In his review of my book, A Passion for Discovery (Physics Today, August 2008, page 56), Engelbert Schucking questions my decision to include a version from Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar of a story about a strain in the early relationship between Finnish physicist Gunnar Nordström and Albert Einstein. As I recall, the story is based on a letter of Nordström’s, which I, unlike Chandra, have never seen. Schucking says Chandra’s story is “nonsense” to be doubted by “anybody familiar with the amiable young Einstein.” I do not claim to be more familiar with Einstein than is the guy next door, but I doubt that I am less familiar. In fact, the story was briefly mentioned previously, with Chandra’s explicit approval, even his urging, on page 10 of the book Modern Kaluza-Klein Theories (Addison–Wesley, 1987), which I co-edited with Tom Appelquist and Alan Chodos. Being familiar with the amiable and very careful Chandra, I believe that his version is not nonsense. It seems to be at odds with what I was told by Helsinki physicists and by Nordström’s daughter Saga, who speak, as I mention in the book, of a harmonious early friendship of the two men. But the evidence they point to consists of letters exchanged years later. On the upside, what everybody can agree on is that later a friendly tone was established between Einstein and Nordström.

As I say in A Passion for Discovery, “human relations can and often do fluctuate,” no matter how amiable and brilliant those involved. More importantly for physics, Chandra’s version of that relationship throws some light on why it took so long for Nordström’s important and extremely original idea of five-dimensional unification to gain recognition.

One final clarification: When I was able to leave Romania in 1959, contrary to Schucking’s assertion, the odious Nicolae Ceauşescu was still biding his time on the sidelines. He waited until 1965 to grab power, by which time he could be sure that I had been appointed to the University of Chicago faculty.