The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein Vol 4

 

The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein Vol 4

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The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein Vol 4

INTR ODUCT I ON TO VOLUME 4:

The writings in this volume date from the beginning of 1912 to the spring of1914, the two years before Einstein left Zurich for Berlin. While his strugglewith the problems of quanta, rather than those of relativity, had dominated hiswork from 1909 through 1911 (see Volume 3), he was now concentrating hisefforts on attempting to construct a relativEstic theory of gravitation. Einstein’sefforts would finally achieve their goal in tbe autumn of 1915, when he com-pleted his general theory of relativity.Three scientific manuscripts, printed here for the first time, provide some insight into Einstein’s efforts to generalize his original relativity theory into arelativistic theory of gravitation. The first is a review article on the special theory of relativity (Doc. l); the second consists of notes documenting iEin-stein’s research on gravitation as well as the support he received from his friend and former fellow student at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), the mathematician Marcel Grossmann (Doc. I 0); and the third manuscript con- tains calculations by Einstein in collaboration with Michele Besso, another friend from his student days, on the problem of the motion of the perihelion of Mercury (Doc. 14).ltJ The three unpublished manuscripts document the kinds of trials and errors that cannot be reconstructed from Einstein’s published papers, and in this way add to our understanding of the creation of general relativity. During the period covered by this volume, Einstein’s professional status rose rapidly. As 1912 began, be was professor at the German University of Prague, a relative backwater in scientific research. In the course of that year, however, Einstein declined offers of professorships at the universities of Utrecht and Leyden (where be would have succeeded H. A. Lorentz). He accepted instead a professorship in Zurich, but this time at the ETH rather than the university. ti ‘The explanation of the observed anomaly of this motion was to become one of the classical tests of general relativity. The e xistence of the manuscript and the fact that Einstein had exten- sively occupied himself with this subject almost two years before he published on it have been previously unknown. See the editorial note, “The Einstein-Besso Manuscript on the Motion of the Peri.helion of Mercury, .. pp. 344-359, for further discussion. XIV INTR ODUCT I ON TO VOLUME 4 A year after his return to Zurich in the summer of 191 2, negotiations began about a research appointment in Berlin. In the spring of 1914 Einstein was about to depart from Zurich to take up a handsomely paid position as a member of tlhe Prussian Academy of Sciences, perhaps the crowning achievement for a German scientist of his generation. During this same period major changes in Einstein’s personal life were talc-
ing place as well. His marriage to Mileva Marie was deteriorati g~ the couple would soon separate and eventually divorce. Einstein had also become reac-quainted with his cousin Elsa when he visited Berlin in the spring of 191 2, and they would marry in 19 19, a few months after his divorce from Mileva. These developments, both professional and personal, are extensively docu- mented in Einstein’s correspondence during the Swiss Years, published in Volume 5.

 

The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein Vol 4

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