4 October 2002
EINSTEIN, Albert. Eine neue Bestimmung der Moleküldimensionen. Inaugural-Dissertation zur Erlangung der philosophischen Doctorwürde der hohen philosopischen Fakultät...der Universität Zürich. Bern: K.J. Wyss, 1905.
8o. Original printed blue-green wrappers (slight age-toning to edges of wrappers and text margins).
FIRST EDITION. Einstein's thesis for his doctorate from the University of Zurich, "A New Determination of Molecular Dimensions," which was the initial step towards his more famous work on Brownian motion. It was reprinted the following year along with another paper on Brownian motion in Annalen der Physik (Folge 4, Band 19, 1906). It is not widely recognized that Einstein's thesis is one of his most fundamental papers. Histories and biographies invariably refer to 1905 as Einstein's miraculous year because of his articles on relativity, the light-quantum, and Brownian motion. His thesis is is on a par with the Brownian motion article. In fact, in some-not all-respects, his results on Brownian motion are by-products of his thesis work.
Einstein initially submitted a disseration to the University of Zurich in 1901 but withdrew it the following year. In his second attempt in 1905 he "combined the techniques of classical hydrodynamics with those of the theory of diffusion to create a new method for the determination of molecular sizes and of Avogadro's number, a method he applied to solute sugar molecules. . .
"Einstein's concerns extended beyond this particular question to more general problems of the foundations of the theory of radiation and the existence of atoms. He later emphasized . . . 'A precise determination of the size of molecules seems to me of the highest importance because Planck's radiation formula can be tested more precisely through such a determination through measurements on radiation.
"The dissertation also marked the first major success in Einstein's effort to find further evidence for the atomic hypothesis, an effort that culminated in his explanation of Brownian motion. By the end of 1905 he had published three independent methods for determining molecular dimensions. . . ." (Stachel, Einstein's Miraculous Year. Five Papers that Changed the Face of Physics (1998) p. 33, reprinting the text of the thesis in English translation.
EXTREMELY RARE: Only the Honeyman copy has appeared at auction in the last twenty-five years according to ABPC. BRL 6; Weil 7.
Contact Client Service
New York +1 212 636 2000
London +44 (0)20 7839 9060
Asia +852 2760 1766
Why the French Impressionist’s paintings of the Saint-Lazare train station are among his greatest achievements
Meredith Etherington-Smith hails the long and distinguished career of the London antiques dealer with a client list that reads like an international who’s who