EINSTEIN, Albert. Einstein's copies of Conference Papers of the First Solvay Conference, 30 October - 3 November 1911. Together approximately 350 pages, 4to (13 1/8 x 8 5/8 in.), comprising the papers read by nine participants in the conference, INCLUDING EINSTEIN'S "Zum gegenwärtigen Stande des Problems der spezifischen Wärme." The papers are contained in two contemporary black cloth spring binders stamped in gilt "Bruxelles 1911," with Einstein's docket on the flyleaf of one of the binders: "A. E., Prague 1911." Some chipping along edges of the pages. Some equations in the papers accomplished in manuscript. Housed in a clamshell box.
EINSTEIN TAKES CENTER STAGE IN INTERNATIONAL PHYSICS AT THE FIRST SOLVAY CONFERENCE
The Solvay Conference is a prestigious gathering of physicists and chemists that meets every three years to discuss pathbreaking work within those disciplines. Here we have Einstein's copies of papers delivered at the very first conference, held in 1911. The theme of the conference was "Radiation Theory and Quanta," and it represented Einstein's first public appearance at center stage of the international community of physicists. Also in attendance were conference organizer Walther Nernst, Einstein's mentor Max Planck, Arnold Sommerfeld, Ernest Rutherforf, Marie Curie, Paul Langevin, Henri Poincaré, among others. Einstein, with his unflappable self-assurance, was not fazed by all these Nobel luminaries. He referred to the conference as "the Witches' Sabbath in Brussels." By the time it was over, the other scientists recognized him as the new, young leader of their profession. Madame Curie spoke for many at the conference when she praised Einstein's clarity of mind, the vastness of his documentation, and the profundity of his knowledge. Poincaré wrote that Einstein was "one of the most original thinkers I have ever met....What one has to admire in him above all is the facility with which he adaptsbhimself to new concepts and knows how to draw from them every possible conclusion." Frederick Lindemann (later Lord Cherwell) wrote that "I well remember my co-secretary [at the Conference], M. de Broglie, saying that of all those present Einstein and Poincaré moved in a class by themselves."
The conference papers were reproduced by mimeograph from the typescripts provided by the particpants. Therefore they may be regarded as rare pre-prints of the papers eventually published, with revisions, in the conference proceedings (P. Langevin and M. de Broglie, La Theorie du Rayonnement et les Quanta, Paris, 1912). These papers constitute an important bibliographic survival, quite apart from their important association with Einstein. Einstein's own paper in this form is absent from the Boni-Russ-Laurence Bibliographic Checklist of Einstein's Writings, which lists only its French-language version in the published volume of 1912.