You don’t need to be an Einstein …

Aside from his theorems and formulae, did Einstein pursue anything else in his laboratory?

In a scenario fitting for a genius, love first bloomed for Albert in the physics lab at the Swiss Polytechnic School in 1901. There, he quickly attached himself to Mileva Maric, a brilliant young Serbian girl who was the only female physics student at the institute at that time. Soon, the two were inseparable.

But Pauline, Albert’s mother, did not approve of the girl. She felt Mileva was bookish and unattractive. Worse, she belonged to a different faith.

“If she has a child,” Pauline warned her son, “you’ll be in a pretty mess.”

That was all the prompting Albert needed, and a year later, Mileva returned home to give birth to a daughter. They named the girl Lieserl and left her with Mileva’s parents in Serbia, telling no one else of her existence. Some sources indicate that Lieserl was mentally handicapped at birth and then went blind after a bout of scarlet fever at age one.

While her ultimate disposition is uncertain, researchers hypothesize that she was put up for adoption and ultimately raised by a friend of Mileva’s.

Albert wasn’t a particularly warm and fuzzy guy, then?

It doesn’t seem so, based on a cache of letters and other papers he bequeathed to Hebrew University.

He did marry Mileva in 1903, but continued to have extramarital dalliances throughout their time together. While the couple went on to have two sons, their relationship was a tenuous one.

Eventually, Albert drew up a “contract” that required Mileva to keep his clothes and study clean, prepare and serve his meals, and renounce all personal relations with him.

He openly discussed his various liaisons with other family members and confided that of all the “dames” he frequented, he liked the “decent, discreet, and harmless” ones best.

Read the full text here:
–brought to you by mental_floss!

5 Responses to “You don’t need to be an Einstein …”

  1. dearieme January 6, 2013 at 15:19 Permalink

    “researchers hypothesize that she was put up for adoption”: oh really? There can’t have been much demand for a blind, mentally defective adoptee. Ignorant speculation or conjecture can’t really be described by “hypothesize”, can it?

    Else I’d hypothesise that the poor wee soul was smothered with a pillow. Nobody knows.

  2. james wilson January 6, 2013 at 17:58 Permalink

    The way Rousseau did it was to drop the tykes–all five of them in turn– at the orphanage porch , a death sentence at the time. Great men shouldn’t be bothered with small annoyances. Albert never was. His last wife got the same deal. But he sure looked harmless, I’ll give him that.

  3. ivan January 6, 2013 at 21:23 Permalink

    This is the guy that had a revelation at the age of 17 that light speed was constant – he never did say what he was taking at the time – and spent the rest of his life persuading others to support that idea above all others.

    We can point at him as the person that has held back science because of his dogma.

  4. james wilson January 6, 2013 at 22:00 Permalink

    “We can point at him as the person that has held back science because of his dogma.”

    Yes, but all science, and all things, are both protected and held back by dogma. It was Bohr, or perhaps Plank, who said that opinion is changed not so much by the argument of new ideas but the eventual death of the old practitioners.

    Strangely, and courtesy of state funding, in our present circumstances we see new ideas dragging the greatest dogma.

  5. ivan January 6, 2013 at 23:25 Permalink

    James W. The big problem with Einstein was/is that his dogma has been taken up by those that ‘keep the faith’ and so continue from age to age.

    It is only now that we are seeing a few attempts to bypass that dogma by those looking at quantum physics – quantum teleportation anyone?

Leave a Reply

Please copy the string vprmKp to the field below: