RARE FIRST EDITION IN ORIGINAL WRAPPERS OF ONE OF EINSTEIN’S MOST IMPORTANT PAPERS, “ONE OF THE LANDMARKS IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF THEORETICAL PHYSICS” (PAULI), CONTAINING “THE FIRST WELL-CONCEIVED PROMULGATION OF THE WAVE-DUALITY OF LIGHT” HAVING “IMPLICATIONS AS PROFOUND AS EINSTEIN’S EARLIER THEORETICAL BREAKTHROUGHS” (ISAACSON).
ALMOST CERTAINLY EINSTEIN'S FRIEND AND COLLEAGUE MAX VON LAUE'S COPY, WITH ANNOTATIONS THAT APPEAR TO BE IN HIS HAND.
At “the end of the summer of 1909, Einstein was invited to address the annual Naturforscher conference, the preeminent meeting of German-speaking scientists, which was held that year in Salzburg. Organizers had put both relativity and the quantum nature of light on the agenda, and they expected him to speak on the former. Instead, Einstein decided that he preferred to emphasize what he considered the more pressing issue: how to interpret quantum theory and reconcile it with the wave theory of light that Maxwell had so elegantly formulated...
“Einstein began by explaining how the wave theory of light was no longer complete. Light (or any radiation) could also be regarded, he said, as a beam of particles or packets of energy, which he said was akin to what Newton had posited. ‘Light has certain basic properties that can be understood more readily from the standpoint of the Newtonian emission theory than from the standpoint of the wave theory,’ he declared. ‘I thus believe that the next phase of theoretical physics will bring us a theory of light that can be interpreted as a kind of fusion of the wave and of the emission theories of light...’
“Combining particle theory with wave theory, he warned, would bring ‘a profound change.’ ... As a result, he said, light must be regarded as behaving like both an undulating wave and a stream of particles. ‘These two structural properties simultaneously displayed by radiation,’ he declared at the end of his talk, ‘should not be considered as mutually incompatible’” (Isaacson, Einstein, pp. 156-7).
“Einstein’s report on the constitution of radiation at the physics meeting in Salzburg in 1909, where he appeared before a larger audience for the first time, can be considered as one of the landmarks in the development of theoretical physics” (Wolfgang Pauli, “Einstein’s contribution to quantum theory,” in Schilpp, Albert Einstein: Philosopher-Scientist p. 154). “This is the first synthesis showing the profound changes in the concept of light ushered in by the theory of relativity and of the important implications of this change on the development of physics” (Calaprice, An Einstein Encyclopedia, 289).
This paper, “On the Development of Our Views concerning the Nature and Constitution of Radiation”, is Einstein’s first published report of his momentous lecture.
Provenance: Almost certainly German Nobel Prize winning physicist (1914) Max von Laue's copy, with writing on cover and scientific and mathematical annotations in Einstein paper that correspond to von Laue's handwriting. On the front wrapper is written "Einstein, v Laue, Hasenöhrl" in pencil (along with some pagination notes). Significantly, in this issue von Laue has a paper printed a few pages before Einstein's and the Austrian physicist Friedrich Hasenöhrl a paper immediately after Einstein's. In Einstein's paper, there are numerous underlinings, as well as equations and notations in pencil in the margin, all seemingly in the hand of von Laue.
Von Laue was a close friend of Einstein's and an important champion of his relativity theory, notably strongly (and at great risk) confronting the Nazi's over their dismissal of relativity as "Jewish science".
Note: Also published in Physikalische Zeitschrift 10 (1909), but a month after this first printing. With the rare "Berichte der Deutchen Physikalischen Gesellschaft" wrappers, rather than the more usual wrappers with just the "Verhandlungen der Deutchen Physikalischen Gesellschaft" title. The "Berichte" wrappers were designed exclusively for the domestic (German) market, which would make sense for von Laue's copy. (Laue was intimately involved with the "Deutchen Physikalischen Gesellschaft" becoming chairman of the society in 1931.)
IN: Berichte der Deutschen Physikalischen Gesellschaft enthaltend Verhandlungen der Deutschen Physikalischen Gesellschaft 11. Jahrg. Nr. 20 (1909), pp. 482-500. Braunschweig: Friedrich Vieweg und Sohn, 1909. Octavo, original printed wrappers, custom box. A beautiful, fine copy.
EXTREMELY RARE IN FINE CONDITION IN ORIGINAL WRAPPERS.