So I found this on the internet the other day- enter image description here

Is this fake? Are there any ways to prove that it's fake?

Does there, if any, exist any real copy of such a rejection letter?(Was Einstein ever really rejected?)

I thought that why should people use English and not German here. That's suspicious of the originality of this letter!

Edit:Interested people may also see this-https://history.stackexchange.com/questions/30501/did-albert-einstein-really-receive-this-rejection-letter-from-the-university-of/30505

  • 15
    $\begingroup$ ? You expect the letter to have been in English? And a hidebound boilerplate institutional American english of the last quarter of the 20th century, at that? Evidently you were never stricken by the self-parodying PhysRev officialese, right there.... $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 7, 2018 at 20:06
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ The "0" in "06 June" also seems awfully suspicious to me. I've seen a fair number of old documents (special collections and archives stuff), old journal papers/books (on internet and in libraries), etc. and I don't recall ever seeing a zero-fill-in digit like this on anything more than 50 years old (and probably not even that far back). $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 7, 2018 at 20:58
  • 8
    $\begingroup$ Why does the letter have a stamp issued from the USA with (old) Einstein on it? I'm sure I've seen this question asked on another SE site before but I can't find it. $\endgroup$
    – CJ Dennis
    Commented Apr 8, 2018 at 3:21
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ It is funny to see the logo of the old Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and English language in a letter of a Schwitzerland scientific institute ;-) They used German in the time, even in scientific circles and Schwitzerland wasn't ever part of the Monarchy. $\endgroup$
    – peterh
    Commented Apr 8, 2018 at 3:24
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ This is a duplicate of history.stackexchange.com/questions/30501/… $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 8, 2018 at 11:20

3 Answers 3


According to this, it's a modern fabrication:

Although Einstein’s initial application for a doctorate at the University of Bern (he had previously been awarded a PhD by the University of Zürich in 1905) was indeed rejected as insufficient in 1907, and it was not until the following year that he completed a new dissertation that resulted in his being awarded a doctorate by the University of Bern and given a position as a lecturer at that school, this image depicts a modern creation and not an actual letter sent to Einstein in 1907.



This is the official link from The University of Bern itself which declares it as a fraud.


Its far more obvious than all of your assumptions, the supposed author of the letter was dead for more than 25 years by 1907. Case closed

  • $\begingroup$ @tatan Wikipedia says 1880 which would make the claim in the answer true. Where did you get 1897 from? $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 9, 2018 at 13:12
  • $\begingroup$ @stellabiderman Okay... it was Wilhelm Heinrich Riehl (German journalist) $\endgroup$
    – Soham
    Commented Apr 9, 2018 at 13:55
  • $\begingroup$ according to the official announcement of The University of Bern, there is no Wilhelm Heinrich to begin with, and I guess even if Wilhelm Heinrich Riehl would sign, his signature would be Wilhelm Riehl, not Wilhelm Heinrich. So since this answer implicitly assumes that there was once a dean named Wilhelm Heinrich, I guess it's technically a fallacy, and hence deserves a downvote? $\endgroup$
    – Ooker
    Commented Jun 17, 2018 at 7:41

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.