SIGNED AND DATED BY EINSTEIN IN THE YEAR OF PUBLICATION, SCARCE 1950 EDITION OF MEANING OF RELATIVITY, WITH THE FIRST PUBLICATION OF HIS NEW GENERALIZED THEORY OF GRAVITATION, HAILED ON PUBLICATION AS "A MASTER KEY TO UNIVERSE… PROMISES TO BRIDGE GAP BETWEEN THE STAR AND THE ATOM" (NEW YORK TIMES)
EINSTEIN, Albert. The Meaning of Relativity. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1950. Octavo, original gray cloth, original dust jacket. Housed in a custom clamshell box. $19,500.
Third edition, containing the first publication of Einstein's new Generalized Theory of Gravitation (Appendix II), with substantial revisions to his quest for a unified theory that were viewed on publication as ranking "with the original appearance of the theory of relativity as a milestone of scientific achievement" (New York Times), an exceedingly scarce copy signed and dated by Einstein in the year of publication, "A. Einstein. 50." An exceptionally fine copy.
This major edition of The Meaning of Relativity features the first publication of Einstein's newly revised "'Generalized Theory of Gravitation" (Appendix II): "presenting a total of 28 mathematical formulae, each representing a step leading to a new concept of the unity of the cosmos… These 14 pages are the result of more than 30 years of concentrated intellectual labors by the man to whom George Bernard Shaw once referred as one of the eight 'universe builders' in recorded history" (New York Times). Einstein had sent early versions of the material in Appendix II to Erwin Schrödinger, who responded with praise, telling Einstein, "You are after big game." When this edition "was being prepared in 1949, Einstein added the latest version of the paper he had shown Schrõdinger as an appendix. The New York Times reprinted an entire page of complex equations from the manuscript, along with a front-page story headline 'New Einstein Theory Gives a Master Key to Universe: Scientist, after 30 Years Work, Evolves Concept That Promises to Bridge Gap between the Star and the Atom'" (Isaacson, 513).
Early in January 1950, with the book "already in the printer's hands, Einstein called up the Princeton publishers and informed them that he had arrived at a number of short-cuts to his formulae. The printers were at once ordered to 'hold everything… Then, when the book was already printed and bound, Einstein discovered two typographical errors in his formulae. It was too late to change the type, so a slip of errata was hastily printed and pasted in by hand on the last page of the appendix… [Scientists] expressed the view that its publication might well rank with the original appearance of the theory of relativity as a milestone of scientific achievement." Einstein told The New York Times that his new theory was not yet tested, but "he regards it as 'highly convincing… and that it had given him an intellectual satisfaction similar to the one he had when he first worked out the theory of relativity. He feels intuitively that he is at last on the right track…. His first theory revealed to the world the equivalence of matter and energy, a concept that provided the key to atomic energy. His latest intellectual synthesis may reveal to man vast forces beyond imaginings still hidden" (New York Times). Despite the decades spent in arriving at this point, however, Einstein continued to struggle in his quest for a unified theory. As his biographer Walter Isaacson observes, it is possible "the search was futile… But Einstein never regretted his dedication to it" (Einstein, 514). "The imprint of Einstein's work on the different areas of physical science is so large and varied… that a scientist who tries to trace it would be hard put to know where to start" (Simmons, Scientific 100, 10). With errata. Main text of Meaning of Relativity first published in 1922: Einstein extensively altered this work with each edition. Appendix II translated by Sonja Bargmann. See Norman 697.
Only a few minor snags along dust jacket edges. An exceptional fine signed copy.