In the last several days, [Einstein] had also recalculated his theory’s prediction for the orbit of Mercury. The new equations yielded an orbit that wobbles forty-three arc seconds per century—exactly the observed number. Most important, as Einstein announced with a justified air of triumph, the result accounts for Mercury’s travels “without the need for any special hypothesis”—no mythical planets, no weird, unobserved phenomena of nature. The equations themselves simply cranked out the correct orbit as if by magic. Even Einstein was stunned by the result. When the right values appeared before him, he said, he became “beside himself with joy.” He confessed to palpitations of the heart, and, as he told his experimental partner de Haas, he felt as if something had snapped within him. He even admitted that the Mercury result left him so excited that he could not work for days.
Thomas Levenson (from Einstein in Berlin, 2003)
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