Remember the days when Shashi Tharoor would often take to his Twitter handle to bestow his followers with interesting alternatives of words from the English dictionary? Ranging from snollygoster to lalochezia, the Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram would instantly receive responses on his tweets from people thanking him for being the sole reason why their English has improved. While he was at it, he also shared an Urban Dictionary term for those who believe in whatever that the Internet throws their way without fact-checking — Webaqoof. And seeing his latest post on Facebook, it seems Tharoor might have just had his own ‘webaqoof’ moment.
The MP shared a rejection letter to Albert Einstein that has been doing the rounds of the Internet for quite some time now. The contents of the letter indicates how ‘Professor Wilhelm Heinrich’ rejected an application by Einstein for Doctorate by proposing a theory in which he had made ‘conclusions on the nature of light’ and called the “fundamental connection between space and time” as “somewhat radical”. The letter further reads: “Overall, we find your assumptions to be more artistic than actual Physics.” Well, guess what? The letter is FAKE. Dated June 6, 1907, the response was issued under the letterhead of the University of Bern.
With the caption “For all those smarting from rejection: those in power today (&in a position to judge you) will not necessarily be proven right tomorrow. And their judgement of you might look downright silly….”this is Tharoor’s post.
Meanwhile, his followers on Facebook were quick to point out the true nature of the letter to the MP.
According to a report by uniaktuell.unibe.ch, that quotes Niklaus Bütikofer, the archivist of the University of Bern, the letter is a result of “relatively crude forgery”. Interestingly, however, Einstein’s letter was rejected, but not because his theories were disproved but because he hadn’t submitted a habilitation thesis.