Thursday, March 11, 2010

Duel celebration days...Einstein and Pi

Bring out the cake this Sunday...two pieces for everyone--Pi Day [3.14--March (3rd month) and 14th day] and Albert Einstein's birthday.

Pi [Wikipedia]

The Last Digit of Pi

What more can be said about Albert Einstein. He would have been 131 and in 2193, he will be 314 years old. What a celebration that will be. There are many entries at POSP on Einstein. Enter his name and related materials in the blog's search engine.

And, in case your wondered about Einstein's papers, read this...

"The Albert Einstein Archives at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem"

History of the Archives

In his will of 1950, Einstein appointed his secretary, Helen Dukas, and his close associate, Otto Nathan, as trustees of his estate. Nathan was also appointed as sole executor. In his Will, Einstein stipulated that his literary estate will ultimately become the possession of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Following Einstein's death in 1955, Dukas and Nathan devoted themselves tirelessly, for more than a quarter of a century, to organizing the papers and acquiring additional material. As a result of their efforts, the Archives grew threefold. In the 1960's, Helen Dukas and Gerald Holton of Harvard University started to systematize the material, thereby rendering it accessible to scholars and preparing it for eventual publication in The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein, a joint project of the Hebrew University and Princeton University Press.

In 1982, the Einstein Estate vested all literary rights in the Hebrew University and Einstein's personal papers were forwarded to the Jewish National & University Library at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, becoming the nucleus of the Albert Einstein Archives. In subsequent years, additional material was dispatched from Einstein’s Princeton residence, namely his personal collections of reprints, photographs, medals, and diplomas as well as his private library (in 1987), including sheet music and records.

In July 2006, more than 1000 letters to and from family members, presumably the last large lot of original archival material, which has been sealed for twenty years after the death of Margot Einstein, was made accessible at the Albert Einstein Archives.

Holdings of the Archives

The material in the Albert Einstein Archives consists of four main categories: textual materials, audiovisual materials, books, and artifacts. In total, the Albert Einstein Archives includes more than 50,000 items. The scientific material comprises a quarter of the material, the non-scientific material three quarters.

The textual materials consist of both manuscripts and printed materials:

The manuscript materials can be divided into three main groups:
Personal material: Einstein’s personal documents, family correspondence and travel diaries.

Scientific material: manuscripts of Einstein’s scientific papers and lectures, his correspondence with scientific colleagues and his lecture notebooks. This material includes the original manuscripts of Einstein’s articles on such topics as the general theory of relativity, quantum mechanics, and the unified field theory. It also contains his correspondence with the most important physicists of the 20th century, e.g., Max Planck, Niels Bohr, Max Born, Werner Heisenberg, Erwin Schrödinger, and Hendrik A. Lorentz.
Non-scientific material: manuscripts of articles, speeches, lectures, poems and such as politics, society, philosophy and culture. This material includes Einstein’s aphorisms as well as correspondence dealing with matters outside the field of science, writings on such subjects as pacifism, Judaism, the nuclear threat, and civil rights, as well as his correspondence with famous contemporaries, e.g., Sigmund Freud, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Walther Rathenau, Thomas Mann, Bertrand Russell, and Albert Schweitzer.

Printed material: this material consists of a vast collection of reprints of Einstein’s articles as well as newspaper clippings, commercial calendars, posters, and postcards which all feature Albert Einstein.

The audiovisual materials consist of four main collections:

Photographs: our photograph collection consists of formal and informal portraits of Einstein from his earliest years until his death. It also includes photographs of Einstein with family members, friends, colleagues and associates and depicts Einstein at various events and occasions. This collection also contains a number of cartoons featuring Einstein as well as reproductions of paintings and busts which depict him.
Sound recordings: this collection includes recordings of Einstein’s voice in German and English, speaking on various subjects, such as the famous formula E=mc2, the role of universities in society, and the nuclear threat.

Film footage: this collection features Einstein in newsreels at events such as a Palestine Campaign dinner in New York in 1931, his arrival at the Los Angeles pier holding his violin case in 1933, and his meeting with David Ben Gurion in 1951. The collection also includes video copies of documentaries on Einstein made by various production companies.
Multimedia products: in recent years, Einstein has begun to figure prominently in multimedia. As part of our efforts to compile a comprehensive record of Einstein’s role in modern culture, we also started to collect this material.

The Albert Einstein Archives Library - the Library consists of two main collections:

Einstein's private library: Einstein’s personal library was transferred to the Hebrew University in 1987, following the death of Einstein’s step-daughter, Margot Einstein. The library includes books, musical scores and records collected by Einstein throughout his life. The books deal with science, European and American politics and society, literature and culture, religion and philosophy, Judaism and Israel. The musical scores contain works by Einstein’s favorite composers, especially Mozart, Bach, and Handel. The records range from classical music to Israeli folk music
Secondary literature: we also possess a collection of books by and about Einstein. Copies of all new editions of Einstein’s books are deposited with us by the publishers and we acquire copies of new books about Einstein.

Artifacts - the artifact collection consists of two parts:

Einstein’s diplomas and medals: Although Einstein did not bequeath his personal effects to the Hebrew University, the Archives possesses most of Einstein’s personal collection of honorary diplomas and medals, the most prominent of these being the Nobel Prize certificate and medal.

Einstein trivia: In recent years, objects of trivia relating to Einstein, such as T-shirts and other memorabilia, have become popular and these are also collected as evidence of Einstein’s mythical status.

The Importance of the Albert Einstein Archives

The Albert Einstein Archives contains the largest collection of original manuscripts by Einstein in the world and includes his vast correspondence with the most influential physicists and intellectuals of the 20th century. The Archives continues its exhaustive compilation of material about Albert Einstein.

