Mileva Marić: Einstein’s Wife

The claims about Mileva Marić’s alleged contributions to Einstein’s early scientific achievements are devoid of credible supporting evidence.

By Allen Esterson

Twenty-five years ago the name Mileva Marić, Einstein’s first wife, was virtually unknown to the general public. In the 1970s a project to publish The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein was inaugurated, under the initial editorship of John Stachel, Director, Center for Einstein Studies at Boston University. In 1986 the family of Einstein’s first son, Hans Albert, made available Einstein’s early correspondence with Marić and these letters were published in 1987 in the first volume of the Collected Papers. It was as a result of some words of Einstein’s in those letters that publicity was given to claims that Marić contributed to Einstein’s celebrated papers published in 1905, or even that she co-authored them. Though not given any credence by historians of physics, these claims have been widely reported in newspapers, and reached their peak in an Australian documentary “Einstein’s Wife” released on video and DVD and shown on PBS television in the United States in 2003. In this article I shall examine closely the claims made about Marić’s contributions to Einstein’s work, but first I’ll correct some erroneous notions about Einstein that have long had wide currency.

The background

It is widely believed that Einstein was rather backward as a child, and a mediocre school student. However, evidence about his early achievements at school comes in a letter his mother Pauline Einstein wrote to her sister Fanny in 1886, when Einstein was 7 years old, in which she reported: “Yesterday Albert got his grades, once again he was ranked first, he got a splendid report card...”[1] During his years at his secondary school, the Luitpold Gymnasium that he attended in Munich from the autumn of 1888, he performed well in science and mathematics, and rather less well at subjects that held less interest for him. A detailed account of his precocious accomplishments in mathematics and physics comes from Max Talmey, a medical student who visited the Einsteins each week during the years 1889 to early 1894. Although 11 years younger than Talmey, Einstein’s “exceptional intelligence…enabled him to discuss with a college graduate subjects far above the comprehension of children of his age”. Responding to his interest in physics Talmey writes that he gave him two popular books on physical science, and then, when he was 11, a well-known text-book on Euclidean geometry which, with initial guidance, Einstein worked through by himself. He then moved on to more advanced maths books and Talmey reports that soon “the flight of his mathematical genius was so high that I could no longer follow.”[2]

In 1894, when Einstein was 15, his father’s electrical engineering business was failing financially, and his parents emigrated to Milan, leaving him to complete his education at the Gymnasium. However, six months later on his own initiative he decided to leave the school, and went to live with his parents in Italy. During 1895 he occupied some of the time with various jobs in his father’s factory, and his precocious interest in contemporary issues in physics is shown by a short essay on the state of the ether in a magnetic field which he sent to his uncle, Caesar Koch, in this period.[3] He began private study for the entrance examination for the prestigious Federal Swiss Polytechnic in Zurich in the autumn of 1895. As he was some eighteen months younger than the stipulated age of application to the Polytechnic he had to obtain special permission to take the entrance exam. Although he obtained excellent grades in mathematics and physics, he failed to achieve the required grades in some other subjects. On the advice of the Principal of the Polytechnic he spent the academic year 1895-1896 at a Cantonal high school in Aarau in Switzerland, at the end of which he achieved the maximum grade 6 in five subjects, including physics and the three mathematical topics, in the Matura (university entrance level examinations). (Einstein's average grade was the highest of the nine candidates from his school who took the exams.)[4]

This is the academic background to his commencing studying for a teaching diploma in physics and mathematics in the autumn of 1896, at 17 still below the normal age of entrance to Zurich Polytechnic. And it was here that he met Mileva Marić, who enrolled in the same course that autumn. Marić’s school record up to 1894, especially in physics and mathematics, was excellent, but institutional obstacles to girls wishing to study science in the Austro-Hungarian Empire meant she had had to leave her Serbian homeland in 1895 to eventually graduate from a Swiss girls’ high school in 1896.[5] Neither of Marić’s biographers, Desanka Trbuhović-Gjurić and Dord Krstić, records her leaving certificate grades at the Zurich Higher Girls'  School where she completed her high school education. She initially considered a medical career, entering the Zurich University medical school in 1896, but completed only one semester before transferring to the physics and mathematics teaching diploma course at the Polytechnic in the autumn of that same year. (As she had gained high school matriculation, she was required to take only the Polytechnic mathematics entrance exams, for which her average grade was 4.25 on a scale 1-6. [Trbuhović-Gjurić 1988, p. 60]) Because of illness and difficulties in her path she was by then age 20.)

Einstein and Marić were part of a small group most of whom were specialising in mathematics. Marić spent the first semester (winter) of her second year at the University of Heidelberg, and rejoined the course at Zurich Polytechnic for the next semester in the spring of 1898. In the 1898 intermediate diploma examinations (in which 3 of the 5 subjects were mathematical) Einstein achieved the highest overall average grade among the candidates (5.7 out of 6).[6] Because of missing the semester at the Polytechnic Marić postponed taking the intermediate exams until the following year, achieving an overall average grade of 5.05, placing her fifth of the six candidates.[7] Einstein’s letters to Marić in 1899-1900 indicate that he was increasingly working on his own ideas in physics, and he sometimes skipped classes in subjects that held less interest for him, making use of the meticulous notes provided by his friend Marcel Grossman when revising for the diploma exams.[8] He achieved an overall average grade of 4.91 (with grading from 1 to 6, this is very roughly equivalent to 78%) in the final examination, coming fourth out of five candidates, while Marić came last with 4.00.[9] The examiners granted diplomas to the top four candidates, but not to Marić. (She studied to repeat the exam the following year, but failed again without improving her grade,[10] under the adverse circumstances that she was some 3 months pregnant at the time.)

From the correspondence between Einstein and Marić while they were students it is apparent that a friendship started to develop between them towards the end 1897 and by the end of 1899 this had blossomed into a passionate love affair. Passages in Einstein’s letters indicate that he believed he had found in Marić both someone to love and someone who would be his colleague in the future scientific endeavours he envisaged for himself.[11]

The Einstein/Marić correspondence and related claims

We are now in a position to start considering the contentions made about Marić’s supposed contributions to Einstein’s celebrated 1905 papers which influenced the course of twentieth century physics. These range from claims that that she assisted him with these papers, that she helped with the mathematics, or even that she co-authored them. The central contention is that the evidence for Marić’s contribution can be found in the correspondence between her and Einstein in the years 1897 through 1903. There are 11 surviving letters by Marić and 43 by Einstein from this period. Many of the letters sent by Marić were lost. (Einstein was not the kind of person who would have taken trouble to preserve such letters at that time; in December 1901 he wrote to Marić: “You know what a dreadful mess my worldly possessions are in.”)[12]

One of the proponents of the claims about Marić’s supposed contributions to Einstein’s work, Evan Harris Walker, writes: “I find statements in 13 of his 43 letters to her that refer to her research or to an ongoing collaborative effort…”[13] We may separate this contention into two parts. As examples of references to Marić’s research Walker cites two letters by Einstein from September 1900 (from Milan where he was staying with his parents) in which he writes of “your method” and “your investigation”. (Documents 74 and 75 in the Collected Papers, Vol. 1.) But neither of these references relate to extra-curricular research; they refer to research that Marić is undertaking for her second attempt at the diploma dissertation, with a Ph.D. dissertation also in view.[14] Einstein and Marić certainly worked together on material related to their Polytechnic course, and they both chose thermal conductivity as the subject of their diploma dissertations.

