Einstein's writings made available online
Papers and photos of Albert Einstein on display at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
March 19th, 2012
03:22 PM ET

Einstein's writings made available online

Albert Einstein wrote famously that imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge, he said, was limited. "Imagination encircles the world."

It was the force of his own imagination that made Einstein the towering scientific figure of the 20th century. On Monday, at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, the custodians of his writings announced the launch of a new digital archive they hope will help spread the intellectual curiosity that made the German-born physicist the world’s most famous scientist.

“Knowledge is not about hiding, it is about openness,” Hebrew University President Menahem Ben-Sasson said at the launch of a new public website that archivists hope will soon provide easy access to all of Einstein’s personal and professional writings.

The archive, which is made of more than 80,000 documents spanning Einstein’s 76-year life, includes manuscripts of his scientific and nonscientific writings, his correspondence with scientific and nonscientific colleagues, and writings with friends and family.

Einstein willed all of his writing and intellectual heritage to Hebrew University, which he helped found in 1925.

The university says the entire collection has been digitized, but initially, the website will allow viewers access to 2,000 select documents. In the next year, archivists say, they expect more than 30,000 documents to become available.

The new website builds on a previous archival website started in 2003. It unifies Einstein's papers that had been collected by the Albert Einstein Archives at Hebrew University and the The Einstein Papers Project at the California Institute of Technology, where Einstein was a visiting professor in the winter terms of 1931, 1932 and 1933. In conjunction with Princeton University Press, the Einstein Papers Project has so far published 12 volumes, including the physicist's writings and correspondence up to 1921.

The most famous document to be made available online is the original 1916 manuscript for Einstein’s general theory of relativity. The groundbreaking scientific work overturned Newton’s theory of gravity and introduced the concept of the four-dimensional space-time continuum.

Other notable scientific documents include the 1946 manuscript outlining Einstein’s famous formula E = mc2 and about 14 notebooks of lectures that Einstein gave while he was in Germany and Switzerland.

With the website, users can examine each page of these and many other famous documents in high-resolution detail, and parts of individual pages can be perused up close.

“In this way, the content of the archives can be explored via a new user-friendly interface customized for this goal,” project manager Dalia Mendelsson explained.

The archival database is searchable by subject and date, and in coming months will provide an increasing number of English translations for the documents written in German, Mendelsson said.

But beyond making the original documentation of Einstein's scientific theories widely available, the university is also making thousands of pages of the scientist’s personal papers available as well. Some of them do not paint an overly flattering portrait of the bushy-haired scientist whom so many people came to love and admire.

To be included in the online collection are some two dozen love letters Einstein wrote to his second wife, Elsa Lowenthal. They were sent while he was still married to his first wife, Mileva Maric.

Professor Hanoch Gutfreund, head of the Hebrew University archive, acknowledged that Einstein’s well-known penchant for maintaining relations outside of marriage presented a dilemma when deciding which personal papers to initially make available on the website.

Before Einstein’s papers were first posted on the Web, he sad, he consulted with legal experts at the university and was advised that since all of those named in the letters had passed away, it was permissible post them publicly.

“If you let enough time go by, it’s kosher” Gutfreund explained.

The personal papers also reveal more details about Einstein’s thoughts about nationalism, Zionism and the creation of a Jewish state.

In one 1930 letter written to the editor of an Arab newspaper, Einstein suggests that the increasing violence between Jews and Arabs could be solved by convening secret meetings of representatives of both groups whose dialogue could “ultimately lead to a state in which differences could gradually be eliminated.”

Gutfreund says making the collection widely available online not only serves to introduce Einstein’s revolutionary science to a whole new audience, but will expose a new generation to a man “who more than anyone else in the first half of the 20th century expressed his views on every issue that was on the agenda of mankind.”

“That is something that was unique about Einstein,” Gutfreund said

Hebrew University officials are hoping for tens of millions of visitors in the website’s first week.

Dr. Leonard Polonsky, a British philanthropist who helped finance the Einstein project, initiated a similar program at Cambridge University with the papers of Sir Isaac Newton. That website attracted 29 million hits during its first 24 hours online.

The Einstein papers, Polonsky says, help reveal the scientist’s “intellectual exploration and development and his relationship with other thinkers of his time.”

“Much of this is going to be exposed in this material, so it is something quite grand,” he said.

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  1. seo

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    April 25, 2013 at 2:15 am |
  2. Andrei

    Most surprisingly that the full collection or Einstein’s scientific works seems still does not exist in English:

    September 19, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  3. Mr Howdy 2 u

    I read one of Einstein's books some years ago...and I found him to be extremely lucid and well measured....I know you would expect that of a physicist on the caliber of einstein blah blah...but the truth is a man has it or dont no matter who he is or what the media tell you he is...Einstein had it...he was very clear and his thoughts were honest..almost all of them..the one time he fell for the hype of his own time, something technical having to do with the math he was using...I think he may have paid for it by making a few very very critical mistakes...but he was way way ahead of his time and he was a very likable and honest man. and a "genius" .......he is worth reading.

