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Leiden ain't that bad - lots of history -
see also Huygens diary.   <2nd link>

It is well known that Einstein's religious credo was inspired by that of Spinoza. In his book on "Einstein and Religion", Max Jammer writes:

    The philosopher whom Einstein admired most was Baruch (later, Benedictus) Spinoza, the seventeenth-century Jewish philosopher, who was excommunicated by the Amsterdam synagogue and declined the Heidelberg professorship in order to live as a lens grinder, leading an independent life dedicated to philosophical reflections.... Einstein was most influenced by Spinoza's thesis of an unrestricted determinism and the belief in the existence of a superior intelligence that reveals itself in the harmony and beauty of nature.


    Baruch Spinoza

The earliest recorded reference of Einstein to Spinoza is a poem from 1920. We are not used to think of Einstein as a poet, and one may wonder what triggered his poetic expression in that year. Here I offer a speculation, based on an unexpected discovery made during a recent visit to a little house in the village of Rijnsburg, just outside Leiden.

~~~

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Sat Aug 20th, 2005 at 05:46:01 PM EST
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