A collaboration between the American University of Princeton and the Israeli Hebrew University of Jerusalem allowed to put on line over 80,000 pages of documents written by Albert Einstein in the Digital Einstein project. The documents correspond to a set of paper books published in recent years by the Princeton University Press.
That’s not the only project that aims to make all the writings of the great scientist available. In recent years the University of Jerusalem created the “Einstein Archives Online”. Both projects are carried out with the collaboration of CalTech and include not only scientific papers but also letters and other personal writings.
The announcement of the online availability of thousands of documents in a site called “The Digital Einstein Papers” is the result of a work begun in 1986. The researchers who at the time oversaw the publication of the paper volumes, titled “The Collected Papers”, put order in a series of letters, notebooks, diaries, even postcards and other documents. Many documents were written in German and are now available together with an English translation.
Now the Princeton University Press gives everyone the chance to read a digitized version of the online documents already published in print. Anyone can study the scientist but also get to know the man because the letters include many personal opinions and among them there are also love letters. There are also the documents of the divorce from his first wife.
Additional documents will be made available online after the publication of new paper volumes of “The Collected Papers”. Eventually, the site will provide access to all Albert Einstein’s writings, which will be accompanied by comments of scholars. Among the links below the site’s title there’s “How to”, which sends you to a mini-guide that explains what you can find in the archive and how to use its functions. There are various search functions for those who want to find something specific among the online documents.
The first documents were written when Albert Einstein was just a boy so their reading allows us to understand better his experiences. They include his scientific research and writings concerning him winning the Nobel Prize, his love life, his commitment to pacifism and more. The letters exchanged with other scientists combine scientific considerations and other personal ones.
In some ways, “The Digital Einstein Papers” site is a duplicate of the “Einstein Archives Online”. However, the Princeton developers seem to have cured in a better way the accessibility of the new site. That could be an even better opportunity to learn more about Albert Einstein.