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The Einstein-Besso Manuscript - A Field Trip

On Tuesday, thanks to the generosity of Horizons Ventures, a group of Carmel students were given the honor of having a private viewing of a rare mathematical manuscript. The manuscript was the work of Einstein and Besso - two famous mathematicians who complemented and challenged each other. They were often referred to as the "eagle and the sparrow"; while Einstein was extraordinarily smart and often outspoken, Besso had been more meticulous and introverted in nature; while Einstein spearheaded many mathematical and scientific advances, Besso kept a record of them and corrected or refined them where necessary. Clearly, Einstein was the more dominant leader as the "eagle", while Besso had taken on a more supportive role as the "sparrow". Their friendship, however, extended beyond their professional life. It was Besso who had introduced Einstein to his future wife, and the two had originally met from a shared interest in music. Overall, both Einstein's and Besso's work reflect scientific and mathematical progress, along with signs of an enduring, life-long friendship.

The message learned from this is clear: no one is exempt from mistakes. We should not actively avoid making them - Einstein was never afraid of mistakes! Instead, with the help of a supportive friend, much like Besso, we should work together to improve and refine our knowledge and skills that we develop - partly from mistakes!

A special thank you to all of those who made this amazing event a reality. Thank you to Horizons Ventures for generously offering the manuscript up for the private view and thank you to the Israeli Consulate and Consul General Amir Lati for helping to coordinate the unforgettable experience.

Emily, Grade 11

On Tuesday 14 June we were given the unique and amazing opportunity of being able to be one of the representatives of Elsa High School in a private viewing of the Einstein-Besso Manuscript. This manuscript was displayed by Horizons Ventures, in coordination with the Israeli Consulate who invited students from the school to gain an exclusive first peek at the original copy of this manuscript. The series of approximately 50 sheets was one of the most consequential and remarkable papers created by the pre-eminent physicist Albert Einstein, as well as the mathematician and mechanical engineer Michele Besso. On these papers. These two individuals attempted to utilize Einstein's Entwurf theory (A theory of Einstein’s which predated his  theory of general relativity) to justify and to discover the cause behind the abberative and elliptical orbit of mercury. 

A spokesperson from Christie's (the auction company that purchased the manuscript) talked to us about the historical context regarding the manuscript and its scientific mechanics between Einstein’s theory of relativity. Furthermore, she displayed the original copy of the manuscripts. This gave our group the opportunity to touch and feel the 109 year old original and priceless papers Einstein himself wrote, the only copy which exists in the entirety of Asia. 

This extraordinary and hands-on exhibition was such a privilege to experience, and an excellent and memorable way to end this school year. I wish to reiterate how valuable the experience was to me, and how honored I am to personally be witness to the documents of one of the most prestigious and venerated physicists in history. 

Marcus, Grade 8

On Tuesday, and alongside other junior members of Elsa High, we were honorees to be invited to view a manuscript written by famous physicist Albert Einstein and engineer Michele Besso. The manuscript detailed calculations for Mercury’s perihelion, and it served as an essential precursor to Einstein's theory of general relativity that challenged the then-established Newtonian mechanics. Perhaps some general key takeaways from the manuscript are the importance of friendship and perseverance in the face of hardship. For me, I had always been largely inspired by physicists such as Einstein and Feynmann, as they have always sought to define the universe via beautiful mathematical equations. As I have just finished my first year at university, Einstein’s work once again reminds me of why I am in university — not to memorize and regurgitate for the sake of landing a good corporate job but rather to appreciate the ingenuity of human thought and to critically think about ideas. Thus far, I believe, the potential repercussions of achieving acceptable - not in my view excellent - grades in a pure science have discouraged me from pursuing them in-depth. The stakes are too high, as I am often told of GPAs and high-paying white-collar jobs, yet I nonetheless always return to mathematics for my side projects. After this event, I realized I wanted to pursue mathematics in greater depth — I will just have to work a bit harder at university!

Thank you Horizons Ventures and the Israeli Consul General Lati for giving us this wonderful opportunity! 

Victor, Alumni Class of 2021