The migration of birds fascinated Einstein

While watching the BBC’s report on bees in 2019, Judith Davis recalled the existence of a letter Einstein sent to her late husband, Glenn. In the 1940s, the latter was interested in the research of behaviorist Carl von Frisch on the ability of bees to direct thanks to the polarization of light from the sky.

Einstein tells in this short letter that he was familiar with the work of Carl von Frisch. Above all, he says he believes that analyzing the perceptions of animals can allow an understanding of physical processes that are not yet known. He cites an examination of the behavior of migratory birds as a promising example.

A hunch that has been proven after 70 years! It was in 2004 that a study He proved for the first time that castles navigate thanks to some form of magnetic compass. One theory to explain this phenomenon It comes from quantum biology Which, as its name suggests, is concerned with the links between quantum mechanics and biology.

“It shows us how extraordinary Einstein was,” said Adrian Dyer, the scientist who saw Judith Davis in the BBC report. He must have thought about this problem, these birds that orient themselves precisely at incredible distances. He anticipated the degree to which this feat would be difficult and felt that his study might push the boundaries of our understanding of physics.” Professor Dyer and colleagues recounted the whole thing. in an article The Journal of Comparative Physiology A Posted last May.

Expectation is not supernatural for Annie Angers, a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Montreal. “All scientists know that nature has a lot to teach us, so it doesn’t surprise me that Einstein might have thought about this.”

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Instead, it was Professor Dyer’s investigative work that impressed her. In fact, Adrian Dyer and his team must have researched the Davys family memories and archives of the time to clarify the subject of the initial letter from Glyn Davys (now untraceable) and understand why he had contact with Einstein. in the first place. “I found Mr. Dyer’s words very compelling,” says Annie Ingres. But when we finally read this famous letter from Einstein, we realized that it was only 10 lines long. Falls a little flat! What reinforces this great spirit’s reputation as a man of few words.

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