Albert Einstein’s calculations as he tried to establish his theory of relativity were auctioned off for €11 million (£9.7 million, $13 million).
The sale of a signed scientific document at Christie’s auction house in Paris set a new record.
It’s one of just two articles that reveal the theoretical physicist’s thought processes behind his major scientific accomplishment. The idea, which was first published in 1915, revolutionized the way people thought about space, time, and gravity.
Einstein and his Swiss colleague Michele Besso composed the computations somewhere between 1913 and 1914, and the paper was saved by Besso
Besso was complimented by Christie’s auction house for his foresight in keeping the manuscript. “Einstein maintained very few notes,” said Vincent Belloy, an expert at the auction firm. “The simple fact that the book survived and found its way to us already makes it unique.”
According to Mr Belloy, the documents contain black ink calculations that demonstrate a number of flaws in the process of formulating the hypothesis.The auction “attracted collectors from all over the world who recognized the value of the document,” according to Christie’s.
The buyer of the 54-page paper, however, has remained anonymous.
The theory of relativity, developed by Albert Einstein, provided light on the origins of the universe, planetary orbits, and black holes.
Einstein’s letter, which included the theory’s most famous equation, E=mc2, sold for more than $1.2 million (£897,000) in May.