A missing page from Einstein’s attempts to create a unified field theory has been discovered among a collection of 110 handwritten manuscript pages.
Most of the pages date from between 1944 and 1948, but the missing piece was from a study he presented to the Prussian Academy of Science in 1930.
Copies of the presentation were distributed widely, but physicists have been puzzled as to what the missing page contained.
In the study, Einstein tried unsuccessfully to prove the theory that electromagnetism and gravity were different manifestations of a single fundamental field.
The papers, which have never been shown in public before, will now go on display at Israel’s Hebrew University.
The university today announced it had acquired the papers, thanks to a donation by the Crown-Goodman Foundation, ahead of the physicist’s 140th birthday.
It was bought from Gary Berger, a North Carolina doctor who had a private collection of Einstein’s writings.
‘These papers reflect the way Einstein was thinking, the way Einstein was working. Most of them, in his handwriting, are mathematical calculations with very little text,’ said Professor Hanoch Gutfreund, academic adviser to the archives.
‘They are summaries of his notes; whenever something struck him, a new idea, he sat down immediately and scribbled it, looking for its consequences.’