Letters, Dec. 9, 2015


Outrageous to consider Edwards pro-Israel
The news article on the voting on a resolution to condemn the terrorist attacks on Israel with Rep. Donna Edwards abstaining from voting in the affirmative shows her true colors (“Maryland delegation, minus one, signs letter condemning Palestinian violence,” WJW, Nov. 19).  It is outrageous that anyone can consider her to be pro-Israel. Fortunately recent polls have shown that she is now trailing Rep. Chris Van Hollen by double digits in her race for the senatorial seat of Barbara Mikulski.
Silver Spring

Einstein didn’t show world has four dimensions
It’s a shame that myths about physics are propagated in the Washington Jewish Week of all places, but since these myths are believed almost universally, it’s​ surely not your fault.  The myth I’m referring to is “Einstein showed that the world has four dimensions” (“100 years on, Einstein still relative,” WJW, Dec. 3).  Einstein did not show that. In his special theory of relativity, space ​and time are two different things.

What Einstein did was discover a mathematical formalism developed by Hermann Minkowski (another Jew, by the way) that expressed the equations of relativity in a compact way by adding the constant i (an imaginary number) to the time term.

Einstein himself was careful to make this distinction, saying: ​“The discovery of Minkowski… was of importance for the formal development of the theory of relativity. … Under these conditions [i.e., adding the constant i], natural laws … assume mathematical forms in which the time coordinate plays exactly the same role as the three space coordinates.” (from ​Relativity: The Special and General Theory​.​)


The four-dimensional myth has been propagated for over a century now, so it is not likely to go away. Physicists love it because it makes their calculations easier, and I suspect the public loves it because they ​like believing that science is mysterious and beyond their understanding.

The article also mentions that “length, mass, and time all change with the point of reference.” I think your readers should know that these strange effects are explained in a way that anyone can understand, by a theory that most people are unaware of.  I’m talking about Quantum Field Theory, and these explanations, presented without any math, can be found in my book Fields of Color.
Silver Spring
​Ph.D., physics, Harvard University, 1963

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