The references Walker gives for examples of ongoing collaborative work occur in some nine letters in which Einstein refers, e.g., to “our” work, or uses “we” in the context of his physics interests or writings. Several historians of physics who have examined the whole issue have argued that Einstein’s wording in such instances indicates nothing more than that in that period his passionate emotional involvement with Marić, together with his belief that in her he had found a colleague who would journey with him on his adventures in the world of physics, led him to use inclusive terms even when alluding to ideas he was working on alone.[15] In short, Einstein saw his work as part of a joint venture, the collaborative partnership that he mistakenly believed Marić would become part of in their future life together. The fact that they studied theoretical physics books together no doubt encouraged him in this belief.

In order to decide between the differing interpretations of Einstein’s occasional inclusive language in regard to Marić in these letters it is necessary to examine specific instances, and also the broader picture. In a considerable proportion of Einstein’s letters he reports with evident excitement on physics ideas he is working on. Not one of Marić’s letters indicate anything remotely similar on her part; they are almost entirely devoted to personal matters. In two instances there are surviving letters from Marić responding to a letter from Einstein in which he discusses physics ideas on which he is working in some detail. In neither of her replies does she even allude to these ideas.[16] As Stachel observes in regard to one of these instances, Marić’s reply contains several comments on personal matters, but there is “not a word about any scientific topic in her letter, let alone a response to Einstein’s lengthy discussion of his ideas about the electrodynamics of moving bodies.”[17] The fact that in Einstein’s letters he frequently refers to extra-curricular physics topics on which he is working, occasionally going into details about his ideas and the authors he has been reading, has been taken as evidence that they worked together on these subjects beyond some joint reading of books. However, given the dearth of indications from Marić herself that she played a role in his investigations, it is clear that Einstein’s evident overflowing excitement about his ideas on a range of topics was such that he felt impelled to write about them to Marić, whom he fondly hoped would prove a scientific partner in his future endeavours. This excitement shines out in a letter written in May 1901: “I just read a wonderful paper by Lenard on the generation of cathode rays by ultraviolet light. Under the influence of this beautiful piece I am filled with such happiness and joy that I absolutely must share some of it with you.”[18]

Stachel has demonstrated in considerable detail that “the places in his letters to Marić where Einstein refers to ‘our work’ are quite general statements; when it comes to specific assertions about the work he invariably uses the first person singular (‘I’, ‘my’) in describing it.”[19] In three of the instances where inclusive language is used by Einstein he is alluding to his paper on capillarity, submitted to the journal Annalen der Physik in December 1900, and published on 1 March 1901.[20] But only results he himself has obtained are mentioned in relation to this paper.  Moreover, in a letter to her friend Helene Kaufler, Marić writes as follows with respect to the same paper: “Albert wrote a paper in physics that will probably soon be published in the Annalen der Physik.”[21] So she states explicitly that it was Einstein who wrote the capillarity paper, and gives not the slightest suggestion to her friend that she made any contribution. She adds: “You can imagine how proud I am of my darling.” Again, these are not the words of someone who had made a substantive contribution to the paper.  Evidently Einstein’s use of inclusive language in relation to his 1901 paper on capillarity was not an indication of joint collaboration.

The above information indicates that Einstein’s use of inclusive language about ideas he is working on does not by any means show that Marić collaborated with him on these topics. Walker quotes the following sentence from a letter by Einstein in March 1901: “How happy and proud I will be when the two of us together will have brought our work on relative motion to a successful conclusion.”[22] Walker argues that this is a clear indication that Marić contributed to Einstein’s epoch-making paper on Special Relativity published in 1905. (Elsewhere he contends that she deserves to be recognised as “co-author” of the paper.)[23] A number of pertinent points may be made here. In no less than six letters in which he wrote about this very same subject Einstein referred exclusively to his ideas.[24] (In one of these, written when Marić was preparing for her intermediate diploma exam, after reporting that he has had an idea for an investigation (and theory) involving the motion of a body relative to the ether Einstein then adds: “But enough of this! Your poor little head is already crammed full of other people’s hobby horses that you’ve had to ride” [emphasis added]). As Stachel points out, against the one use by Einstein of “our” in the context of relative motion cited by Walker, there are over a dozen instances of Einstein referring to his studies, his ideas, his work on the problem of relative motion. [25] (For instance, later that same year, in December 1901, he wrote: “I’m busily working on an electrodynamics of moving bodies which promises to be quite a capital piece of work.”) In any case, this was some four years before the 1905 paper was written, and Einstein was at that time still grappling with the concept of motion relative to the ether; the crucial breakthrough that eliminated the necessity for this concept did not occur until 1905, shortly before he wrote and submitted the 1905 paper to Annalen der Physik.[26] In short, substantive evidence that Marić contributed to the ideas presented in the 1905 Special Relativity paper is non-existent, and claims to this effect are without substance, as Stachel has demonstrated in considerable detail.[27] (Walker seems to be under the mistaken impression that the reference to “relative motion”, a fundamental notion in classical physics, indicates that Einstein was referring to his epoch-making relativity principle.)[28]

Apart from the letter to Helene Kaufler concerning Einstein’s first published paper (1901), there are other indications in her own words that Marić did not contribute to Einstein’s publications. To Helene in 1906 she wrote “the papers he has written are already mounting quite high”.[29] These words to her friend contain not the least suggestion that she might have contributed in any way to the papers, which, of course, include those of 1905. Even more telling are the words she wrote in December 1901 in a letter to Helene regarding Einstein’s first attempt to obtain a Ph.D.: “Albert has written a magnificent study, which he has submitted as his dissertation…I have read this work with great joy and real admiration for my little darling, who has such a clever head.”[30] These latter words are hardly those of someone who collaborated with Einstein on groundbreaking ideas. They are more in line with Einstein’s writing to Marić in December 1901 anticipating that “soon you’ll be my ‘student’ again, like in Zurich.”[31] In March 1903, a short time after her marriage, Marić wrote to Helene that she was taking care of the new household quite alone and that “the reason I have not written to you for so long is because my new duties are taking their toll”.[32] She makes no mention of undertaking any work in physics, and nor does she in any other letters she wrote to Helene in these years as she surely would have done had this been the case.

There is not a single citable document written by Marić that contains any account of her ideas on the physics topics that constituted Einstein’s published papers in the early years of the twentieth century. There are, in letters to Einstein, a few references to the subject matter of her dissertations. There is also one letter in which, after mentioning having read two non-physics books sent to her by Einstein, she asks him: “Have you read the Planck [paper] yet?”[33] Her next sentence is revealing: “It looks interesting.” It is inconceivable that had Einstein just referred to a paper by Planck he would not have discussed its contents and expressed his opinion about it, whereas Marić’s comment is so vague that it is not even evident that she had read it thoroughly. She is, however, less reticent about discussing hypnotism, the subject of one of the books sent by Einstein; in her next letter she writes several sentences about it.[34] As Stachel observes, while Einstein’s letters “convey the distinctive impression of an original and imaginative mind at work,” Marić’s limited comments relating to physics “depict an eager, hardworking student, but without a spark of originality, or more precisely, of scientific originality…”[35]

Aside from his published papers, Einstein’s Collected Papers contain an impressively large mass of letters to friends and to eminent physicists containing discussions of current physics ideas in the years from his student days to the time he and Marić separated and beyond. (Among the top rank physicists of his day with whom he corresponded on his ideas in just the period from 1905 to 1908 were Lenard, von Laue, Röntgen, Stark, Planck, Wien, Lorentz, and Sommerfeld.) Against this there is not a single letter by Marić in which she suggests any collaboration with Einstein on work relating to his published papers, and only one relevant document in Marić’s hand. This is an undated short “Response to Plank’s [sic] Manuscript” in which reference to Einstein’s work is in the first person, included with a letter from Einstein to Planck relating to a paper the latter was to publish early in 1910.[36] Given the absence of any similar document by Marić it would appear that she acted as Einstein’s amanuensis on this occasion.* In addition, Stachel has noted that Einstein’s second notebook for his lecture courses on mechanics at the University of Zurich for the winter semester 1909-1910 includes seven pages of notes in Marić’s handwriting very closely corresponding to the introductory sections of the first notebook.[37] An examination of the pages in question reveals they cover elementary introductory material in mechanics, a level of knowledge she would have acquired early in her Polytechnic diploma course.[38] The notebooks were written after Einstein was appointed to a professorship at Zurich University in May 1909, and involved a considerable amount of work for him, as Marić remarked to Helene Kaufler in a letter dated 25 June of that year.[39] Evidently she gave him some assistance in their preparation.