    March 21, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
  4. Paul

    If E=MCsquared, does it not then follow that M=E divided by Csquared? That would imply that contrary to accepted scientific dogma, that energy (light) actually has mass. That might be a good place to start looking for "dark matter"? Somebody please explain this to me.

    March 21, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • b0n3s

      Light does have a mass. It is both a wave and particle. The wave is proven by refraction, the particle by the photovoltaic effect.

      March 21, 2012 at 11:30 am |
      • Paul

        Please correct me if I am wrong, but does not modern physics describe a photon as "massless". I still do not uderstand, yet I also realize that the answer-if one exists-is both beyond my understanding and not easily communicated in this blog. Someone try to explain this to me anyway, please.

        March 21, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • Mr Howdy 2 u

      You know my friend...I have heard so many people speak on this matter...many of them with decades of experience...you know concerning dark matter...but I have never ever heard one as effective in their arguments are you are. You sir stand head and shoulders above the others...you are a geniuses genius genius...sir....wonderful...how great is the internet!!!! Please sir publish your thoughts on the matter at once!!!! YOU SIR MUST BE HEARD.....WOW, I AM SO PRIVILEGED TO HAVE SEEN YOUR POST HERE!!!! Yes...light has matter...why didnt einstein or newton or plank or maxwell think of all this??? Fools one and all were they sir...in comparison to you....what a great day in the morning.....please publish...please.....people need to have their spirits uplifted.....and paltry little minds opened by yours!!!! Thank you sir!!!

      March 21, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
      • Paul

        While it is tempting to just ignore Mr. Howdy 2 U's snarky answer, my question was posed sincerey while openly acknowledging that the subject is above my understanding. Just the nature of the internet I suppose. It does strike me that the primary evidence for "dark matter" is the fact that observations do not fit existing theory, which at least suggests to me the possibility that science might be on the verge of a fundamental shift in view (see Thomas Kuhn's "Nature of Scientific Revolution"). I like that in science there is a healthy debate between proponents of the big bang and string theorists. Questioning is always good....unless you are Mr. Howdy to U. Someone tell him the world is not flat.

        March 21, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
  5. Flyover

    Wonder if his letters a speak of his abusive treatment of his wives or plagiarism. Just wondering.

    March 21, 2012 at 8:32 am |
  6. helenecha

    Go ahead, ladies and gentlemen! This world can never have too many scientists and people can't have too many archaeologists.

    March 20, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
  7. Tim

    Einstein is one of my heroes, together with Spinoza and Chomsky.

    If only there were more people like them.

    March 20, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
  8. western reader

    Two weeks ago Kirkus Book Reviews (banner: “the world’s toughest book critics”) gave the novel “Einstein’s Daughter” by Riley James an amazing review. Great character.


    http://seanchaimedia.com/ – book link to Amazon, etc.

    March 20, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
  9. nietsniE

    POOR EINSTEIN~ Where r u ?

    March 20, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
  10. Jody Schmidt

    Why is it that the truly creative types are nothing whatsoever like Sheldon Cooper of The Big Bang Theory or similar caricatures? They are typically the opposite: impassioned, ardent, opinionated, wild-minded. They almost never rock in place or stare into the void as a way of showing how gifted they are. They are often womanizers, petty thieves, cheats and scammers. But, sadly, the genuine archetype of Einstein as the quintessential scientist is being replaced by silly fictional characters in the public eye. This is genius, Einstein is genius. Rocking in place is NOT genius. Remember that always.

    March 20, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • Andrew

      Einstein was deeply nurrotic, and there certainly are your "Sheldon Coopers" among physicists, but perhaps the biggest Sheldon Cooper among science was Paul Dirac, while the the biggest exception to the rule wouldn't be Einstein, it'd be Feynman, who Oppenheimer in a recomendation letter letter once wrote this about him
      "He is by all odds the most brilliant young physicist here, and everyone knows this. He is a man of thoroughly engaging character and personality, extremely clear, extremely normal in all respects, and an excellent teacher with a warm feeling for physics in all its aspects."

      Notice "extremely normal in all respects", which is not saying "normal abilities", but rather, "he's not a Sheldon Cooper, and not a Dirac". In fact, in that same letter, Oppenheimer quotes from another physicist saying "He is a second Dirac, only this time human."

      Now Dirac, physics royalty I should add, was most certainly Sheldon Cooper in just about every way. This guy, upon meeting a young Feynman at a conferance, said after a long silence "I have an equation. Do you have one too?"

      Just read the wikipedia page on Dirac's personality, then tell me you don't think "man... this guy really was a living Sheldon Cooper". If you're really interested, you should pick up a biography, because the guy was amazing. One of my favorite quotes by any physicist was Pauli, saying of Dirac, "Well, I'd say that also our friend Dirac has got a religion and the first commandment of this religion is 'God does not exist and Paul Dirac is his prophet'".

