Albert Einstein’s letters to Calgarian discovered in U of C archive

A student has stumbled across a set of letters from Albert Einstein — written to Calgarian Harold Horne in 1943 — in a dusty University of Calgary archive.

“They were received by the library in 1972,” senior rare books and manuscripts manager Allison Wagner told CBC Calgary News at 6 on Monday.

“They showed up out of nowhere in the university president’s office with a letter from Mr. Horn saying, ‘If these are of use to you they are yours, if not you can just toss them in the waste paper basket.'”

Wagner says staff turnover is partially responsible for the letters being forgotten until a few weeks ago when a student inadvertently found them.

Allison Wagner, senior rare books and manuscripts manager, says the letters were in response to a theory Calgarian Harold Horne was working on. (CBC)

There are three letters from Einstein to Horne about a theory Horne was working on.

“Horne was an amateur scientist,” Wagner said.

“When the Ghost River dam opened in the 1920s, he noticed when he was fishing that water that had been released in the morning would come to his spot in the afternoon and the fishing would suddenly get a lot better. He also noticed during a full moon, the fishing was terrible. He came up with a theory of lunar rhythms and how they affected the oxygenation of water.”

The tone of the letters is respectful but critical, Wagner says.

“He was frank in his criticisms. He was very encouraging,” she said.

And Wagner says her team made an interesting discovery.

“Just this morning, we found that Horne’s side of the correspondence are at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. So now we have a task on our hands, I think this will be my summer project.”

Calgarian Harold Horne sent the letters to the university in 1972. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

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