"THIS BOOK, UNIQUE, AMONG MY SCRIBBLINGS, / REMAINS ALONE WITHOUT SOME SIBLINGS": PRESENTATION COPY OF EINSTEIN'S SPECIAL AND GENERAL RELATIVITY, INSCRIBED WITH AN ORIGINAL POEM IN GERMAN AND SIGNED BY ALBERT EINSTEIN
EINSTEIN, Albert. Relativity. The Special and General Theory. New York: Peter Smith, 1931. Octavo, original gilt-stamped navy cloth. $35,000.
Later printing, presentation copy, of Einstein's own explanation of his special and general relativity theories, wonderfully inscribed with an original poem in German: "[translated] This book, unique, among my scribblings, / Remains alone without some siblings, / Because, as I have always believed, / At present there is too much to read. Albert Einstein 1933."
Einstein's theories are the most important discoveries of 20th-century physics. "The theory's impact upon 20th-century science and thought can hardly be overstated" (Norman, 252). "From the general theory of relativity issues all of 20th-century cosmology—from an explanation of the 'red shift' that indicates the universe is expanding, to the notion of black holes" (Simmons, The Scientific 100). In this "Popular Exposition," Einstein endeavors to present "in the simplest and most intelligible form," the revolutionary ideas he revealed to the scientific community in his famous Annalen der Physik articles of 1905 and 1916. Originally published in Germany in 1917, under the title Über die spezielle und die allgemeine Relativitätstheorie, Gemeinverständlich, the first edition in English was published in London in 1920. The first American edition was published in 1920 by Henry Holt; this is a later printing of that edition. See Boni 91.A, Norman 696. Below the inscription, an inscription in an unknown hand referring to later owners reads: "Presented to Dr. Harold L. & Elizabeth Simons. Great Neck, N.Y. about 1950 and passed on to Harold Lee Simons. Thanksgiving – Nov. 25, 1982 at West Newton, Mass." Elizabeth Reiman Simons was born in Vienna, but fled to America in 1941 to escape the Nazis. She studied at Cooper Union and obtained a bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering—the only woman in the 1950 graduating class to do so. She later received her PhD from Yale, where she met her husband, Harold L. Simons. Reiman Simons taught and researched at Harvard before becoming a tenured biochemistry professor at Boston University School of Medicine. This book was likely a cherished gift, particularly given the couple's shared passion for science.
Faint dampstaining mainly to text block margins, wear to extremities, mild toning to spine gilt. An extremely good copy, unique and most desirable with a poem written and signed by Albert Einstein.