Taking Up the Cudgels

by Robert Benchley

from Benchley -- Or Else!

Somebody named Sir Shah Sulaiman, of Allahabad, India, has seen fit to challenge Professor Albert Einstein's Theory of Relativity. In the absence of Professor Einstein, I am taking the liberty of replying in his behalf.

Einstein's value of the deflection of light from a star as it comes past the sun in 1.75. Sir Shah sulaiman's prediction of value is between 2.32 and 2.45.

My answer to Sir S. S.: You're crazy.

Einstein's value of the amount of shifting toward the red end of the spectrum of the light from the limb of the sun is: .0084. Sir S. S. predicts that it will be found to be .00676.

My answer: Poppycock.

Sir S. S.'s third prediction concerns the elements of orbits of planets. He says that the value for the advance of the perihelion of planet Mercury is less than estimated by Newcomb.

My answer: Where is Allahabad, India, anyway? And who asked you to butt in on this? We were getting along very nicely with Prof. Einstein, who had proven himself to be an extremely pleasant gentleman and an all-around good egg. He also plays the violin. What can you play?

* * * * *

That is the trouble with discovering something worth while. Sooner or later some fly-by-night chief justice of India (that's what Sir Shah is, a chief justice) comes along and says that you are all wrong, and that he has discovered something better that will also cure head colds. Its enough to make a man like Einstein throw the whole thing up and just sail boats all the rest of his life.

Of course, it's none of my business, but, being in more or less the same line of work as Einstein (writing), I feel that we all ought to stand together.

Prof. Einstein probably will have something more to add to his own defense than what I have outlined here, but this will serve as an opening gun in the rebuttal.

I also hereby offer to meet Sir Shah in public debate.