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Genius In Writing: Einstein’s Manuscript Sold For 13 Million Dollars

Team StoryWeavers|December 21, 2021, 15:23 IST|

Albert Einstein and his relativity equation

The relativity equation, handwritten by Einstein

The relativity equation, handwritten by Einstein

At the dawn of the 20th century, in the year 1915, a young 26-year-old scientist changed Physics forever. It was then that Albert Einstein introduced his general theory of relativity and, subsequently, the ideas of spacetime, black holes, gravitational waves and neutron stars. 

All of a sudden, the classical ideas of gravity and motion, which were presented centuries ago by Isaac Newton, found themselves a worthy challenger. Our understanding of the world around us became much more pronounced, and at the heart of it all was a bunch of seemingly simple yet complex equations, led by the famous E = mc2

Now, over a century later, Einstein’s theories have proven to be the backbone of ground-breaking scientific predictions and discoveries. But, won’t it be fascinating to look at the foundational work that went behind coming up with the equations? Aren’t you curious to know what went on inside his mind when he was formulating these theories? Well, looks like there is a lucky someone, somewhere in the world, who may already know that! 

Unfortunately for us, nobody knows who the person is. Since it’s the same individual who ANONYMOUSLY bought a rare original manuscript pertaining to the famous equation, which contains notes and calculations written by Einstein himself! The documents were up for auction very recently and were sold at an astonishing price of $13 million, almost five times more than the estimated price! 

One of the pages from the Einstein-Besso manuscript (Image by Christie's)

One of the pages from the Einstein-Besso manuscript (Image by Christie’s)

The 54-page manuscript reveals, in detail, the amount of effort that went into devising the equation. Surprisingly, Einstein made several mistakes and miscalculations along the way, as seen in the crossed-out portions of the document. But he continued to work tirelessly until he got the equation right. As the saying rightly goes – failures are the stepping stones to success!

The manuscript also has notes written by Michele Besso, a Swiss-Italian engineer who worked closely with Einstein. Unlike the German genius, who limited himself to just calculations in the documents, Besso also added notes on the side. In fact, it was Besso who preserved the original pages, as Einstein did not have the habit of saving all his drafts. Thanks to Besso, this manuscript managed to survive until the present day!

Pages from the Einstein-Besso manuscript on display (Image by Christie's)

Pages from the Einstein-Besso manuscript on display (Image by Christie’s)

We owe it to Einstein for revolutionising one of our favourite science subjects – Physics! What is your favourite Physics theory? Tell us in the comments below.


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About the Author

With a curious mind always looking for answers, Karan loves to pen his thoughts down whenever possible. This is why his first book, Road to Absolution, turned out to be a dreamy reflection of his mind at work. When not writing, he is either engrossed in reading up on world news or checking out the latest developments in pop culture, sports and space!

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