Einstein's E=mc2: a relative bargain at pounds 3.8m

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The Independent Online
THE WORLD'S most famous mathemat- ical equation, Albert Einstein's E=mc2, is likely to become one of the world's most valuable manuscripts when it is sold by Sotheby's later this year.

It is estimated that an unpublished manuscript of the great man's most comprehensive exposition of the Theory of Relativity, working from first principles up to the revolutionary equating of energy (E) with mass (m) times the square of the speed of light (c), will sell for as much as pounds 3.8m.

The 72-page article, which was probably written in 1912, was prepared by Einstein for the fifth volume of Professor Erich Marx's Handbuch der Radiologie. It was never published, however.

But Marsha Malinowski, an expert at Sotheby's in New York, where it will be sold on 11 December, says this may be why thedocument survived. "During the period in which Einstein composed this article, he was accustomed to discarding the manuscripts of his published writings," she says. "We may thus owe the preservation of this seminal work to the fact that it was never published."

Although the manuscript is not Einstein's original working of the E=mc2 equation, published in the scientist's annus mirabilis of 1905, it stands as his longest manuscript on the subject.

The Special Theory of Relativity, which laid the foundation for 20th- century physics, started the theoretical line of thought which led to the first atom bomb.

The document is thought to have been written at the time when Einstein became professor of theoretical physics at Zurich, four years before he published his General Theory of Relativity.

In 1922 the scientist was awarded a Nobel prize for his work in quantum theory - because the committee was unsure whether his Theory of Relativity was technically a discovery. He died in 1955.