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The language of Einstein's lecture

Time and distance are given on the blackboard in German: J for Jahre and L.J. for Licht Jahre. Did Einstein lecture in German?

One of the Einstein biographies refers to the Oxford visit and says:

"Einstein's first Rhodes lecture, in May 1931, was not at all successful, for the sole reason that it was delivered in German and understood by only a fraction of the audience. The majority of those who had been listening intently at the beginning had left before the end of the first half-hour of the talk. Henceforth, the lectures were delivered in English and received general acclaim" (Michael White and John Gribbin: Einstein: A Life in Science, revised ed. 1994, pp. 198).

The source for these comments is not entirely clear. If correct, Einstein would have been delivering his second lecture on 16 May in English, despite the evidence of the blackboard.

However it is directly contradicted by contemporary evidence. The report of the second lecture which appeared in The Times (London) on Monday May 18, 1931 (p. 14) is unequivocal: "Professor Einstein spoke in German and without notes."

Note that Einstein's 1930 lecture in Nottingham (which also resulted in a preserved blackboard) was given in German, according to newspaper clippings kept in the University of Nottingham's Physics Department. (Information from Peter Rowlett, Birmingham, 1/4/2012; for the Nottingham lecture and blackboard see also now http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/~ppzdt/Einstein/blackboard.html)

David Topper, Senior Scholar, University of Winnipeg notes some additional relevant evidence. That Einstein's Oxford lectures were in German is stated in "The First Fifty Years of the Rhodes Trust and the Rhodes Scholarships, 1903-1953" (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1956), pp 25-26 (http://www.archive.org/stream/firstfiftyyearso013455mbp/firstfiftyyearso). Topper adds: "The year before, in June 1930, Einstein had lectured in Nottingham, from which another blackboard was preserved. He spoke in German there too, and the physicist Henry Brose, who was bilingual, translated for him. Brose's biographer says that Brose repeated this in Oxford, although I have not found any further confirmation of this. See: Jenkins, John. 1993. Brose, Henry Herman Leopold Adolph (1890-1965),' Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 13 (1993), 269-270."

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