Einstein’s famed formulas, photos, love letters go online

Photo shows the printed announcement of Albert Einstein’s marriage to Mileva Maric in 1903, presented at a press conference to lauch the Einstein Archives Online in Jeursalem on March 19, 2012. <Photo: Xinhua/Yin Dongxun>

An online archival website cataloging more than 80,000 of Albert Einstein’s collected papers and notes, and personal correspondence was launched on Monday, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem said.

“I think that the most amazing moment for me… was when I got to that little room and I saw all the boxes and all that handwriting, it was like sparking genius,” Dr. Dalia Mendelsson, who heads the Einstein Archives project’s IT department, told Xinhua.

Einstein, who developed the General Theory of Relativity and was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1921 for his work in theoretical physics, is widely considered the father of modern physics.

The website’s launch, marked simultaneously in Israel, at The Einstein Papers Project at the California Institute of Technology, and at Israeli embassies worldwide, commemorates Einstein’s 133rd birthday on March 14, Israel’s National Science Day.

The project covers assorted scientific disciplines, including physics and basic science, the history of science, the history of Zionism and of the Hebrew University, the university’s president, Prof. Menachem Ben-Sasson, said in a statement.

Among the nonscientific documents highlighting the man behind the world-shaking physics are a letter to Azmi El-Nashashibi, the editor of the Falastin newspaper, discussing a solution to the Jewish-Arab conflict, a postcard to his sick mother, a letter from a younger mistress, and amusing fan letters about his iconic unruly hair.

Mendelsson said the site was designed and created with specifically-designed database software, in order to allow the general public to see what was once only available to scholars and students at the university’s Jerusalem campus: Einstein’s own lectures, formulas and collected papers which helped change man’s view of physics and the universe forever.

“There were 43,000 documents from 2003 until today, so, of course, the database grew from then; now we are providing the 80, 000 records. We are starting the project with 2,000 images, and by the end of the month we will have 7,000 images,” Mendelsson said.

“It’s like meeting the author of all these letters, in an intimate look at all of his work,” Mendelsson said of Einstein, who helped found the school in 1918. <Xinhua>

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