      So yes, there really are people like Sheldon among physicists. I really love that show, truth be told.

      March 20, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
  11. clearfog

    My favorite. Why can't you go faster than the speed of light? Because you can't go slower. Understand this and you understand special relativity.

    March 20, 2012 at 6:22 am |
    • Andrew

      If that's a quote of his, I can't find it... but it seems strange. Is this supposed to mean that we travel at c through space-time and thus you can't slow down relative to c? Ok, fine, but I don't feel that helps anyone with their understanding of relativity. It feels more like a "well if you first understand relativity, you can figure out why this could be true", but it's certainly not intuitive, and I hardly would imagine it really helps enlighten any relativistic concepts to people.

      That's why I have a hard time beliving it is an actual Einstein quote, I'd imagine he'd have something a bit more clever. Understanding the heart of relativity is more about learning to challenge your core beliefs about speed altogether, and learn how that crumbles your entire perception of time itself. It's about learning how time is really not very different at all from space, us traveling through spacetime at c seems sorta missing the point.

      March 20, 2012 at 6:36 am |
      • Joe Walsh

        Thank You Andrew ! I consider myself a fairly intelligent & Imaginative fellow and that quote just twisted my brain for a few seconds. Then of course I launched into the critical: Am I supposed to be able to get that? And then felt that I didn't have all the information I needed to reach a conclusion. Thanks for the affirmation.

        March 20, 2012 at 10:09 am |
      • clearfog

        It was not represented as an Einstein quote. The point is to think in 4 dimensions, not 3. You understood it correctly, which indicates that you understand special relativity.

        March 20, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • rosenstingl

      YOU CAN GO SLOWER, cerenkow effect is responsible of blue light in a nuclear pool because the speed of light in a refracting medium is lower than in vacuum. Your statement should be expressed in other words.

      March 20, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
      • clearfog

        Refraction makes light go slower in your 3 dimension universe, but it remains c in space time. See comment above by Andrew.

        March 20, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
  12. Raffe

    Einstein said "imagination is more important then knowledge". For gods sake: take his word or anybody elses word that claims this for sure and stop hailing knowledge. By quoting Einstein in this respect just for his knowledge nullifies the said: "imagination is more important than knowledege". Stop revering knowledge. It is not necessary continuing quoting a dead man that even himself disqualified knowledge for imagination. Our world is full of wonderful living people full of imagination. Especially the young.

    March 20, 2012 at 5:57 am |
    • Joe Walsh

      a bit much there Raffe. I don't think that quoting one of the greatest minds of our time, (both on an intellectual and imaginative level), is all that hurtful.

      March 20, 2012 at 10:13 am |
  13. Genius

    This guy would hand out at kids playgrounds while old. He would be arrested today.

    March 20, 2012 at 3:09 am |
  14. The Flamingo Kid

    Albert Einstein was a plagiarist. He stole ideas from his wife, as well as others.

    March 20, 2012 at 1:58 am |
    • wasso

      Ah, a truly great mathematician: Srinivasa Ramanujan

      March 20, 2012 at 2:33 am |
    • crowtrob

      proof please

      March 20, 2012 at 2:37 am |
    • chibidw

      [Citation Needed]

      March 20, 2012 at 3:04 am |
    • clearfog

      Saying it twice makes it half as true. I have a formula to prove it. Total nonsense.

      March 20, 2012 at 5:59 am |
  15. partysstink

    what made him well known was the bomb.

    March 20, 2012 at 1:55 am |
    • Howard in Alexandria

      Your statement is foolish. In fact, "the bomb" would never have been built unless the President of the U,S. (FDR) had thought a warning letter from some guy named Albert Einstein was important enough to read and take seriously in the first place.

      March 20, 2012 at 5:55 am |
    • clearfog

      Not for the Nobel Prize for the Photoelectric Effect, the Special Theory of Relativity, the General Theory of Relativity, or his unsuccessful but noble work on a grand unified field theory?

      March 20, 2012 at 5:58 am |
      • Andrew

        It would have been a bit more noble if he had not ignored the strong force altogether in favor of just E&M and Gravity. I don't believe the weak interaction was really established till after parity violation was found and that was two years after Einstein died.

        March 20, 2012 at 6:47 am |
  16. RZ

    One Of The Best Arguments given by Einstein.

    Don’t miss even a single word…. It’s Too good

    An atheist professor of philosophy speaks to his class on the problem science has with God, The Almighty.
    He asks one of his new students to stand and…..

    Prof: So you believe in God?

    Student: Absolutely, sir.

    Prof: Is God good?

    Student: Sure.

    Prof: Is God all-powerful?

    Student: Yes..

    Prof: My brother died of cancer even though he prayed to God to heal him. Most of us would attempt to help others who are ill. But God didn’t. How is this God good then? Hmm?
    (Student is silent.)

    Prof: You can’t answer, can you? Let’s start again, young fella. Is God good?

    Student: Yes.

    Prof: Is Satan good?

    Student: No.

