Still another fax bites the dust

Now comes the news that on January 1, 2020, the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property will turn off its fax machine.  This is, of course, the patent office where Albert Einstein worked as a patent examiner before becoming famous and inventing E=mc2 and winning a Nobel Prize.

This is yet another in a long string of patent offices and other entities that have turned off or are planning to turn off their fax machines.  See Another Fax Bites the Dust, October 18, 2018.

5 Replies to “Still another fax bites the dust”

  1. “This is, of course, the patent office where Albert Einstein worked as a patent examiner …”

    The Swiss Patent Office hasn’t been the same since.

    See, or , if you don’t feel comfortable clicking on random links, put “xkcd swiss patent office” into your favorite search engine.

  2. Einstein’s article on the equivalence of mass and energy (E=mc^2), along with those on Brownian motion, on the photoelectric effect, and on special relativity, were done in 1905 (his anus mirabilis) while very much at the Swiss patent office (1902-1909). Interestingly, Einstein later referred to those years as the happiest of his life.

    He left for an academic appointment, the lack of which had become an embarrassment such was his fame within the physics community by 1909 (Edditington’s May 29, 1919 eclipse observation of the deflection of light by gravity launched Einstein as a public celebrity). The 1921 Nobel, awarded in 1922, had been long delayed, also an embarrassment, due to his pacifism, antagonism toward “Jewish physics” (i.e., relativity) and anti-semitism generally. It was awarded for the photoelectric effect paper. An uncommonly careful discussion of all that and a bit more is here

    For as much about Einstein as one cares to drink, see the Collected Papers of Albert Einstein, now on volume 15 of a projected 30 published by Princeton University Press and the Einstein Papers Project headquartered at Caltech. It’s online and well explained at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *