Martin J. Klein, Historian of Physics, Dies at 84





Martin J. Klein, a historian of modern physics and the editor of a vast collection of papers that documented the years in which Albert Einstein completed his revolutionary work on the general theory of relativity, died Saturday in Chapel Hill, N.C. He was 84 and lived in Chapel Hill.

His death was confirmed by his daughter Rona.

Dr. Klein, originally a physicist, was editor of “The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein” (Princeton University Press) from 1988 to 1998. The project started in the mid-1970s and has so far published 11 volumes of Einstein’s scientific and personal papers. Dr. Klein led the team that produced Volumes 3 through 6, covering 1909 through 1917.

Einstein published his general theory of relativity in 1916. In simple terms, it states that matter curves space and space moves matter, and is the foundation for the modern understanding of the evolution of the universe.

But, as Diana K. Buchwald, the current editor of the Einstein Papers Project, now based at the California Institute of Technology, said: “Before he became editor of the Einstein papers, Dr. Klein’s reputation as a major historian of physics had already been established. He published a number of remarkable papers, investigations of the birth and the foundation of modern physics.”

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