    Prof: Where does Satan come from?

    Student: From….God…

    Prof: That’s right. Tell me son, is there evil in this world?

    Student: Yes.

    Prof: Evil is everywhere, isn’t it? And God did make everything. Correct?

    Student: Yes.

    Prof: So who created evil?
    (Student does not answer.)

    Prof: Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things exist in the world, don’t they?

    Student: Yes, sir.

    Prof: So, who created them?
    (Student has no answer.)

    Prof: Science says you have 5 senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Tell me, son…Have you ever seen God?

    Student: No, sir.

    Prof: Tell us if you have ever heard your God?

    Student: No, sir.

    Prof: Have you ever felt your God, tasted your God, smelt your God? Have you ever had any sensory perception of God for that matter?

    Student: No, sir. I’m afraid I haven’t.

    Prof: Yet you still believe in Him?

    Student: Yes.

    Prof: According to empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your GOD doesn’t exist.
    What do you say to that, son?

    Student: Nothing. I only have my faith.

    Prof: Yes. Faith. And that is the problem science has.

    Student: Professor, is there such a thing as heat?

    Prof: Yes.

    Student: And is there such a thing as cold?

    Prof: Yes.

    Student: No sir. There isn’t.
    (The lecture the after becomes very quiet with this turn of events.)

    Student: Sir, you can have lots of heat, even more heat, superheat, mega heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat..
    But we don’t have anything called cold. We can hit 458 degrees below zero which is no heat, but we can’t go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold. Cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat is energy Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it .
    (There is pin-drop silence in the lecture theatre.)

    Student: What about darkness, Professor? Is there such a thing as darkness?

    Prof: Yes. What is night if there isn’t darkness?

    Student : You’re wrong again, sir. Darkness is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright
    light, flashing light…..But if you have no light constantly, you have nothing and it’s called darkness, isn’t it? In reality, darkness isn’t. If it were you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn’t you?

    Prof: So what is the point you are making, young man?

    Student: Sir, my point is your philosophical premise is flawed.

    Prof: Flawed? Can you explain how?

    Student: Sir, you are working on the premise of duality. You argue there is life and then there is death, a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science can’t even explain a thought.. It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one.To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life: just the absence of it.
    Now tell me, Professor.Do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?

    Prof: If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, yes, of course, I do.

    Student: Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?
    (The Professor shakes his head with a smile, beginning to realize where the argument is going.)

    Student: Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you not a scientist but a preacher? (The class is in uproar.)

    Student: Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the Professor’s brain?
    (The class breaks out into laughter.)

    Student : Is there anyone here who has ever heard the Professor’s brain, felt it, touched or smelt it? No one appears to have done so. So, according to the established rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science says that you have no brain,sir. With all due respect, sir, how do we then trust your lectures, sir?
    (The room is silent. The professor stares at the student, his face unfathomable.)

    Prof: I guess you’ll have to take them on faith, son.

    Student: That is it sir… The link between man & god is FAITH . That is all that keeps things moving & alive.

    student was none other than …Einstein

    March 20, 2012 at 1:51 am |
    • I am Light


      March 20, 2012 at 2:06 am |
    • Andrew

      This story has been said in numerous forms in numerous ways, sometimes it's Einstein, sometimes it's 'an unnamed student', really it's just the classic 'make big old atheist professor look bad'.

      Einstein, for one, was no fan of faith by any conventional religious standards. If he had faith, it was in the universe and the order of the universe. Faith, which ultimatly, was responsible for his greatest failures as a scientist in refusing to accept quantum mechanics because he simply believed the universe could not be that random (after all, GR is a much more ordered picture). "God does not play dice with the universe" was a reflection of this 'faith', and I believe Hawking made the best counter in recent years, "Consideration of black holes suggests, not only that God does play dice, but that he sometimes confuses us by throwing them where they can't be seen."

      March 20, 2012 at 2:14 am |
    • Klaark

      We're somehow shocked that right wing, religious, conservative dirt bag losers have to rely on made up little stories to make their points? They've been pointing to a story book for years and saying we should all live by it, now the morons use idiot drivel like this.

      March 20, 2012 at 2:32 am |
    • crowtrob


      March 20, 2012 at 2:43 am |
    • Nick

      Yeah, cute story, except for the fact that Einstein wasn't a man of faith... and it doesn't really match up with his
      "philosophy" of religion (not to say he thought it useless) to have a debate like this one.

      March 20, 2012 at 2:52 am |

    this is going to be the KEY to the twentieth century. MANY SCIENTISTS will have a look into the future by reading EINSTEINS THOUGHTS & IDEAS R THE MISSING LINKS TO OPEN THE DOOR TO THE FUTURE!

    March 20, 2012 at 1:47 am |
  18. jim

    One of my favorite Einstein quotes: Science without religion is lame
    Religion without science is blind

    March 20, 2012 at 1:23 am |
    • Andrew

      I'm no fan of that quote just because I often see how mutilated it becomes when not used in the actual context of his "science, philosophy, and religion: a symposium" essay. Often Christians use it to defend their views of a deeply religious Einstein, who believes in some type of personal god. The actual work is not quite so kind to the majority of Christians in the world, and faith is taken to be more of an epistimilogical leap than anything else.

