De nuevo hoy voy a citar el libro de Zeidler, "Quantum Field Theory Vol I". Esta vez, encuentro mencionada una carta de Einstein. Es de sus últimos años, pero no tengo la fecha y el destinataria. Comenta sus estudios de joven:
Between the ages of 12-16, I familiarized myself with the elements of mathematics. In doing so I had the good fortune of discovering books which were not too particular in their logical rigor. In 1896, at the age of 17, I entered the Swiss Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich. There I had excellent teachers, for example, Hurwitz (1859-1919) and Minkowski (1864-1909), so that I really could get a sound mathematical education. However, most of the time, I worked in the physical laboratory, fascinated by the direct contact with experience. The rest of the time I used, in the main, to study at home the works of Kirchhoff (1824-1887), Helmholtz (1821-1894), Hertz (1857-1894), and so on. The fact that I neglected mathematics to a certain extent had its cause not merely in my stronger interest in the natural sciences than in mathematics, but also in the following strange experience. I saw that mathematics was split up into numerous specialities, each of which could easily absorb the short life granted to us. Consequently, I saw myself in the position of Buridan's ass which was unable to decide upon any specific bundle of hay. This was obviously due to the fact that my intuition was not strong enough in the field of mathematics in order to differentiate clearly that which was fundamentally important, and that which is really basic, from the rest of the more or less dispensable erudition, and it was not clear to me as a student that the approach to a more profound knowledge of the basic principles of physics is tied up with the most intricate mathematical methods. This only dawned upon me gradually after years of independent scientific work. True enough, physics was also divided into separate fields. In this field, however, I soon learned to scent out that which was able to lead to fundamentals.
Menciona a sus profesores de matemáticas en el ETH, pero no parece haber causado buena impresión como estudiante. Tendría que confirmar, pero parece que fue Minkowski el que declaró en esos tiempos de Einstein estudiante, que el futuro premio Nobel no llegaría a nada. Sin embargo, todo eso cambió al inicio del nuevo siglo, cuando Minkowski abrazó la representación geométrica de las ideas de Einstein sobre relatividad especial.
Es interesante el argumento que Einstein menciona para preferir la física a las matemáticas: éstas, demasiado amplias, sin poder discernir que era importante y que era solamente interesante, mientras que la física tenía de alguna forma más los pies en la tierra.
Angel "Java" Lopez