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Papers of Sir Arthur Eddington
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Draft of a testimonial by A. S. Eddington for W. M. Smart

Transcript

Observatory, Cambridge
21 May 1936

Dr W. M. Smart’s application for the Chair of Regius Professor of Astronomy in the University of Glasgow has my warmest support. He is a man of established reputation in astronomical circles who would fill the office with distinction; and he has proved himself very successful as a lecturer and teacher. He would be much missed from this Observatory and from the University; but promotion to a professorial chair would be a fitting recognition of his work.

Dr Smart has been Chief Assistant in the Observatory and John Couch Adams Astronomer since 1921. There is only one other Assistant. The policy of the Observatory has been to avoid routine undertakings and to develop new methods. Two main lines of work have been developed during his tenure—an improved method of determining photographic proper motions of stars, and measurement of stellar magnitudes with a photo-electric cell. As regards the former it may, I think, be claimed that the Cambridge results set a new standard of accuracy for large series of proper motions. Photo-electric work is still confined to two or three observatories (Cambridge being the only British one). After a long struggle with pioneer difficulties the work is now proceeding with great success, and astonishing accuracy is obtained. A large share of the credit for these results is due to Dr Smart.

On the theoretical side his earlier work was in celestial mechanics. But in connection with the practical work above-mentioned his more recent interests have {1} been mainly in proper motions and other branches of stellar statistics, to which he is one of the most active contributors. He is a member of the Commission of the International Astronomical Union on Stellar Parallaxes and Proper Motions.

His teaching work covers elementary lectures on astronomy, advanced lectures on celestial mechanics and on stellar motions and a practical class at the observatory. Judging from the response of the students he is a stimulating lecturer. He normally supervises one or two research students.

An important part of his experience is his work as Secretary of the Royal Astronomical Society during the last five years. This brings him into touch with astronomers in all parts of the world, so that he is in full contact with all modern developments. It is perhaps not irrelevant to mention that he is Treasurer of the Royal Astronomical Society Dining Club—an office (of which the duties are by no means confined to the care of money) which is a tribute to his popularity with his colleagues.

To sum up:—He has shown himself able to make the most of the resources of a small observatory; he is well-known and esteemed internationally; he is successful with students; and is well used to administrative activity.

—————

The various cancelled words and passages in this letter have not been recorded, except for the mistaken deletion noted below.

{1} Struck through by mistake.

Letter from John W. Graham to Sarah Ann Eddington

Transcript

Dalton Hall, Victoria Park, Manchester

2. VII. ’99

Dear Mrs. Eddington,

You will be interested in hearing some details of Stanley’s Preliminary. They are astonishing enough.—I have heard them today from the Chairman of the Board of Studies. In

Mechanics. Full marks
Latin. Top of all
Eng History [ditto]
Mathematics [ditto] & 60 marks above everybody else

leaving Chemistry & Eng. Language as the only subjects in which any one excelled him.

This is a marvellous record; whether he ought to know it I leave to you.

The great thing now is not to overload him; and to keep up his exercise: but I see no danger of going wrong in either respect.

In Physics ii at Easter I find he got 99 per cent. in the College Examination, making 199 out of 200. He has half the prize in Latin, the Prize in Practical Physics as well as theoretical; and the 2nd place in Math iii. A.

He will now, I trust, go in for a good physical athletic holiday. With my hearty congratulations

I remain
Yours sincerely
J. W. Graham

Letters from A. S. Eddington to Sarah Ann Eddington: Brazil Eclipse Expedition

In 1912 Eddington led an expedition from the Royal Observatory to Brazil to observe and photograph a total eclipse of the sun. These letters contain an account of the expedition. Eddington specifically asked his mother to preserve the letters because he was keeping no other record of events (see A2/5), and she seems to have been careful in carrying out his request, as the sequence is probably complete. The letters are numbered from 1 to 9 in a contemporary hand, and the ninth letter, finished when the writer was about three days’ sail from home, was almost certainly the last. These letters formed the basis of the account in Eddington’s Notebook (ff. 96–102), and they were consulted by Douglas, who quoted from A2/8 (pp. 18–19).

