Princeton, New Jersey has one school whose teachers do not count on teaching their students a single solitary fact. It is the ten-year-old Institute for Advanced Study, which has no administrated connection with Princeton University.
Its faculty of 16 includes Albert Einstein. Its 28 students do post-postgraduate research, and have freely elected their teachers and studies. They are so expert in their fields that they are presumably aware of all the known facts involved. All that the Institute’s teachers hope to do is to broaden and deepen their students’ points of view toward their subjects by joint approaches from new angles. The students hear few formal lectures, take no examinations, get no degrees.
Last week, however, many were hard at work in the kind of abstruse study which used to be a European specialty.
Among the institute’s teachers:
Albert Einstein has added to his effort to unify theories of gravitational and electrical forces in an attempt to solve US Navy mathematico-physical problems. His aureole of white hair droops in summer’s heat, a string upholds his cheap blue denim pants. Says he: “Here we cook with water.” Interpreted a colleague: “We perform no miracles.”
A current item of Einsteiniana titillating the Institute: On one of his blackboards bearing a brain-taxing mathematical equation, the chairwoman found the word “Erase.” On another blackboard, marked “Do not erase,” was blazoned the formula “2 + 2 = 4.”