London, South Kensington
6 December 2002
Science, Medicine and Psychology
EINSTEIN, Albert (1879-1955) and Marcel GROSSMANN (1878-1936). Entwurf einer verallgemeinerten Relativitätstheorie und einer Theorie der Gravitation. I. Physikalisher Teil von ... Einstein ... II. Mathematischer Teil von ... Grossmann [offprint from: Zeitschrift für Mathematik und Physik volume LXII (1913)]. Leipzig and Berlin: B.G. Teubner, 1913.
8° (248 x 170mm). (Final leaf lightly spotted.) Original printed green wrappers, the lower wrapper with publisher's advertisement listing 3 works (extremities very slightly chipped, unobtrusive cracks on spine, light spotting on lower wrapper, spine lightly faded). Provenance: Dr Richard Prager (inkstamp on upper wrapper; Prager's loosely-inserted invoice from Gustav Fock, Leipzig dated 8 January 1914) -- Dr Arthur Beer (1900-1980, and by descent).
FIRST SEPARATE EDITION. A FRESH COPY IN WRAPPERS OF 'ONE OF THE TURNING-POINTS IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF RELATIVITY THEORY. Einstein had realised that he could proceed no further without expert mathematical help, and called upon his friend Marcel Grossman to supply it. Using the tensor calculus, the two were able to write a mathematical representation of gravitation representing a tenfold expansion from Newton's single gravitational potential--yet Einstein, with the problems of physical interpretation still unresolved, backed away from the necessity of considering ten corresponding field equations. ''In retrospect, it is heartbreaking to see how close the collaborators came to achieving their goal [of developing a relativity theory]. Practically all the needed mathematical elements were there ...'' '(Norman).
This copy is from the library of the astronomers Richard Prager and Arthur Beer. Prager was, with Paul Guthnik, a pioneer of astronomical photoelectric photometry (and co-author with Guthnik of Photoelektrische Untersuchungen an spektroskopischen Doppelsternen und an Planeten (Berlin: 1914)). His other publications included Katalog von 8803 Sternen zwischen 310 und 400 nordlicher Deklination nach gemeinschaftlich mit K. F. Bottlinger [...] ausgeführten Beobachtungen (Berlin: 1923), Katalog von 1885 Sternen für das Aquinoktium 1925 (Berlin: 1924), and Der Veränderliche RR Lyrae (Berlin: 1925). Arthur Beer was born in Czechoslovakia and subsequently worked in Germany, where he published Zur Charakterisierung der spektroskopischen Doppelsterne (Berlin: 1927). Following attempts to find a position in America with Einstein's sponsorship (cf. lot 86), Beer emigrated to Britain in the mid 1930s, and worked at Cambridge University Observatories in 1935-37 and 1946-67. For other works from his collection, see lots 80, 86 and 91. Norman 693.
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