“IChristie’s, who will sell the Agutes house, said, “It is without a doubt the most valuable Einstein manuscript ever sold at auction.
The document is a 54-page signature manuscript written in 1913 and 1914, in Zurich (Switzerland), by German-born physicist, collaborator and confidant Michel Besseau.
According to Christie, it was thanks to this Swiss engineer that “the manuscript reached us almost miraculously: Einstein probably would not have bothered to preserve what might appear to him as a working document.”
After his theory of special relativity, which had him demonstrating in 1905 the famous formula E = mc², Einstein began work on the general theory of relativity.
This theory of gravity, finally published in November 1915, revolutionized our understanding of the universe. Einstein died in 1955 at the age of 76, and became as much a symbol of scientific genius as he became a popular figure, with the famous 1951 photograph where his tongue sticks out.
In early 1913, he and Besso addressed “one of the problems the scientific community has been facing for decades: the anomalies of Mercury’s orbit,” Christie’s recalls. The two worlds will solve this puzzle.
Not in the false accounts on this manuscript, which counts “a certain number of errors that have gone unnoticed.” When Einstein discovered them, he was no longer interested in this manuscript that Besso had taken.
“Einstein’s scientific signature documents from this period, and more generally from before 1919, are extremely rare,” Christie’s says.
“Being one of the only two working manuscripts documenting the genesis of the theory of general relativity that has reached us, it is an extraordinary testament to Einstein’s work and allows us to plunge into the mind of the greatest scientist of the century,” continues the auction house.
The other known document from this crucial period in the physicist’s research, known as the “Zurich Notebook” (late 1912, early 1913) is actually in the Einstein Archives of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
“Unapologetic pop culture trailblazer. Freelance troublemaker. Food guru. Alcohol fanatic. Gamer. Explorer. Thinker.”