|JERUSALEM - MARCH 09: In an almost pitch-dark room, Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity is on display in its entirety for the first time, at the Israeli Academy of Sciences and Humanities on March 9, 2010 in Jerusalem, Israel. Einstein donated the complete original forty-six page handwritten manuscript of his ground-breaking theory to The Hebrew University of Jerusalem during its inauguration in 1925. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)|
March 19th 2012, an incredible collection of primary source history was made public in a recently digitized body of acclaimed scientist Albert Einstein's manuscripts. The manuscripts were released by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and contained some 80,000 items.
The collection, owned and maintained by the university, contains many items which have never before seen the light of day. To have this collection available to anyone from the casual student to the professional researcher, regardless of location or financial status is an amazing step not only for scientists, not only for historians, but for humanity itself as Hebrew University has embraced a remarkably open stance in providing this information to the world free of charge.
Many other organizations, such as Ancestry.com, charge for access to basic public records like the US Census. Still other academic organizations like the HATHI trust or many private or public universities require membership within their school.
By making Einstein's manuscripts available, Hebrew University has fulfilled the words of another famous physicist, Isaac Newton, who stated that he had achieved his work by "standing on the shoulders of giants." Now the meek and the bold, the young the old, the rich and the poor alike will have access to some of the world's most important scientific information in the pursuit of their own projects, projects which in turn become a new legacy of Einstein himself.
Christopher Lotito is a member of the Pequannock Historic District, Open Space, and Flood Control Advisory Commissions as well as the author of "Torrent," a book about flooding in the region. Lotito's personal mission is to reduce new taxes, drastically reduce flooding, and preserve more green spaces for our children. Christopher Lotito Profile