      March 20, 2012 at 2:18 am |
    • clearfog

      Citation please.

      March 20, 2012 at 6:05 am |
  19. M

    Pretty awesome to see up close even some of the works of Einstein – and to have a photo of me hugging him (his statue outside of the museum in Israel)

    March 20, 2012 at 1:13 am |
  20. SB

    "It was the force of his own imagination that made Einstein the towering scientific figure of the 20th century."

    That, and a solid understanding of physics and mathematics that went along with his PhD. People love to misconstrue Einstein quotes; especially that one. You can be as clever and as imaginative as you like, but that doesn't mean you will come to some fantastic discovery in physics without actually knowing physics.

    March 20, 2012 at 12:27 am |
    • SB

      He was also fond of describing his own math skills as "terrible", but I challenge anyone who takes that statement at face value to take a peek at the equations of General Relativity. Most human beings will never approach the kind of math skills needed to make heads or tails of it.

      March 20, 2012 at 12:32 am |
      • Andrew

        One of the likely reasons for this is because Einstein didn't really develop the mathematical framework for GR, the work of Levi-Civita and his teacher Ricci did profound wonders for General Relativity (look no further than the Levi-Civita symbol), they really established much of the tensor manipulation that allowed Einstein to formulate the math in GR.

        Now, of course, Einstein needed to understand tensor calculus, which is no trivial feat and puts him in a league above most math students, but there is reason to understand why Einstein was not fond of his math background.

        March 20, 2012 at 2:11 am |
    • wasso

      I am sure many numerologists have just as good math skills as he did !

      March 20, 2012 at 1:00 am |
      • SB

        Some advice for next time: do a little research before committing to words like "I am sure". That will save you from posting something so incredibly silly.

        March 20, 2012 at 1:05 am |
      • wasso

        SB: I did my PhD in Numerology; you have a problem with that ? Isn't that "research" enough ?

        March 20, 2012 at 2:12 am |
      • Andrew

        If he doesn't, I do, what kind of school would give a doctorate in a subject like numerology? I would suppose history or anthropology studying how numerology has been a part of history much like Galilean relativity, but you can't honestly treat it as a fully flushed science of any form, it's esentially as bogus as astrology.

        How on earth does tensor calculus or differential geometry come about in numerology? The world of physics really does involve a much different mathmatic framework than most people are exposed to, and numerology, much like astrology, simply does not have the mathmatic tools developed for a science like Relativity. Speaking as a lonely physics student, as a child barely able to do the most rudimentary comma derivitives and PDE's, I can say you are gravely underestimating the mathematics that Einstein developed his theories with. Sure, he may not have created the math, but he certainly applied it well.

        I will firmly declare, there is no numerologist in the past hundred years who could compare to the top mathematical minds in physics, they simply don't do the same thing. One is an antiquated faith based system, and the other is a robust scientific discipline. Get a PhD in whatever subject you want, but numerology is a very far way away from real physics or math.

        March 20, 2012 at 4:07 am |
      • wasso

        The difference between standard maths/physics vis-a-vis numerology lies in their application. Obviously, numerology cannot be used for deriving the Q vector from an Einstein-Rosen Bridge or the Dark Energy Trans- Dimensional Shift, etc. However, certain forms or schools of numerology (i.e Kabbalah and Chaldean) if practiced properly may make uncannily accurate predictions on human behavior and fate.

        March 20, 2012 at 5:22 am |
      • clearfog

        Numerology is voodoo-ology.

        March 20, 2012 at 6:03 am |
      • wasso

        Numerology could be better applied to stock market predictions than, say, differential geometry. At least in terms of predicting winners it would certainly do no worse than what so-called rigorous financial maths has been touted to do. If that's voodo-ology, who cares ?

        March 20, 2012 at 6:18 am |
      • Andrew

        ... Dark energy trans dimensional shifts? The hell? And a Q vector is, apparently, something derived in meteorology. You clearly don't have the faintest idea of what physics says, and so it seems strange you'd say "numerologists could know math just as well as Einstein" if you have NO idea about Einstein's physics, or the math needed to derive it.

        A PhD in numerology allows you to comment on issues of actual science, or pretend you know math as well as an astrologer, or a homeopath, or a chiropractor. Don't try to pretend you hold any of your "experiments" to the same degree of scrutiny as a physicst does, or that you dedicate nearly as much time and energy into studying mathematics as a physicst does.

        You're free to practice a mostly nonsense field, but don't try pretending you do anything akin to science. It is an insult to people far more talented, and far more dedicated to real inquiry than either you, or I.