Einstein’s friend and colleague Philipp Frank wrote of the period after the Einsteins were married that “When he wanted to discuss his ideas, which came to him in great abundance, [Marić’s] response was so slight that he was often unable to decide whether or not she was interested.”[40] Maurice Solovine, a friend of Einstein’s from his first days in Bern in 1902, provides some further information. He was a member of the self-mockingly titled “Olympia Academy”, a small group of Einstein’s friends that began to meet in the spring of 1902. The Academy met regularly to discuss ideas in physics and philosophy, and also occasionally to play music and go hiking. In a brief memoir Solovine has recorded how right from the beginning the small group around Einstein launched into long and intense discussions of various writings, including Einstein’s own ideas. After mentioning Einstein’s marriage (in January 1903), Solovine writes: “This event occasioned no change in our meetings. Mileva, intelligent and reserved, listened intently but never intervened in our discussions.”[41]

In contrast to the claims made about Marić’s alleged ongoing work in physics, there is evidence that suggests that even before her first diploma exam failure she may have been uncertain about her ambitions in that direction. According to a letter written by Helene Kaufler to her [Helene’s] mother in July 1900, Marić was “offered an assistantship at the Polytechnic but did not wish to accept it”; instead “she would rather apply for an open position as librarian at the Polytechnic”.[42] The few letters to Helene Kaufler in the period immediately following her marriage to Einstein in January 1903 make no mention of physics, except in relation to her husband’s activities. Typical is her letter written in March 1903 in which she wrote about their “nice little household, which I am taking care of quite alone”. Of Einstein she wrote: “I am even closer to my sweetheart, if that is at all possible, than I was in our Zurich days; he is my only company, and I am happiest when he is next to me, and I am often angry at the boring office that take so much of his time...He is employed in the local Patent Office as an expert, and for eight hours every day he does this very boring work.”[43] We know, incidentally, that Einstein did not find his work at the patent office boring, or without value.

Walker contends that Marić contributed to Einstein’s work right up to the time of their separation in 1914, arguing that he “spent the rest of his life working almost as if he still had to prove himself”.  He continues: “I cannot help but feel that the literature searches, the background material and, most important, those most basic capricious ideas that were the turning points of relativity theory, came from Mileva, while the mathematics and proofs came largely from Albert. According to my speculative picture of these events, when they separated, there was nothing more she could do with whatever ideas still haunted her mind”.[44] Given the complete lack of evidence for these contentions, it is not surprising that Stachel expressed his exasperated view that if he had to judge Walker solely by his words in the publication in question, he “would have to conclude that he is a fantasist, who judges reality on the basis of his own desires.”[45]

The tendentiousness of Walker’s mode of argument is illustrated by his effort to show that Einstein showed no sign of exceptional abilities during his student years. To this end he writes that “Einstein failed in his first try for the ETH [Zurich Polytechnic]” while failing to note the circumstances of his failure, recounted above. (Einstein was some eighteen months below the normal age of application, but nevertheless scored exceptionally well in maths and physics.) He also writes that “Einstein passed [the diploma exam] with a questionable 4.91, trailing well behind Jakob Ehrat, Marcel Grossman and Louis Kollros, whom he had previously led.” In fact the difference between Einstein's grade average in the final diploma exams and that of the candidate immediately above was only 0.23, (it was 0.54 below the top student's grade average), so he hardly trailed well behind the others. (By comparison, Marić's grade average was 0.91 below Einstein's.).[46] (These final diploma grades are not entirely directly comparable, as the three candidates named by Walker specialised in mathematical subjects.)

Addendum to the above discussion of the Einstein/Marić correspondence:

Senta Troemel-Ploetz (1990, p.  425, see below) provides some quotations that purportedly show that Marić collaborated with Einstein on his advanced work on physics. The first is from Marić to Helene Savić as follows: “Wir leben und arbeiten immer noch wie früher (we are living and working the way we did earlier, meaning: as students).” What Troemel-Ploetz fails to record is that at the time of writing of the letter (early in 1901) Marić was still a student (writing a dissertation and preparing for retaking her diploma examination in July 1901), and Einstein was working on his first attempt at a Ph.D. thesis, at that time under the supervision of Zurich Polytechnic professor of physics Friedrich Weber. Marić was merely reporting that, as before, she and Einstein enjoyed studying in each other’s company. There is nothing to suggest that she was collaborating on extra-curricular physics, and in any case, she had her hands full with her own work for the July diploma exam.

The second quotation provided by Troemel-Ploetz is this from Einstein to Marić in September 1900: “I am also looking forward very much to our new papers .” However, this is immediately followed by his writing: “You must continue with your investigations – how proud I will be to have a little Ph.D. for a sweetheart…” So the new paper in Marić’s case, as indicated by Einstein, is the dissertation she was working on which she hoped to develop into a Ph.D. thesis. Einstein, for his part, was planning to undertake the writing of his own Ph.D. thesis. In other words, the reference in the letter to “our papers” is to the respective (different) papers each was in the process of undertaking, and does not indicate any collaboration on the extra-curricular physics that Einstein was interested in researching.

Troemel-Ploetz next refers to a letter of October 1900 in which Einstein “refers to common work on capillarity”.  In fact Einstein alludes to “results on capillarity” that he had recently obtained, suggests that when “we’re back in Zurich we'll try to get some empirical data from [Professor] Kleiner”, and if successful “we’ll send the results” to Annalen der Physik. Note that although Einstein uses the inclusive “we”, only results he has obtained are mentioned, and only he is in contact with Kleiner. More significantly, as noted above, when Marić mentioned the paper in question in a letter to her friend Helene Kaufler she stated unequivocally that Einstein had written it and told her friend how proud she was of her husband's achievement.

These instances again exemplify that the proponents of the “collaboration” thesis frequently cite evidence that apparently supports their contentions, but which, on closer examination, does not do so. (Other examples that Troemel-Ploetz goes on to quote have been covered by my discussion of this issue above.)

