News | August 31, 2023

Einstein Manuscript Explaining Relativity Theories to New York Times Readers to Auction


The Einstein autograph manuscript going under the hammer

Christie's will present an autograph manuscript by Albert Einstein in the 10th Shanghai Auction Anniversary: 20th/21st Century Art Evening Sale on September 23 at the Waldorf Astoria Shanghai.  

This manuscript was first published in a special supplement to the New York Times on February 3, 1929. Due to immense public interest, Einstein had been commissioned to explain the development of his two most famous contributions to science: the theories of special relativity (1905) and general relativity (1915). The manuscript recounts the history behind the discovery of relativity, explains its working, and looks to the possibility of completing the cycle of relativity in a 'unified field theory'. 

This 14-page manuscript, written in German, includes two equations and a diagram illustrating the structure of the spacetime continuum, along with two pages of scientific formulae. 

Georgina Hilton, Head of Classic Art, Christie’s Asia Pacific, said: “The manuscript provides a unique and fascinating glimpse into Einstein's thought process and traces the evolution of his pioneering ideas. Given Einstein’s historical links with Shanghai, alongside the significant interest from Chinese collectors in scientific artifacts, our Shanghai saleroom is a fitting context in which to present this unique manuscript.”