Eddington and his assistants C. R. Davidson and J. J. Atkinson left Southampton aboard the steamship Arlanza on 30 August and arrived at Rio de Janeiro on 16 September, where they were joined by T. N. Lee, an Englishman deputed by the Brazilian Government to assist them, and J. H. Worthington, an amateur astronomer. Six days later the party arrived at Passa Quatro, their chosen observation point—preferred to other possible sites at Cruxeiro, Christina, and Alfenas—and on 3 October they were joined by two volunteers, Leslie Andrews and O. Couto de Aguirre. A local man, Pierre Seux, also volunteered to help by counting seconds during totality. The eclipse took place on the 10th, but unfortunately observations of the phenomenon were prevented by rain and the expedition was largely unsuccessful. Eddington and his companions left Passa Quatro on 20 October and sailed for home on the Danube on the 23rd. The date of their arrival in England is not recorded, but towards the end of the voyage they were expecting to be at Southampton on 10 November. A report of the expedition, by Eddington and Davidson, was printed in MNRAS (lxxiii, 386–90) the following year. Notes also appeared in The Observatory, xxxv (1912), 328–30, 410, and xxxvi (1913), 62–5.

Letter from A. S. Eddington to Sarah Ann Eddington

Transcript

1912 Sept 6
R.M.S.P. Arlanza {1}

My very dear Mother

There is an unexpected opportunity of sending a letter today, as we are calling at St Vincent to obtain a supply of fresh water; we could not get it at Madeira. After that it is no good writing until we reach Rio.

Last time I wrote was just after leaving Lisbon, since then we have had very pleasant weather, little wind, calm sea, sky rather overcast but with sunshine filtering through, and not unpleasantly warm, although we entered the tropics last night. We had a day at sea on Tuesday and reached Madeira about 11 the next morning. As we approached we passed a great many islands. Madeira is rather mountainous but a layer of clouds about some 3000 feet above the sea just cut their tops off, and remained all day. We were soon surrounded by lots of small boats selling basket chairs & embroidery—the two main products of Madeira—; also small boys wanting to dive for sixpences, some of them climbed to our highest decks and dived from there.

We had about 4 hours at Madeira and most of us did the regular excursion. Atkinson & Davidson did not come; but I went with the Unwins and Lady Grant. First we rode in chariots (there is no other word for them) drawn by a pair of bullocks[.] The streets are all cobbles and the vehicles are on wooden runners like sleighs; the bullocks gallop along finely. Then we went up the mountain Terreira da Lucca in a funicular railway, not quite to the top but 3300 feet up. The town (Funchal) is built in terraces on a steep slope. The abundance of vines laden with grapes was very remarkable, they grow on low pergolas. There were sugar canes[,] bamboos, palms, and beautiful blue hydrangias growing luxuriantly. Towards the top it was all pine forest. Just below the terminus we ran into cloud so lost the view; but as we had a fine view of the bay nearly all the way up, it did not so much matter. We had lunch at the top, and then came the exciting part—we tobogganed down the whole 3300 feet. There is a steep zigzag cobbled path down from the summit passing through the town; we go in a sort of basket toboggan holding 3 passengers, with with† two men running on each side with ropes to guide the toboggan and hold it back where necessary. They go at a great pace, {2} sometimes getting on and riding behind. It was much more exciting and alarming than I expected. We took about half-an-hour to get down. The sharp corners are particular[ly] exciting at first, because they always get up as much speed as possible to go round them (I suppose because swinging round checks the toboggan). After that came another bullock drive through the town to the launch, and so back to the steamer.

Now we have got to the main part of the journey, and shall be a week or more without any chance of landing. They are arranging some sports and I have entered for some of them. Atkinson is in for the tug of war and should be a tower of strength (and weight) for the “married” v “single”.

Captain Pope has been down to dinner twice, and is very pleasant and chatty. We are generally in the dining room half an hour longer than any-one else.

Tomorrow there is to be a celebration of the Anniversary of the Independence of Brazil. A Brazilian committee are arranging it.

I have not got much work done yet.

With very dear love,
ever your affectionate son
Stanley

—————

Letter-head of the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company. Numbered ‘2’ at the head in pencil.

{1} ‘R.M.S.P.’ is printed.

{2} Comma added in pencil.

† Sic.

Draft of a letter from A. S. Eddington to Arthur Schuster

Transcript

(copy)

Royal Observatory, Greenwich, London, S.E.
1909 Nov. 15

Dear Dr. Schuster

You will, I am sure, not be surprised that I have delayed a little replying to your important letter. I had not at all thought of such a change, and it was a matter requiring very careful consideration. Whilst the idea of returning to Physics, and perhaps especially to academic work, was in many respects attractive, I have however decided that it is best for me not to leave my present work. I need not trouble you with the reasons that have led me to this difficult decision; rightly or wrongly I have concluded that the suggestion and opportunities that I meet with in a large observatory are more likely to lead to good research work on my part {1} than any I could hope for elsewhere.

With many thanks
yours sincerely
A. S. Eddington

—————

The letter is headed ‘copy’ but, since it contains a correction, it is probably a draft.

{1} ‘the suggestion …. on my part’ has been altered from ‘the suggestion and opportunities of research work that I meet with in a large observatory are more likely to lead to good results on my part’.

Letter from A. S. Eddington to Sarah Ann Eddington

Transcript

Hotel Bella Vista | Funchal
Saturday, March 15.

My very dear Mother

We arrived here yesterday in most summerlike weather, and today has been just as bright and warm. It is a lovely spot to have to stop at, although of course I am anxious to get on to the journey’s end. I am afraid we shall have to wait longer than was expected; the date of sailing is now supposed to be April 3, but one cannot rely on the boat times at all. The ship is called to Quelimane.

We reached Lisbon on the 12th about breakfast time, and all four went on shore. I cannot say what the time was because we had three times—ship’s time, Greenwich time and Summer Time, each differing about an hour—; it was most confusing; although summer-time is legally in force in Lisbon and, I believe, in Madeira most people stick to the old time.

Oom met us at the Quay and took us up to the Observatory in a motor car. We met the Director {1} (aged 82) a charming old man, who looked as little like a Vice-Admiral as one could imagine. The Observatory is in a fine park, and the almond blossom was full out and looked very bright. We spent about two hours there and then were motored down to the ship by a longer route through Belem. We had no chance of seeing either the steamer company or the planters, because they do not start business in Lisbon until 3 o’clock.

Lisbon seemed full of soldiers. They have disbanded all the police, but the country seems pretty quiet.

We left Lisbon about 5 o’clock and sailed down the Tagus by daylight—about 12 miles to the mouth of the river. Then we were out of sight of land until the morning of Friday (about 40 hours) when the Madeira islands appeared.

We got fine views of Madeira as we had to sail a good way round the main island to reach Funchal which is on the south coast. We all four landed about 11 o’clock (having seen that our baggage was alright) and spent an hour or two strolling round. Then we had a farewell lunch together at a restaurant. We saw Davidson & Crommelin on to the launch for the ship, and then Cottingham and I drove out to this hotel in a bullock sleigh. I expect I have told you, that except for a few motor cars there are no wheeled vehicles. All the carts and cabs are sleighs, drawn by bullocks, which slip quite easily over the cobbled streets. They put down grease in front of the sleigh to make it go easier. The streets, which are often very steep, are very slippery, and I soon found it necessary to buy a walking stick for support.

We are about 10 minutes walk from the centre of the town, and have beautiful views of the harbour and town and mountains from the balcony of this hotel. Especially at night it looks very fine with all the lights (street electric lamps) stretching a long way up the sides of the mountains. It is rather a large town and the houses are very scattered.

The Hotel is kept by English people, and in normal times there are large numbers of English visitors, so that English is spoken at most of the shops. But they have had a bad time during the war—scarcety† of most provisions except that sugar which is very widely grown here has been cheap & plentiful. Sugar cane & banana plantations abound everywhere, and vine pergolas, but the vines are not in leaf yet. The fruit in season now is almost solely bananas and nesperas (the latter is something like an apricot in appearance but tastes more like a cherry). We get some very good fish at meals, but otherwise they are chiefly English dishes.

It is too hot to walk very far, but we went four or five miles this afternoon near the coast. Inland the mountains rise almost at once to a height of 4000 or 5000 feet, so it requires some energy to go far.

