E = mc2: The Most Urgent Problem of Our Time in Science illustrated 1 No. 1 pp. 16-17, April 1946

McGraw-Hill, 1946. 1st Edition. IN ORIGINAL WRAPPERS, THE FIRST PUBLICATION BY EINSTEIN OF THE FAMILIAR EQUATION, E = mc2, IN THAT SPECIFIC FORM. Eight months after Hiroshima, the editors of Science Illustrated turned to Albert Einstein to explain “the form of the energy that destroyed Hiroshima;” “to explain in his own words what takes place in the operation of his law” (Science illustrated 1 No. 1 pp. 17, April 1946). The editors believed that given the deployment of two nuclear weapons, “average citizen(s),” wanted at least a layman’s understanding of the mathematical law that enabled atomic explosions so that they were better able to understand the destruction the bombs unleashed (ibid).



The mathematical equation, or law, in question was one Einstein published in 1905 in his Theory of Special Relativity, but the form in which it was then written was longer and more complex. In the paper offered here, Einstein presents the equation we all now know, a shorter, more understandable derivation of his equation based upon the law of the conservation of momentum, the pressure of radiation, and the aberration of light: E = mc2. In layman’s terms, Einstein also explains the equivalence of mass and energy and discusses the profound, ‘urgent,’, implications of his principle (ibid).



In this article, Einstein writes: “‘What takes place can be illustrated with the help of our rich man. The atom M is a rich miser who, during his life, gives away no money (energy). But in his will he bequeaths his fortune to his sons M’ and M’’, on condition that they give to the community a small amount, less than one thousandth of the whole estate (energy or mass). The sons together have somewhat less than the father had (the mass sum M’ + M’’ is somewhat smaller than the mass M of the radioactive atom). But the part given to the community, though relatively small, is still so enormously large (considered as kinetic energy) that it brings with it a great threat of evil. Averting that threat has become the most urgent problem of our time” (ibid). Item #1381

CONDITION & DETAILS: Complete issue bound in its original wrappers. 4to. pp. 1-128. Some scuffing to the front wrap, none to the rear. There are no address labels. Bright and very clean throughout.

Price: $675.00