The Albert Einstein Archives constitutes an extremely valuable historical resource. It is considered one of the most significant sources for the history of modern physics. In addition, the Archives is an especially important source for the history of ideas and ideological movements as pacifism, socialism and Zionism as well as for German, Jewish, European and American intellectual, political, and social history of the 20th century.

Einstein did not wish that any physical monument or memorial be erected in his name. The preservation of his papers, which most authentically reflect his ideas and person, affords a far more fitting means of maintaining his legacy.

As the central repository of Einstein's papers, the Archives provide service to on-site users of the archival material. The Archives also receive requests from hundreds of users every year from around the world to identify, locate and photocopy specific materials.

Sharing the Einstein Heritage with the World

Ever since the Hebrew University became the custodian of Einstein’s intellectual heritage, it has participated with other institutions or initiated programs and projects in which this treasure is shared with the academic community, the cultural and educational world and the general public. The Hebrew University was able to undertake this mission because of the existence of the Albert Einstein Archives and the dedicated work of its staff.

The Hebrew University has been a partner with Princeton University Press - and now also with Caltech - in the ambitious project of publishing a scientific edition of The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein. Ten volumes have already been published.

A cooperative effort between the Albert Einstein Archives and the Einstein Papers Project at Caltech produced the Einstein Archives Online website - - which was launched in May, 2003. It enables access to some 3,000 high-quality digitized images. Thirty-nine of these are also be provided (in PDF format) as they appear in The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein, published in German by Princeton University Press, with historical and scientific annotations in English; some of the documents are accompanied by English translations. An extensive archival database and finding aid allows for the direct searching and browsing of more than 40,000 records of Einstein and Einstein-related documents. These concern his scientific and nonscientific writings, his professional and personal correspondence, notebooks, travel diaries, personal documents, and third-party items.

Since 1999, the Albert Einstein Archives has designed and produced exhibitions shedding light on the multifaceted aspects of Einstein’s scientific work, his public activities and his private life. Such exhibitions were shown in the major cities of Australia and New Zealand; in the Far East - Korea, Hong-Kong, Singapore; in Latin America - Mexico, Brazil and Argentina; in Germany and in England.

In 2002, the Albert Einstein cooperated with the American Museum of Natural History in New York and the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles in producing a unique exhibition on Albert Einstein's Life and Science, which was shown in New York, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles and is now being exhibited in the Science Museum in Jerusalem.

The Albert Einstein Archives was particularly active during the Einstein Year in 2005, cooperating with a large number of academic and cultural institutions worldwide and assisting in events related to the Einstein legacy. In this context the Archives worked with the Max Planck Institute to produce another major exhibition "Albert Einstein, Engineer of the Universe", which was also shown in Italy.

The Albert Einstein Archives produced and published popular books presenting highlights of the archival collections to the general public. Several versions, in different languages, of such books have been published:

"Albert through the Looking Glass", 1998
"Albert Einstein - privat und ganz persoenlich", 2004
"Albert Einstein - derriere l'image"
"Albert Einstein - detras de la imagen"

A Japanese translation of "Albert through the Looking Glass" is in preparation.

And finally, if you are fortunate to be in Israel, check out the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities [Hebrew University] in Jerusalem for a special Einstein exhibit.

"Rewrite of Physics by Einstein on Display"


Ethan Bronner

March 10th, 2010

The New York Times

There are pasted-on half pages, numerous cross-outs and insertions in meticulous penmanship and an open acknowledgment that some of the mathematics was beyond even him. Albert Einstein personally rewrote the laws of physics in a sparsely furnished central Berlin apartment nearly a century ago and the resulting manuscript, profoundly human and surprisingly moving to examine, has been put on display here for the first time.

Each of the 46 pages, labored over between November 1915 and their publication in May 1916, has its own case, each lighted dimly in a room that has been darkened to protect the paper. There on Page 1 is the now familiar title in German: “The Foundation of the General Theory of Relativity.”

The display of the work, which forced a redefinition of gravity, predicted the existence of black holes and illuminated how galaxies are formed, is at the center of the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities. Out of concern for the life of the documents, it will be up only for the next three weeks.

“We have set it up like the Dead Sea Scrolls, to protect them but also to give the feeling of entering a kind of holy of holies, which is how we view it,” said Hanoch Guttfreund, a physics professor, former president of the Hebrew University and curator of the exhibition. “And you can actually see Einstein work as you look at the pages.”

Einstein’s wife Elsa donated the manuscript to the Hebrew University on the occasion of its opening in 1925 and in a letter he thanked her for doing so. A founder of the university and a member of its board, he donated all his papers to it upon his death.

And there, outside the room where the theory of general relatively is on display, are a few more of his papers, including a postcard he sent to his mother in 1919 after a British astronomer confirmed during an eclipse one of Einstein’s key predictions. It too offers a poignant mix of the celestial and personal.

“Dear Mother!” it begins, “Today some happy news. Lorentz telegraphed me that the British expeditions have verified the deflection of light by the sun.” So sorry, he adds, to hear that you are not feeling well.

Einstein’s relationship to Israel was complex. A self-described universalist, he became a Zionist when he witnessed anti-Semitism in Europe. Chaim Weizmann, Israel’s first president, was a key influence on him. Walter Isaacson, who wrote a 2007 biography of Einstein, said by telephone that Einstein wanted Jews to move here but did not back a separate Jewish nation-state until after it was declared in 1948.

Menahem Yaari, president of the Israel Academy, said that the institute was officially opened in 1960 by David Ben-Gurion, the country’s founding prime minister, with Martin Buber, the philosopher, as its first president. Buber had famously resigned his professorship in Frankfurt when Hitler rose to power. He settled in Jerusalem, setting an example for a generation of European Jewish scholars who followed him here, establishing the foundation of Israeli intellectual life.

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