Einstein's Wife: The Relative Motion of 'Facts'
By Michael Getler
December 15, 2006
*This column was amended on Dec. 26 and Dec. 27, 2006. See Ombudsman's Note at end.
In October 2003, a one-hour documentary film titled "Einstein's Wife," about the renowned physicist's first wife, Mileva Maric, along with a companion Web site about the program, made their debut on PBS.
The film was produced by an Australian filmmaker, Melsa Films, in association with Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) in this country, and the Australian Broadcasting Corp. The film's chief writer and producer at Melsa is Geraldine Hilton. The Web site, developed by OPB, describes itself as reviewing "the core facts described in the documentary, and offers additional detail about the chronology and context of Mileva's life. The site also explores classroom resources designed to encourage students to explore issues related to science, social bias, history, and cultural change." The site lists an OPB team headed by Senior Director Marion Rice as creators of the "Einstein's Wife" online presentation. Rice is no longer with OPB.
The film was shown again on PBS at other times including in August 2005. The Web site is still up and running and DVDs of the program are still on sale via the "shop PBS" link at pbs.org.
Maric, who was married to Albert Einstein from 1903-1919 and the mother of their three children, studied mathematics and physics and was clearly a highly intelligent woman probing the scientific world at a young age and at a time in Europe when women were rarely permitted such opportunities and education. She was also, as many historians have noted, a central figure in Einstein's life; a sounding board, a collaborator in some things, an anchor for his emotions, friend, correspondent and colleague.
But was Maric somehow involved, or did she play some unacknowledged professional/scientific role in, or collaborate on, any of the major breakthroughs and contributions that Einstein is most famously credited with; especially those of that "miracle year" 1905 when he produced papers about the structure of light (that eventually won a Nobel Prize), atomic theory, the special theory of relativity, and the equivalence of mass and energy?
There has, for many years, been speculation in some, relatively narrow quarters about Maric's role, and some natural controversy involving scientists, academicians, linguists and writers surrounding contentions over her allegedly submerged and allegedly newly revealed role. It was into this rather circumscribed controversy that the PBS documentary and Web site landed, expanding the issue beyond the specialists and into the public domain.
Enter Allen Esterson
The film and the Web presentation were produced and aired long before I got here 13 months ago. But in March of this year, a viewer by the name of Allen Esterson, who lives in England and says that the film and Web site had only been drawn to his attention in 2005, wrote to me essentially tearing apart both the documentary and the Web presentation as riddled with inaccuracies and falling, in many, many places, far below standards of historical accuracy. Later he would describe the film to me as "a small masterpiece of historical deception."
I also received a few other letters from viewers who had seen Esterson's by now extensive online writings on the subject and seconded his views. This battle has been carried on in other online postings as well, such as physicsweb and Cosmic Log.
Esterson graduated in physics from University College London in 1958, and held posts as Lecturer in Physics and Mathematics in Colleges of Further Education in London until his retirement in 1994, according to his biography.
"What is truly shocking," he wrote, "is that PBS, which proclaims itself to be the largest educator in the US, should be party to the travesty of education represented by its 'Einstein's Wife' teaching material. Let's be clear about this," Esterson contends. "This is not a question of a difference of view about the evidence. Much of the material in the documentary and the Web site is comprised of misconceptions, demonstrably false assertions, and dubious third or fourth-hand hearsay statements and gossip presented as historical fact." He provided links to his articles and critiques of the documentary and Web site material including the school lesson plans. I'll get to those further along in this column.
Help from the Heavies
Esterson also said: "From email correspondence I know that I have the general support for writing the above articles of the Einstein specialist John Stachel and the historian Robert Schulmann, both of whom were involved in the Collected Papers of Albert Einstein project and have considerable knowledge of the material in question. Both Prof. Stachel and Prof. Schulmann appear in the documentary, but most emphatically do not subscribe to the claims about Mileva Maric's alleged contributions to Einstein's work which it promotes. John Stachel is Professor of Physics Emeritus, Center for Einstein Studies, Boston University. In an email to me he has referred to 'the whole series of entangled falsehoods' that form the basis of the documentary."
And to help me in my work as Ombudsman, Esterson thoughtfully added: "May I remind you that the PBS Editorial Standards and Policies states: 'The honesty and integrity of informational content depends heavily upon its factual accuracy. Every effort must be made to assure that content is presented accurately and in context. Programs, Web sites, and other content containing editorials, analysis, commentary, and points of view must be held to the same standards of factual accuracy as news reports. A commitment to accuracy includes a willingness to correct the record if persuasive new information that warrants a correction comes to light, and to respond to feedback and questions from audiences.'"
It has taken a long time to deal with this complaint, and this is going to be an EXCEEDINGLY LONG column, many times the length of a typical ombudsman's column, although it is still not nearly as long as it could be, which would be tens of thousands of words if I repeated, in full, all of the charges and counter-charges in this dispute. So, here is a brief guide to what follows.
First is a brief explainer about why it took so long. Then come summaries, that I requested, from Esterson of his criticisms of the film and the Web material, along with statements to him and to me, at my request, from three of the scholars appearing in the film. The summaries actually do not do justice to the fullness of Esterson's critiques, so I recommend that you click on at least a couple of the several links to the full-bodied and detailed critiques that appear on his Web site and that have attracted attention from other viewers. Then come the responses from Hilton. Because many of Esterson's critiques are also on the Web, I can use links to refer readers to them. Hilton's responses, on the other hand, came via email and so I have no real choice but to reproduce them here rather than link to them. That adds considerably to the length of the column.
