- The Hebrew University makes public 110 new pages of Einstein's writings.
- Among the writings is a famously-missing page of calculations on the unified theory.
- Other papers by Einstein talk of politics and personal observations.
It’s easy to wonder what Einstein, one of the world’s most brilliant minds ever, would have come up with had he lived longer. Maybe he would have figured out the still-elusive theory of everything — not an unlikely feat for the creator of such transformative ideas as the theory of relativity. This conjecture received a boost recently when the Hebrew University of Jerusalem released 110 new pages written by Einstein, some of them containing previously-missing calculations. These related to the famous scientist’s 30 years worth of efforts to create one cogent explanation for how everything in the universe works.
A large portion of the unveiled papers is comprised of 84 sheets of Einstein’s mathematical calculations from 1944 to 1948, showing insight into his work that is not yet fully apparent. They have been examined by Professor Tilman Sauer at the University of Mainz, but only preliminarily. One item of particular interest is the handwritten, never-published eight-page appendix to a scientific article on the Unified Theory, sent in by Einstein to the Prussian Academy of Science in 1930. While copies of the appendix were found by researchers previously, a key page of it was considered to be lost until now.
Hanoch Gutfreund, a physics professor and scientific advisor to the university’s Einstein archives, explained that “in the copies we had, one page was missing, and that was a problem. That was a puzzle. And to our surprise, to our delight, that page is now here. It came with the new material.”
Hebrew University, which acquired the new collection through a donation to the Crown-Goodman foundation in Chicago, called this discovered article “one of many in Einstein’s attempts to unify the forces of nature into one, single theory and he devoted the last 30 years of his life to this effort.”
Other interesting information in the new treasure-trove of Einstein’s writings includes his premonition that the Nazis are taking over Europe, as expressed in a letter to his son Hans Albert in 1935:
“I read with some apprehension that there is quite a movement in Switzerland, instigated by the German bandits,” wrote Einstein. “But I believe that even in Germany, things are slowly starting to change. Let’s just hope we won’t have a Europe war first… the rest of Europe is now starting to finally take the thing seriously, especially the British. If they would have come down hard a year and a half ago, it would have been better and easier.”
Among the papers are also letters from the scientist, whose 140th birthday was celebrated this year, to his friend Michele Besso, describing a “glorious” idea for the absorption and emission of light by atoms that was foundational in laser technology.
To further understand the context and application of Einstein’s newly-found calculations, the Hebrew University’s Einstein Archives, boasting the world’s most extensive collection of Einstein-related materials, are collaborating with Professor Diana Kormos-Buchwald from Caltech’s Einstein Papers Project.
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