What was Einstein's first published exposition of his final form of general relativity, be it a scientific article or a book?

I've been googling the answer for hours now, with no luck, really. The spent hours led me to think that the answer is Einstein's book (based on lectures he gave at Princeton) called The Meaning of Relativity, though I am far from being sure here.

His handwritten manuscripts don't count, as don't oral presentations of the theory to the Prussian Academy of Sciences (or any other oral ones).

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    $\begingroup$ See the book Einstein, Albert The collected papers of Albert Einstein. Vol. 6. (German. English, German summary) The Berlin years: writings, 1914–1917. Edited by A. J. Kox, Martin J. Klein and Robert Schulmann. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 1996. xxviii+626 pp. ISBN: 0-691-01086-2 You will find all what you need there. $\endgroup$
    – markvs
    Oct 17, 2021 at 23:42

1 Answer 1


The 1916 publication in Annalen der Physik, 49, 769–822, also published separately in Leipzig, see e.g. Sauer, Albert Einstein's 1916 Review Article on General Relativity:

"The first comprehensive overview of the final version of the general theory of relativity was published by Einstein in 1916 after several expositions of preliminary versions and latest revisions of the theory in November 1915."

This was the paper the circumstances of whose submission and publication led to the Einstein and Hilbert priority dispute. It was not his first publication on general relativity, but it added the final piece, the field equations, see Janssen, Einstein’s First Systematic Exposition of General Relativity:

"Einstein’s first paper on a metric theory of gravity, co-authored with his mathematician friend Marcel Grossmann, was published as a separatum in early 1913 and was reprinted the following year in Zeitschrift für Mathematik und Physik (Einstein and Grossmann 1913, 1914a). Their second (and last) joint paper on the theory also appeared in this journal (Einstein and Grossmann 1914b). Most of the formalism of general relativity as we know it today was already in place in this Einstein-Grossmann theory. Still missing were the generally-covariant Einstein field equations."

And Einstein vaguely pondered modifications to Newtonian gravity to reconcile them with special relativity already back in 1907, in Über das Relativitätsprinzip und die aus demselben gezogenen Folgerungen, Jahrbuch der Radioaktivität und Elektronik 4, 411–462.

  • $\begingroup$ Hilbert himself regarded the theory as essentially that of Einstein's; the priority dispute seems to be mostly in the eyes of commentators ... $\endgroup$ Oct 19, 2021 at 3:31

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