Jerusalem, June 21, 2017 — Letters written by Albert Einstein about God, Israel and physics fetched nearly US$210,000 at a Jerusalem auction yesterday, with the highest bid going to a missive about God’s creation of the world.
Eight letters, written in English between 1951 and 1954 and signed by Einstein, were sold by Winners auction house which had initially estimated their combined value at between US$31,000 and US$46,000.
The highest bid of US$84,000 was for a letter to eminent physicist David Bohm.
In it Einstein wrote: “If God has created the world his primary worry was certainly not to make its understanding easy for us”.
In another missive to Bohm, which sold for US$50,400, Einstein discussed the link his colleague made between quantum theory and “relativistic field theory”.
“I must confess that I am not able to guess how such unification could be achieved,” Einstein wrote.
The typewritten letter includes an equation added in neat handwriting and the writer’s signature.
Bohm, born in the United States to Jewish immigrant parents, had worked with Einstein at Princeton University before fleeing to Brazil after losing his post in Senator Joseph McCarthy’s anti-communist witch-hunts.
Israeli illusionist and magician Uri Geller bought a 1954 letter in which Einstein discusses the possibility of Bohm moving to Israel.
“Israel is intellectually alive and interesting but has very narrow possibilities and to go there with the intention to leave on the first occasion would be regrettable,” wrote Einstein.
Bohm took up a visiting professorship at Israel’s renowned Technion technological institute in 1955 and moved to England two years later.
The auction house said the letters came from the estate of Bohm’s late widow.