The hotel has very nice, but small, gardens, which are bright with flowers. There are fine date palms and cactus’s of various kinds. I am finishing this on Sunday morning and the weather is just as bright and warm as ever. Another boat came in from Lisbon this morning, and there are a good many new arrivals at the hotel. I suppose there would be about 30 people here now, but it is not half full.

I hope you are getting on alright at home. It will be a long while before I get any news of you.

Much love from
your affectionate son
Stanley

—————

Numbered ‘2nd’ at the head. Two passages have been marked off and emended in pencil by a later hand.

{1} Vice-Admiral C. A. Campos Rodrigues, Director of the Observatory at Lisbon since 1890.

Summary of Chapters XII (second part), XIII, and XIV, with an editorial note

Chapter XII [continued].
§ 125. Symbolic occupation.
§ 126. Einstein-Bose particles.
§ 127. Photons.
§ 128. Life-time of the mesotron.

Chapter XIII: Epistemological Theory.
[§§ 129–136.] As in Proceedings of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, vol. xl (1944), p. 37, expanded.

Chapter XIV. Summary.
§ 137. The principles of fundamental theory.

Chapter XI: The Molar Electromagnetic Field

§ 113. Gauge transformations (molar theory).
§ 114. Action invariants.
§ 115. Gauge transformations (microscopic theory).
§ 116. Indices of wave tensors.
§ 117. Magnetic moments.
§ 118. Magnetic moment of the hydrogen atom.
§ 119. Magnetic moment of the neutron.

(There is no § 120.)

Chapter X: The Wave Equation

§ 105. Field momentum.
§ 106. The gradient operator.
§ 107. Isostatic compensation.
§ 108. Wave equation of the hydrogen intracule.
§ 109. Solution of the wave equation.
§ 110. The interchange momentum.
§ 111. The two-frame transformation.
§ 112. Electromagnetic potentials.

Chapter IX: Simple Applications

§ 93. The metastable states of hydrogen.
§ 94. Neutrium and deuterium.
§ 95. Mass of the neutron.
§ 96. Double intracules.
§ 97. Comparison with field theory.
§ 98. Mass of the deuterium atom.
§ 99. Mass of the helium atom.
§ 100. The separation constant of isobaric doublets.
§ 101. Isotopic spin.
§ 102. Radii of nuclei.
§ 103. The nuclear planoid.
§ 104. Mass of the mesotron.

Chapter VIII: Double Frames

§ 79. The EF-frame.
§ 80. Chirality of a double frame.
§ 81. The interchange operator.
§ 82. Duals.
§ 83. The CD-frame.
§ 84. Double-wave vectors.
§ 85. The 136-dimensional phase space.
§ 86. Uranoid and aether.
§ 87. The Riemann-Christoffel tensor.
§ 88. The de Sitter universe.
§ 89. The tensor identities.
§ 90. The contracted Riemann-Christoffel tensor.
§ 91. States and interstates.
§ 92. The recalcitrant terms.

Letter from A. S. Eddington to Sarah Ann Eddington

Transcript

R.M.S: Anselm
Tuesday, March 11 | 1919

My very dear Mother

We are now approaching Lisbon and expect to arrive soon after daylight tomorrow morning. The weather has been pretty good; it was warmest on Sunday, which was a beautiful sunny day, and one could sit out on deck chairs without an overcoat. Yesterday and today, there was more wind and occasional showers. It has not been very rough, but there was sufficient motion to make a good many of the passengers unhappy. Of our party, Crommelin & Cottingham succumbed for a time, but they both seem much better today.

We all arrived at Euston an hour-and a half before the train started; but it took a good while to deal with our bulky luggage. We were charged 30/– excess, but most of that was for the object-glasses which being labelled “glass” were charged at a higher rate. We got to Liverpool at 3∙45 and then difficulties began. The Hotels were full and there were scarcely any porters at the station. At last we found a porter of a baggage agency, and put all except our handbags in his charge to deliver to the Steamer. Then we set off in a taxi to hunt for a Hotel. After 3 or 4 attempts we got in at quite a comfortable commercial hotel. I think we were probably very lucky. It was a pouring wet night, so we did not go out.

