The missing 'puzzle' page of Einstein’s unified theory of everything found

Over 100 new pages of Einstein's writings, including long-lost calculations, have been made public.

  • 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."

A man checks one of Albert Einsteins manuscripts on display in the Givat Ram Hebrew University of Jerusalem on March 6, 2019. Photo credit: MENAHEM KAHANA / AFP / Getty Images

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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Scientists study tattooed corpses, find pigment in lymph nodes

It turns out, that tattoo ink can travel throughout your body and settle in lymph nodes.

17th August 1973: An American tattoo artist working on a client's shoulder. (Photo by F. Roy Kemp/BIPs/Getty Images)
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In the slightly macabre experiment to find out where tattoo ink travels to in the body, French and German researchers recently used synchrotron X-ray fluorescence in four "inked" human cadavers — as well as one without. The results of their 2017 study? Some of the tattoo ink apparently settled in lymph nodes.


Image from the study.

As the authors explain in the study — they hail from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, and the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment — it would have been unethical to test this on live animals since those creatures would not be able to give permission to be tattooed.

Because of the prevalence of tattoos these days, the researchers wanted to find out if the ink could be harmful in some way.

"The increasing prevalence of tattoos provoked safety concerns with respect to particle distribution and effects inside the human body," they write.

It works like this: Since lymph nodes filter lymph, which is the fluid that carries white blood cells throughout the body in an effort to fight infections that are encountered, that is where some of the ink particles collect.

Image by authors of the study.

Titanium dioxide appears to be the thing that travels. It's a white tattoo ink pigment that's mixed with other colors all the time to control shades.

The study's authors will keep working on this in the meantime.

“In future experiments we will also look into the pigment and heavy metal burden of other, more distant internal organs and tissues in order to track any possible bio-distribution of tattoo ink ingredients throughout the body. The outcome of these investigations not only will be helpful in the assessment of the health risks associated with tattooing but also in the judgment of other exposures such as, e.g., the entrance of TiO2 nanoparticles present in cosmetics at the site of damaged skin."

Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash
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