“Einstein’s Wife” PBS website: List of errors

Below is a list of errors, misrepresentations, and contentions lacking substantive evidence, on the PBS “Einstein’s Wife” website and associated Lesson Plans for school students.

Note: For a full critique of the PBS website material, including the detailed documenting of the errors, see Einstein’s Wife: Mileva Marić 2

1. Mileva Marić was not “erased from history”.

2. Einstein wrote no personal autobiographies, only intellectual autobiographical articles.

3. Einstein did mention Marić in one of the autobiographical sketches.

4. Virtually all biographies of Einstein before 1987 mention Marić.

5. There is no evidence that “Einstein’s executrix systematically destroyed potential evidence” about Marić’s alleged role in his work

6. There is no evidence that Einstein “demands all her time” when Marić was a Polytechnic student, nor that she “sacrificed her studies” on his account.

7. They did not “both fail their exams”. Einstein passed.

8. The alleged comment of Marić’s “We finished some important work that will make my husband world famous” is unreliable third-hand gossip.

9. Marić did not set the condition in the divorce settlement for the Nobel Prize money to go to her, this was proposed by Einstein. (In fact the capital was to be held in a bank account for their sons.)

10. There is no evidence that Marić liked dealing with statistics.

11. The statement that Einstein “doesn’t like dealing with statistics” is scientific nonsense. He made major contributions to statistical physics over a period of two decades.

12. Joffe is not a “supporter” of the claim that Marić collaborated on the 1905 papers.

13. Joffe nowhere “declares that he personally say the names of two authors on the 1905 papers”.

14. The fragment of a page on the website purporting to be from an article by Joffe is actually by someone else.

15. There are no “tantalizing clues” suggesting Marić’s collaboration with Einstein in any letters to her friends.

16. The editors of the Einstein Collected Papers have not “claimed neutral territory”. They say unequivocally that the evidence does not support the collaboration claims.

17. There is no evidence “to confirm that…Einstein did have a partner…in his scientific research his first wife Mileva Marić Einstein.”

18. Marić was not “a gifted scholar and scientist” before she met Einstein. She had just graduated from high school.

19. The only documented “knowledge” Marić “shared with Albert” was a short rather jocular passage about one lecture on the speed of oxygen molecules.

20. There is no evidence that Marić was doing any extra-curricular “research”.

21. Marić’s overall average final diploma mark was not “slightly below Albert’s”, it was considerably below (by approximately 18%) on the grading scale 1-6.

22. Marić was not “denied” a diploma, she failed because of her very low mathematics grade.

23. There are very many more instances of Einstein using “I” and “my” in relation to his extracurricular work in letters when they were students than of his use of “we” and “our”. The relatively rare use of “our” sometimes referred to their co-operative study on their diploma dissertations, not Einstein’s personal work on physics. Also, Einstein’s first important papers were not published until several years later.

24. The statement that Marić “studied physics at the highest levels” is totally without evidential support.

25. There is no evidence that Marić collaborated with Einstein on his work when she was his wife.

26. They did not “publish some early works together”, nor “conduct research together” outside of their Polytechnic studies.

27. The statement that Marić brought back from Heidelberg knowledge that “served as part of the foundation of quantum mechanics” is scientific nonsense.

28. There is not a scrap of evidence that “Mileva’s name [was] removed” as co-author from the celebrated 1905 papers. 

29. To say that Marić “had the education and the ability to conduct the research” that Einstein did displays a gross ignorance of Einstein’s prodigious achievements in his early twenties.

30. There is no evidence that “they worked closely together for years” on his papers.

31. Marić was not “a pioneering woman in the world of physics”, and she did not “contribute” to Quantum Physics.

32. Philipp Lenard was not “a pioneer in quantum physics”.

33. Marić did not learn “cutting edge physics” with Lenard.

34. There is no evidence that Marić “cut classes” at Zurich Polytechnic.

35. There is no evidence that Einstein’s diploma “grades were rounded up to a passing mark”.


See also: http://www.esterson.org/Einsteins_Wife_Errors_List.htm