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Thousands of Einstein Documents Are Now a Click Away

These docs already have been titled as the Dead Sea Scrolls of physics. After 1986, the Princeton University Press and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, to whom Albert Einstein gave his copyright, have been involved in a huge effort to study some 80,000 papers he left behind. Starting from Friday, when Digital Einstein is announced, anybody with an Internet connection will be able to part in the mails, papers, postcards, notebooks and journals that Einstein left disseminated in Princeton and in other records, attics and shoeboxes all over the world when he died in 1955.

Albert Einstein writing out an equation linking to the density of the Milky Way
The Einstein Papers Project, presently corrected by Diana Kormos-Buchwald, a lecturer of physics and the history of science at the California Institute of Technology, has by now distributed 13 volumes in print out of expected 30.

The distributed volumes enclose about 5,000 documents that pass Einstein’s story up to 1923, when he turned 44, in ever denser, black-jacketed, hard-bound files, dense with articles, postscripts and annotations specifying the political, individual and cultural life of the day. A distinct set of white paperback volumes covers English translations. Digitized forms of several of Einstein’s papers and letters have been accessible on the Einstein Archives of the Hebrew University. According to Dr. Kormos-Buchwald, visitors to the fresh Digital Einstein website will be able to snap between the English and German styles of the texts. They can hop among Einstein’s love letters, even his divorce file, his high school record, the notebook in which he derived his general theory of relativity and letters to his all-time best friend, Michele Besso, with many other options. Einstein, who like several other 20-year-old college students did not lack for a common sense of self-dramatization, on one occasion wrote to his sister, Maja, “If everybody lived a life like mine, there would be no need for novels.”

The 14th volume, with at least more than 1,000 papers, will be published in January. The digital forms are accessible at

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