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Lot #187
Albert Einstein Handwritten Manuscript: "The Essence of the Theory of Relativity"

Remarkable handwritten essay by Albert Einstein on "The Essence of the Theory of Relativity"

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Estimate: $350000+
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Remarkable handwritten essay by Albert Einstein on "The Essence of the Theory of Relativity"

Significant unsigned handwritten manuscript by Albert Einstein, six pages, 8.5 x 11, no date but circa 1947-48. Einstein's handwritten German-language draft for "The Essence of the Theory of Relativity," an article published in English within volume XVI of 'The American Peoples Encyclopedia' in 1948. After a general introduction, Einstein discusses the "Special Theory of Relativity" and "General Theory of Relativity," writing several equations and sketching a small graph. The piece begins, in small part (translated): "Essence of the Theory of Relativity. Mathematics deals exclusively with the relation of concepts to each other without regard to the relation to objects of experience. Physics also deals with mathematical concepts; but these concepts acquire physical content only due to the fact that their relation to objects of experience is determined in a clear way. This is the case in particular with the concepts of motion, space, time. The theory of relativity is that physical theory, which is based on a consistent physical interpretation of these three terms. The name 'theory of relativity' is due to the fact that motion from the point of view of perceptibility always occurs as relative motion of a thing against others (e.g. a car against the ground, or the earth against the sun and the fixed stars) (however, motion is not perceptible [;] not as 'motion against space' or—as it has also been expressed—as 'absolute motion'). The 'principle of relativity' in the broadest sense is contained in the statement: The totality of physical phenomena is such that it offers no support for the establishment of the concept of 'absolute motion', or more briefly but less precisely: there is no absolute motion." Einstein also pens several equations in ink and pencil on the reverse of the fourth page. In fine condition, with a minor rust mark to the first page. Accompanied by a full English translation.

Einstein's theory of relativity—the foundation of modern physics—encompassed his pioneering concepts of special relativity and general relativity, respectively proposed and published in 1905 and 1915. With it came his famed equation, "E = mc2"—the mass-energy relationship—undoubtedly the most well-known equation ever set forth. Nuclear physics had come to the forefront of the public's attention with the advent of the atomic bomb in World War II, and coherent explanations for the layman were few and far between—hence this essay, prepared for a popular encyclopedia. In the present manuscript, Einstein begins by offering a simplified discussion of his theories before launching into an increasingly technical explanation. A significant scientific manuscript by Albert Einstein, discussing the history, meaning, and influence of his theory of relativity.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Fine Autograph and Artifacts Featuring Major Figures of Science and Technology
  • Dates: #665 - Ended May 10, 2023

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