Einstein’s notes on theory of relativity sold at auction for $13m

Nov 24, 2021: A manuscript co-authored by Albert Einstein, which offers a rare insight into the thinking of the legendary physicist that takes his general theory of relativity, sold for 11.7 million euros ($ 13.17m) at an auction on Tuesday.

The auction house Christie’s estimated the price of the manuscript to be between 2 million ($ 2.25m) and 3 million euros ($ 3.38m).

The 54 pages of paper, almost half full of Einstein’s handwriting, are just two of the working documents in which the thinker refers to his famous theory which has advanced modern cosmology and technology such as the Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation.

The documents were held in the custody of the Swiss physicist Michelle Besso, a close friend and academic partner of Einstein, who co-authored the work between 1913 and 1914.

Made up mainly of endless calculations in black ink on wrinkled, lightly yellowed paper, the manuscript challenges Einstein’s popular image as an absolute genius, because it shows that even he, at least sometimes, made mistakes.

In May, a handwritten letter in which Einstein mentioned his famous E=mc² equation, a part of his earlier theory of special relativity, was sold at roughly one million euros in the United States, more than three times its estimated price.

With his general theory of relativity that was published in 1915, Einstein revolutionised modern physics when he first described gravitation as a geometric warping of space and time, a finding that remains valid.

Christie’s did not reveal the name of the buyer.

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