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Albert Einstein, Mileva Maric: The Love Letters by Jürgen Renn,Robert Schulmann,Shawn Smith,Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein, Mileva Maric: The Love Letters
Albert Einstein, Mileva Maric: The Love Letters
Jürgen Renn,Robert Schulmann,Shawn Smith,Albert Einstein
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Professionals & Academics
Princeton University Press; First edition (May 5, 1992)
160 pages
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1942 kb
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1456 kb
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In 1903, despite the vehement objections of his parents, Albert Einstein married Mileva Maric, the companion, colleague, and confidante whose influence on his most creative years has given rise to much speculation. Beginning in 1897, after Einstein and Maric met as students at the Swiss Federal Polytechnic, and ending shortly after their marriage, these fifty-four love letters offer a rare glimpse into Einstein's relationship with his first wife while shedding light on his intellectual development in the period before the annus mirabilis of 1905. Unlike the picture of Einstein the lone, isolated thinker of Princeton, he appears here both as the burgeoning enfant terrible of science and as an amorous young man beset, along with his fiance, by financial and personal struggles--among them the illegitimate birth of their daughter, whose existence is known only by these letters. Describing his conflicts with professors and other scientists, his arguments with his mother over Maric, and his difficulty obtaining an academic position after graduation, the letters enable us to reconstruct the youthful Einstein with an unprecedented immediacy. His love for Maric, whom he describes as "a creature who is my equal, and who is as strong and independent as I am," brings forth his serious as well as playful, often theatrical nature. After their marriage, however, Maric becomes less his intellectual companion, and, failing to acquire a teaching certificate, she subordinates her professional goals to his. In the final letters Einstein has obtained a position at the Swiss Patent Office and mentions their daughter one last time to his wife in Hungary, where she is assumed to have placed the girl in the care of relatives. Informative, entertaining, and often very moving, this collection of letters captures for scientists and general readers alike a little known yet crucial period in Einstein's life.

  • Gio
Einstein was a brilliant jerk! Mileva was a hell of a woman who really aided him in his work. He really never got far beyond what he discovered with her at his side.
  • Paster
This a nice collection of love letters between Albert Einstein and his first wife, Mileva Maric. If you don't know the rest of the tragic story (for her, anyway), it's just as well. It's enough to make you reflect on the amount of pain that love turn to hate can engender.

They cover the period when he is getting his PhD, his first job at the patent office (which he was happy to get, by the way) in Zurich, and the birth of their first, but illegitimate child, a daughter named Lieserl, whose eventual whereabouts became a mystery (see the excellent Einstein's Daughter by Michele Zackheim for an exhaustive search for Lieserl).

What is most intriguing about these letters is the number of times Einstein refers to "our" in his scientific work. He has never acknowledged Mileva's help, but I don't know how anyone can avoid the conclusion that she was a collaborator during the critical period leading up to 1905. Consider the following, in Einstein's own words: " . . . our work on relative motion . . . "(p. 39); "Don't [Mileva] forget to check on the extent to which glass conforms to the Dulong-Petit law." (p. 40); " . . .our theory of molecular forces . . ."(p. 45); " . . . enough empirical material for our investigation . . . "(p. 47); and "I gave him our paper" (p. 52). There are other references.

Mileva has had her defenders in the last ten or fifteen years, but for the most part those who want to keep the Einstein myth alive that whatever he did, he did without any help have relegated her to the role of some sort of amanuensis and helpmeet. If the word "our" means what I think it means, she was a whole lot more than that.

For those who think the sainted Einstein did not get any help from a mere woman, consider the following: "Poincare undoubtedly discovered many of the ideas that now form our mental picture of the theory of special relativity and associate with the name of Einstein," (HENRI POINCARE, Jeremy Gray, Princeton, 2014, p.368).
  • Jode
There can be no doubt about it .Mileva Maric(Marity)was a collaborator with Albert Einstein on one or more of the 4 1905 papers published by Max Planck in his German language journal.Her main contribution probably was in explaining to Albert the 1887 Michelson -Morley light refraction-reflection experimental results demonstrating that the speed of light had to be a constant.This would mean that there was no "ether" medium in which light would travel .Understanding these results are a necessary,but not sufficient, prerequisite to building a special or general theory of Relativity.Albert Einstein deliberately left out any reference to these results because he knew that it was Mileva who had helped him master this area of research.He wanted to pretend that he had reached his conclusions without resort to these extremely important empirical- experimental findings or any other empirical work.Albert Einstein was ,of course,the main author of the papers.His refusal to acknowledge her partial contribution means that Albert was a glory grabber in the same sense that Otto Hahn was in refusing to acknowledge the great aid of Lise Meitner in the discovery of nuclear fission.
  • Agalen
The title of this book is a misnomer - first, the correspondence is mainly one-sided and second, the letters cover the period that Einstein was living with his mom and dad in Italy and Mileva was bearing the disgrace of a pregnancy in Serbia while Einstein refused to marry her. I don't know that I would call that love.

While Einstein does state clearly in the letters that he and Mileva were working on "their theories," some critics claim that he must have been kidding around because there are no letters from her about their theories. Were Mileva's letters destroyed on purpose because they did contain scientific contribution or did Einstein simply throw them away? Either way, it is only Mileva's love that is exemplified in that she kept Albert's letters.

Einstein never saw the daughter, "Liserl," that he wrote about - never bothered to visit Serbia or arrange to meet Mileva and Liserl somewhere so that he could see his child (surely Mileva's wealthy parents would have paid for this). Even when he finally married Mileva, Liserl was not part of the family. In fact, Liserl disappeared (according to descendants of Mileva in Serbia. Liserl was sent to live with distant relatives in order to prevent scandal for Einstein).

So while these letters are valuable in that they prove that Mileva did contribute to the theories that made Einstein famous, they are not love letters.