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Einstein's theory creates 'watershed moment' in science

To celebrate, the 100-year-old manuscript was brought out for all to see.


February 12, 2016 | Latest Photo Prev Next
A plaster statue depicting Albert Einstein is displayed at The Albert Einstein Archives department at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem on February 11, 2016.A plaster statue depicting Albert Einstein is displayed at The Albert Einstein Archives department at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem on February 11, 2016.Photo: Thomas Coex / AFP/Getty Images
February 12, 2016 | Latest Photo

Albert Einstein continues to impress.

The world's most famous genius made waves both literally and metaphorically this week. More than a century after Einstein wrote his theory of gravitational waves, it had never actually been proved. Until yesterday, when a team of scientists finally confirmed his findings. The news made international headlines, and the science community is calling it one of the greatest discoveries of modern times.

The day was particularly celebratory at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, which is home to the Albert Einstein Archives. Einstein was a founder of Hebrew University, a member of its Board of Governors and the chairman of its Academic Committee. He bequeathed to the university 80,000 documents which span the spectrum of both his personal and professional life.

Roni Grosz, the curator of the Albert Einstein Archives at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, shows the original documents written by Einstein related to his prediction of the existence of gravitational waves.Roni Grosz, the curator of the Albert Einstein Archives at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, shows the original documents written by Einstein related to his prediction of the existence of gravitational waves. (Photo: Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images)

One of those documents was the original 46-page Theory of Relativity. "I refer to it as the magna carta of physics," Hanoch Gutfreund, the director of the archives, told From The Grapevine.

Hebrew University held an event yesterday where they showed off the original documents. The news media was there to snap photos, including the one above of a plaster statue depicting Einstein, which is on display at the archives.

“This is a watershed moment for physics and for science,” said Sean McWilliams, a physics professor at West Virginia University who worked on the team that detected these invisible ripples in space. “The direct observation of gravitational waves will fundamentally change our understanding of the universe.”

The New York Times called the chirping of the gravitational waves "among the great sound bites of science, ranking with Alexander Graham Bell’s 'Mr. Watson – come here' and Sputnik’s first beeps from orbit."

So what exactly is the Theory of Relativity? Watch as these five people on YouTube try to explain.

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Related Topics: Albert Einstein, Science