        March 20, 2012 at 6:19 am |
      • Andrew

        Oh, and as it happens, there ARE a lot of physicists in Wall Street. The reason is because the math really DOES lend itself to financial analysis. For example, you can show the foreign exchange market to be statistically a random run, in that trends accelerate then slow down, so that it is more likely to continue in one direction for a period of time. That usually would require a fairly strong knowledge of differential equations. If there's one thing physicists excell at, it's analyzing large amounts of data, you'd be amazed how many particle physicists then go into Wall Street because it's far more lucrative.

        Not to mention that it's easier mathematics, usually. Even I'm able to get through proper peer reviewed economic papers without too much slow down on the math, whereas I'm usually fairly lost on an in depth physics paper. These are the things that are proven to make money, and if you're capable of doing the research, slogging through the math, and have a basic knowledge of statistical languages like R for doing analysis, you're well suited to working in Wall Street. Physicsts live doing that. Numerologists, I imagine, do not last there very long.

        March 20, 2012 at 6:25 am |
      • wasso

        And for all the particle physicists that have migrated to Wall Str., what good has it done ? There is financial crash after financial crash one year after the other ! You have proved my point; the so-called mathematical rigor they think they are bringing to the field hasn't helped squat. One might as well have a chimp throw darts on the WSJ stock listings to create one's portfolio. But numerology provides more insights on human behavior.

        March 20, 2012 at 6:56 am |
      • Andrew

        "Helped squat"? Who was it supposed to be helping? Normal people, of course not, but it's done wall street firms rather well, and day traders still make rather large sums. Doesn't really matter if the market is losing money, or making money, in general, wall street usually makes out with the money and the rest of us sit carrying the bills.

        Those math skills are what allow physicists to stay on wall street, because they're able to generate consistant returns. Numerologists are not exactly famous among wall street firms, precisely because they cannot generate consistant returns. For all your "we can predict human behavior", actual statistical analysis seems far more powerful in always netting gains at the expense of everyone else. Cause everyone else typically doesn't bother doing the analysis.

        March 20, 2012 at 7:20 am |
      • wasso

        If these traders and investment managers were simply out to fool people and pocket most of the money, while officially declaring their firms insolvent or bankrupt, they didn't need to rely on high-powered maths to do that. But I think some of those 'gurus' genuinely thought they could look at the field and manage things from a different perspective, but to no avail. Regardless, you may need to brushup on the latest wrinkles in Dark Energy and Black Hole theories.

        March 20, 2012 at 9:22 am |
      • Andrew

        Analysis had nothing to do with the financial crisis, because analysis was saying "these homes are over-valued", rather there was the bogus assumption that "well the housing market can never decline". If companies had stuck just making trades based on what the fundamentals told them, rather than deciding to take on toxic assets that they themselves knew were toxic, this crisis would never have happened.

        It has nothing to do with understanding math, that was basic "well... guys... why are we assuming housing prices cannot go down? Especially when this property cannot be worth that much, aren't we making a bad bet that we'll have to pawn off on someone else?" Surprise surprise, the answer was "yes", so they repackaged large amounts of toxic assets and traded them among the big firms, it was a wall street game of hot potato. Incidently, however, it really did pay off for them because when the inevitable happened, they got a bail out, and flew away with golden parachutes paid for by tax payer money.

        Those who probably preferred to stick to analysis, rather than take advantage of gaming the government, probably kept their jobs as analysits to make a comfortable income throughout the process, but no fifty million dollar "thanks for sending the economy to the brink of collapse" bonus.

        None of this, however, makes numerology seem even somewhat sane.

        March 20, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
  21. jimbo

    Putting the writings of Einstein on the web is a great project. Surely the writings will inspire people young and not so young to explore science and physics related fields. With seven billion people on this planet there has to be another mind just as great waiting to be discovered. I am enjoying all the comments, finally some readers that can spell and use proper grammar. Most reader comments about articles here on CNN leave me wondering just how many people have mastered reading and writing without even thinking about the more difficult arithmetic part of education.

    March 19, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
    • sandy

      Good call regarding the grammar. Now if I can just move on to the math! What an opportunity to read his works. Looking forward to it.

      March 20, 2012 at 1:32 am |
  22. Erik

    The length of this article is inversely proportional to my interest in it!

    March 19, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • J Freestyle - Pittsburgh


      March 19, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
  23. Pete

    Einstein rightly said imagination is necessary, and millions of fools who don't know anything about physics will now misconstrue his writings and self-assuredly conclude that it is sufficient and that deep understanding of hard physics is not necessary if you have lots of imagination...because the universe always turns out like the imagination of someone who doesn't have a deep understanding of the laws of physics as well like Albert Einstein when he applied his imagination.

    March 19, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • clearfog

      They just don't understand the gravity of the situation.

