Manuscript of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity Exhibited in Israel


einstein[Photos below.] In a darkened room in Yerushalayim, the world was given a rare glimpse on Sunday into the mind which unlocked the secrets of the universe.

The display of 46 pages, each handwritten by Albert Einstein, marks the first time the complete, original manuscript of his landmark “General Theory of Relativity” has been presented in public.

The exhibit, which officially opens on Sunday night, forms part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Israeli Academy of Sciences and Humanities and coincides with Einstein’s birthday on March 14.

“This document is the most important intellectual achievement of Albert Einstein, and it describes our understanding of space, time and gravity,” the exhibition’s curator Hanoch Gutfreund told AFP.

“It is the basis of our understanding of the universe, it is the basis of modern research in cosmology, the structure of the universe and the expansion of the universe,” he said.

Written in Einstein’s home in Berlin in 1916 and donated to Jerusalem’s Hebrew University during its inauguration in 1925, each page is covered with the scientist’s spidery script and mathematical formulas.

“One can almost look over Einstein’s shoulder while he was at work, his elegant handwriting, the corrections and equations, the erasures and additions,” said Gutfreund.

“The comments that are added to numerous pages shed light on Einstein’s basic ideas, the challenges he faced and the difficulties he encountered.”

To preserve the document and prevent the paper and ink from decaying, the pages have been displayed in a specially darkened room, with carefully controlled humidity and temperature, said Timna Elper, head of the laboratory for preserving and restoring documents at the National Library of Israel.

“This is the first time we are displaying the whole thing. Some pages have been displayed in the past but not the whole document,” she said as she monitored the exhibit on a computer screen, the picture filmed with special night-vision cameras.

Each page of the priceless document is held in its own pine casing and the collection was transported to the academy in an armoured truck from its repository at the national library.

The work revolutionised scientists’ understanding of the universe and underpinned a century of major discoveries by theorising, among other things, that the flow of time was affected by the force of gravity.

Clocks will run faster the further they are from a large gravitational source and run slower when closer.

This has practical applications that allowed the development of space-age technologies, including the ability to track the exact paths of satellites and determine our own locations through Global Positioning Systems (GPS).

Gutfreund said the display also served to highlight “the connection between Albert Einstein and the Hebrew University and the Jewish people.”

Einstein, who was born in 1879 and won the Nobel Prize for physics in 1921 before fleeing Nazi Germany for the US in the 1930s, helped to establish the university during the early days of the British-ruled Palestine mandate.

He later declined an offer to become Israel’s president in 1952 but willed all of his papers to the Hebrew University, before his death in 1976 in the United States.

The exhibition runs until March 25.

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{France24/Yair Israel}


  1. Hebrew University is also having a celebration for Einstein’s birthday March 14th- you can go to their Facebook page The Hebrew University and Ask Einstein a question and get an answer!! Or you can email them with a question at Check it out and help celebrate!!