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INTRODUCTION
TO
VOLUME
1
role also
played
on
occasion
by
his
friends Michele Besso and Conrad
Habicht.
Until
now,
scholars
have
been almost
entirely dependent
on
later reminis-
cences
by
Einstein and others for evidence
of
his
intellectual
preoccupations
during
these
years.
The
new
documents
often
confirm
such
reminiscences,
with the
immediacy
of
a
contemporary
account
and
a
wealth
of detail.
In
addition,
they
reveal
some
previously
unknown
early
interests,
such
as
Einstein's
concern
with
thermoelectricity,
with Drude's electron
theory
of
metals,
and
with the
spectral properties
of
matter.
Although
Einstein
was personally
isolated from the
scientific
community
at
this
time,
he
kept
abreast of
the most
important developments
in
physics
through
the
Annalen
der
Physik.
His choice of articles
to
discuss
in
his let-
ters
already
shows
his
intuition for the
"Fundamental-Wichtige"
in
physics
(Einstein
1979,
p.
14).
Soon after their
appearance,
he
read Planck's
papers
on
black-body radiation,
Drude's
papers
on
the electron
theory
of
metals,
Wien's
report on
attempts
to
detect the
translatory
motion of the
ether,
and
a paper by
Lenard
on
the
photoelectric
effect.
Near
the end
of his
life
Einstein recalled
that
work
on
the
special theory
of
relativity
"had been
his life
for
over seven years
and
that
this
was
the main
thing"
(Shankland
1963, p.
56).
Doc.
52
establishes
that,
in
mid-1899,
Einstein
was
deeply
interested
in the
electrodynamics
of
moving
bodies
and
expressed
skepticism
about
attributing
a
state of
motion
to
the ether. An editorial
note
preceding
this letter
traces
the discussion of this theme
in his
letters.
Einstein also started
work
on a
theory
of
thermoelectricity
in
1899.
He
was
familiar with Planck's studies of radiation
by
early 1901
and
soon
attempted
to
apply
Planck's
resonator
concept
to
an
understanding
of
the
thermal
properties
of solids.
Einstein's
comments
on
electrical, thermal,
and radia-
tion
phenomena,
and their
relationships,
are
reviewed
in
an
editorial
note
preceding
Doc.
58.
In
1900
Einstein worked out
a
theory
of molecular
forces,
which
he
applied
to
liquids.
He tried
to
extend
his
theory
to
gases
and submitted
a
dissertation
on
the
subject
in
1901,
which he
apparently
withdrew
early
in
1902.
Einstein's
work
on
molecular
forces led to his
interest in the foundations
off
thermody-
namics.
These
two
topics
were
the
subject
of
his first
three
publications,
all
conceived
during
the
period
covered
by
this volume.
An
editorial
note
preceding
Doc.
79
provides
an
overview of
his
work
on
molecular
forces.
In
discussing
such
topics,
Einstein
constantly
tried
to
relate different and
sometimes
apparently disparate physical phenomena, employing an
atomistic
conception
of the
nature
of
matter
and of
electricity.
He
eagerly pursued
the
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