      March 19, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
      • furball

        Einstein was light years beyond his generation

        March 19, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
      • J Freestyle - Pittburgh


        March 19, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
  24. clearfog

    Back to the "God does not play dice" quote, again and again. The quote did not endorse the existence of god. Quantum mechanics held that events are random in theory, not just apparently random. Einstein did not believe this, he believed in a deterministic universe. He proposed that the randomness was the result of 'unknown parameters' and once those parameters were discovered, the apparent randomness would disappear and determinism would return to physics. He used that quote to state that events were not random. He was being facetious to some extent. Also, the Big Bang made no noise. In fact, that term was used by opponents of the theory to make fun of it.

    March 19, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
  25. The Flamingo Kid

    This man was nothing more than a mooch who stole his wife's ideas, among others'.

    March 19, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • clearfog

      If you are serious, you have a serious misunderstanding. I suppose his wife was the genesis of general relativity too.

      March 19, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
      • wasso

        You have sumptin' against women geniuses ?

        March 20, 2012 at 1:01 am |
    • M

      What's your real gripe?

      March 20, 2012 at 1:10 am |
  26. Pete Griffith

    You can see the actual x-rays of his brain at http://www.two-views.com/X-RAY/albert_einstein.html

    March 19, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
  27. CS

    His bagels were the ultimate breakthrough.

    March 19, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • eileen


      March 19, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • clearfog

      When we read your comment, it torus up.

      March 19, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
  28. madin

    i think that so great , einstein's also a my farvorite man . i'm looking forward this

    March 19, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
  29. longtooth

    Einstein was pretty smart.

    March 19, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
    • Pete Griffith

      You can see the actual pictures of his brain at http://www.two-views.com/X-RAY/albert_einstein.html

      March 19, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
    • Joe Walsh

      'Brilliant' Observation!

      March 20, 2012 at 10:26 am |
  30. Paul

    This is incredible that the topic of Einstein's papers devolves into a petty squabble about religion and science. One of the overlooked attributes of Einstein's thinking is that he thought visually--his famous "thought experiment" of travelling on a beam of light for instance. This type of thought process is too overlooked and under valued by both science and religion, and both could bebefit much from it.

    March 19, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • ziegfeldf

      I remember this from ... well, a long time ago. Perhaps it was one of the reasons I wanted to be a scientist when I was very young. (ziegfeldf, PhD Physics, BS Physics and Chemistry)

      www (dot) singularityweblog.com/the-einstein-theory-of-relativity-a-1923-silent-animated-film/

      Maybe you can get your kids to sit still for 20 minutes and watch.

      It's true. Most of the math in Einsten's papers isn't that hard (with the exception of the General Theory of Relativity, which is head-crushingly hard; even Albert himself had "to go back to school" to be able to express it mathematically).

      March 19, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
      • ziegfeldf

        Eh, that's not it. (I'm not *that* old.) The one I remember had a two flashing lights, one with the observer, the other on a (very fast) moving train. Black and white.

        March 19, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • Rationalist

      Every discussion on the Internet eventually devolves into a squabble over religion or politics, or both. The speed at which this devolution takes place is inversely proportional to the intelligence of the stupidest participant.

      March 20, 2012 at 12:11 am |
  31. smh

    I'm getting a blank page on my iPad. They didn't seriously use Flash, did they? That's quite a bonehead move - very ironic considering that website is about arguably the smartest man who ever lived. Einstein would be very disappointed.

    March 19, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
    • Lee s

      hahah paid 600 dollars for that slab and not even flash supported.

      March 19, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
    • Rationalist

      See if you can use it as a cutting board. I mean at that price it's got to be good for SOMETHING!

      March 20, 2012 at 12:29 am |
    • tokencode

      Ask one of the apple "geniuses" why you are unable to view actual genius....

      March 20, 2012 at 1:32 am |
  32. Jubei

    Nice, its in outdated FLASH format. Starting off the wrong foot already. Where is the non FLASH version for the site?

    March 19, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • Lee s

      Back at the apple store with your 600 bucks

      March 19, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • SB

      Oh well. You should have spent the money on a device that actually supports well-established web content standards.

      March 20, 2012 at 12:47 am |
  33. ya no

    Judging by the typical poster's mentality – or lack of it – on the news threads, whatever Einstein had to say would be of little interest.

    March 19, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • Mathias

      the number of people who can comprehend any of the math involved in his work is so small mainly because todays youth does not want to put the effort in to learning a difficult subject and excelling in school is uncool for some reason. So yes, Einstein is greatly unappreciated sadly and will not be appreciated outside of the scientific community. except for e=mc^2...which only 0.01% of the population even slightly understands.

      March 19, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
      • ziegfeldf

        What's even sadder is the total lack of curiosity and imagination. Mention to someone (anyone, really) that GPS wouldn't work without the (special) theory of relativity, and you'll quickly find yourself talking to no one. That dullness, alas, extends to nearly all aspects of life.

        March 19, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
      • Chuck

        The interesting thing about relativity - about so much of fundamental physics - is that it's really not that complicated.

        E=MC^2. That's really just E = M x C x C. That's just multiplication. It should be about 3rd or 4th grade math.

        March 19, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
      • Shazaam

        I believe that's an unscientific use of the word mainly, also: your brain.

