FIRST EDITION, OFFPRINTS, IN ORIGINAL WRAPPERS of Einstein's two classic papers on gravitational waves: his 1918 paper, "Über Gravitationswellen," "in which, for the first time, the effect of gravitational waves was calculated, resulting in his famous 'quadrupole formula'"; and his famous 1937 paper "On Gravitational Waves," resulting in major refinements of his formula.
"Shortly after Einstein published his general theory of relativity, he began wondering how he could use it to solve some of the outstanding problems in physics and astronomy… One of his first applications came in 1916. It was well known that oscillating charges gave rise to electromagnetic waves. Was it possible that the oscillating masses would also give rise to waves? They would be weak because gravity was a weak force, but they should exist.
"Using the equations of general relativity, Einstein looked into the problem and found that gravitational waves should, indeed, exist, and he obtained a formula that described them. He published his results in June 1916, but he wasn't satisfied with his calculation, and after checking it through, he found he had made a mistake. He therefore published a second paper in 1918 correcting the mistake and extending the ideas of his previous paper. It would become a classic paper on gravitational waves.
"Einstein found that gravitational waves would be given off by matter when it was accelerated. He considered a rotating rod, but he was disappointed to find that the intensity of the gravitational radiation from it was exceedingly low. He saw that it would take a much more massive system if the waves were to be detected. He therefore considered a binary star system (two stars revolving around one another), but was disappointed again. The mass of the stars would have to be much greater than that of ordinary stars if the radiation was to be detectable. His calculations showed that the stars would have to be exceedingly dense and close together, and at that time no such stars were known. Einstein eventually became convinced that gravitational waves would never be detected.
"Several years later, in the mid-1930s, Einstein came back to the gravitational wave problem. He had used several approximations in his 1918 paper and wanted to derive a more accurate formula. By this time he was in the United States, so it seemed natural to him to submit his paper to Physical Review. To his surprise, however, he got it back stating that it was not acceptable in its present form. The paper had been sent out to an anonymous referee who had made a list of suggested changes that would make it acceptable. Einstein was outraged. He had never had a paper rejected before, even when he was unknown, and he was now a world-famous scientist. He refused to resubmit it. Eventually, however, along with Nathan Rosen, he began looking through the derivation again, and, to his surprise, he found an error. So it was perhaps fortunate that it wasn't published. In 1936 he and Rosen corrected the mistake and were able to derive an exact formula. It was published in the Journal of the Franklin Institute in 1937" (Parker, Albert Einstein's Vision). Also: Steinicke, Wolfgang, "Einstein and the Gravitational Waves".
OFFPRINT FROM: Sitzungsberichte der Königlich Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin, pp. 154–167, 1918. and OFFPRINT FROM: (Journal of the Franklin Institute 223 No. 1 pp. 43–54, January 1937. Original Wrappers; custom box. Fine copies. RARE.