About The Einstein Archives:
This collection of Albert Einstein’s publications, manuscripts, letters, and photographs is unique. It reveals not only his scientific contributions but also the way his mind worked, as reflected in private and unpublished documents. The archive of photos covers Einstein’s lifespan from the earliest known signed photograph in his mid-teens to the last known signed photograph shortly before his death. This is likely the largest, most comprehensive private collection of Einstein’s works, words, and images.
Albert Einstein was remarkable in ways evident from childhood. He was late in learning to speak, so much so that his parents took him to a doctor to find out what was wrong. Einstein thought primarily in visual images; this was crucial to his later genius. He was intensely curious, able to focus on a problem as long as needed to resolve it to his satisfaction, and fiercely independent. These attributes helped lead him to completely change the course of physics and our understanding of the cosmos.
Einstein overturned Newton’s clockwork universe; proved the existence of atoms; revealed the interconnections between space & time and energy & matter; and explained the force of gravity. He discovered these truths about the physical world based on reason and imagination with the aid of simple visual thought experiments.
Einstein also gave birth to quantum physics when he explained the photoelectric effect as due to the quantum nature of light, for which he received the Nobel Prize (rather than for his greatest theory - general relativity). He was the first to recognize light’s wave-particle duality, which remains a central mystery at the foundation of quantum physics. In a 1951 letter to his life-long friend, Michele Besso, he wrote, "a whole 50 years of deliberate brooding have not brought me closer to the answer to the question 'what are light quanta'?''
Einstein’s contributions were vital to the development of quantum mechanics, yet he remained a lifelong critic. He considered quantum theory to be incomplete. His debate with Neils Bohr about indeterminism in quantum mechanics overshadowed the presentations at the Fifth Solvay Conference and led a decade later to the famous EPR paper. He and Bohr continued their debate throughout the remainder of their lifetimes. Einstein’s conviction remained unchanged. In one of the letters in this collection he affirmed, “I still do not believe in the notion God is playing dice.” In another revealing letter, written in 1945, Einstein maintained, “I don’t believe that the fundamental physical laws may consist in relations between probabilities for the real things, but for relations concerning the things themselves."
Einstein struggled until his death seeking a unified theory of gravity, electromagnetism, and quantum mechanics. In pursuing this ambitious goal, he had dropped out of mainstream physics. Most other physicists thought he was wasting his time. Lately, the search for a grand unified theory has become reputable.
Albert Einstein’s revolutionary insights into the rules governing the universe are pinnacle achievements of human intellect. More than a century later, technological advances in astrophysics have allowed detection of gravitational waves emanating from merging black holes, confirming his prescient understanding of the structure of the physical universe.
NOTE: This collection also includes many complementary and supporting items that reveal how Einstein responded to other scientists' work and how they responded to him. These document critical developments in his own work, theories that influenced him, advancements and challenges to the theories he initiated, and proofs of his theories by others. Such items of particular importance are cornerstones of modern physics: Newton's Principia Mathematica; the foundational work of quantum theory by Max Planck and the first appearance of Planck's constant; Minkowksi's explanation of space-time; Bohr's model of the atom; Dirac's equation uniting quantum mechanics and special relativity; Arthur Eddington's influential explanation and proof of general relativity; Hubble's discovery of the expansion of the universe, the natural result of general relativity; development of the laser based on Einstein's theories; and David Bohm's defense of Einstein's view of the "incompleteness" of quantum theory.