Further contentions

One strand of evidence presented by proponents of the collaboration thesis was first published by Marić’s biographer Desanka Trbuhović-Gjurić,[47] and has been reproduced by Senta Troemel-Ploetz, who writes in relation to the three most famous 1905 papers: “Abram F. Joffe, the famous Russian physicist who was then an assistant to Röntgen (a member of the editorial team that examined the articles sent to Annalen der Physik for publication) wrote in his Errinerungen an Albert Einstein (Joffe 1960) that the original manuscripts were signed Einstein-Marić.”[48] This claim has been fully investigated and comprehensively refuted by two Einstein scholars, Alberto A. Martínez and, in painstaking detail, John Stachel.[49] The relevant passage by Joffe, from a 1955 obituary of Einstein, is the following (literally translated by Martínez):

“In the year 1905, in Annals of Physics, there appeared three articles, thereupon beginning three most important, relevant directions in the physics of the 20th century. Those were: the theory of Brownian Motion, the photon theory of light and the theory of relativity. Their author – unknown until that time, a bureaucrat at the Patent Office in Bern, Einstein-Marity (Marity – the last name of his wife, which by Swiss custom is added to the last name of the husband).”[50]

It is evident that Joffe did not claim that he had seen the original manuscripts, nor that Marić was a co-author of these 1905 papers; on the contrary, he writes that the author was “a bureaucrat at the Patent Office in Bern”, in other words, Albert Einstein. As Stachel points out, each of the papers contain authorial comments in the first person singular.[51] Stachel also notes that these claims about co-authorship necessitate that eminent members of the editorial board of Annalen der Physik, Paul Drude and Max Planck, were complicit in the removal of Marić’s name on the published papers. And is it really conceivable that, had Joffe reported that Einstein’s three most celebrated 1905 papers were originally “signed” by Einstein and Marić as co-authors, as Trbuhović-Gjurić claims, such an astonishing revelation would have not been given wide publicity at the time? Trbuhović-Gjurić goes on to embellish her misleading report with evidence-free conjectures (presented as statements of fact) that are given a detailed rebuttal by Stachel.[52] Undeterred by the clear evidence of Joffe’s actual words, Walker contrived to sustain Trbuhović-Gjurić’s claims using a tortuous argument that is comprehensively refuted by Martínez.[53] (Readers are recommended to read Stachel’s comprehensive examination of the main claims about Marić’s alleged contributions to Einstein’s work in Stachel [2002], pp. 26-38; pp. 39-55. See Bibliography for details.)

Note: In his book “Meetings with Scientists” Joffe writes that when he was assistant to Röntgen the latter advised him, in preparation for defending his Ph.D. thesis in 1905 (prior to the publication of Einstein’s relativity paper), to study what we would now call the prehistory of Special Relativity theory. Had Röntgen refereed Einstein’s original manuscript a short time later, as Trbuhović-Gjurić asserts, Joffe could hardly have failed to have stated so. But he makes no mention of any such occurrence, and we may conclude that the whole basis of Trbuhović-Gjurić’s claims about Joffe is without foundation. (A. F. Joffe, Begegnungen Mit Physikern, 1967, pp. 23-24) (For a fuller discussion of this issue, see my Critique of Bjerknes.)

(Robert Schulmann reports that when he interviewed Trbuhović-Gjurić in 1983 about her claims about the original manuscript for which she referenced Joffe (1960), “she said that the proof of the statement was contained in a microfilm which she had had to return to the Soviet Union a few weeks before” (A. Pais, 1994, p.  15).  However, it seems that Trbuhović-Gjurić may have actually been referring to a passage in a book published in 1962 by a Soviet science writer, Daniil Semenovich Danin, which contains a paragraph, evidently deriving from Joffe, in which Danin writes that the three relevant 1905 papers were “signed” Einstein-Marity: see J. Stachel (2005), pp. liv-lvii; Martínez (2005). In the passage in question Danin clearly refers to the 1905 papers as having a single author, who was at that time “a third class engineering expert in the Swiss Patent Office”.  So either (a) Trbuhović-Gjurić is alluding to the paragraph written by Joffe in the book she cites, but does not quote  Joffe’s actual words, choosing instead to paraphrase them (incorrectly), or (b) she has paraphrased the paragraph from Danin (deriving from Joffe but misleadingly using the word “signed” not present in Joffe’s paragraph) and omitted the critical fact that Danin indicated that the papers had a single author, while misleadingly citing Joffe’s book for the source. Whichever of these is the case, the failure to quote the actual cited passage on such an important issue is an indication of the unscholarly (and unreliable) nature of her book, as is further illustrated below. )

Turning now to the contents of Trbuhović-Gjurić’s biography of Marić, in the Introduction (dated 1982) to the first German edition the author writes that her book reports her researches (undertaken after her retirement, presumably in the 1960s, the decade at the end of which the book was first published) among surviving relatives and friends of the Marić family, and includes oral communications, letters and notes.[54] It provides valuable factual information about Marić’s early life and her considerable academic accomplishments prior to becoming a student at Zurich Polytechnic, but its reliance on unverifiable, third-hand (at best) hearsay stories from interested parties renders it valueless as a source of reliable evidence concerning the issue in question. Apart from the numerous quotations from the Marićs’ family friends and acquaintances, recorded some sixty years after the events in question, Trbuhović-Gjurić even provides dialogue between Einstein and Marić when no one else was present.[55] (Four of these unreferenced scenarios, reproduced verbatim, can be traced to the children’s book Albert Einstein (1963) by Aylesa Forsee (pp. 11-12), and are manifestly imaginative inventions by Forsee!)

It is unsurprising that the Einstein biographer Albrecht Fölsing describes Trbuhović-Gjurić’s book as a combination of fictional invention and pseudo-documentation (“belletristischer Erfindung und Pseudodokumentation”) .[56] Similarly, Schulmann and Holton describe the book as “a nationalist puffery of a biography of Mileva Marić”,[57] and Pais writes in relation to Trbuhović-Gjurić’s contentions about the role of Marić in Einstein’s scientific output that he has “not found a single reason for believing that in this respect the author’s allegations are founded on fact”.[58] (The book’s unscholarly nature is shown by the fact that its material is almost entirely unreferenced, and by its lack of both index and bibliography.)

It will only be possible here to give a few examples to illustrate the unreliability of the contentions to be found in Trbuhović-Gjurić’s book. She quotes a statement Einstein supposedly made to Marić’s brother Miloš in which he is alleged to have said that Marić “was the first to draw my attention to the significance of the ether in the universe”.[59] But, as already noted, as early as 1895 when he was only sixteen Einstein was sufficiently knowledgeable about the notion of the ether to write a short essay on the subject. (Trbuhović-Gjurić provides no reference for the quotation, and as Miloš was taken prisoner in WW1 by the Russians in 1917 and never returned home,[60] this could only have been a third-hand hearsay report.) She also writes of a reunion of young intellectual friends of Miloš at which Einstein was supposedly present. Recalling this occasion a Dr Ljubomir-Bata Dumić  is quoted as saying: “We knew what she had done [for Albert], that she was the author of his glory. She solved for him all the mathematical problems, above all those concerning the theory of relativity…”[61] Evidently Dr Dumić (if we are to give any credence to this scenario) was unaware that Einstein’s 1905 special relativity paper requires only an elementary knowledge of algebra and calculus that Einstein had probably acquired even before he began the diploma course at Zurich Polytechnic. (As Jürgen Renn, an editor of the Einstein Collected Papers, has observed, “If he had needed help with that kind of mathematics, he would have ended there.”) Einstein is quoted as having said at the gathering: “I need my wife. She solves all the mathematical problems for me.”[62] This can hardly be taken seriously. As we have seen, Einstein was precociously talented at mathematics, even if he later neglected more advanced maths until he needed it. On the other hand, although she obtained excellent grades in high school, Marić’s average grade in the mathematics entrance examination for Zurich Polytechnic was a moderate 4.25 (on a scale 1-6), and in the final diploma examination in 1900 her grade in the mathematics component (theory of functions) was only 2½ compared to Einstein's 5½ (on a scale 1-6).[63] (None of the other three candidates achieved less than grade 5½.) And when she retook the exam in 1901 her mathematics grade only improved to 3½, and she failed to improve her grade average.[64]  (On this second occasion she was some three months pregnant. )

At one point Trbuhović-Gjurić quotes Peter Michelmore’s remarking that Marić helped Einstein solve certain mathematical problems.[65] The relevant section of Michelmore’s biography of Einstein contains numerous assertions that are anecdotal, including invented dialogue, and some factual errors. For instance, he asserts that Marić “was as good at mathematics as Marcel [Grossman]”,[66] which is absurd, given her failure to achieve even half the grade of the candidates immediately above her in the mathematics component of the 1900 diploma exam and Grossman’s later achievements as a pure mathematician. Equally absurd is the implication of Trbuhović-Gjurić’s writing in the context of Einstein’s turning to Grossman for help in 1912 that he had never needed such outside assistance with mathematical difficulties when he (supposedly) had worked with Marić.[67] (At that time Einstein required knowledge of Riemann’s non-Euclidean four-dimensional geometry and of tensor calculus to maintain progress towards his general theory of relativity arrived at in 1915.)

