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Einstein, von Frisch and the honeybee: a historical letter comes to light

Dyer, AG, Greentree, AD, Garcia, JE, Dyer, EL, Howard, Scarlett and Barth, FG 2021, Einstein, von Frisch and the honeybee: a historical letter comes to light, Journal of Comparative Physiology A, pp. 1-8, doi: 10.1007/s00359-021-01490-6.

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Title Einstein, von Frisch and the honeybee: a historical letter comes to light
Author(s) Dyer, AG
Greentree, AD
Garcia, JE
Dyer, EL
Howard, ScarlettORCID iD for Howard, Scarlett orcid.org/0000-0002-1895-5409
Barth, FG
Journal name Journal of Comparative Physiology A
Start page 1
End page 8
Total pages 8
Publisher Springer
Place of publication Berlin, Germany
Publication date 2021-05-10
ISSN 0340-7594
1432-1351
Keyword(s) Albert Einstein
Insect
Karl von Frisch
Long distance navigation
Skylight polarization pattern
Summary The work of the Nobel Laureate Karl von Frisch, the founder of this journal, was seminal in many ways. He established the honeybee as a key animal model for experimental behavioural studies on sensory perception, learning and memory, and first correctly interpreted its famous dance communication. Here, we report on a previously unknown letter by the Physicist and Nobel Laureate Albert Einstein that was written in October 1949. It briefly addresses the work of von Frisch and also queries how understanding animal perception and navigation may lead to innovations in physics. We discuss records proving that Einstein and von Frisch met in April 1949 when von Frisch visited the USA to present a lecture on bees at Princeton University. In the historical context of Einstein’s theories and thought experiments, we discuss some more recent discoveries of animal sensory capabilities alien to us humans and potentially valuable for bio-inspired design improvements. We also address the orientation of animals like migratory birds mentioned by Einstein 70 years ago, which pushes the boundaries of our understanding nature, both its biology and physics.
Notes In Press
Language eng
DOI 10.1007/s00359-021-01490-6
Indigenous content off
Field of Research 06 Biological Sciences
11 Medical and Health Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30150906

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Created: Tue, 11 May 2021, 23:33:40 EST

Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.