EINSTEIN, Albert (1879-1955)
EINSTEIN, Albert (1879-1955)
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EINSTEIN, Albert (1879-1955)

Autograph scientific manuscript incorporating a draft autograph statement signed (with initials, 'A.E'), 25 December 1925.

Details
EINSTEIN, Albert (1879-1955)
Autograph scientific manuscript incorporating a draft autograph statement signed (with initials, 'A.E'), 25 December 1925.
In German. Two pages, 280 x 220mm.

An early draft on unified field theory, using a modification of general relativity. Apparently the earliest manuscript relating to unified field theory to have appeared at international auction in the past 50 years (ABPC/RBH).

Einstein had begun his quest for a unified field theory at the beginning of the 1920s, with the aim of finding a theory that could account both for gravity and electromagnetism: as he put it in his 1923 Nobel Prize lecture, 'The intellect seeking after an integrated theory cannot rest content with the assumption that there exist two distinct fields totally independent of each other by their nature'. A further attraction was his hope that such a theory could also account for the paradoxes and randomness of quantum mechanics, which were a constant bugbear for Einstein. His earliest formal approach, in 1921, built on the work of Hermann Weyl and Arthur Eddington, which was itself based on a generalisation of Riemannian geometry. By the time of the present manuscript in 1925, he had turned to a second approach, which involved extending general relativity, building in the equations of electromagnetism and generalising the metric tensor whilst retaining four-dimensional geometry. He described this in a letter to Michele Besso on 28 July as 'a splendid possibility which could well correspond with reality'.

The draft calculations and equations of the present manuscript are a starting-point from which he swiftly formalised a relationship between the gravity field equations and the Riemann curvature tensor, working here with tensor in the form Rim - R/4gim (distinct from the Rim - R/2 gim tensor which he had used in the general relativity equations of 1915): the particularity of the new tensor was its combination of symmetric and antisymmetric elements. Within a matter of two weeks, the present initial thoughts had been worked up into a formal paper, On the formal relationship of the Riemannian curvature tensors and the gravitational field equations (Mathematische Annalen, Bd. 97, Heft 1⁄2: Weil 157. By the end of the 1920s, Einstein had abandoned this approach, although he was to return to it in the 1940s: his search for a unified field theory was to remain unfulfilled.

At the head of the manuscript is a draft statement 'To the Federation of Jewish Student Associations in Germany', 25 December 1925: 'I wish the greatest success to your conference. I would happily have been present myself, but am unfortunately prevented from appearing by urgent work. I will always do whatever I can to further your aims'.
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This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.

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