In the light of suggestions that Einstein was a mediocre mathematician it is worth noting the following in relation to Einstein’s Ph.D. thesis submitted to Zurich University in 1905. In his “Expert Opinion” statement the physics professor Alfred Kleiner wrote that “The arguments and calculations to be carried out are among the most difficult ones in hydrodynamics, and only a person possessing perspicacity and training in the handling of mathematical and physical problems could dare tackle them.” Kleiner added that as “the main achievement of Einstein’s thesis consists of the handling of differential equations, and hence is mathematical in character and belongs to the domain of analytical mechanics” he had sought the expert opinion of the head of mathematics, Professor Heinrich Burkardt. Burkhardt reported that what he checked he “found to be correct without exception, and the manner of treatment demonstrates a thorough command of the mathematical methods involved” (emphasis in original).[68] (Given her poor maths grades in her diploma exams, and the complete absence of documentary evidence, any suggestion that Marić assisted him with the mathematical part of this Ph.D. thesis would be in the realm of fantasy.)

Trbuhović-Gjurić’s portrayal of Marić’s role is governed by her evident determination to present her as having collaborated in all Einstein’s work right up to the time they arrived in Prague in 1911. Characteristic of her contentions is the following: “All that Albert created later originated from what was achieved with Mileva’s immediate collaboration, and which later was developed in longer periods of time…In his work she was not the co-creator of his ideas…but checked them all…and gave mathematical expression to his concepts of the special theory of relativity.”[69] Needless to say, there is no serious evidence to justify these assertions. It is a measure of the dearth of evidence for their contentions that while Trbuhović-Gjurić gives credit to Einstein for the ideas and Marić for their mathematical expression, Walker contends that the ideas came from Marić while Einstein largely provided the mathematical proofs.[70]

Elsewhere Trbuhović-Gjurić writes that “from the start of Einstein’s studies right up to the time he moved to Prague [1911], she had been for him an absolutely indispensable collaborator.”[71] Statements like this reflect her pride in a fellow Serb rather more than her devotion to verifiable fact. She writes that “we have every right to be proud” of Mileva Marić, someone who belongs to “our [Serbian] people” and is “ great in many ways”; and in relation to the contents of the 1905 relativity paper, that one “cannot but be proud that our great Serbian Mileva Einstein-Marić participated in conceiving and editing them. Mileva’s intellect lives in these lines.”[72] Trbuhović-Gjurić’s book tells us little more than that there were various rumours about their fellow Serb circulating among friends of the Marić family. But third or fourth hand stories from a prejudiced source reported more than half a century after the event scarcely constitutes hard evidence. Such contentions in Trbuhović-Gjurić’s book belong to a category that comes at the very bottom of the scale of reliability for information sources suggested by Martínez: “Hearsay, late indirect accounts of what someone allegedly told someone else.”[73] Certainly, to take an instance where we actually have a documentary record, Trbuhović-Gjurić’s misrepresenting of Joffe’s 1955 statement about Einstein (see above) does not inspire confidence in the accuracy of her accounts of reports which are distant – and therefore inherently unreliable - recollections by acquaintances of the Marić family about matters of which they could not have had first hand knowledge.

Senta Troemel-Ploetz’s claims

Another frequently cited proponent of the collaboration thesis is the Swiss linguist Senta Troemel-Ploetz, whose contentions in her aforementioned 1990 article are almost entirely dependent on a completely uncritical recycling of material in Trbuhović-Gjurić’s book as if the latter were a work of scholarship. Never once does she question the reliability of this material. It would take a lengthy article to demonstrate the numerous fallacious contentions to be found in the article, and a few representative examples must suffice here.

Troemel-Ploetz begins her exposition of the case that Marić collaborated with Einstein on his major work by reporting the apocryphal story (his “admission”, as Troemel-Ploetz puts it) that Einstein said “My wife does my mathematics”, which, she claims, “is general knowledge at the ETH [originally Polytechnic] in Zurich”. In the following sentence that includes a tacit acknowledgement that any such statement would have been a joke on Einstein’s part, she refers to Marić as a “mathematician” (which we have seen is a misnomer), and asks why Marić was “not offered academic positions in Prague, Berlin, Princeton, or Pasadena” (where, of course, Einstein held posts).[74] That she asks such a question about someone who twice failed a teaching diploma exam gives an indication of the calibre of the article. (Later in the article she writes of Marić’s “mathematical genius”.)[75]

Examples of Troemel-Ploetz’s unquestioning acceptance of anything claimed by Trbuhović-Gjurić abound. For instance, in another passage in which she describes Marić as a mathematician she writes that “without the fundamental contribution of Mileva Einstein-Marić, the theory of relativity would not exist.”,[76] a contention with no evidential basis. Again, on a related topic she asks, uncritically taking as given an assertion of Trbuhović-Gjurićs (see above), why did not Einstein acknowledge in public that it was she [Marić] who came up with the idea to investigate ether and its importance. Not only is there no evidence that Marić had any ideas of her own on the subject, we know that Einstein had written an essay involving a discussion of the ether before he had met her, and a letter he wrote in August 1899 (when he was twenty) shows him precociously challenging contemporary notions of the ether.

In the same section Treomel-Ploetz (citing Trbuhović-Gjurić) quotes some comments of Einstein's allegedly reported by Marić’s father, Miloš, to his son and friends in relation to a visit (undocumented) he supposedly made to the Einsteins in Bern in 1904 after the birth of Hans Albert. Einstein is reported as saying to Miloš Marić concerning his daughter: “Without her, I would not have started my work, nor finished it.” Leaving aside that Einstein’s active interest in fundamental physics was evident before he met Marić, and overflows in his letters from his student days, the notion that he would have said anything about his having finished his work at that time is absurd, and again illustrates the unreliability of such third or fourth hand hearsay reports.

Elsewhere she makes a serious blunder when, on quoting a statement by Peter Michelmore cited by Trbuhović-Gjurić, she writes that Michelmore “had much information from Albert Einstein”.[77] In fact in his “Author’s Note” to his book (published seven years after Einstein’s death) Michelmore writes that he spent two days with Einstein’s son, Hans Albert, from whom he obtained information about Einstein (who is not mentioned among his sources).[78]

A story of Trbuhović-Gjurić’s is recycled by Troemel-Ploetz as follows: “A mathematician of the University of Zagreb recalled that Albert Einstein every now and then helped his wife doing the housework because he felt sorry that after her housework was done, she had to do his mathematical problems till way past midnight (Trbuhović-Gjurić, 1983, p. 87).”[79] What Trbuhović-Gjurić actually writes is that the story came from the daughter of Svetozar Varičak, son of Vladimir Varičak, a professor of mathematics at the University of Zagreb.[80] The daughter supposedly recalled her father (Svetozar) having recounted the story as reported by Troemel-Ploetz above. Trbuhović-Gjurić claims that Svetozar Varičak was a lodger with the Einsteins in Zurich as a consequence of Vladimir Varičak’s having met Einstein in Berlin in 1910 at a mathematical conference. But there is no record of Einstein’s having been to Berlin prior to 1912 (nor is it likely that Einstein would attend a mathematical congress), so the story as told by Trbuhović-Gjurić is suspect from the start. (Einstein’s letters in the period he lived in Zurich from October 1909 to March 1911 mention several journeys to conferences or holiday destinations, but nothing to indicate a trip to Berlin.) In any case, given Marić’s relative weakness in mathematics any such stories about her solving Einstein’s maths problems should be taken with a large grain of salt. **

