First journal issue of Einstein’s application of the Hamilton-Jacobi equation for gravitational fields, 1917


Albert Einstein: Eine Ableitung des Theorems von Jacobi. [A Derivation of Jacobi’s Theorem.] First journal issue. Berlin: 1917.

Albert Einstein: Eine Ableitung des Theorems von Jacobi. [A Derivation of Jacobi's Theorem.] Sitzungsberichte der Königlich Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, XLVI (1917). Sitzung der physikalisch-mathematischen Klasse am 22. November, p. 606-608. Berlin: Verlag der Königlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften (in commission at Georg Reimer [Reichsdruckerei]), 29th November 1917.

Imperial 8vo (26,5:19 cm). 3 pages, numbered 606-609. Letterpress on machine paper, in original publisher’s brochure on orange-coloured stock with black title printing.

First journal issue in the original wrappers, of this scarce paper by Einstein with his application of the Hamilton-Jacobi equation for gravitational fields.

Content: The Hamilton–Jacobi equation, named after the 19th ct. scholars William R. Hamilton and Carl G. J. Jacobi, an alternative formulation of mechanics equivalent to e.g. Newton's laws of motion, is considered the "closest approach" of classical mechanics to quantum mechanics. In present paper Einstein tried to apply the Hamilton-Jacobi equation to solve the field equations of his general theory of relativity.

Condition: Last 3 leaves and rear cover defect (paper bumped and partly with faults at a sport of ca. 2cm diameter, partly affecting printing, otherwise well preserved, mostly uncut copy.

Rarity: RBH records only 2 copies of present paper at auction (2011, 2002, as part of a collection of 114 Einstein offprints deriving from the Harvey Plotnick Library). As of January 2024 one other copy is available in trade, however re-backed in half-cloth over cardboards with the original wrappers bound in.

Reference: Boni, N.: A bibliographical checklist and index to the published writings of Albert Einstein, 97; The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein. Volume 6, 47; Shields, M. C.: Bibliographie der Schriften Einsteins. In: Schilpp, P. A.: Albert Einstein als Philosoph und Naturforscher, 105; Weil, E.: Albert Einstein. A bibliography of his scientific papers, 1901-1930, 93.

Additional information

Weight 1 kg