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Of Historical Note: More Light

By Abraham Flexner Published 2007

The New York Times Archives

The following text, from founding Director Abraham Flexner’s announcement of the appointment of Albert Einstein to the Institute's inaugural Faculty, was published in the New York Times on October 16, 1932.

More Light 

Over a hundred years have passed away since Faraday, at the Royal Institution in London, began to play with electricity. He had absolutely no idea that his investigations would have any practical consequences or any theoretical consequences beyond the satisfaction of his curiosity, and yet everything that we do today with electricity is more or less closely dependent upon the unfettered investigations which Faraday was fortunately in a position to make. 

It is as true today as it was when Goethe closed his eyes in death that what the world needs is “more light”—more light to illuminate what is obscure, more light to enable us to reorganize our intellectual and social and political lives. No one is wise enough to tell the source from which illumination will come, but the experience of the race will not in the future be different from what it has been in the past, and an institute which enables men of superior wisdom and capacity to indulge their curiosity and to promote understanding will in due course produce consequences of which neither they nor we now dream.

Published in The Institute Letter Fall 2007