The Letter Einstein sent to Tesla

Einstein e Tesla, dois dos maiores gênios contemporâneos, não se davam bem. Tesla sempre expressou sua opinião contra o trabalho do físico, o que não impediu Einstein de lhe escrever esta carta pouco conhecida.

Einstein e Tesla
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About Einstein, we can say that he is considered the most famous scientist of the 20th century, a man to whom we owe the Theory of Relativity, the foundation that led to the deduction of the most popularly known physics equation: the equivalence between mass and energy (E=mc²), which would lay the foundation for statistical physics and quantum mechanics.

Nikola Tesla was no less. The genius of Serbian origin is known worldwide for its numerous inventions, standing out in the field of electromagnetism in the late 19th and early 20th century. The physicist, his patents and, in general, all his work helped lay the foundations for modern alternating current electric power systems, which also included the polyphase electric distribution system and alternating current motor, which are used to this day.

Tesla kept a defiant look at Einstein’s work. He clearly stated that he did not believe in the Theory of Relativity and pointed out the very serious problems and dangers of the division of the atom, which later led to the construction of atomic bombs.


There are many articles from the time Tesla declared “war” on Einstein’s theories. Still, his words must be understood through the context of the time and the very personality of genius, a man considered stubborn in his ideas, with a great personality and a strong temperament.

Speaking about Einstein’s work, Tesla corroborated his claims with a series of experiments he conducted in 1896, even claiming that he had been able to measure speeds up to fifty times greater than the speed of light, which should bring down Einstein’s theory, whose pillar is based on the statement that there is no speed greater than that of light.

But what about Einstein?

It is curious that two of the greatest geniuses we have ever had and who shared the same time in their lifetimewere not known or even co-workers.

Regardless of the friction between the two personalities, Albert Einstein wrote a letter in 1931, on Nikola Tesla’s 75th birthday, and this was published in Time Magazine in a special issue, where the prestigious magazine asked the great names of science of the time to depart a few words to serbian genius.

Einstein’s letter to Tesla, published in Time Magazine.

These were Einstein’s words:

“Dear Mr. Tesla,
I am glad to know that you are celebrating your 75th birthday and that, as a successful pioneer in the field of high frequency currents, has greatly contributed to the wonderful development that this area of technology has achieved. I congratulate you on the great success of your life’s work.
Albert Einstein”

Some say the letter is more sarcasm than reality, but the only certainty is that Einstein wrote and dedicated these words to his contemporary colleague.