“A Near Miss”

On April 8th I saw Walter Bradbury, the managing director of Doubleday, and my editor. He offered to write to the astronomers in Washington—though I told him not to expect anything favorable for me in their response. The same day he wrote this letter:

April 7, 1955

[read April 8, 1955]

Dr. Bernard F. Burke
Dr. Kenneth L. Franklin
Dept. of Terrestrial Magnetism
Carnegie Institution
Washington, D.C.

Dear Drs. Burke and Franklin:

We note the New York Times article of Wednesday, April 6 describing your detection of radio waves from the planet Jupiter.

In this connection I would like to bring to your attention the following passage:

“In Jupiter and its moons we have a system not unlike the solar family. The planet is cold, yet its gases are in motion. It appears probable to me that it sends out radio noises like the sun and the stars. I suggest that this be investigated.”

This passage appears in the manuscript of a book entitled Earth in Upheaval by Dr. Immanuel Velikovsky. This passage occurs in a supplement to Dr. Velikovsky’s manuscript which comprises an address given on the Princeton University campus, Forum of the Graduate Students in October 1953. The manuscript including this passage has been in our possession since last Spring and this particular paragraph was edited in our offices in the summer of 1954 by Mrs. Kathryn Tebbel, our copyeditor.

I understand that it was surprising for an astronomer to find these strong discharges on a planet. I would like to suggest that you might be interested in discussing with Dr. Velikovsky the theory behind his statement in the quoted passage. In any case I would appreciate your reaction to the fact of Dr. Velikovsky’s prediction of what you have subsequently discovered.

Yours sincerely,

Walter I. Bradbury
Managing Editor

The answer, signed by Bernard F. Burke and Kenneth L. Franklin, was written on April 12, 1955, and in order not to return to this issue for a while, I give already here the answer:

Mr. Walter I. Bradbury
Doubleday and Co., Inc.
575 Madison Avenue
New York 22, New York

Dear Mr. Bradbury:

Your letter of April 7, 1955, referring to our recent radio work has been received.

In his previous work Dr. Velikovsky has shown a willingness to make frequent speculations on the vaguest (and frequently incorrect) physical grounds. It is not surprising that an occasional near miss should be found in the large number of wild speculations that Dr. Velikovsky has produced, but such a coincidence could never be regarded as a true prediction.

We do not feel anything would be gained from a meeting with Dr. Velikovsky.


Bernard F. Burke
Kenneth L. Franklin