Einstein’s manuscript is auctioned for the record price of BRL 73 million


One of the handwritten drafts of Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity was auctioned this Tuesday (23) for 11.6 million euros (about US$ 13 million or R$ 73 million), in Paris, found the AFP.

Previously, US$ 2.8 million (BRL 15.7 million at the current price) had been paid in 2018 for a handwritten letter from this eminent scientist, in which he theorized about God, and in 2017 US$ 1.56 million was disbursed (R $8.75 million at the current rate) for another letter in which he wondered about happiness.

The document auctioned on Tuesday was valued at between 2 and 3 million euros (R$ 12.6 and R$ 18.9 million). Unlike the two preceding letters, this is a valuable scientific work.

“This is, without a doubt, the most esteemed Einstein manuscript ever put up for auction,” auction house Christie’s had previously informed auction house Christie’s in a statement.

The 54-page manuscript was 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, he explained to Christie’s, that “the manuscript came, almost miraculously, to us: Einstein probably wouldn’t have bothered to keep what might appear to him as a working document.”

After his theory of special relativity, which led him to demonstrate in 1905 the formula “E=mc²”, Einstein began work, in 1912, on a theory of general relativity.

This theory of gravitation, finally published in November 1915, revolutionized our understanding of the universe. Einstein died in 1955 at age 76 and has become a symbol of scientific genius as well as a pop personality, with his famous 1951 photo showing his tongue hanging out.

In early 1913, both Einstein and Besso “began to work on one of the problems the scientific community had been grappling with for decades: the anomaly in the orbit of the planet Mercury,” Christie’s recalled. The two scientists solved this puzzle.

But they didn’t in the calculations of this manuscript, which include “several errors that went unnoticed.” When Einstein detected them, he stopped worrying about the manuscript, which remained in the hands of Michele Besso.

“Einstein’s scientific manuscript documents from this period, and more generally, from before 1919, are extremely rare,” said the auction house.

“As one of only two preserved 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,” he added.

The other known document from this crucial period in the physicist’s investigation, called the “Zurich notebook” (late 1912, early 1913), is found in the Einstein archives at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.


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