EINSTEIN, Albert. Autograph manuscript, two leaves respectively headed "Statische Probleme," and "Perihelbewegung des Merkur," comprising lecture notes for his course on General Relativity at the University of Zurich, Summer Semester, 1919. Zurich, 1919. 2 pages, small 4to, on rectos only of two sheets graph paper, edges slightly browned, right-hand margin of each sheet slightly irregular (where removed from a notebook); both leaves de-acidified, professionally conserved and mounted in conservation mats; quarter black morocco clamshell case.
THE COSMOLOGICAL CONSTANT AND MERCURY'S PERIHELION: LECTURE NOTES FOR EINSTEIN'S ZURICH COURSE ON GENERAL RELATIVITY, SUMMER 1919
These notes of an early lecture by Einstein concerning his development of the cosmological constant are the only such notes in private hands They are of particular significance, given the recent resurgence of interest in the cosmological constant, in connection with evidence from supernovas and the cosmic microwave background that the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate.
The two pages of formulas and notes, from the Michele Besso estate, are presumed to constitute lecture notes from Einstein's course on general relativity given at the University of Zurich in 1919 (see lot 89). Einstein probably gave these notes to his friend Besso because they contain a much more elegant derivation of the perihelion motion of Mercury--based on new work by the mathematician Hermann Weyl--than the derivation Einstein and Besso had proposed in 1913 (see Lot 81 above). In addition, the remainder of the second page contains a concise summary of Einstein's pathbreaking paper on cosmology of February 1917. However, the summary goes significantly beyond that paper, for here Einstein has improved on his argument to show that the original field equations of 1915 did not allow any static solutions with a non-vanishing mean mass density. In the 1917 paper, he had only shown that one particular static solution, his own cosmological model, known as the Einstein cylinder world, is not a solution of the original equations and calls for the introduction of the cosmological constant. But here, in 1919, he was able to present a more universal argument for the introduction of the cosmological constant for all universes.
References:
Albert Einstein, "Kosmologische Betrachtungen zur allgemeinen Relativitätstheorie." Königlich Preussische Akademie der Wissenschaften (Berlin). Sitzungsberichte (1917): 142-152.
Michel Janssen and Robert Schulmann, "On the Dating of a Recently Published Einstein Manuscript: Could These Be the Calculations that Gave Einstein 'Heart Palpitations'?" Foundations of Physics Letters 11 (1998): 379-389.
Michel Janssen, Robert Schulmann, József Illy, Christoph Lehner, and Diana Kormos Buchwald (eds.), The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein. Vol. 7. The Berlin Years: Writings, 1918-1921. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002.
Jagdish Mehra, "One Month in the History of the Discovery of General Relativity Theory." Foundations of Physics Letters 11 (1998): 41-60.
Jagdish Mehra, "The Calculations that Gave Einstein 'Heart Palpitations.'" Foundations of Physics Letters 11 (1998): 391-393.
John Norton, "The Cosmological Woes of Newtonian Gravitation Theory." Pp. 271-323 in The Expanding Worlds of General Relativity. Edited by Hubert Goenner, Jürgen Renn, Jim Ritter, and Tilman Sauer. Boston: Birkäuser, 1999.