Lot 409

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Albert Einstein AM Re: Unified Field Theory, Feat. 13 Lines of Mathematical Calculations & 91 Words; Paired With a Superb Vintage Lotte Jacobi Photograph

An outstanding pair of items relating to Nobel Prize-winning German physicist Albert Einstein (1879-1955), consisting of a 1p autograph manuscript in German featuring 13 lines of mathematical calculations and approximately 91 words of text; as well as a vintage photograph of Einstein wearing his beloved leather bomber jacket, by German-American photographer Lotte Jacobi. Jacobi's photo was taken and printed around the same time that Einstein penned this manuscript relating to the Unified Field Theory, ca. 1942. The manuscript and photograph are thus a natural pairing, and one that would look visually striking if framed.

The lot consists of:

1. A 1p autograph manuscript in German entirely engrossed in the hand of Albert Einstein on a single leaf of watermarked paper ("Whiting / Mutual Bond / Rag Content"). Evenly toned, with minor edge darkening and isolated foxing towards the bottom of the page. A large chip is located along the right edge, nowhere near the text. Else near fine, measuring 8.375" x 10.875."

The page was originally numbered 9, and later 11, and consists of Einstein's notes concerning covariant bivectors. Einstein's 13 lines of mathematical equations are not reproduced below, but his calculations feature the variables g, y, i, k, B, N, and S, as well as ∝, the shorthand symbol from classical logic meaning "is proportional to."

Translated in full:

"Specialization of the field through introducing covariant bivectors [superscript word illegible] according to the equations

[1 line of mathematical calculations]

[1 line of mathematical calculations]

[1 line of mathematical calculations]

There is also the symmetry condition as well as a corresponding position for the coordinate-independent tensor y

Case 1: [cross-out] Symmetry

[1 line of mathematical calculations]

[1 line of mathematical calculations]

[1 line of mathematical calculations]

[1 line of mathematical calculations]

[1 line of mathematical calculations]

Space also has an inertia signature depending on the choice of sign (number of negative signs) in this matrix. yik /∝ B has six independent components

Case 2: Anti-symmetry

[1 line of mathematical calculations]

[1 line of mathematical calculations]

[1 line of mathematical calculations]

[1 line of mathematical calculations]

[1 line of mathematical calculations]

The equations are not symmetrical. yik /∝ B has ten independent components

Any boundary invariance is now limited to changes which leave the y in question invariant."

Einstein's manuscript marked his final assault on Unified Field Theory. Seeking to extend General Relativity for the purposes of Unified Field Theory, Einstein here investigates whether covariant bivectors are capable of (effectively and sufficiently) specifying the necessary field equations. Bivectors are a powerful mathematical tool for defining 2-dimensional matrices and their rotations, and in this manuscript, Einstein uses them to generate both the symmetric and the antisymmetric cases of a 4 x 4 tensor matrix.

Einstein’s work with bivector fields marks the beginning of his final approach to Unified Field Theory, a project formally begun with his 1945 article, "Generalization of the relativistic theory of gravitation," and terminated only upon his death bed a decade later. Though Einstein ultimately moved beyond the employment of bivectors in his subsequent work with Unified Field Theory, the application to which he puts them here -- the splitting of the tensor field into compatible symmetric and antisymmetric components – remained the central concern of his later Unified Field Theory work.

Einstein was actively working with bivector fields at the time that he penned this manuscript, and the two articles he published on the subject -- “Bivector Fields” in 1943 and “Bivector Fields II” in 1944 -- were his only wartime publications on Unified Field Theory. The present manuscript appears to be an abbreviated draft or a coherent set of notes for a distinct portion of “Bivector Fields II”; the substance of this manuscript particularly resembles the topics addressed on p. 17 and pp. 19-21 of the aforementioned article. Einstein autographs relating to his work with bivectors are extremely rare.

2. An original Lotte Jacobi photograph of Einstein wearing one of his favorite articles of clothing, a Menlo Cossack brown leather jacket from Levi's purchased in the 1930s. The glossy, black and white vintage photograph was taken and printed around 1942, and is signed in stone at the lower left as "Lotte Jacobi." The reverse is red stamped and pencil inscribed as: "Albert Einstein / This photograph must not be used / unless credit is given to / Pls credit: Lotte Jacobi / 2299-2." Expected light surface wear, else near fine. 5" x 7."

Lotte Jacobi (1896-1990) was a fourth-generation Jewish German photographer, born in Prussia in what is today part of Poland. Jacobi's career as a professional photographer was assured by the fact that her sister, father, aunts, uncles, grandfather, and great-grandfather were also photographers. Jacobi was Einstein's favorite portrait photographer, perhaps because she made her subjects as comfortable as possible during sittings by photographing them in familiar settings doing everyday things. Jacobi had taken one of the most iconic photographs of Einstein in 1938 at Princeton. In this earlier photograph, Einstein is wearing the same bomber jacket he is wearing in this later photo; a pen is poised above a manuscript instead of the pipe here present. Jacobi's 1938 portrait of Einstein was apparently rejected by "Life Magazine" because it was too simple!

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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March 30, 2022 10:30 AM EDT
Wilton, CT, US

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