A highly rare letter written by Albert Einstein concerning his Unified Field theory could fetch more than $100,000 in an online auction next week.
Einstein wrote the letter, dated circa early 1929, to his son Eduard, nicknamed ‘Tetel’. The letter reveals Einstein believed he had completed the Unified Field Theory, which he published later that same year.
However, his satisfaction proved short-lived, and he spent the rest of his life attempting to solve the problem, without success.
He writes in part:
"I am now very happy because I finally solved to my total satisfaction, after immensely intensive work, my gravitation-electricity problem. This, in a way, concludes my life’s work—the remainder simply is bonus material.
"Remarkably, how through all this strenuous work I made it in good shape and am feeling quite well. I do, however, practically live the life of a recluse and follow a frugal way of live. When we see each other again, I shall try to explain to you and describe this lifestyle a bit."
At the time Eduard was still a high school student with an interest in studying medicine. In the letter Einstein shows an encouragement for his son’s academic ambitions, but is sure not to press the weight of expectation upon his shoulders.
"In no way do I expect your approval and perhaps desire to join this guild. I could not care less. Don’t get overwhelmed by that heavy volume of a book I sent you. One should read it in small segments, always keeping in mind that this represents chosen selections of intellectual work through the centuries, expressed by an unimportant, but decent and clear thinking human being."
Sadly, at the age of 20 Eduard was diagnosed with schizophrenia and spent the remainder of his life in and out of asylums. Einstein emigrated to the U.S in 1933 to escape the threat of the Nazis, and although they corresponded regularly, he never saw his son again.
"Einstein does not usually talk about his life’s work— that’s what makes the letter spectacular," said Robert Livingston, Executive VP at RR Auction. "The letter reveals Einstein as both an accomplished physicist and caring father, this is a remarkable letter with simply extraordinary content."
The RR Fine Autographs and Artifacts auction closes for bidding on October 12.