The next day we got down to the dock about 10 a.m. Our luggage was promised for 10∙30 a.m.; but did not arrive. Soon after 11 we had to go on board, because the emigration officer was only there for a short time. He just looked at the passports and did not worry about anything else. We were not very anxious about the luggage because we soon found about a dozen other passengers were in the same plight as ourselves having entrusted their luggage to the same firm. Ultimately about 12∙30 it all turned up, and we went down to lunch, much relieved.

The Anselm is a very nice boat, and seems much roomier than I expected. I should think there are at least sixty first-class passengers on board. Our cabin is nicely placed, a good height above the water, and is very quiet. Davidson & Crommelin are next door. It seems curious to have done with rationing entirely—unlimited sugar, and large slices of meat, puddings with pre-war quantity of raisins & currants in them, new white rolls, and so on.

We left at about 2 p.m. and went slowly through a chain of docks to the Mersey. One of the Directors of the Booth Line was on board at the start and saw us for a few minutes. We saw the lights of Holyhead about 9 p.m. and stopped a few minutes to drop the pilot. Since then we have seen no land whatever, and have had only very vague ideas as to our position; there is still a war-regulation which forbids them letting us know where we are & what our course is.

Davidson & Crommelin had to sit at the Captain’s table, so our party was broken up. It is supposed to be a special favour to be asked to sit there; but as they are too far from the Captain to get to know him, it does not seem much good. There is one other passenger whom I knew through correspondence, Mr. Walkey an amateur astronomer. He is going out for the Bible Society to live on a house-boat on the Amazon travelling up and down the various tributaries. He expects to be out there most of his life.

I have had a few games of chess with Crommelin and also with a Frenchman, have read a bit, and passed the time very comfortably. I am quite glad to be having a long steamer trip again.

With very dear love from
your affectionate son
Stanley

—————

Numbered ‘1st’ at the head. Two passages have been marked off in pencil by a later hand.

Letter from Arthur Schuster to A. S. Eddington

Transcript

Victoria Park, Manchester
Novr 9. 1909

Dear Mr Eddington,

May I ask you—in confidence—whether you consider yourself definitely fixed to “Astronomy” or whether you would at all consider a return to Physics as possible.—I am not at liberty to go into details but the question arises whether in case a chair of Theoretical Physics were founded here or elsewhere and suitable conditions were offered you would be prepared to accept the chair.—Also in that case it might help matters if you wd let me know what conditions you would consider acceptable.

You may take it for granted that the duties wd leave you plenty of time for private work and that nothing wd prevent you continuing to prosecute the line of research on which you have entered with such success

I remain
Yours sincerely
Arthur Schuster.

Letter from John W. Graham to Sarah Ann Eddington

Transcript

Grand Hôtel des Bergues, Genève
3. Jan 1898.

Dear Mrs. Eddington,

I sent you just one bit of my ideas abt. Stanley as soon as he left us. The rest must follow now.

His presence has been a great pleasure to us. You have got a boy mixed of most kindly elements, as perhaps Shakspeare might say {1}. His rapidly and clearly working mind has not in the least spoiled his character. I don’t know when I have had to do with so modest and gentlemanly a boy. It is a testimony to day schools and home training, (not, I am afraid, my favourite theory.)

His youth has, of course, been just a little against his making friends, but has not been fatal to it. In Clayton, & in Wood & Brown he has nice associates; but he seems more contented alone than most boys are.

His work is all that I expected, & more: & I feel altogether that he is “a precious youth” committed to my charge. I can realise to some extent what Margaret would feel like if she were left alone to bring up our own little Richard.

I remain
Your friend sincerely
John W. Graham

—————

The writing-paper is engraved with illustrations of the hotel, etc. The year is wrong, as Eddington did not enter Owen’s College till October 1898 (see his Notebook).

{1} {1} Graham evidently had in mind Antony’s encomium on Brutus at the end of Julius Caesar: ‘His life was gentle, and the elements | So mix’d in him that Nature might stand up | And say to all the world “This was a man!”’

Letter from A. S. Eddington to Sarah Ann Eddington

Transcript

1912 Sept 3. 11.a.m.
R.M.S.P. Arlanza {1}

My very dear Mother,

We are now on our way between Lisbon and Madeira, and are due at the latter about noon tomorrow; after that the long period away from land begins. I did not hear from you at Lisbon, so fear that the mail must have gone before you posted. I hope you got on all right and are having better weather.