Another story of Trbuhović-Gjurić’s uncritically recycled by Troemel-Ploetz is the following: “Together with Paul Habicht she [Marić ] worked at the construction of a machine for measuring very small currents by way of multiplication…When both she and Habicht were satisfied with the results, they left it to Albert Einstein, as patent expert, to describe the apparatus.”[81] Troemel-Ploetz goes on to report that an article about this was published by Einstein under his own name, and the apparatus was patented under the joint names of the Habicht brothers and Einstein. However, Trbuhović-Gjurić gives no source for her account, though she provides an anecdotal story in which “one of the Habicht brothers” supposedly asked Marić why she had not given her own name in the application for the patent, to which she is said to have replied “What for, we are both only one stone” [a play on the name Einstein – Stein means “stone”]. That Trbuhović-Gjurić is unable to attribute this report specifically to one or other of the Habicht brothers is a measure of its unreliability. In fact the development of the little “machine” is well documented from the time Einstein announced his discovery of a new method of measuring very small quantities of [electrical] energy (in a letter to Conrad and Paul Habicht dated 15 July 1907) to the manufacturing of the device.[82] Conrad Habicht was a member of the “Olympia Academy” before Einstein’s marriage, and in 1907 his brother Paul had recently started a small instrument-making company. There are numerous letters exchanged between Einstein and the Habicht brothers (mostly Paul) in the years 1907-1911 in which the “machine” is discussed, but there is no mention of any contribution from Marić.[83] Eight of these letters are from Paul, none containing any indication of any collaboration with Marić on the project. (In two of these Paul adds conventional “greetings to your wife” and their little boy.)  It is highly unlikely that he would not have involved Marić in his discussion of the device had she played the major role alongside Paul that Trbuhović-Gjurić claims. The Einstein biographer Carl Seelig mentions the discussions between Paul and Einstein on the device, and writes of “their attempts to perfect it with occasional help from Mileva”.[84] In the rest of his account Seelig refers only to the ongoing collaboration on the device between Einstein and the Habicht brothers, so his testimony does not conflict with the conclusion to be drawn from the considerable documentary evidence that any contribution from Marić could only have been very limited.

Troemel-Ploetz’s ignorance of the subject matter around which the contentions at issue revolve is revealed by her writing that Einstein “did not achieve anything comparable after what is defined as his ‘creative outburst of 1905’. Again and again people remarked that none of his later work, after the age of 26, surpassed or even reached the same level of his earlier research.”[85] She is evidently unaware that, in addition to other fundamental research, over the next decade Einstein worked on ideas that culminated in what is perhaps his greatest achievement, the general theory of relativity that transformed the modern view of the concept of gravity. One wonders who these “people” are whose opinion she supposedly reports.

One other section in Troemel-Ploetz’s article is worth examining. After a passage in which she suggests that the editors of the first volume of Einstein’s Collected Papers suppressed evidence that would show that Marić’s role was more than “a sounding board for Einstein’s ideas”, she complains that all seven letters of Marić’s to her friend Helene Kaufler which have relevant passages quoted in that volume “have parts deleted”. She then proceeds to build a conspiracy theory around the fact that in one letter, written by Marić to Kaufler in the summer of 1900 (Document 64), there are three “deletions”, and that an editorial footnote indicates that one of these concerns Marić’s completed diploma dissertation. She notes that in a footnote to a letter of Einstein’s there is a reference to an omitted portion of Document 64, this time providing an incomplete sentence from it, and that this same footnote “is referred to again and again in further editorial footnotes”. She now insinuates that the editors have deliberately withheld information so that “we cannot deduce what [Marić] is saying about the topic she has chosen” for her dissertations.[86] However, the publication of Marić’s letters to Kaufler has shown that there is nothing of any great significance in the omitted paragraph in question, the essential points of which were included in the incomplete sentence quoted by Troemel-Ploetz. Marić simply reports to her friend: “I had to put down on paper the major topic that I have selected for my diploma, and possibly also for my doctoral dissertation, so that Professor Weber might give it a little bit of criticism.”[87] The reason this is cited in some later footnotes to letters is simply to clarify the referenced items by indicating that they relate to her ambition of achieving a doctorate or to her working on her diploma dissertation for the 1901 exam. Troemel-Ploetz follows this up by asserting that “we have to take the editor’s word” in a footnote for the fact that Marić failed her diploma exam a second time, so “we do not know whether she failed by default, that is by withdrawing her Diplomarbeit [diploma dissertation], as Trbuhović-Gjurić suggests.”[88] But, contrary to what Troemel-Ploetz writes, the footnote in question (Collected Papers Vol. 1, document 121, n. 1), provides the reference for the official notification that Marić failed the 1901 diploma exam. (The editor of Volume 1 of the Collected Papers, John Stachel, gives information about her grade in her second diploma exam elsewhere.)[89]

It is impossible to cover here all the dubious contentions and misconceptions in Troemel-Ploetz’s article, but enough has been presented to show that it would be an understatement to say that as a work of scholarship it leaves much to be desired. (For a further examination of  Treomel-Ploetz’s claims in her 1990 article, see my article Who Did Einstein’s Mathematics?) And the same must be said about the contentions about Marić’s alleged contributions to Einstein’s work by Desanka Trbuhović-Gjurić and Evan Harris Walker.[90] When the claims made by these three proponents of the collaboration thesis are subjected to detailed examination they are shown to be either erroneous or based on misconceptions and dubious hearsay evidence.*** It must be emphasized again that, in contrast to the large number of documents from his student days onwards by Einstein on physics problems that interested him, there is nothing of Marić’s which indicates that she was involved in such research either on her own part, or in collaboration with Einstein. More specifically, there is not a single document of Marić’s in the years 1897 to 1905 that contains ideas that she produced on the subject of Einstein’s papers. In short, a dispassionate examination of the evidence indicates that while Mileva Marić undoubtedly played an important role as a loyal supporter of his work, and possibly occasionally checked some of his early writings, she made no substantive contribution to his pioneering work in physics. To sum up, in the words of Gerald Holton, “a careful analysis of the matter by established scholars in the history of physics, including John Stachel, Jürgen Renn, Robert Schulmann, and Abraham Pais, has shown that scientific collaboration between the couple was minimal and one-sided.”[91]

I would like to thank Alberto A. Martínez for his assistance during the preparation of  this article.

March 2006


* Dord Krstić has provided more information about this document in Marić’s handwriting in his book Mileva & Albert Einstein: Their Love and Scientific Collaboration (Didakta, 2004). He writes (p. 148) that in the Collected Papers  “it is wrongly stated [Volume 3, p. 178] that the manuscript is saved in the well-known Ludwig Darmstaedher’s collection of original manuscripts in Staatsbibliotek Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz in Berlin”, and that it is actually kept in The Albert Einstein Archives, The Hebrew University, Israel.  Thus “it’s not the copy which was actually sent to Planck and its origin is not from Planck’s legacy”.

Krstić reports that there are corrections in the text of the document, and suggests that it is the initial draft of the answer to be sent to Planck in response to the draft article he had sent to Einstein (the final version of which was published in 1910). In an Appendix, the physics historian Dr Stanislav Južnič writes in relation to this document: “Mileva crossed out several mistakes, but left some unnoticed errors. The manuscript was probably the dictated first draft, which was later corrected and mailed to Planck. Among other errors, the addressee was written as ‘Plank’. It seems almost impossible to imagine Einstein sending to the imminent [sic] Planck a letter with such a huge error, almost an insult.” (He adds that “Mileva’s spelling of the last name was not unusual, because Joseph Plank was a former assistant of Josef Stefan in Vienna”.) (Krstić, 2004, pp. 240-241) Južnič goes on to provide some specific details about words corrected on the document.

