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Einstein's Wife

  1. Oct 20, 2003 #1
    Did anyone else hear of the program coming up on nova about the authenticity of Einstein's special Relativity. They say that Einstein's first wife, Mileva, may have played an essential role in the developement of special relativity. I personally strongly disagree with any such notion that any of his work is inauthentic. Does anyone here think that Einstein stole anything, if so, why?
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  3. Oct 20, 2003 #2


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    Maybe she slipped something in Albert's tea to help him go on those high-speed trips for his gedanken experiments. :wink:

    I seriously doubt he ever stole anything on purpose. Then again, he was very absent minded, and could have accidently have mis-remembered someone else's ideas as his own. I don't think that would happen with anything as Earthshaking as SR though. Maybe (and it's a big maybe) he might have forgotten to attribute some minor ideas.

  4. Oct 20, 2003 #3
    It is thought that she helped him with the math - Einstein wasn't particulary good at math. It still would surprise me that she had a major role in Special Relativity - the math had mostly been figured out before Einstein anyways and the math of SR is actually pretty damn simple.
  5. Oct 21, 2003 #4
    I'm pretty sure he plagarized the whole thing from Mr. Robin Parsons.
  6. Oct 21, 2003 #5


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    How can you strongly disagree without evidence? Just wondering though :)
  7. Oct 21, 2003 #6


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    There is new evidence that Mr. Parsons' material itself may have been taken from a Mrs. Robin Parsons.
  8. Oct 21, 2003 #7
    Re: Einstein's Wife

    Originally posted by einsteinian77
    I personally strongly disagree with any such notion that any of his work is inauthentic.

    I agree with Monique (not only because here name is so neat). What kind of mind skips to the conclusion void of the facts? Ms. Merik went to the same school as he did. Was a couple of yrs older than him and walked with a limp (hip problem).

    They fell in love and she went from an a student to failing their final exams. Both of them. All of his notable work was done while they were together adn not much after they split up.

    Although she had a very good brain, it was the norm of that day to beat your wife and well known that women can not work in a mans world much less come up with anything new.

    The fact remains that when he won the N Prize that the money (alot of money back then) went to Ms. Merik. Read their letters and the book etc...

    Perhaps Einstein never came up with anything but the truely smart person hid in the shadows and only took the money. Many people give up the fame and credit to get the money or satisfaction of only knowing that they did it.

    If you find a good solution it is faster to let someone in the right position take the credit and move it forward ASAP than to hord it until you die nad never help anyone... I let others take credit for my work and I have made things happen on the local, state, and national level. At least she took / got the money.

    What say Ye???
  9. Oct 21, 2003 #8
    Why do you assert her name is "so neat" without offering any evidence? What kind of mind skips to the conclusion void of the facts?
  10. Oct 21, 2003 #9
    Originally posted by SailboatMD I agree with Monique (not only because here name is so neat).

    Why do you assert her name is "so neat" without offering any evidence? What kind of mind skips to the conclusion void of the facts?

    Some people have the facts looking them in the face and see nothing. The fact is her name. Such as it is here and if it is not even her real name, that is OK because I think that "That" name is neat = the second fact. Simple conclusion based upon the facts at hand with room for variables included:-)
  11. Oct 21, 2003 #10
    Some people look at the face and decide they like the facts.
  12. Oct 21, 2003 #11
    Anyway, Dr. Ketch, Benjamin Franklin would have agreed with your philosophy about who gets the credit. He started a campaign to get the streets of Philadelphia done over in cobblestones (to replace the mud) by going door to door and saying that some people had thought it would be a good idea and had asked him to do the legwork going around with the petition. It was his idea all along. He didn't care about the credit, he wanted to stay out of the mud.
  13. Oct 21, 2003 #12
    Zoobyshoe wrote:

    "Some people look at the face and decide they like the facts."

    Some people see nothing but think they see everything and they are not blind in their eyes. They are only blind in their mind.

    Almost anyone will only see what they are shown and understand based upon how it was shown to them, thus the governments of the world can maintain order (as they see it).

    Seeing is in the eye / mind of the beholder.