We have had glorious weather the whole way so far. Southampton {2} gave us a parting shower and then the sun came out brightly and has never deserted us since. We had a pretty view of the Needles and Isle of Wight and reached Cherbourg about 6 o’clock where we took on a lot of passengers. We sailed again about 10 o’clock. Before breakfast next morning we were passing Ushant and entered the Bay of Biscay. It was quite smooth, though not exactly glassy; very different from last time I crossed it. The day was bright but not hot. The next morning (Sunday) we were across the Bay[,] and passing C. Finisterre and the end of the Pyrenees the coast looked very pretty with the hills (not very high) well wooded and little villages by the shore. It was now very hot but there has always been a fresh wind. We called at Vigo but did not go ashore; however I visited it well with my opera glasses and took some photographs; the town itself is small, primitive, and not very interesting but the Estuary is fine. We go a little way up the river (I dont know its name) and there are some islands at the mouth which make it very pretty. We took on a tremendous crowd of Spanish emigrants here. They are packed close but seem very happy and lively.

I was up early on Monday morning for the sail up the Tagus to Lisbon. The misty morning light made it very delightful. We went ashore after breakfast (Davidson and J. Atkinson {3} did not land) and stayed until 4 o’clock. You hardly realise Lisbon is a capital city; it seems more a sort of market town. It was very interesting looking round[;] we spent most of the time (which passed very quickly) doing the markets and so on. We went round the Cathedral however, which has a fine high dome and saw many interesting things including the mummy of a saint. We lunched off fruit[—]grapes, apricots and figs[,] which were very nice and wonderfully cheap (very nice tasted {4} purple grapes at a penny a pound)[.] We sailed back to the ship in a sailing boat. We spent altogether 2685 reis which sounds ruinous but is about 9/6.

The ship did not sail till about midnight. Today is I think a little cooler and the sea is not so smooth; but our boat is not much disturbed by it. It is a lovely blue sea with brilliant sunshine.

I have a deck-chair up on the observation deck so get plenty of sun and air. I dont read much more than I did in Norway. This boat is just like the Avon {5} so I know my way about well and, as I told you, we have the same captain {6}.

We are at the Captain’s table but he is not coming to meals until we leave Madeira[.] The other occupants are Mr, Mrs & Miss Unwin; Mr. is some man of importance in S. Amer. but we dont know what. Atkinson tells me he (Unwin) is a radical speaker (A. being a Conservative orator). The only other occupant, my neighbour, is Lady Macpherson-Grant {7}. I am afraid she is going to be rather a bore. However we get plenty of fun with Atkinson. Atkinson who is 67 is a wonderful old chap, as hard as nails; he has been everywhere almost and seems to know everybody. He is always bubbling over with mischief. He is a barrister but has given up practising, breeds and runs racehorses, used to play cricket for Yorkshire, has invented a number of mechanical contrivances which have had great success and directs or manages a number of companies. He is a very keen educationalist on the Northampton County Council and was telling me about their scholarships “but . .” he said {8} “we have n’t done like Somerset yet, I always hold up Somerset to them; they got a Senior Wrangler”[.] I had to enlighten him, as he [had] no idea I was a Somerset Scholar {9}.

I had a good long talk with the Chief Officer last night who knew something of Christina. It seems to be a nice place and the climate and weather prospects first rate.

Of course, we eat tremendously, the meals being much like those on the Avon. I have my bath at 7∙30 so get a little exercise before breakfast at 9. Lunch is at 12∙30, tea at 4, and dinner at 7. They have rather more of a gymnasium here than on the Avon; one very good arrangement is an apparatus for rowing, it feels exactly like real rowing.

I shall have to send with this my best wishes for many happy returns of the day; 60 this time isn’t it? I shall have to give a joint birthday and Christmas present when I get back.

Please give my love to Uncle A. Aunt F. and Arthur; I hope you are not in trouble with the floods, but have heard no English news, whatever.

With very dear love to Winnie & yourself from your affectionate son
Stanley

—————

Letter-head of the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company.