Given the lack of evidence for any involvement by Marić in Einstein’s research, and, more specifically, the absence of any other document by Marić pertaining to such research, it seems likely that the “Antwort auf Planks Manuskript” was, as  Južnič suggests, a first draft dictated to Marić by Einstein of his response to the draft article sent to him by Planck.

(For further details about this document, see Critique_of_Krstić_2004)


** Einstein corresponded with Vladimir Varičak on special relativity theory in letters written in the years 1909 through 1911. This includes the period from October 1909 through March 1911 when Einstein was living in Zurich, having obtained a post at Zurich University in 1909. (From April 1911 he lived in Prague, where he held a post at Prague University, before returning to Zurich in August 1912 to take up a post at Zurich Polytechnic.) The letters in question are published in Volume 10 of the Collected Papers (also online).


There is no mention of Varičak’s son Svetozar in these eight letters. However, John Stachel has drawn my attention to an additional letter published in Volume 10 (p.21), datemarked by the editors Zurich 14 May 1913, in which Einstein wrote to Varičak: “Lieber Herr Kollege! Ich danke Ihnen herzlich für den schönen Käse, den Sie uns geschickt haben. Ihr Bubi ist ein sehr eifriger Student und immer frohen Mutes….” [Dear Colleague, Many thanks for the lovely cheese you sent us. Your little lad is a very keen student and always in good spirits…] This indicates that Varičak’s son lodged with the Einsteins sometime during the second period that Einstein lived in Zurich (August 1912 through March 1914). (Trubović reports the story in question in her chapter “From Zurich to Prague”, as if it pertained to the period of the Einsteins’ first stay in Zurich.)


In the story as recounted by Trubović, Svetozar’s daughter told of her father recounting that after completing her domestic work, Marić worked beyond midnight solving “mathematical problems” from Einstein’s notes (Trubović-Gjurić (1988), p. 105; (1991), p. 120). In the period in question Einstein’s personal work required his immersion in what Stachel describes as “the formidable mathematical problems of translating his ideas [extending special relativity to general relativity] into a specific physical theory” (Stachel 2002, p. 230). For this he turned for help to his mathematician friend Marcel Grossman, who found that the necessary non-Euclidean tensor analysis had been developed quite recently by a group of mathematicians. It is inconceivable that Marić could have been of any assistance in this esoteric field of mathematics. (Recall that she obtained a grade 5 on a scale 1-12 for her theory of functions component of the Zurich Polytechnic diploma exam in 1900. In a letter to Einstein she had also written that descriptive and projective geometry was the subject that she found hardest to master for the intermediate diploma exam she sat in 1899 [Renn and Schulmann (1992), pp. 12; 84, n.4].) This means that if the story is to be given any credence at all, it must relate to Einstein’s lecture notes for Zurich Polytechnic, though the notion that Marić could solve mathematical problems at that level that were beyond Einstein is implausible. Conceivably she checked some of his lecture notes for the courses he prepared for Zurich Polytechnic during a period when he was intensely involved in mastering tensor calculus with Grossman’s assistance for application to his fledgling theory of gravity.


One must keep in mind that all we have is an unreferenced hearsay report from Trubović, apparently recounted to her several decades after the events in question by Svetozar Varičak’s daughter who was recalling something her father recounted at some unspecified time about his stay with the Einsteins. Such a third-hand report must be counted low on any scale of reliability, and in any case tells us nothing about purported contributions by Marić to Einstein’s ongoing research.


*** In a recent book Thomas Kida reports the research of two British psychologists who secretly recorded a discussion at a psychological society meeting. Two weeks later the participants were asked to write down everything that they could remember. When specific points were recalled, nearly half were substantially incorrect: off-the-cuff remarks were transformed into full-blown discussions and comments were reported that were never actually made. (T. Kida, Don’t Believe Everything You Think, Prometheus Books, 2006, p. 203.) This puts into perspective the statements reported by Trubović, and uncritically recycled by Troemel-Ploetz, which are based on third-hand hearsay reports from interested parties made decades after the alleged comments they purport to reproduce. (Michele Zackheim, whose book recounts her experiences in trying to trace the fate of the Einsteins’ first child, Lieserl, writes that she came to understand that “Serbian society is private and intensely loyal… I frequently heard dok mi kuca grudima duša – ‘while my soul beats in my body, I will protect my family’s honor’.” [1999, p. xii].  This loyalty no doubt found expression in the folklore about Mileva among the proudly Serbian friends and acquaintances of the Marić family recorded by Trbuhović-Gjurić in the 1960s. )





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[1] The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein, Vol. 1 (English Translation). A. Beck (translator) and P. Havas (Consultant), Princeton University Press, p. 3.  (Letter: Pauline Koch Einstein to Fanny Einstein, 1 August 1886).

[2] Talmey, M. (1932). “The Relativity Theory Simplified And the Formative Period of its Inventor.” New York: Falcon Press, pp. 162-164.

[3] “On the Investigation of the State of the Ether in a Magnetic Field.” In Collected Papers, Vol 1 (Beck & Havas, 1987), pp. 4-6.

[4]; see also Fölsing 1997, pp. 44-45.

[5] Trbuhović-Gjurić, D. (1988). Im Schatten Albert Einsteins: Das tragische Leben der Mileva Einstein-Marić. Bern: Paul Haupt, p. 26; Trbuhović-Gjurić, D. (1991), Mileva Einstein: Une Vie (trans. from the German by N. Casanova). Paris: Antoinette Fouque, p. 31. (The German language edition is an edited version of the book by Trbuhović-Gjurić originally published in Serbo-Croat in Yugoslavia in 1969.)

[6] Collected Papers, Vol. 1 (Beck & Havas, 1987), p. 125.

[7] Highfield, R. and Carter, P. (1993). The Private Lives of Albert Einstein. London: Faber and Faber, p. 50; Trbuhović-Gjurić, D. (1988, p. 63; (1991), p. 70.

[8] The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein, Vol. 1, eds. J. Stachel et al, Princeton University Press, 1987, p. 60; Einstein, A. (1949). “Autobiographical Notes.” In Albert Einstein: Philosopher-Scientist, ed. P, A. Schilpp, Evanston, Ill.: Library of Living Philosophers, Inc., p. 17.

[9] Collected Papers, Vol.  1 (Beck & Havas, 1987), p. 141.

[10] Stachel, J. (1996). “Albert Einstein and Mileva Marić: A Collaboration That Failed to Develop.” In H. M. Pycior, N. G. Slack, and P. G. Abir-Am (eds.), Creative Couples in the Sciences, Rutgers University Press, pp. 207-219, 330-335. Reprinted in Stachel, J. (2002), Einstein from ‘B’ to ‘Z’. Boston: Birkhäuser, pp. 41, 52 n.22.

[11] Renn, J. and Schulmann, R. (eds.) (1992). Albert Einstein and Mileva Marić: The Love Letters. Trans. by S. Smith. Princeton University Press, pp. 52, 73.

[12] Renn and Schulmann (1992), p. 69.

[13] Walker, E. H. Letter in Physics Today, February 1991, p. 122.

[14] Collected Papers, Vol. 1 (Beck & Havas, 1987), pp. 148, 149; Collected Papers, Vol. 1, (Stachel et al, 1987), pp. 258, 258 n.6, 260, 260 n.5.

