A newly released archive containing letters, papers, diaries and other documents bequeathed to history by Albert Einstein will allow anyone with an Internet connection access to the great man's thoughts and work, researchers say.
The Princeton University Press, to whom Einstein granted the copyright to his work, is introducing the Digital Einstein archive, featuring such documents as Einstein's love letters, his divorce papers, a high school transcript, and the notebook in which he worked out his general theory of relativity.
The archive has been assembled from materials Einstein left at Princeton and in other archives and repositories around the world when he died in 1955.
Around 5,000 searchable documents taken from the first 44 years of the scientist's life are online in both the original German and also in English translations, covering a period ending with Einstien's winning of the Nobel Prize for physics in 1921.
They are for the most part taken from The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein from Princeton University Press.
"We want to make everything accessible to a much wider audience than just the scholars, historians, physicists and philosophers," says Diana Kormos-Buchwald, director of the Einstein Papers Project. "It's been a challenge to get all the material online, but I'm extremely thrilled that we have succeeded."
More materials will be added to the archive as they are printed by the university press.
Among the collection are letters Einstein wrote to his future wife Mileva Maric after the birth of their first child, writing about his struggles to come to grips with increasing public fame, and his pacifist sentiments that came to the fore following the First World War.
After the birth of his daughter, Einstein and Maric would marry and go on to have two sons, but he would later begin an affair with a cousin, Elsa Lowenthal, and would marry her after Maric granted him a divorce.
In a letter written to Lowenthal in 1912, Einstein wrote, "'Both of us are poor devils, each shackled to his unrelenting duties. I cannot tell you how sorry I am for you, and how much I would like to be something to you.
"But if we give in to our affection for each other, only confusion and misfortune will result. You know this only too well," he wrote.
They would marry in 1916.
Einstein was a prolific writer of letter and postcards, many of which are included in the digital archive.
In one to a friend he complained about how becoming famous was creating a burden as public interest in him was intruding on his personal life.
"The postman is my archenemy, I cannot shake myself loose from his slavery," he wrote.
The archive would show Einstein's human side to a wider audience, Kormos-Buchwald says.
"What I hope people take away is that Einstein was never the isolated scientist in the attic with a pen and paper, that image that seems to persist," she says. "He had a huge network of friends, colleagues and collaborators."