Einstein letter fetches $100,000 at Jerusalem auction

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A photo taken on March 6, 2018 in Jerusalem shows Winner's auction house owner and manager Gal Wiener holding up before a magnifying glass a letter written by Nobel Prize-winning physicist Albert Einstein to Italian chemist Elisabetta Piccini, dated 1921, prior to its auctioning later in the night with the rest of a series of nine. (AFP)
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An employee uses a magnifying glass to inspect a series of letters by Nobel Prize-winning physicist Albert Einstein at Winner's auction house in Jerusalem, on March 6, 2018 prior to being auctioned later in the night with the rest of a series of nine. (AFP)
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A photo taken on March 6, 2018 in Jerusalem shows Winner's auction house owner and manager Gal Wiener holding up a signed letter by Nobel Prize-winning physicist Albert Einstein dated 1928 concerning the formalisation of the "Third Stage of the Theory of Relativity", prior to being auctioned later in the night with the rest of a series of nine. (AFP)
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A photo taken on March 6, 2018 in Jerusalem shows Winner's auction house owner and manager Gal Wiener holding up a signed letter by Nobel Prize-winning physicist Albert Einstein dated 1928 concerning the formalisation of the "Third Stage of the Theory of Relativity", prior to being auctioned later in the night with the rest of a series of nine. (AFP)
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An ultra Orthodox Jewish man, center, bids during an auction in Jerusalem, on March 6, 2018 for a handwritten note by Nobel-winning scientist Albert Einstein. (AP)
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A letter written by Albert Einstein in 1928, in which according to the auction house he outlined ideas for his "Third Stage of the Theory of Relativity", is seen before it is sold at an auction in Jerusalem, March 6, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 07 March 2018
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Einstein letter fetches $100,000 at Jerusalem auction

JERUSALEM: A letter penned by legendary physicist Albert Einstein discussing one of his groundbreaking theories sold in Jerusalem Tuesday for over $100,000 as part of trove of documents that went under the hammer.
The handwritten missive, sent in 1928 by Einstein from Berlin to a mathematician about the formalization of the “Third Stage of the Theory of Relativity,” was snapped up by an anonymous buyer for $103,700 (83,600 euros).
The letter was written during one of the “most exciting, feverish periods of Einstein’s scientific career” as he worked to hammer out one of the major scientific breakthroughs of the last century, auction house Winner’s said.
It included a second note jotted by Einstein on the back of the envelope refining his thinking.
The sum — while large — pales in comparison to the $1.56 million that one purchaser paid for a letter from Einstein on the secret of happiness at a Jerusalem auction in October after it was initially valued at some $8,000.
Among Tuesday’s other lots were letters and photographs relating to the winner of the 1921 Nobel Prize in physics that also sold for several thousand dollars.
Winner’s boss Gal Wiener told AFP that the trove “reveals the complex character of the great scientist.”
German-born Einstein served as a non-resident governor of Jerusalem’s Hebrew University up to his death.


Distracted biking: Dutch ban for cyclists using mobile phones

Updated 26 September 2018
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Distracted biking: Dutch ban for cyclists using mobile phones

  • The government is to ban the use of all but hands-free devices while cycling
  • Cycling is a way of life in the Netherlands, where bikes outnumber people

THE HAGUE, Netherlands: The sight of cyclists hurtling along while glued to their smartphones is a common one in the bike-mad Netherlands, but it will soon be illegal.
With a growing number of accidents involving phones and bikes, the government is to ban the use of all but hands-free devices while cycling.
“It is forbidden to use a mobile electronic device while driving any vehicle (including a bicycle),” says the draft law announced by Transport Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen late Tuesday.
The bike law will take effect from July next year.
Car and lorry drivers are already banned from using mobiles at the wheel unless they are in hands-free mode, with a maximum fine of €230 ($260), but the new law specifically mentions bikes.
The fine is likely to be the same for cyclists but the government is awaiting the result of a public consultation, Nieuwenhuizen said.
“It’s just as dangerous on a bike and on all types of vehicles as it is in a car,” she said. “The fact is that when you are on the road you have to pay full attention and not send messages or do other things on the phone.”
Michael Kulkens, who has campaigned for a ban since his 13-year-old son Tommy-Boy was killed in a bike accident while looking at a phone in 2015, welcomed the change in the law.
“I had to stop my car at the side of the road and the tears welled up in my eyes when I heard on the radio that the ban on the bike is coming,” De Telegraaf newspaper quoted him as saying.
“In my mind, I said: ‘We did it Tommy-Boy. We did it.’”
Cycling is a way of life in the Netherlands, where bikes outnumber people, with an estimated nearly 23 million cycles for some 17 million people.
But while it boasts outstanding infrastructure for cyclists across its flat landscape, the use of mobile phones is a growing hazard, with a smartphone involved in one in five bike accidents involving young people, according to the Dutch Road Safety organization.
Nelly Vollebregt, president of the Dutch road accident victims association, who is herself in a wheelchair after a bike accident caused by a motorist who was looking at a phone, said that 25 percent of the 613 people who died on Dutch roads last year were killed by distractions.
Last year the Dutch town of Bodegraven launched a trial of foot-level traffic lights for pedestrians to prevent them straying into roads or cycle lanes while glued to their mobile screens.