves...”
EINSTEIN CONFIRMS HIS BELIEF THAT PHYSICS IS A SCIENCE DEALING WITH “REAL ENTITIES” AND NOT MERE “PROBABILITIES”.
Responding to the questions of the scientist M.C. Goodall about contemporary research in quantum physics, Einstein, writing in English, asserts that “I cannot pretend to have grasped the ideas which you have indicated” and “I am not enough acquainted with the attempts to expand the contemporary quantum-mechanics to fields”; and Einstein ultimately refers his correspondent to Max Born as a scientist more capable of answering his questions. As the present letter suggests, however, Einstein’s incapacity to answer is due not to a failure of his genius, but rather to his essential opposition in engaging in researches based in an operational premise which he deems mistaken.
In such context, therefore, Einstein here articulates his fundamental disagreement with quantum physics:
“I don’t believe that the fundamental physical laws may consist in relations between probabilities for the real things, but for relations concerning the things themselves.”
Einstein was of the conviction that a more thoroughly developed quantum physics would inevitably be forced to re-embrace his own entity-based viewpoint. But Einstein’s correspondent apparently was not of the same conviction, and Einstein consequently states “my own expectations concerning the future basis of physics are very different from your own.”
The clash of viewpoints underscoring this letter has dominated much of 20th-century physics and remains unresolved to the present day.
Stamped in red ink in the top right corner, "Regulations General Office (Exchange Control) Authorisations - Forms." According to a letter written by Max Born to Goodall on November 1, 1945, Einstein's letter was indeed mailed to Professor Born; this resulted in several folds. Minor soiling.
Marcus Campbell Goodall had a career on the periphery of modern physics (he had several papers declined for publication) but became a member of The Institute for Advanced Study four years after this letter, in 1949.
In English. Princeton: September 10, 1945. One page, on letterhead for The Institute of Advanced Study. One page. Minor creasing and folds. Signed "A. Einstein". AN IMPORTANT EINSTEIN LETTER WITH OUTSTANDING CONTENT.