Lot
84
EINSTEIN, Albert. Autograph manuscript, a page of formulas comprising lecture notes for Einstein's course on Special Relativity at the University of Berlin, Winter Semester, with a one-line note by Michele Besso at the top of the page. Berlin, Winter 1914-15. 1 page, folio, pale dampstains..
Price realised USD 21,510
Estimate
USD 5,000 - USD 7,000
EINSTEIN, Albert. Autograph manuscript, a page of formulas comprising lecture notes for Einstein's course on Special Relativity at the University of Berlin, Winter Semester, with a one-line note by Michele Besso at the top of the page. Berlin, Winter 1914-15. 1 page, folio, pale dampstains..
THE EARLIEST EXTANT LECTURE NOTES BY EINSTEIN IN PRIVATE HANDS, FROM HIS COURSE ON SPECIAL RELATIVITY, 1914-1915
This highly interesting sheet derives from the important early course on relativity in which Einstein first availed himself of Minkowski's four-dimensional formalism, which he had initially considered "superfluous learnedness" (Pais Subtle is the Lord..., p. 152). The work on general relativity begun in 1912 had led Einstein to fully appreciate the tremendous value of the work of Minkowski, Einstein's mathematics professor at the ETH died prematurely in 1909.
At the top of this sheet Michelle Besso, Einstein's friend and collaborator has written: "Quantentheoretische Behandlung der Elastizitdtslehre" [Quantum-theoretical treatment of elasticity theory] followed, in parentheses, by the year "1916" (possibly in another hand?). This title bears no relation to the formulae on the page, which constitutes lecture notes for Einstein's course on relativity. This identification is based upon the close similarity between the top half of the document (where Einstein sketches some elementary tensor calculus in Euclidean space with a view to generalizing it to four-dimensional space-time) and [p. 11] of a published set of lecture notes for this same course preserved in one of Einstein's notebooks (see Vol. 6 of The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein, Doc. 7). The equation underneath the second horizontal line on the document, for instance, occurs with the exact same line break and indices on page [11] of those notes. His notes continue with a consideration of symmetric and anti-symmetric tensors pages [11-12], which coincide with the expression underneath the fourth horizontal line in the present document: [INSERT FORMULA ON SCREEN]. The expressions beneath the fifth line are related to material on page [13] of the published notes, dealing with differential operators. In this document, Einstein is particularly interested in the anti-symmetric expression [INSERT FORMULA ON SCREEN], which is the tensor of the electromagnetic field strength if the electromagnetic four-potential is chosen. Underneath the last line on the document, Einstein does indeed turn to Maxwell's equations in tensor notations, and notates the relation between the six independent component of the electromagnetic field tensor and the six components of the ordinary electric and magnetic fields.
References:
A. J. Kox, Martin J. Klein, and Robert Schulmann (eds.), The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein. Vol. 6. The Berlin Years: Writings, 1914-1917. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996.
Abraham Pais, 'Subtle is the Lord': The Science and the Life of Albert Einstein. Oxford: Clarendon Press; New York: Oxford University Press, 1982.