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    Exceptional Signed Printed Galleys of Enrico Fermi's Analysis of Einstein's Theory of Relativity, Containing His Numerous Handwritten Corrections, In Which He Postulates About the Possible Explosive and Frightening Release of Nuclear Energy

    Enrico Fermi Signed Printed Manuscript. Two pages, quarto, 7.5" x 11" each page, October 1922, Rome, Italy. From Fermi's fifth published work and his first in book form, containing the essay, "Mass in the Theory of Relativity" (1923). Verso of page two is also noted in Fermi's hand, (in Italian) "Revativita - giudizio". In part, "The tremendous conceptual importance of the theory of relativity as a contribution to a more profound understanding of the relationship between space and time ... has diverted the attention from another of its conclusions.... The conclusion to which we allude above is the discovery of the relationship between the mass of a body and its energy. The mass of a body according to the theory of relativity is equal to the total energy divided by the square of the velocity of light. Even a superficial examination reveals to us ... the importance of the relationship between mass and energy.
    The relationship between mass and energy brings us, without any doubt, to staggering figures. For example, if one could succeed in setting free all the energy contained in one gram of matter, one would obtain an energy greater than that produced during three years of uninterrupted functioning of a 1,000 horsepower motor .... It will be said, with reason, that for the foreseeable future, it does not seem possible that a way will be found to set free this frightening quantity of energy. Of course, this is something we should not wish for, because the explosion of such an overwhelming total of energy would have the immediate effect of shattering to smithereens whatever physicist was unlucky enough to produce it.
    But even if such a complete explosion of matter does not seem possible for the time being, for the past few years there have been in progress some direct experiments to obtain the transformation of chemical elements, one into the other. Such a transformation which exists naturally in radioactive bodies has been artificially produced by Rutherford, who, by bombarding with little particles, alpha, of the atoms, has succeeded in obtaining its decomposition ... Now, to these transformations of elements, one into the other, there is tied the exchange of energy which the relationship between mass and energy allows to be studied in a very clear manner.... This explains to us why, in order to solve the problem of the transformation of matter, the dream of the alchemist, the efforts of so many scientists have been put forth for so many centuries
    Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity was first published in 1916. In 1922 he published "The Meaning of Relativity". In response, Enrico Fermi wrote this essay, his first to be published in book form. Fermi is perhaps best remembered for his work in the development of the atomic bomb, which was used by the U.S. Military against Japan in 1945. An important and rare Fermi document, considering that many of his early notes and papers were lost aboard the "Andrea Doria", which collided with the MV Stockholm and sank in the North Atlantic on July 25, 1956. Portfolio has half olive green leather over marbled paper boards, spine ruled and lettered in gilt, some wearing on spine and corners, with small indentation on back board lower right, dark gray fold-over covers. Thin paper pages, uniform light toning, some small minor stains, uneven left edge, vertical and horizontal folds, editing notations in margins, printed text clear and strong, signature is clean and clear, extra fine condition.

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    Auction Dates
    June, 2008
    4th-5th Wednesday-Thursday
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