History: Long-lost 1949 letter by Albert Einstein predicted discovery of animal ‘super senses’

Long-lost letter written by Albert Einstein in 1949 reveals the physicist predicted the discovery of animal ‘super senses’ 70 YEARS before evidence emerged

Einstein typed out the letter which he sent to the radar researcher Glyn Davys He mused that new physics might emerge from studies of migratory birdsThis is an arena of study that is still active today — and involves Einstein’s work The previously unpublished letter was shared with researchers by Judith Davys

The discovery of animal ‘super senses’ was anticipated by Albert Einstein some 70 years before evidence emerged, a long-lost letter written in 1949 has revealed.

In the correspondence with radar researcher Glyn Davys, the Nobel laureate mused that new physics might one day emerge from the study of migratory birds.

Such a concept is still being explored today, with researchers revealing how migratory birds are able to precisely navigate when flying thousands of miles. 

In 2008, experts fitted thrushes with radio transmitters, showing for the first time that birds have a form of magnetic compass that help them to orient themselves. 

The previously unpublished letter to her late husband was recently shared with Australian researchers by Judith Davys.

The discovery of animal ‘super senses’ was anticipated by Albert Einstein some 70 years before evidence emerged, a long-lost letter written in 1949 (pictured) has revealed

A paper discussing Einstein’s letter has been published by Adrian Dyer of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, who conducts research into the vision of bees.

‘Seven decades after Einstein proposed new physics might come from animal sensory perception, we’re seeing discoveries that push our understanding about navigation and the fundamental principles of physics,’ Professor Dyer said. 

The letter also hints at Einstein’s meeting with fellow Nobel laureate Karl von Frisch, who was a leading bee and animal sensory researcher of the time.

In the April of 1949, Professor von Frisch presented his research exploring how honeybees are able to navigate by using the polarisation patterns of light scattered from the sky — a lecture which Einstein is known to have attended.

The day after, it is understood that the two scientists shared a private meeting, in which they may have discussed the intricacies of Professor von Frisch’s work.

In his letter, Einstein wrote: ‘Dear Sir: I am well acquainted with Mr. v. Frisch’s admirable investigations. But I cannot see a possibility to utilize those results in the investigation concerning the basis of physics.

‘Such could only be the case if a new kind of sensory perception, resp. of their stimuli, would be revealed through the behaviour of the bees.’

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