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Lot 62

Albert Einstein Signed Copy of 2 Important Works Incl. His Doctoral Thesis, "A New Determination of Molecular Dimensions" -- Extraordinarily Rare!

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Albert Einstein Signed Copy of 2 Important Works Incl. His Doctoral Thesis, "A New Determination of Molecular Dimensions" -- Extraordinarily Rare!


Albert Einstein Signed Copy of 2 Important Works Incl. His Doctoral Thesis, "A New Determination of Molecular Dimensions" -- Extraordinarily Rare!

A revised first edition of the doctoral thesis of Albert Einstein (1879-1955), the revered German theoretical physicist; and a first edition of Einstein's paper on Brownian motion, both appearing in an issue of the German language scientific periodical "Annalen der Physik" [trans: "Annals of Physics"], 4th series, vol. 19, no. 2 (Leipzig, Germany, 1906). Signed and dated 1950 by Einstein as "A. Einstein (50)" on p. 289, the first page of his thesis. Later brown wrappers with an attached paper spine label. Expected wear including chipped edges and minor closed tears near the binding. Trimmed, the text block dappled red. Else very good. 223pp with one fold-out at the end showing several tables. 5.75" x 8.5." Provenance: The printed booklet was signed by Einstein for Lewis Strauss, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission. Weil 7a and 11.

Albert Einstein's doctoral thesis, “Eine Neue Bestimmung der Molekueldimensionen” [trans: "A New Determination of Molecular Dimensions"] appears on pp. 289-306, while Einstein's follow-up treatise, “Zur Theorie der Brownschen Bewegung” [trans: "On the Theory of Brownian Motion"] is printed on pp. 371-381.

Einstein’s biographer, physicist Abraham Pais, observed that "it is not sufficiently realized that Einstein’s doctoral thesis is one of his most fundamental papers," and historian of science John Stachel, in his monograph "Einstein's Miraculous Year: Five Papers that Changed the Face of Physics" (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998), argued that Einstein's doctoral thesis was a landmark work.

According to Stachel, Einstein's doctoral thesis "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 [Einstein] 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 ...”

Biographies of Einstein--like those produced by Abraham Pais and John Stachel--invariably refer to 1905 as Einstein's "miraculous year" because Einstein's articles on relativity, the light-quantum, and Brownian motion appeared almost back-to-back within this extremely productive period. Abraham Pais asserted that "in some--not all--respects, his [Einstein's] results on Brownian motion are by-products of his thesis work. This goes a long way toward explaining why the paper on Brownian motion was received by the "Annalen der Physik" on May 11, 1905, only eleven days after the thesis had been completed. Three weeks after the thesis was accepted, this same journal received a copy [of the thesis] for publication. It was published only after Einstein supplied a brief addendum in January 1906 ... As a result of these various delays, the thesis appeared as a paper in the "Annalen der Physik" only after the Brownian motion article had come out in the same journal. This may have helped create the impression in some quarters that the relation between diffusion and viscosity--a very important equation due to Einstein and Sutherland--was first obtained in Einstein's paper on Brownian motion. Actually, it first appeared in his thesis ...” (Abraham Pais, "Subtle is the Lord: The Science and the Life of Albert Einstein" (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982).

Signed examples of great early Einstein papers are very rare.

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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