Now a study led by RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, discusses how recent discoveries in migratory-birds copy Einstein’s thinking 72 years ago.
The previously unpublished letter was shared with researchers by Judith Davys—Einstein had addressed it to her late husband, radar researcher Glyn Davys.
RMIT’s professor Adrian Dyer has published significant studies into bees & is that the lead author of the new paper on Einstein’s letter, published within the Journal of Comparative Physiology A.
Dyer said the letter shows how Einstein envisaged new discoveries might come from studying animals.
“Seven decades after Einstein proposed new physics might come from animal sensory perception, we are seeing discoveries that push our understanding about navigation & therefore the fundamental principles of physics,” he said.
The letter also proves Einstein met with Nobel laurate Karl von Frisch, who was a number one bee and animal sensory researcher.
In April 1949, von Frisch presented his research on how honeybees navigate more effectively using the polarization patterns of light-scattered from the sky.
The day after Einstein attended von Frisch’s lecture, the 2 researchers shared a personal meeting.
Although this meeting was not formally documented, the newly discovered letter from Einstein provides insight into what they could have talked about.
“It is thinkable that the investigation of the behavior of migratory birds & carrier pigeons may someday cause the understanding of some physical process which isn’t yet known,” Einstein wrote.
Professor Andrew Greentree, a theoretical physicist at RMIT, said Einstein also suggested that for bees to increase our knowledge of physics, new sorts of behavior would required to be observed.
“Remarkably, it is clear through his writing that Einstein’ envisaged new discoveries could come from studying animals’ behaviors,” Greentree said.
More than 70 years since Einstein sent his letter, research is revealing the secrets of how migratory birds navigate while flying 1000s of kilometers to reach at particular destination.
In 2008, research on thrushes fitted with radio transmitters showed, for the 1st time, that these birds use a form of compass-magnetic as their 1st orientation guide during flight.
One theory for the origin of magnetic-sense in birds is that the use of quantum randomness & entanglement. Both of those physics concepts were first proposed by Einstein.
The findigs were reported on Journal of Comparative Physiology A