Even with the optimism of youth a child might not expect Albert Einstein to be the best pen pal yet… in between sleeping for 10 hours a night, developing theories of relativity and being the most famous scientist on the planet, the physicist found time to reply to some of the children who wrote to him. From the charming Dear Professor Einstein: Albert Einstein’s Letters to and from Children comes the following exchange between Einstein and a bright, witty South African girl named Tyfanny with whom Einstein exchanged several letters despite being at the height of his career.
In a letter dated September 19, 1946, Tyfanny writes:
‘I forgot to tell you, in my last letter, that I was a girl. I mean I am a girl. I have always regretted this a great deal, but by now I have become more or less resigned to the fact. Anyway, I hate dresses and dances and all the kind of rot girls usually like. I much prefer horses and riding. Long ago, before I wanted to become a scientist, I wanted to be a jockey and ride horses in races. But that was ages ago, now. I hope you will not think any the less of me for being a girl!’
‘I do not mind that you are a girl, but the main thing is that you yourself do not mind. There is no reason for it.’