Einstein's forgotten telescope is restored

Albert Einstein's long-lost telescope, forgotten for decades in a Jerusalem storage shed, goes on display this week after three years and $10,000 spent restoring it.

The old reflecting telescope is cumbersome by modern standards, but a demonstration showed it still works well enough to see five of Jupiter's moons and stripes on the surface of the planet.

The legendary physicist who famously theorized relations among energy, speed and mass received the telescope in 1954, the year before he died. It was a gift from a friend named Zvi Gizeri, who probably made it himself, said officials at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where the public will be able to view the telescope starting Thursday.

Einstein, who was a co-founder of the Hebrew University, willed his records to the school. There were rumors through the years that he also left a telescope, but it took modern sleuthing and some luck to find it.

The long black tube about 8inches in diameter and 6 feet long stands on a base experts say may have been taken from the German army. It was this unique base, recognizable in a picture of Einstein with the telescope, and a signature from Gizeri on one of its mirrors, that confirmed its authenticity in 2004, when a biologist named Eshel Ophir made the connection.

It is unlikely, though, that a theoretician like Einstein would have had much use for a telescope in his work.

“I don't think anybody investigated Einstein's star-gazing habits,” said Dvora Lang, the current director of the Meyerhoff Youth Center. “But it was for his pleasure, not for his work.”