To the Editor: More Stories Of Albert Einstein

From Sarnoff, an Invite


Corrections or additions?

This column was prepared for the May 4, 2005 issue of U.S. 1

Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Between the Lines

With its bright green cover, the U.S. 1 Business Directory is now on

sale for $17.95 at such bookstores as Barnes & Noble and Micawber’s on

Nassau Street. Or, you may use a credit card to order it by phone from

our office, and we will ship it post paid for $22.95.

With more than 5,545 listings in 220 categories, the directory is

Central Jersey’s most comprehensive resource. The listings include

some of all of the following information – mail, E-mail, Internet

address, phone and fax, business description, stock symbol, and up to

three contact names and titles.

Sometimes it is difficult to judge the size of a company, so the

directory offers three indications of size – the number of workers at

the Central Jersey location, the number of square feet occupied at

that office, and/or revenues.

If you know the date a company was founded, that also tells you

something. Sprinkled among the directory listings are some

organizations founded in the 18th century, such as Villeroy & Boch

(1748) and the Nassau Inn (1756).

But at least one of those dates is definitely wrong, as we found out

when Kathleen Maguire Morolda, owner of Cranbury Station Art Gallery,

called to correct her directory listing. Our book says that her fine

art and custom framing business – with its headquarters in Cranbury

and retail store on Palmer Square – had been founded in 1784. "I had a

chuckle," says Morolda. "I know I haven’t been looking very well

rested these days, but . . ." The correct founding date is, of course,


Top Of Page
To the Editor: More Stories Of Albert Einstein

I just read the excellent piece on Einstein (U.S. 1, April 13). I

would like to add two Einstein stories from my former colleagues in

Princeton University’s chemistry department, where I was department


Bob Naumann, a nuclear chemist who has retired and moved to New

Hampshire, was called to Einstein’s home not long before his death.

Einstein had read his paper and wanted him to explain a point. Bob was

a young assistant professor, but he did his best (the conversation may

even have been in German) and Einstein indicated his understanding.

The second is from the late Hubert Alyea, born the same day as my

mother, October 10, 1903. Alyea developed a method for teaching

chemistry labs with micro quantities that even third world classrooms

could afford. His little boy had the wonderful Life magazine picture

of Einstein with the wild hair and loved to hear bedtime stories about

the great man. One day Professor Einstein walked by when the little

boy was playing in the yard. He watched, then came rushing inside to

announce that he just saw Mrs. Einstein! On another occasion, Einstein

played with the little boy, sailing his toy boats back to him on a

pond near the Institute woods.

A third story, this one from the late emeritus professor Robert J.

Cashman, whom I knew when I was assistant chair of physics and

astronomy at Northwestern University from 1979 to 1981. His work

focused on photovoltaic and photoemissive cells. When he was preparing

to give his first paper at a national meeting, he was told to memorize

the first paragraph word for word. He was grateful that he had,

because there in the middle of the front row sat Albert Einstein. By

the time he had completed the rote part, his mind was again in gear. I

think I recall that Einstein asked him one or two questions.

I can’t resist my own personal encounter with Einstein. When I was a

graduate student at Penn State, one professor offered a chance to earn

extra credit for doing some library research. In particular, he wanted

me to read one of Einstein’s 1905 papers.

I took myself to the library stacks, got out the large old volume, and

began to read the paper on the photoelectric effect. Though I had to

look up some of the words, I did not need to translate. The clarity of

his thought and the economy of his language opened the subject like a

flower. It was hard to imagine that he had produced this simple

explanation when others in his time were increasing the complications

and confusion. Now, any student who collects good data can see how

obvious the equation is, but experimental reality meant nothing until

there was a way to interpret it. Einstein perceived that light came in

photons as well as waves.

I felt humble and elevated, all at once.

Ruth Carlson Robertson

Greenbelt, Maryland

Editor’s note: We welcome your recollections about Albert Einstein,

whether they are from your own experience or were told to you. Call us

at 609-452-7000 or E-mail (

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From Sarnoff, an Invite

Thank you for publicizing the David Sarnoff Library’s recent evening,

looking and listening back on RCA’s electronic music synthesizer, and

Saturday’s open house with the remarkable Kip Rosser and his theremin.

Over 130 people – engineers, musicians, and the general public –

turned out to see and hear the music of the 1955 device that could

play "any sound you could imagine," and learn about RCA’s business

motive, technological approach, and compositions. In the latter case,

the estimable Pulitzer Prize winner Milton Babbitt put the device’s

sounds in a warm and thoughtful perspective.

Another 100 people of all ages appeared to have their radios repaired,

learn about and hear the only hands-off musical instrument (beyond the

human voice), and see the exhibits that document David Sarnoff’s

remarkable career and the stream of electronic technologies that he

championed through RCA and its Princeton laboratories. We hope

readers will attend our next open house on Saturday, July 16, and our

contribution to "Celebrate New Jersey" month


Also, on Wednesday, June 15, at 7:30 p.m. in Sarnoff Corporation’s

Auditorium, I will give an illustrated talk on "Five Princeton

Technologies That Changed the World." The state and our part of it

have much to be proud of and build on for an evermore technological

future, and this talk will show off some of that cutting-edge


Alex Magoun

Curator, David Sarnoff Library

Top Of Page

From the Survival Guide section of the April 27 issue: Bob Ryan is the

correct name of the keynote speaker at the April 28 disaster

preparedness conference, staged by the American Red Cross of Central

New Jersey.

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