Einstein manuscripts: More than 110 new documents released

James Marshall
March 7, 2019

The handwritten page - part of an appendix to a 1930 paper written by the Nobel victor on unified field theory - was discovered nestled in the 110-page trove Israel's Hebrew University was given as a donation.

The bulk of the 110-page collection consists of yellowed pages of handwritten equations, as well as several personal letters written in German.

Einstein was impressed that Besso was learning Hebrew and joked about not knowing the language himself.

Among them are four letters from Einstein to his life-long friend and colleague Michele Besso.

"In every letter exchanged between them, they refer to something scientific".

"That's rare in scientific persona", he said.

He jokingly teased Besso, who was born into an Italian-Jewish family, for converting to Christianity, saying, "You will certainly not go to hell, even if you had yourself baptized".

Einstein said in the letter that he wouldn't be willing to pay for "Tetel's insane house of treatment", adding that "I am nearly positive that the thing with the Viennese doctor is a simple swindle, and I am very surprised that no one in Zurich is preventing your mother from falling for it and so to ruin her financial position even further". "But I prefer to feel ashamed than to learn it", Einstein wrote to Besso. In a letter dated 50 years later, he expresses that he still does not understand the quantum nature of light (I mean, do any of us, really?).

The esteemed physicist had left Germany years earlier amid the rise of fascism.

In 1935, Einstein wrote a letter to his son, Hans Albert, which said, "In Germany, things are slowly starting to change. Let's just hope we won't have a Europe war first". "If they would have come down hard a year and a half ago, it would have been better and easier", he wrote.

On the eve of what would be Albert Einstein's 140th birthday, a collection of more than 100 letters written by the genius have been gifted to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU), of which Einstein was a founding member.

The university did not say the purchase price, citing the donor's wishes.

In 2017, a letter by Albert Einstein in which he grapples with the concept of religion sold for almost $US2.9m.

These newly acquired documents had belonged to Ernst Straus, Einstein's one-time assistant and fellow mathematician. Eventually the documents made their way to the collection of Gary Berger, a Chapel Hill doctor.

Einstein, who settled in the United States after renouncing his German citizenship when Adolf Hitler came to power, bequeathed his scientific and personal writings to Hebrew University, which houses an 80,000-item Albert Einstein archive.

Almost all the documents had been known to researchers and available in the form of copies.

Einstein was one of the founding members of the Hebrew University.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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