Jun 18, 2019 | Updated: 05:32 PM EDT

E=MC^2 Wasn’t His Only Thought—New Archive Reveals Einstein’s Love and Laughter

Dec 08, 2014 02:10 PM EST

Albert Einstein
(Photo : Digital Einstein Archive)

Albert Einstein was undoubtedly a scientist not of his era. But in spite of his very public persona, living his life in the limelight, many are still not exactly sure who the man was behind the science. Living a life as exciting as his discoveries in the field of physics, Einstein is a man of many mysteries. And who better to divulge the secrets than the mad scientist himself?

For decades now, since they posthumously inherited over 80,000 documents that the beloved Albert Einstein left behind, researchers from Princeton University Press and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem who share the inheritance have combed through the scientist's notes and letters to discovery new insights into the work in physics he contributed in his impressive career. But what's more, is that researchers have come to know the man behind the theories, and have come to respect the loving heart, the passion and the wit that came along with Einstein's brains.

Releasing a new archive available to the public this past Friday, Dec. 5, researchers from the universities digitized what was left of Einstein's personal writings publishing them in a new online format called "Digital Einstein".

Diving deeper into Einstein's formative early years, researchers from the universities have spent many years archive and studying the papers, letters, postcards and diary entries left by Einstein when he died in 1955. But now for the first time the public will now have unlimited access to the archive created in collaboration between the universities as part of their "Einstein Papers Project".

Visitors to the online archive will come to find an entirely unique view of the scientist, told by the perspective and vantage point of Einstein himself. In diary entries, letters and postcards, readers will be able to engage with Einstein on a whole new level as they uncover the all too human aspects of the sordid details of his life. Once an irresistible playboy, turned borderline mad-scientist of his era, Einstein was a man known for his rebellious nature. And readers will come to find that the 20th century's greatest genius was, when it all boils down, a man looking for adventure and answers to the universe.

"The young Einstein was a Bohemian, not the sage we think of now" NYU historian Matt Stanley says. "He was disrespectful to his professors and skipped classes because he knew he could pass anyway [and] he hung out in beer halls to argue about the nature of space and time."

What are the most shocking finds amongst the archive? Well as it so happens, fans of the scientist will find that Einstein was a bit of character. In a postcard he sent in 1915 to friend Conrad Habicht, Einstein documented an adventure with wife at the time Mileva Maric, and the scientist revealed a partying side that coexisted with the countless hours of research.

"Both of us, alas, dead drunk under the table" Einstein wrote in the postcard, documenting an evening out for the physicist.

And you'll also find that Einstein was a bit of a ladies' man... but in spite of his mass appeal with the opposite sex, he found himself in a strange set of relationships that strayed far from the normal, and often ended badly for Einstein too. Marrying Mileva Maric, a fellow physicist in 1903, Einstein established a family early on. But by 1912, after being estranged for months, the couple divorced officially in 1919 - where his wife won most of the proceeds to the still un-awarded Nobel Prize Einstein was expected to receive for his revolutionary theories. And in the same year, courtesy of a strange whirlwind romance, Einstein married his cousin Elsa merely months after divorce proceedings were finalized.

"In the letters we see the young Einstein was a lot like the later one, uninterested in convention and set on having his own way, a bit of a rebel, irresistible to women" Stanley says. "He dove into a few relationships that turned sour, although I think he learned some lessons later in life."

And perhaps best of all, in the archives one will find that Einstein never took himself nor the academia of it all too seriously. In fact, even though he was awarded the most prestigious award a physicist could win, Einstein skipped the Nobel Prize ceremonies to venture off on a trip to the Far East.

"I have decided definitely not to ride around the world so much anymore" he wrote to his sons after a 1922 trip to Japan, "but am I going to be able to that off, too?"

Perhaps his disinterest in the award ceremony stemmed from his divorce's stipulations, but we'll keep digging in the archive to find an answer for ourselves.

Interested in learning more about the legend? Check out the archive here:


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