    To sea or not to see... What question?:-)
  14. Oct 21, 2003 #13


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    I'llbet you got that from Mrs. Grey Space Alien.
  15. Oct 21, 2003 #14
    Some see the sea and say: "So?".
    Some sail sloops. Certain sailors sing chanteys. Schooners sometimes sink in the surf.
  16. Oct 21, 2003 #15
    I plagarize some of my best stuff from her.
  17. Oct 21, 2003 #16
    What about General Relativity? That was done long after Mileva and him split up. To me that was much more of an accomplishment than any of his 1905 papers. That alone shows that he was a the true scientific genius behind his publications.
  18. Oct 21, 2003 #17
    I think the important thing is to wait and see the program. It is impossible to judge if this allegation has any merit prior to hearing what evidence they have to support it. It may simply boil down to his having been able to put his thoughts in order about one thing or another after having bounced a question or two off her, or her imput may have been more substantial. You must hear what they have to say first.

  19. Oct 22, 2003 #18
    The show "Einstein's Wife" was not a NOVA program. The NOVA program that covered early Einstein was called "Einstein Revealed" and introduced his first wife Mileva. It aired back in 1996.

    I found the new program very convincing in making the case for Mileva as scientific collaborator. The existence of citations of both of them for the 1905 papers looks genuine. Mileva, working with Phillip Lenard in photoelectric emission studies at Heidelberg U., kept Albert informed about this important discovery. His explanation of photoelectric emission earned Albert his Nobel prize. Various letters between "Jonnie und Dollie" talk consistently about "our research". Dollie (Mileva) sat in on Einstein's group, Olympia Academie, in Bern at the time of the 1905 work. She didn't say much to the other men, but it was clear that she understood fully what Jonnie (Albert) was talking about. I had previously thought Mileva primarily gave Einstein math assistance, because he regularly needed such assistance throughout his scientific career. But she flunked her own retake of the math exam in "fonktiontheorie" (calculus of complex-valued functions on complex-valued variables), considered a core subject, so maybe she wasn't so much a math assistant as a physics assistant. Finally, E. and M. seem to have discussed E = mc2 a lot during 1905. In fact, Albert always needed assistants to discuss his thoughts with, preferably in german language. Mileva was the one on the spot in 1905. That helps to explain how he was able to publish 5 significant research papers, with 3 of them milestones of twentieth century physics. In addition, he reviewed a lot of published physics that year. How did he do all that and keep up his paid job as a patent technician? A bright physicist living in his house would certainly help.

    The conclusion, if true, makes Albert Einstein out to be a less likeable person. He was daffy in love ("You little witch, I am nothing without you.") until he became a professor, and quickly, an important professor. Love became less important than scientific achievement. After arrival in Berlin, his love was gone. He only needed a woman who would keep a proper Herr Doktor-professor's household in good order without kids, and that he got from his second wife (and cousin) Elsa. In the United States (Princeton), he only needed a secretary (Helen Dukas).

    Here are some links.

    Einstein's Wife - about the film --->
    the Mileva question --->
    WGBH NOVA: Einstein Revealed --->
    Einstein Explains the Equivalence of Energy and Matter --->
    Cockcroft and Walton - 1932 - mass converted to kinetic energy --->
    http://www.phy.cam.ac.uk/camphy/cockcroftwalton/cockcroftwalton11_1.htm [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  20. Oct 22, 2003 #19

    What an excellent post! Thanks for the links.

    I recall you also wrote the excellent series of posts on the factor of luck in Einstein's carrear, a couple/three months back. Those were great reading as well.

    The truth usually turns out to be more complex than the iconography : ( Webster's #2 definition) the traditional or conventional images or symbols associated with a subject and esp. a religious or legendary subject (although I'm stretching it a bit to fit here).

  21. Oct 23, 2003 #20

    Thanks for the compliment.

    Your mention of my earlier post (under Greg's "If Einstein was still alive..." started 07-31-2003) makes me confess to a flub. My Einstein luck example 2 said:

    "He found a brand new startup journal called Annalen der Physik and sent his early papers to it. The editors were so anxious to get submissions, they accepted Einstein's papers with little or no refereeing, in spite of the fact that Einstein had not actually gotten his doctorate yet."

    All dead wrong! Annalen der Physik was at least 100 years old at the time. The new series (#4) had a new editor, Paul Drude, who was terribly busy, and that might be how Einstein's first short papers got quick approval, but I don't really know. Sorry for that fiction!
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