{1} ‘R.M.S.P.’ is printed. The Arlanza, a sister-ship of the Titanic, was built in Belfast by Harland & Wolff for the Southampton–River Plate service. She was launched on 23 November 1911 and came into service in April the following year. She was capable of carrying 400 first-class, 230 second-class, and 760 third-class passengers.

{2} The ship left Southampton on Friday, 30 August.

{3} ‘(Assistant)’ has been added below ‘Davidson’ and ‘(Amateur Astron gone with them)’ above Atkinson, all in the same unidentified hand.

{4} A slip for ‘tasting’.

{5} The R.M.S.P. Avon, of 11,073 tons, was built in Belfast by Harland & Wolf in 1907.

{6} Captain Pope.

{7} Either Frances Elizabeth, the widow of Sir George Macpherson-Grant, 3rd Bt, or Mary (d. 1914), the wife of Sir John Macpherson-Grant, 4th Bt.

{8} This word, which is at the end of a line, is followed by superfluous inverted commas.

{9} Eddington won a Somerset County Council Scholarship in 1898. See Douglas, p. 4.

Letter from A. S. Eddington to Sarah Ann Eddington

Transcript

Savoy-Hotel, Hauptbahnhof, Hamburg
5 Aug. 1913 {1}

My very dear Mother

Dyson and I travelled here together by the night train from Bonn, and arrived here about 7∙30 this (Tuesday) morning. The two conferences overlap by one day, so we miss the last day of the Bonn meetings. I have been enjoying the affair immensely, and had no idea it would be such a jolly and lively time. There were about 100 astronomers there, many with wives, etc; and I got to know most of them. Schwarzschild was staying at our hotel & we saw a good deal of him. The meetings were mainly devoted to business (not papers), and as there was very little to do we had not too much work—in fact it was rather an excuse for a picnic; but one learns a lot by seeing and talking to the different people. The weather has been glorious and very hot every day except Saturday (which was overcast but fine). We had two municipal banquets, viz at Bonn & Cologne—both very enjoyable. At Cologne a most splendid band played during the meal one of the best I have heard; and the Gürzenich, where the meal was, is a beautiful old hall with Gothic roof. Whilst at Cologne we had a good look round the Cathedral and saw the treasure chamber with the skulls of the three Magi. On Sunday we left Bonn before 9 a.m. by electric tram, and had a ten mile walk through the woods of the Siebengebirge ending up at the Drachenfels castle, and returned in a launch by the river. About 30 of us went (the rest going a motor trip) practically all the English Astronomers went the walk, only one American, Schwa[r]zschild, Hertzsprung[,] Jules Baillaud and a number of miscellaneous nationalities. Two ladies Miss Hills & Mrs Hertzsprung (late Miss Kapteyn) went with us. As we had all day we did not have to hurry much; the views were very fine. We had a good deal of amusement—including a race. “Schwarzschild & five mad Englishmen” (the latter including Dyson & myself) got photographed at one of those places where they give you them finished in five minutes, posed in a motor-car and with a wooden donkey—it makes an amusing group. One afternoon Sampson Stratton Hubrecht & I went on {2} the river to Strandbad, a bathing place and had a very enjoyable bathe—it was a very hot afternoon. We have also bathed two or three times in a covered place at Bonn. There was a very nicely arranged garden party at the Observatory at Bonn (Küstner’s place) on Friday.

I got to know two Russian astronomers Backlund & Belopolski who are most delightful men—Backlund in particular is very good company[.] He reminds one a bit of Atkinson, but he is quite a first-rate astronomer. He has often been to England but somehow I have always missed him. The meeting of the Astronomische Gesellschaft here will be larger, less select and probably more serious; I do not think it will be quite so lively, but there are a number of excursions & entertainments planned.12 The Goldener Stern at Bonn was an excellent Hotel[;] this one here is not so good; but they were very slow over serving meals everywhere in Bonn; lunch although, {3} only 3 courses, always took about 2 hours to serve.

With very dear love from
your affectionate son
Stanley.

The cigars here are excellent & very cheap.

—————

The letter has been docketed ‘Bonn 1913 | Hamburg’.

{1} The first two figures of the year are printed.

{2} This is probably the intended word, though, perhaps as the result of an alteration, what is written resembles ‘top’.

{3} The comma ought to precede the word.

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