E=mc2 and more: Expanded Einstein archives open to the public

Trove at Hebrew University open to the public now includes never-before-seen documents offering fuller portrait of the genius physicist.

Charles Cooper
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Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein was born on March 14, 1879. To mark the anniversary of his birth, Israel's Hebrew University of Jerusalem has launched an expanded Einstein Archives Online site with more than 80,000 documents. Over half of that trove features Einstein's personal papers. Another 30,000 additional Einstein and Einstein-related documents in the collection were discovered since the 1980s.

Previously, just 900 images of Einstein documents -- about half of the catalog -- had made its way online. The updated archive now includes material documenting Einstein's personal and professional life up to 1921.

The connection between Einstein and Hebrew University dates back to the university's founding in 1918. Einstein bequeathed all of his writings as well as the rights to the use of his image to the institution.

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High school certificate

This is the high school certificate Einstein received at age 17 from the Swiss school of the Canton of Aargau. Contrary to popular legend, the young Einstein was a very good student.
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Einstein gets hitched

Copy of 1903 marriage announcement to Mileva Maric, a fellow student at the Zurich Polytechnic. She and Einstein divorced in 1919. The archive, which is slowly being updated, eventually will include correspondence between Einstein and his mistresses -- including his cousin Elsa, who later became his second wife.
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Zurich Notebook

The 1913 image of the cover of the so-called "Zurich Notebook," which Einstein filled with notes during the 1912-13 winter as he worked out his theory of relativity.
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General Theory of Relativity

1916 article published in Annalen der Physik on "The Foundation of the General Theory of Relativity." A year earlier, Einstein had completed his work on the theory, which contradicted the 250-year-old assumptions of Newton's theory of gravity.
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Honorary doctorate

1921 honorary doctorate from Princeton during Einstein's first U.S. visit. The university would become his permanent home after he fled the Nazis in 1933.
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Nobel Prize

Einstein received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1922. Interestingly enough, the prize was not awarded for his general theory of relativity, which at the time was still a hot-button source of controversy. Instead, it was awarded for Einstein's work on science's understanding of the photoelectric effect.
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His services to Theoretical Physics

Translation of the 1922 Nobel Prize to Einstein: "The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences at its meeting on November 9, 1922, according to the guidelines formulated by Alfred Nobel in his will from November 27,1895, decided, regardless of the value, which may be attributed to the theories of relativity and gravitation after appropriate confirmation, to present the prize, which is awarded for the year 1921 to the person who has made the most important discovery or invention in physics, to Albert Einstein for his services to Theoretical Physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect."
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Einstein's formula E=mc2

Rare manuscript -- one of only three still in existence --containing Einstein's formula E=mc2 (energy equals mass times the speed of light squared). This manuscript, written in German, was published in English in 1946 by Science Illustrated under the title "E=mc2: The Most Urgent Problem of our Time."
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'Obliged to speak up'

Page from a 1921 speech that Einstein delivered in Berlin tracing the history of German Jewry and calling for the settlement of Jews in what then was the British Mandate for Palestine.

Earlier, Einstein faced criticism in Germany after touring the U.S. to raise funds for the Hebrew University. At the time, another German-Jewish scientist, Fritz Bauer, accused Einstein of disloyalty. But Einstein was having none of it:

"Despite my declared international mentality, I do still always feel obliged to speak up for my persecuted and morally oppressed fellow clansmen, as far as it is within my powers ... this involves an act of loyalty far more than one of disloyalty."

Years later, Einstein would be offered the presidency of the state of Israel in 1952 but turned it down.

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