Paris: Gauthier-Villars, 1921. 1st Edition. FIRST FRENCH EDITION OF A 1921 LECTURE BY EINSTEIN ON THE "GEOMETRIZATION OF PHYSICS AND RELATIVITY AND THE RELATION OF MATHEMATICS TO THE EXTERNAL WORLD" (Dictionary of Scientific Biography 4, 330). WEIL 115b. French translation by Maurice Solovince.
In the same year in which he won the Nobel Prize, 1921, Einstein delivered this paper as a lecture at "a commemorative session of the Prussian Academy of Sciences in honor of Frederick the Great" (Calaprice, Einstein Almanac, 65). In "Geometrie und Erfahrung" (Geometry and Experience), Einstein advances his theory that space conforms to non-Euclidean principles of geometry -- a corollary of the Theory of Relativity - and, as stated, generally sums up his views on the "geometrization of physics and relativity and the relation of mathematics to the external world" (DSB).
It is in this lecture that Einstein also provides his famous answer to the puzzling question of why mathematics should be so well adapted to describing the external world: "Insofar as the laws of mathematics refer to the external world, they are not certain; and insofar as they are certain, they do not refer to reality" (ibid). Calaprice put it like this: "He questioned whether human reasoning, even without direct experience, could lead to an understanding of the properties of real things merely through thought" (Calaprice, 1921). Item #1014
CONDITION & DETAILS: Paris, Gauthier-Villars. 8vo. (9 x 5.75 inches; 225 x 143mm), , 19, . Two in-text illustrations. Very slight soiling to the front wrap. Minor chipping lower right corner. Bright and clean throughout. See photos.