Evanescent Einstein telescope found in Hebrew University's basement
Famed scientist's optical device, donated to Jerusalem university along with other artifacts, left to gather dust in abandoned planetarium building's basement. Telescope to be restored by Meyerhoff Science Center, Jerusalem Foundation
Dr. Eshel Ofir of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem struck an unusual find in one of the university basements recently – he found Albert Einstein's telescope.
The significant instrument was left in the university's Givat Ram Planetarium building, which has not been used in over a decade. The university logged the telescope in its records, but no one has bothered to look for it in decades.
"I knew we were in possession of a telescope which Einstein donated to the school and I always wondered what happened to it," Eshel, who is the Director of the Belmonte Science Laboratories Center, told Yedioth Ahronoth.
"One of the places I decided to look in was the old planetarium building. I was literally sorting through wreckage when I found it.
"I admire the man and he is still an inspiration to me," he added. "This is a man whose curiosity knew no boundaries. This device is an opportunity for our young students to have direct contact with the great man's legacy. It's fantastic."
Following the discovery, the Joseph Meyerhoff Science Center in Jerusalem, along with the Jerusalem Foundation donated the funds for the telescope's restoration, and contracted Eden Orion – a master telescope craftsman – for the feat.
According to a letter in the Einstein Archives, the telescope was originally given to him by Zvi Gezri – a fellow scientist, who he met at Princeton University.
Einstein was one of the biggest supporters of the foundation of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. During a visit in Japan in 1922, he was quoted as saying, "Why do we need a Jewish university? Science is international, but its accomplishments are achieved in national institutes.
"So far, our contribution to world culture has been as individuals. It is only fair to us as a people that we can now contribute to the world through our own institutions."
Einstein ordered all his writing, including those detailing the Theory of Relativity, to the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, which holds all of their copyrights.