        March 19, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
      • RasPutin

        Apathy towards scientific exploration is, unfortunately, timeless. I would argue that there is a greater percentage of people alive today that understands Einstein's math than ever before in history. I can guarantee you that there is a greater percentage of people currently alive that have taken math beyond calc I than existed in 1950. Understanding the intellectual conquests of physics is admirable, but hardly surprising that the general public is uninformed and generally uninterested. The average person alive today is primarily concerned with the same things that concerned the average person 10,000 years ago. "Who will my mate be? Will I always be able to provide for my children? will my family be healthy? etc" Time have changed, somewhat. Science marches on. People are generally the same.

        March 20, 2012 at 12:03 am |
  34. Chuck

    "Some of them do not paint an overly flattering portrait of the bushy-haired scientist whom so many people came to love and admire."

    Einstein was a man, "warts and all," as they say. It's good, I think, to see that even such a revered genius had his flaws. This doesn't make him any less of a genious because he was, of course.

    What hopefully this will do is cause us to reconsider how judgemental we've become as a society. In this day and age of tabloid "journalism" and the internet, we always seem to be looking for the negative and for flaws in people. And, of course, we find them and amplify them.

    Here now we see a man who was an unquestionable genious and yet he had his "flaws." So, why should we expect any more of people today?

    March 19, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
  35. ALex Eastman


    March 19, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
  36. trsr@cvzoom.net

    It's about time.

    March 19, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
  37. Hasa Diga Eebowai

    Einstein: Bible Is 'Primitive, Pretty Childish'

    March 19, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • ChrkeePrde

      Leonhard Euler: A devout Bible-reading Christian. Interesting that one of the Fathers of Math and Physics read the Bible daily with his family. And peculiar that were it not for Euler, Einstein would've never been famous.

      March 19, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
      • blaqb0x

        Name one thing in the bible that directly translates into modern mathematics or science. It's not the value of pi. Three storied universe. Fibonacci sequence? Newton was a devout christian. Is there anything in the bible even remotely related to calculus or his 3 laws. Feynman smoked a lot of weed and visited strip clubs. do you see people attributing his work to those things? Nope.

        March 19, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
      • Hasa Diga Eebowai

        He lived in the 1700's... where your mind apparently is too.

        March 19, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
      • Lee s

        Newton was treated very poorly by the church he was so devout to. Well, we all know who was right in the long run....once again.

        March 19, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
      • lorne

        shore are glad Euler were a Christian.
        What does that have to do with anything?

        March 20, 2012 at 1:55 am |
      • Luc

        red, have you read Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman? It's a work of fiction, but it's very intseerting describing some of the things that Lightman believes may have haunted Einstein while he was working on those papers.at one point in the book, Einstein explains his drive to a colleague as I want to get close to what the Old One is thinking (or words to that effect).very intseerting book, and it's also good reading if you only have a few minutes to dive into it at a time each chapter is more or less freestanding, yet part of a whole.

        September 13, 2012 at 12:44 am |
      • Mickey

        ChrkeePrde, not sure where you wanted to go but wonder if you're a bit anti-Semitic.

        If not for a Jew and his Jewish friends, there would be no Christianity.

        September 13, 2012 at 1:27 am |
    • kenny

      ChrkeePrde – are you native american? cause that would be pretty sad that you took up the religion of those that slaughtered your ancestors...

      That would be an awesome quote for a billboard next to a religious one... lol...

      March 19, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • Mathias

      Einstein did believe in God...He didnt believe in a personal God like most religions but he did believe in a higher being. I believe he considered himself an agnostic. Similar to what many thinkers and scientists held during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.

      March 19, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
      • Hasa Diga Eebowai

        Yes he (and many of our founding fathers) were deists.

        March 19, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
      • Jake

        Einstein's beliefs about God are pretty hard to categorize. He certainly didn't believe in a personal God. I don't think he was really a deist either, because to a deist God is somehow "outside" of the universe. He sort of equated "God" with the universe itself – almost a pantheist. His views may have changed over time.

        March 19, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
      • Mathias

        yes...Einstein saw God as a creator of the universe and designer of the laws of physics that govern it. And that was the extent of it.

        March 19, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
      • JF

        Hence the well known quote "God does not play dice". I think he had a spiritual belief, but not a dogmatic one. He also abhorred rigorous study and testing we now have today. I have a feeling as time passes and "No child left behind" gets left behind (where it belongs), we will see how truly wise AE was.

        March 19, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • zeyn2010

      To elaborate a bit more on what he may have meant with that – this is from wikipedia: In Einstein's view, "the doctrine of a personal God interfering with natural events could never be refuted, in the real sense, by science," for religion can always take refuge in areas that science can not yet explain. It was Einstein's belief that in the "struggle for the ethical good, teachers of religion must have the stature to give up the doctrine of a personal God, that is, give up that source of fear and hope" and cultivate the "Good, the True, and the Beautiful in humanity itself."

      March 19, 2012 at 9:20 pm |


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