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Lot #4034
Oliver Heaviside (June 1915)

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Estimate: $200+
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English autodidactic electrical engineer, mathematician, and physicist (1850-1925) who brought complex numbers to circuit analysis, invented a new technique for solving differential equations, independently developed vector calculus, and rewrote Maxwell's equations in the form commonly used today. Reclusive and often at odds with the scientific establishment, Heaviside nevertheless changed the face of telecommunications, mathematics, and science. Partial ALS, one page, 6.5 x 5.75, [no date but circa June 1915]. Last page of a handwritten letter to Dr. Ludwik Silberstein, in part: "'A dry, airy, and sunny situation.' Impossible in Devonshire for dryness. The air is oversaturated with water through most of the winter. Airy:—It is too airy. Tho I am thankful to say that the trees cut off worst of the cold winds. Sunny:—it faces the South on the living side, and we get as much sun as is possible, for there are no near trees in the way of the S. Now I hope you are satisfied. What w'd suit me would be a dry, warm, and not very airy situation. It can't be got in any part of the British Isles! Egypt or Algeria or some parts of Italy or S. France or Spain might suit me. The warmth is most essential. (You omit that). Dryness and airiness are killing without warmth. E.g. Edinboro and the N.E. coast of England." Silberstein notes the dates of receipt and reply on the reverse. In fine condition. Heaviside's autograph is exceedingly rare—we find no records of any having been publicly offered for sale in the past.

From the collection of physicist Ludwik Siberstein.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: The Einstein Archives of Ludwik Silberstein
  • Dates: #609 - Ended May 20, 2021