INTRODUCTION TO VOLUME
5
I
When this volume
begins,
in mid-1902,
the
23-year-old
Albert Einstein
has
just
started
working at
his first
regular job:
he has been
given
a provisional
appointment
as
Technical
Expert,
third
class, at
the Swiss Patent
Office in
Bern. Einstein is still unknown in scientific
circles,
even
though
he
has
al-
ready published
one
paper
in the
major
German
journal
for
physics
and has
two
more on
the
way
to
publication.
He is
apparently quite happy despite
his
isolated
position
since
he is
free
to
pursue
his
own
work when
he is
not
oc-
cupied
at
the Patent
Office
and
can
discuss his ideas
on
science and
philoso-
phy
with his
equally
unknown
friends,
in
particular
at
the
meetings
of the
self-constituted
Olympia Academy,
a
discussion
group
of three that "took
delight
in
all that
was
clear and
intelligent."[1]
By
the
spring
of
1914
when this volume
ends,
Einstein
is
departing
from
Switzerland
to
return
to
the
Germany
he could
hardly
wait
to
leave
some
two
decades earlier.
He is
returning
in scientific
triumph.
At
thirty-five, having
already
held full
professorships at
the German
University
of
Prague
and the
Swiss Federal Institute of
Technology
(ETH) in
Zurich-and turned down
offers of chairs
at
Utrecht,
Leyden,
and Vienna-he has
accepted
a new
position
in
Berlin. Some of
Germany's leading
scientists,
including
Max
Planck and Walther
Nernst,
have
persuaded
Einstein
to
take
up a
well-paid
appointment as
a
member of
the
Prussian
Academy
of Sciences with the
pos-
sibility
of
teaching
at
the
University
of Berlin but with
no
obligation
to do
so
at
all. He
has also been
promised
that
an
Institute for Theoretical
Physics
would
eventually
be created and that he would
be its
director.
The
correspondence presented
in this volume
complements
Einstein's
writings,
both the
previously published
and the
previously unpublished,
which
are
contained in Volumes
2, 3,
and
4
of
The
Collected
Papers,
Together
they represent
the
documentary
evidence that
we
have
for these crucial
twelve
years
of his life.
Although
an
extensive
array
of letters
to
and from
Einstein in the
early years, prior to
his
appointment
to
the Patent
Office,
was
published
in
Volume
1,
that volume also included
a large body
of
third-party
material and documentation of other kinds. The
Correspondence
series
prop-
Previous Page Next Page