Known as the Einstein Papers Project, researchers from the California Institute of Technology and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have published 13 volumes of personal and professional letters, notes, essays, and footnotes that contain 5,000 documents written by the German physicist, Albert Einstein; and what’s more, all of these documents are now available to the public and online in a database made specially for the project.
Anyone can now read any of Einstein’s personal letters and professional notes and essays with just a few clicks of the mouse, and these documents made available in both digital and volume forms give physicist Einstein away as an ordinary person – a genius albeit. A few leaked excerpts from the documents reveal letters to his wife, as well as personal notes in his diary, and letters to friends and associate physicists across the world.
Insights into some of the more personal letters show that Einstein was just as average a person as any other person in your neighborhood, but just crazy and a science maven. According to Matt Stanley, a historian with the New York University, Einstein wasn’t much of a good student, and he “was disrespectful to his professors and skipped classes because he knew he could pass anyway. So, when he asked for recommendations, he didn’t get them.”
He hanged out in beer halls and discussed science and philosophy among friends, and he dispatched a 1915 postcard to a friend called Conrad Habicht where he stated that himself and his wife were as “dead drunk under the table.” At a time when acknowledged physicists around the world were not more than 1,000 globally, Einstein wrote professional letters to great personalities like Max Plank, Erwin Schrodinger and Niels Bohar among others.
Chosen and interpreted over the last 25 years, the Einstein documents were selected from 1879 to 1923 when he was just 44 years old, and while the California Institute of Technology worked on the 13 volume editions out of the projected 30 volumes, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem worked on the digital editions which contain thousands of high-quality digital photographs online at the Einstein Archives.