The 54-page document known as the “Einstein-Besso Manuscript” was written between June 1913 and early 1914. It was written by Albert Einstein and his longtime friend and colleague, Swiss-Italian engineer Michele Besso. It includes the calculations preceding the development of the theory of relativity.
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Einstein’s manuscript sold for 11 million euros
The manuscript went to auction on Tuesday, November 23 at Christie’s, Paris, and was sold for EUR 11 million. This is a record amount – more was never paid for an autographed scientific document, emphasizes the BBC. The document sold is one of only two materials showing the work of the theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate on his groundbreaking scientific work.
“Einstein has kept very few notes, so the mere fact that the manuscript has survived and found its way to us makes it unusual,” said Vincent Belloy, an expert on Christie’s books and manuscripts, quoted from the BBC.
Albert Einstein, founder of the theory of relativity
Albert Einstein, the famous theoretical physicist and Nobel Prize winner in physics for 1921, published his works on the theory of relativity in the scientific journal “Annalen der Physik” in 1905. 10 years later, Einstein announced to members of the Prussian Academy of Sciences in Berlin that he had completed his general theory of relativity.
Apart from the manuscript kept in the Albert Einstein Archives at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, the Einstein-Besso manuscript is the only surviving work describing the genesis of general relativity. The document tries to explain the anomaly in Mercury’s orbit with versions of the equations that Einstein used to prove his theory of general relativity.
Einstein and Besso tried to confirm that Mercury’s perihelion changes slowly over time due to the curvature of space-time. However, both scientists made several mistakes in the manuscript, and Albert Einstein later realized that the equations were not quite correct yet.