"Iasi, Tatarasti street, no.2
30 November 1935
Dear Professor Simionescu
In one of the recent issues of the Universul newspaper you've wrote an article "Moldovimi" in which you also mention my humble person. I thank you very much for the good thought you've put there for me and for the appreciations, much too flattering for me, on my scientific activity. As one who is closely familiarized with the inferior status in which our laboratories are held, I watch enthusiastically any attempt that is being made to draw the attention of the decision factors on this state of affairs. It would be a great joy for one to thoroughly understand that one of the most important factors for the economic development of a country is pure scientific research, if we were to mention only this aspect which could immediately catch the attention of our responsible factors, however paradoxical it may seem at first sight. The huge efforts undertook by all nations, whatever their political organization - from the extreme right wing to the left one - when faced with the need to manifest themselves in the first rank of modern civilisation - and this as an imperative of their existence, give an undeniable proof in this respect.
The strong organization of the scientific research in the USSR with the formation of local teams of specialists for every branch of the so-called disinterested research and that of the immediate interest, have brought in this region of the world , within about ten years , an independence and an excess of wealth which began to give some thought, if they were not but the happy result of the geological prospecting made by the Russian university institutes which found, thus, huge wealth sleeping in their land and to those they found an immediate use.
Germany has led lately, an extremely systematic and absolutely impressive policy on scientific education starting from the most tender age and culminating with a strong organism of laboratory research.
The university city build up under the Rome's walls with enormous sacrifices and by a people who had so many other matters, apparently more urgent to solve, is again a vivid example. The results have been already obvious enough: Rome has a privileged position in the production of modern physics and mathematics: Fermi's school, Levi Civitta etc. (n.n. Enrico Fermi, 1901-1954, physicist, Nobel Prize in 1938 and Levi Civitta, 1837-1941, mathematician, co-founder with Gregorio Ricci-Curbastro 1853-1925, of the absolute differential calculus). Italy has now a team of specialists who have pulled it out of more trouble by giving it the opportunity to industrialize and equip itself despite all the financial difficulties and shortages of essential raw materials.
France, in the person of J. Perrin (n.n. Jean Perrin, 1870-1942, physicist) has organized "La Recherche Scientifique" with a budget of tens of millions of francs annually; the outcome is already remarkable both in scientific supremacy and in the vital issue of its national equipping.
Donations of hundreds of thousands of pounds were made last month to the British laboratories of pure research.
Not to mention America which, considering its current pace of laboratories equipping, will give us, soon enough, a brilliant example of the intellectual and economic power that a country may achieve by preparing methodically the people it needs; a country that in the fierce struggle for life makes use, with maximum efficiency, of any distinguishing intellectual energy. It is extremely obvious that a man's intelligence is still his most powerful weapon, that the more creative intelligence a country has, the more powerful it is, and that our manifesting inertia which seems to last is not comprehensible. The wealth of the civilized countries increased enormously and is still increasing at a stunning pace with the help of these creative brains. The crucibles inside of which these enquiring minds develops freely and in all their plenitude continues to be the scientific research laboratories where these artists of thought and delvers of nature cannot evolve in freedom unless they are animated by the flame of disinterested research. This is the starting place of the industry which, if supported by an adequate economic system fostering creativity, becomes applicable to and enriches the economic environment in which it settles. Without the renewal brought by a disinterested research, the industry will succumb. We know what signifies the creation in our country of an industry born elsewhere; the patents and the imported specialists cost us billions, much more than it would cost us any effort done towards ensuring the right environment and cultivating the scientific and industrial creation. And this industry is doomed to die soon if we do not have in our own country, at hand, the people who can adapt it and eventually compete with the similar foreign work, because in the furnace of the huge work carried out abroad, new and more favorable conditions are rapidly found and a ruthless gap appears in no time. Not to mention the country's arming. The ancient Romans did not win the battles only with military discipline and warlike spirit but also because they were smarter and more cultivated than others, thus being able to suddenly come up with a new gadget - a catapult, for instance. Why is it so dangerous to start a fight with a civilized country? It's precisely because of these new gizmos which they drop on your head all of a sudden when your life looks good and runs smoothly. The nowadays war is waged by intelligence not by mere muscles; is waged more with extremely standardized and high-tech industry than with patriotic words. When it comes to the country's defense, the most backward industry and a flash of creative intelligence makes a weapon infinitely more devastating than any generous impetus which, no matter how necessary and elevated, is shattered by the large possibilities of a cold, effectively reacting mind of finding out means of defense and of carrying out devastating attacks. A single brilliant idea at one time is more welcome than everything else that was get - with billions - out of imported ideas and stuff.
It is never too late, and this is fully proved by East's example; there a realistic policy of joined scientific and industrial education, turned a country that was extremely backward until about ten years ago into a power imposing itself on the world stage and leading to all the reactions we are witnessing nowadays.
Without wanting, we let ourselves be carried away by these practical aftermaths, now, when the world has gone mad and when everyone's existence and peace are in the balance; but Dear Lord, how much gratitude and respect you are inclined to pay to those civilizations which gave a Pasteur, a Carnot or an Ampère (n.n. Louis Pasteur, chemist and biologist, 1822-1895, Lazare Carnot, 1753-1823, mathematician, one of the creators of modern geometry and André Ampère, 1775-1836, physicist and mathematician, all three Frenchmen). Faraday (n.n. Michel Faraday, 1791-1867, English physicist) with several laboratory works has completely revolutionized the world, showing how electrical power can be harnessed. A single Pasteur or Faraday is sufficient for a country and even hundreds of billions spent to develop and preserve an environment appropriate for their training and formation would be fully justified. The moral obligation of a state to make its intellectual contribution to the large output of the human intelligence, imperiously demands of us to organize ourselves to fully pay our due to this end; all the more as we are all convinced that we - as Romanians - do not lack work capabilities, talent and wit but an adequate environment, emulation and the organization of our intellectual life; in this respect any enlightened and efficient effort, as is the one you yourself are doing, fill with joy the heart of all those who, above all, want the best possible good in our country. But I see that I let myself get carried away by the run of my pen and I take you a precious time. It will give me a great pleasure to come see you when passing through Bucharest if I'm lucky enough to find you free for a few moments. Meanwhile, please send my respectful homage to Ms Simionescu, as for you, please believe in my full devotion that I have always had for you.
(L.Kalustian, SIMPLE NOTES, Eminescu publishing house, 1983)