WIT scientists discover lost Einstein manuscript

5 Mar 2014

Theoretical physicist Albert Einstein and his wife Elsa

Two Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) scientists got more than they bargained for after discovering an Einstein manuscript that had been mislabeled as just a first draft of a previous theory.

Cormac O’Raifertaigh and Brendan McCann made the discovery after they came across the freely available document in the Albert Einstein Archives in Jerusalem. The document appears to show that the renowned genius had dabbled in alternate theories to the Big Bang theory Edwin Hubble first theorised in the early 1920s.

The document was written in 1931 and shows Einstein had suggested that the universe is potentially ever-expanding but at the same time the density remains consistent as new particles and matter are continually formed.

This theory was only put forward almost 20 years later by astrophysicist Fred Hoyle but had remained unnoticed despite its scientific importance.

When the WIT scientists realised what they had come across, O’Raifertaigh said “he almost fell over in his chair”.

He, along with other colleagues, have now posted the manuscript, translated from German, onto Cornell University’s online arXiv page.

In their summary of their paper, the team explains why they feel Einstein never put the paper forward himself.

“We find that Einsteins [sic] steady-state model contains a fundamental flaw and suggest that it was discarded for this reason. We also suggest that he declined to try again because he realised that a successful steady-state model would require an amendment to the field equations.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic