The retired Einstein was asked by The Reporter magazine for his reaction to their articles about scientists in America. He commented that he would rather have been "a plumber or a peddler," suggesting that other avenues would have given him greater independence. His correspondent, the principal in Burt Whitehead & Sons, a plumbing firm in Toledo, wrote: "In answer to your recently quoted remarks that you would rather have been a plumber or a peddler, please be advised that the pasture here is not so green as it may appear. Thanks for your compliment to our industry, unintentional though it may have been."
Einstein responded: "I had not for one moment any exaggerated illusions about the greeness of your pasture, but in comparison with universities and other schools ..." trailing off. His remarks were in protest at the treatment accorded his colleague J. Robert Oppenheimer, accused of disloyalty, and in a larger sense against political interference in science. His choice of expression brought him considerable criticism; it was also interpreted as a sign that he had lost interest in science because of the deployment of the atomic bomb.
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