Despite the sudden onset of a heart ailment in 1928, while Einstein was on a vaca- tion in Switzerland, followed by an almost year-long period of convalescence, the present volume testifies to his sustained pace of scientific work, correspondence, and engagement with social and political issues. In his scientific work over the period covered by this volume, Einstein aimed to discover whether one can derive the electron’s equations of motion from its sur- rounding gravitational and electromagnetic fields as he embarked on a new approach to unified field theory founded on teleparallel geometry. On this topic, he engaged in exchanges with Cornel Lanczos, Roland Weitzenböck, Jakob Grommer, and Élie Cartan, and collaborated especially with Chaim Hermann Müntz. Einstein attended what has been considered a historic 1927 Solvay Conference at which the new quantum mechanics was discussed, but in fact made very few remarks. Except for the published comments during one discussion period, Ein- stein published no scientific papers on quantum theory during the period covered by this volume. But he continued to engage in technical preoccupations by publish- ing a patent for a novel refrigerator and by being intimately involved in the design of his famous sailboat. There were several notable “firsts”: we present Einstein’s first censored state- ment and a letter in which he called himself an “antifascist” for the first time. He met his daughter-in-law for the first time, and we encounter the first press reports of Einstein’s alleged forgetfulness. It was in 1929 that Einstein first referred to him- self as a legend and the first anthology of his writings was published. But perhaps most significant among these, for Einstein himself, and for the survival of his mas- sive written legacy, was his hiring of Helen Dukas as his assistant in spring 1928. Dukas accompanied Einstein throughout his many peregrinations to the end of his life, and devoted half a century to maintaining his correspondence and to the pres- ervation of his literary estate. INTRODUCTION TO VOLUME 16
Previous Page Next Page