Professor Einstein Honoured by Oxfort University: “brilliant Ornament of Our Century” Public Orator

The University of Oxford, where Professor Einstein is now in residence as Rhodes Memorial Lecturer, honoured him yesterday by conferring on him the honorary degree of a Doctor of Science at a specially-convened meeting of Convocation.

Both this month of May and this day, which is almost the anniversary, remind us how twelve years ago, at the time of the sun’s eclipse, Mercury was patently detected in that spot in the sky which had been predicted by this most illustrious man from his study of the transmission of light, the Public Orator, Dr. A. B. Poynton said in presenting Professor Einstein, expressing in the course of his speech, the University’s sense of the honour it has received in the visit of the great scientist.

The doctrine which he interprets to us, the Public Orator went on, is by its name and subject interpreter of a relation between heaven and earth. It bids us view, under the aspect of our own velocity, all things that go on in space; to right and left, upward and downward, backward and forward. This doctrine does not in any way supersede the laws of physicists, but adds only the “momentous” factor which they most desired. But it directly affects the highest philosophy.

And it is not unwelcome, the Public Orator concluded, to Oxford men, who have not the Euclidean temper of mind, but have learned from Heraclitus that no man can step twice into the same river – nay, not even once – ; who are glad to believe that the Epicurean “swerve” is not a puerile fiction; finally, in reading the Timaeus of Plato, have felt the want of a mathematical explanation of the Universe, more self-consistent and more in agreement with realities. This explanation has now been brought down to men by Professor Albert Einstein, a brilliant ornament of our century.

Professor Einstein then delivered the last of his three Rhodes lectures on the Theory of Relativity.

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