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Lot # 1455 (of 1594)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

Circa 1932 Albert Einstein Handwritten Mathematical Equation and Inscription

Starting Bid - $1,500.00, Sold For - $5,287.50

Complex series of mathematical equations, written by Albert Einstein on ocean-liner stationery from the "Hamberg-Amerika Linie," mounted together with an extraordinary original studio portrait of Einstein by photographer Ifor Thomas. For most of us, flashes of brilliance are rare and easily remembered. For Albert Einstein inspiration could strike at any moment, and on occasion required recording on whatever paper was handy. Offered is an example of such a flash of brilliance: an elaborate series of ten mathematical equations, each neatly written in black ink upon "Hamberg-Amerika Linie" stationery. These equations were most likely written by Einstein aboard the liner in 1932 during his voyage from Europe to New York. Though the math is beyond our understanding, it is probable, based upon his brief handwritten notation, that the equations relate directly to his "Special Theory of Relativity." Between the eighth and ninth equations, Einstein has written [translated] "in special system." That phrase was often used by him when making reference to his "Special Theory of Relativity." Einstein published no works in 1932, but he did write two scientific papers on Relativity that year. For Babe Ruth, the ideal item might be a bat or a ball, the tools of the baseball trade. For Einstein, it is a handwritten mathematical equation. Mathematics is the working tool of the great physicist’s trade and allows him to conceive, make sense of, capture and express complex natural laws that describe and define the universe. Few examples of Einstein’s handwritten equations are found in private hands today, as most of his scientific writings are housed in the permanent collections of a few select museums and institutions. The mesmerizing complexity of the characters alone suggests Einstein’s amazing scientific mind at work. The stationery (6 x 7.5 inches) displays a horizontal center fold and a small 1.5-inch tear in the bottom right corner. It appears to be dry mounted to a larger sheet. Bright, clean, in overall Very Good to Excellent condition. This document is from the same collection as, and was originally accompanied by, the two-page Einstein formula which appeared as Lot 771 in the REA May 2004 auction that sold for $19,550. The sheet has been beautifully framed together with an original black-and-white photograph portrait (9 x 11 inches) of Einstein, circa 1940s, taken by Ifor Thomas. The photo displays a few slight wrinkles and is in Excellent condition. Total dimensions: 26.5 x 22 inches. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $1,500. Estimate $3,000/$5,000. SOLD FOR $5,287.50


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