One of the drafts manuscripts of the theory of general relativity of Albert
Einstein, estimated at between $ 2.2 million and $ 3.3 million, will be auctioned on November 23 in Paris.
“It is, without a doubt, the Einstein manuscript most precious ever put up for auction, “Christie’s auction house said in a statement.
The document is a 54-page manuscript written in 1913 and 1914, in Zurich, Switzerland, by the famous German physicist and his collaborator and confidant, Michele Besso.
It is thanks to this Swiss engineer, Christie’s explained, that “the manuscript has almost miraculously reached us: Einstein probably would not have bothered to preserve what might appear to him as a working document.”
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After his theory of special relativity, which led him to demonstrate the formula “E = mc²” in 1905, Einstein began to work, in 1912, on a theory of general relativity. This theory of gravitation, finally published in November 1915, revolutionized the understanding of the universe.
Einstein died in 1955 at the age of 76 and became a symbol of scientific genius, as well as a pop figure, with the famous 1951 photo of him sticking out his tongue.
In early 1913, both Einstein and Besso “began to work on one of the problems that the scientific community has been colliding with for decades: the anomaly of the orbit of the planet Mercury,” Christie’s recalled.
Both scientists solved that riddle. But they did not do so in the calculations for that manuscript, which include “various errors that went unnoticed.”
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When Einstein spotted them, he stopped worrying about the manuscript, which was left in the hands of Michele Besso. “Einstein’s scientific handwritten documents from that period, and more generally, from before 1919, are extremely rare,” the auction house highlights.
“As one of only two surviving working manuscripts documenting the genesis of the theory of general relativity, it is an extraordinary record of Einstein’s work and provides a fascinating insight into the mind of the greatest scientist of the 20th century.” adds.
The other known document from that crucial period in physicist research, called the ‘Zurich notebook’ (late 1912, early 1913) is in the Einstein archives of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
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