December 29, 2014 — The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in partnership with Princeton University Press, the California Institute of Technology and the Tizra publishing platform, is proud to announce the launch of the Digital Einstein Papers.
The Hebrew University and Princeton University Press spent decades studying an estimated 80,000 Einstein documents. Now anyone with an Internet connection can access transcripts of thousands of Einstein’s letters, papers, postcards and diaries at the Digital Einstein Papers, which went live in December. The Digital Einstein Papers contain text transcripts that link to many high-quality digital images at the Hebrew University’s Einstein Archive Online. Launched in March 2012 by the university’s Albert Einstein Archives, and sponsored by the Polonsky Foundation UK, the Einstein Archive Online presents a complete catalog of more than 80,000 Einstein-related documents in the university’s possession, along with many high-quality digital images.
A founder of the Hebrew University and one of its most loyal supporters, Einstein bequeathed his writings and intellectual heritage to the Hebrew University, including the rights to his image.
A sampling of documents in the Digital Einstein Papers includes:
—“My Plans for the Future”: In this high school French essay, 17-year-old Einstein writes that “young people especially like to contemplate bold projects.”
—Letter to Mileva Marić: Revealing that Einstein had fathered a daughter out of wedlock, this letter expresses Einstein’s happiness at the birth of his daughter Lieserl.
—Einstein’s first job offer: After great difficulty finding academic employment, Einstein received this notice of his appointment as a clerk at the Swiss Patent Office.
—The telegram and letter informing that Einstein he has won the Nobel Prize.
—A diary of his travels, including trips to Japan, Spain and a visit to Palestine.
—A statement on the future Hebrew University: “The thought that the dream of a Jewish university is now close to materialization elates me… May the university become a new shrine for our nation!”
The Digital Einstein Papers currently contain 5,000 documents covering the first 44 years of Einstein’s life, up to and including the award of the Nobel Prize in Physics and his long voyage to the Far East. Additional material will be available on the website approximately 18 months after the print publication of new volumes of The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein. Eventually, the website will provide access to all of Einstein’s writings and correspondence.
Sponsored by the Hebrew University, supported by the California Institute of Technology, and published by Princeton University Press, The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein is one of the most ambitious publishing ventures ever undertaken in the documentation of the history of science. Selected from among more than 40,000 documents contained in Einstein’s personal collection, and 15,000 Einstein and Einstein-related documents discovered by the editors since the beginning of the Einstein Project, the series will eventually contain more than 14,000 documents as full text, and will fill thirty volumes.
Prof. Menahem Ben-Sasson, President of the Hebrew University, said: “The Hebrew University has invested great efforts to make the legacy of Albert Einstein accessible to the general public. Through the Digital Einstein Papers we are proud to share with the public many fascinating aspects of Einstein’s life: from physics and science, to his personal relationships, to Israel and Zionism and of course the Hebrew University.”
Prof. Hanoch Gutfreund, Chair of the Hebrew University’s Academic Committee for the Einstein Archives, said: ”The Digital Einstein Papers is another expression of the Hebrew University’s intent to share with the entire world the cultural and intellectual heritage entrusted to us by Einstein himself.”
Dr. Roni Grosz, Curator of the Hebrew University’s Albert Einstein Archives, said: “Together with the Hebrew University’s Einstein Archive Online, the Digital Einstein Papers will serve as a primary resource for researchers and historians, scientists and students to learn more about Albert Einstein.”
The Tizra platform was selected for this project because of its highly flexible, open, and intuitive content delivery approach, and its strong reputation for reliability. Work on the Digital Einstein Papers was supported by the Harold W. McGraw, Jr. endowment, the California Institute of Technology, the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Arcadia Fund, U.K.