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Notebooks of Einstein and Minkowski in the Jewish National & University Library

The Zurich notebook, held by the Albert Einstein Archives at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, represents an almost complete testimony of Einstein's thinking in an intermediate phase of the emergence of General Relativity, beginning in mid-1912 and ending in early 1913. In the center of his thinking as it is documented by the notebook was the problem of combining the available physical knowledge on gravitation with a generalization of the mathematical formalism of Minkowski's four-dimensional spacetime, with the aim to create a relativistic theory of gravitation which makes sense from a physical point of view and which corresponds, at the same time, to a consistent mathematical framework. The principal challenge which Einstein faced consisted in constructing a field equation which, on the one hand, satisfies the requirements resulting from his ambitious program of formulating a theory of gravitation generalizing the principle of relativity, and which, on the other hand, can be reduced by an appropriate specialization to the familiar Newtonian law of gravitation. The history of Einstein's search for such an equation can, on the background of the Zurich notebook, essentially be written as that of a mutual adaptation between mathematical formalism and physical meaning.
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Permanent URI:http://echo.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/MPIWG:HD6T6EXD
Goettingen, summer sem. 1903/4. Differentialrechnung. --introduction mentions praestabil. Harmonie. Reading list: Serret, Lehrbuch der diferential- und Integralrechnung; G. Bohlmann, Übersicht über die wichtigsten Lehrbucher der Infinitesimalrechnung, Ber. d. M. 6, 1899; R. Fricke, Hauptsuche der Differential- und Integralrechnung; M. Cantor, Vorlesungen ueber Geschichte der Mathematik; C. Jordan, Cours d'analyse, 2. Auflage, Paris 1893-1896; E. Goursat, Cours d'analyse; A. Voss, Differential- und Integralrechnung, EMW II, 1.
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Permanent URI:http://echo.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/MPIWG:KYHBNDU6
Goettingen, winter sem. 1904/5. Analysis situs. Goettingen, winter sem. 1904/5. Diff. u. Integralrechnung II Tl.
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Permanent URI:http://echo.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/MPIWG:WVYGNBPQ
1904, June. Goettingen. Drafts of papers. Dichteste Lagerung von Kugeln. Collected Works XIX. Ueber die arithmetische Äquivalenz der positiven quadratischen Formen.
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Permanent URI:http://echo.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/MPIWG:GME9SBU4
Goettingen, summer sem. 1904. Liniengeometrie. --references: Pluecker, 1846, (System der Geometrie des Raumes in neuer analys. Beh.); Salmon, On a new geometry of space, Phil. Transact. Bd. 155, 1865. Note that the introduction mentions the applications of affine geometry in the motion of rigid bodies, radiation, and optics.
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Permanent URI:http://echo.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/MPIWG:QEXEZ007
1903/04, Winter. Goettingen. Lecture notes on mechanics. --Top of p. 10 of 'Funktionentheorie' is stuck to the cover!
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Permanent URI:http://echo.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/MPIWG:5WNTYPFD
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