[15] E.g., Holton, G. (2000). Einstein, History, and Other Passions. Harvard University Press, p. 191; Stachel, J (ed.) (2005), Einstein’s Miraculous Year: Five Papers That Changed the Face of Physics. Princeton University Press, p. li.

[16] Renn & Schulmann (1992), letters 8, 9; 29, 31; Beck & Havas (1987), docs. 52, 53; 102, 105.

[17] Stachel, J. (2002), Einstein from ‘B’ to ‘Z’. Boston: Birkhäuser, p. 34.

[18] Renn & Schulmann (1992), p. 54.

[19] Stachel, J (ed.) (2005), Einstein’s Miraculous Year: Five Papers That Changed the Face of Physics. Princeton University Press, p. li. See Stachel (2002), pp. 27-28, 33-36.

[20] Stachel (2002), pp. 36, 41, 52.

[21] Renn & Schulmann (1992), p. 36. Popović, M. (2003). In Albert’s Shadow The Life and Letters of Mileva Marić, Einstein’s First Wife. Johns Hopkins University Press, p. 70.

[22] Walker, E. H. Letter in Physics Today, February 1989, p. 9. See Renn & Schulmann (1992), p. 39.

[23] Walker, E. H. Letter in Physics Today, February 1991, p. 123.

[24] Renn & Schulmann (1992), pp. 10, 14, 15, 69, 71, 72.

[25] Stachel (2002), p. 36.

[26] Fölsing, A. (1997). Albert Einstein. Trans. E. Osers. New York: Penguin Books, pp. 175-177.

[27] Stachel (2002), pp. 33-36.

[28] Martínez, A. A. (2005).

Handling Evidence in History: The Case of Einstein's Wife

School Science Review, March 2005, 86 (316), p. 50.

[29] Popović (2003), p. 88.

[30] Popović (2003), pp. 79-80.

[31] Popović (2003), p. 71.

[32] Popović (2003), p. 83.

[33] Renn & Schulmann (1992), p. 62.

[34] Renn & Schulmann (1992), p. 66.

[35] Stachel (2002), p. 44.

[36] Collected Papers, Vol. 3 (1993) (ed. J. Stachel et al), pp. 177-178; Collected Papers, Vol.  3 (1993) (trans. A. Beck, consultant D. Howard), p. 143. See Stachel (2002), p. 47.

[37] Stachel (2002), p. 47; Collected Papers, Vol.  3 (eds. Klein et al, 1993), p. 125.

[38] Collected Papers, Vol. 3 (Beck & Howard, 1993), pp. 1-6.

[39] Popović (2003), p. 97.

[40] Frank, P. (1948). Einstein: His Life and Times. London: Jonathan Cape, pp. 34-35.

[41] Solovine, M and Einstein, A. (1987). Albert Einstein: Letters to Solovine. New York: Philosophical Library, p. 13. (Originally published in French in 1956 with the title: Lettres à Maurice Solovine.)

[42] Popović (2003), p. 83.

[43] Popović (2003), p. 83.

[44] Walker, E. H. Letter in Physics Today, February 1989, p. 11.

[45] Stachel (2002), p. 26. (Talk delivered at the AAAS Session on “The Young Einstein”, New Orleans, 18 February 1990.)

[46] Collected Papers, Vol. 1 (Beck & Havas, 1987), p. 141.

[47] Trbuhović-Gjurić (1988), p. 97; Trbuhović-Gjurić (1991), pp. 111-112.

[48] Troemel-Ploetz, S. (1990). “Mileva Einstein-Marić: The Woman Who Did Einstein’s Mathematics.” Women’s Studies International Forum, Vol. 13, No. 5, p. 419.

[49] Martínez (2005), pp. 51-52; Stachel (2005), pp. liv-lxiii.

[50] Martínez (2005), pp. 51-52; another translation is given in Stachel (2005), p. lvi.

[51] Stachel (2005), p. lxii.

[52] Stachel (2005), pp. lvii-lxii. See also Martínez (2005), p. 52.

[53] Walker (1991), p. 123; Martínez (2005), p. 52; and Esterson (2006):

[54] Trbuhović-Gjurić (1988), p. 6; (1991), pp. 6-7.

[55] E.g., Trbuhović-Gjurić (1988), pp. 41, 90-91, 107-108; (1991), pp. 46-47, 103, 124.

[56] Fölsing, A. (1990). “Keine ‘Mutter der Relativitätstheorie’ “, Die Zeit, Nr. 47, 16 November 1990.

[57] Letter to New York Times Book Review, 8 October 1995. Quoted in D. Brian (1996). Einstein: A Life. New York: Wiley, p. 434.

[58] Pais, A. (1994). Einstein Lived Here. Oxford University Press, p. 2.

[59] Trbuhović-Gjurić (1988), p. 87; Trbuhović-Gjurić (1991), pp. 99-100.

[60] Popović (2003), p. 119.

[61] Trbuhović-Gjurić (1988), p. 93; Trbuhović-Gjurić (1991), p. 106 (my translation – A.E.).

[62] Trbuhović-Gjurić (1988), p. 93; Trbuhović-Gjurić (1991), p. 106 (my translation – A.E.).

[63] Trbuhović-Gjurić (1988), p. 60. Collected Papers, Vol. 1 (Beck & Havas, 1987), p. 141.

[64] Stachel (2002), p. 29.

[65] Trbuhović-Gjurić (1988), p. 90; Trbuhović-Gjurić (1991), p. 103.

[66] Michelmore, P. (1963). Einstein: Profile of the Man, p. 31.

[67] Trbuhović-Gjurić (1988), p. 114; Trbuhović-Gjurić (1991), p. 130.

[68] Collected Papers, Vol.  5 (1995). Beck, A. (trans.) and Howard, D. (consultant), pp. 22-23.

[69] Trbuhović-Gjurić (1988), p. 90; Trbuhović-Gjurić (1991), pp. 102-103. Translation by A. Pais (1994), p. 15.

[70] Walker (1989), p. 11.

[71] Trbuhović-Gjurić (1988), p. 98; Trbuhović-Gjurić (1991), p. 113 (my translation – A.E.).  

[72] Trbuhović-Gjurić (1988), pp. 7, 95; Trbuhović-Gjurić (1991), pp. 8; 109 (my translation – A.E.).                        

[73] Martínez (2005), p. 54.

[74] Troemel-Ploetz (1990), p. 416.

[75] Troemel-Ploetz (1990), p. 421.

[76] Troemel-Ploetz (1990), p. 417.

[77] Troemel-Ploetz (1990), p. 419. 

[78] Michelmore (1963), p. ix.

[79] Troemel-Ploetz (1990), p. 426.

[80] Trbuhović-Gjurić (1988), p. 105; Trbuhović-Gjurić (1991), p. 120.

[81] Troemel-Ploetz (1990), pp. 418-419; Trbuhović-Gjurić (1988), p. 83; Trbuhović-Gjurić (1991), p. 95.

[82] Collected Papers, Vol.  5 (1993) (eds. M. J. Klein et al), pp. 51-55; Fölsing (1997), pp. 239-241.

[83] Collected Papers Vol. 5, Documents 48, 54, 56, 69, 86, 95, 99, 104, 108, 122, 124, 134, 150, 177, 190, 198, 202, 332.

[84] Seelig, C. (1956). Albert Einstein: A Documentary Biography. London: Staples Press, p. 60.

[85] Troemel-Ploetz (1990), p. 420.

[86] Troemel-Ploetz (1990), pp. 429-430.

[87] Popović (2003), p. 56.

[88] Troemel-Ploetz (1990), p. 430.

[89] Stachel (2002), p. 29.

[90] For a more comprehensive critique of Troemel-Ploetz’s 1990 article (and of Trbuhović-Gjurić), see:

See also:

[91] Holton (2000), pp. 190-191.