A Layman's Thoughts
Rather than put my comments at the end of this long column, I'm going to say at this point that, after watching and reading, hearing both sides and a lot of back and forth, my view is that Esterson, with the support of scholars cited, presents a more convincing and well documented case that this is a factually flawed and ultimately misleading combination of film and Web presentations.
As a layman, and clearly not a scholar, I don't have anything substantive or factual to contribute to this debate other than to provide some assessment as an impartial viewer and reader. And that assessment is that after watching the film, reading the Web material and then tuning in to the various critiques, I felt that while the story of Mileva Maric is fascinating, tantalizing and deserving of being told, that it also exaggerates her role and takes the viewer and reader too far beyond what is known.
The film was expertly presented. But I felt, in hindsight, that greater care and context was needed in the film, and especially in the companion Web material, if one is going to somehow try to dent or modify the reputation of Albert Einstein. There is not enough sense of uncertainty in the film. Rather, it seems to set out deliberately to create the impression that she was a true partner in the full scientific sense. It doesn't focus on the conceptual component of Einstein's mind in the creative process, his continuing to produce important work, such as the general theory of relativity, later in his career. As a viewer, I was left wondering why, if the thrust of this film is correct, this has not been a huge story in the scientific world and with the public. Esterson's critique, along with the scholars, explains, in my view, why this is not a huge story; because the known facts and evidence do not back it up.
As a reader, the Web site and the "classroom" material, in particular, struck me as having a clear and inappropriate tone of advocacy for the role of women in science and the theme that their contributions, using Maric as an example, have been repressed and under represented. This is a worthy subject on many levels. But when the message is based on thin or non-existent evidence, then it becomes the opposite of what education should involve and is of no real service. The classroom material suggests teachers make a "comparison of the lives and careers of Marie Curie and Mileva Maric; and an examination of social-historical restrictions on women." Curie (1867-1934) was one of the world's great scientists. There is no record that would put Maric in that category.
Just in case students don't get the message, the Web presentation asks them to take part in a poll that asks: "Did Mileva collaborate with Albert on the scientific papers of 1905?" Not surprisingly, 79 percent of those who took the poll answered "yes" to the question.
The preface to the poll says: "Was it really possible for Albert, alone, to produce all of the phenomenal physics generated during 1905, his annus mirabilis? Scientists and historians continue to debate the question. If the original manuscripts of Einstein's 1905 papers are ever found, the mystery might be solved. In 1955, a Soviet physicist (now deceased) claimed that he personally saw the original manuscripts, and that Mileva's name appeared as co-author. You decide."
The reference to the deceased Soviet physicist is a powerful part of the film and has been attacked by Esterson, the historians previously mentioned and others. Here is how Alberto A. Martinez, at the time a research fellow at the Center for Einstein Studies, summed it up in an article on the physicsweb.org site in April 2004:
"They refer to Abram Joffe and reproduce a fragment of a page on which the name 'Einstein-Marity' appears in Russian. (Maric used her surname in the form 'Marity' when Joffe met her when once seeking Einstein in Switzerland.)
"But Joffe made no such claim. What he actually wrote, in an obituary for Einstein in 1955, was 'In 1905, three articles appeared in the Annalen der Physik which began three very important branches of 20th-century physics. Those were the theory of Brownian motion, the photon theory of light, and the theory of relativity. The author of these articles, an unknown person at the time, was a bureaucrat at the Patent Office in Bern, Einstein-Marity' (Marity — the maiden name of his wife, which by Swiss custom is added to the husband's family name).
"On this shred of non-evidence, some proponents of Maric have speculated that Joffe subconsciously believed that she was a co-author. This conspiracy theory is buoyed by carelessness. For example, the excerpt shown on television and on the website with the name Einstein-Marity is not even from Joffe's note, but from that of another writer, Danil Semenovich Danin, who mistakenly paraphrased in 1962 that the papers were 'signed' Einstein-Marity. Yet neither writer claimed that Maric had contributed to any papers, nor that they (or anyone) had seen her name on the manuscripts."
Pull the Plug
I don't have the authority to force PBS to do anything, but my recommendation would be for OPB and PBS to engage a small group of acknowledged Einstein scholars, with expertise in physics, and science historians to review this as well. In the meanwhile, I would recommend, pending a more scholarly assessment, shutting down the Web site until errors or statements that could be misleading are dealt with and greater context is provided. I don't know how you deal with the film except perhaps to not offer it for sale any longer until a further review is in hand.
Just before this column was scheduled to be posted, David Davis, the national production chief at OPB, messaged me, and Esterson, that, "Given the ongoing dispute regarding the accuracy of both the program and the content of the companion Web site on PBS.org, OPB has asked PBS to pull the Web site until we can more thoroughly review the criticisms of the web content in light of the response to those criticisms from the producer, Gerry Hilton." Hilton's full responses to Esterson's critiques only arrived today (Dec. 15). They are printed at the end of this column. Davis' message goes on to say that once those responses are in hand, "we will decide what, if any, changes we need to make to the web site and whether or not to reactivate it."
But, PBS officials said later that PBS policy is not to take the site down. "In line with PBS's Web production manual policies on correcting and updating site content, PBS is asking that the site be reviewed and, if necessary, any substantial content modifications should be accompanied by an editor's note or other explanation," according to Kevin Dando, director of education and online communications. "At the heart of it is that everything is visible every step of the way," he said.
Under "Correcting and Updating Site Content," the PBS Web production manual says, in part:
"When updating or otherwise substantively changing site content, producers should remember that it is extremely important to make the fact that they have done so — and, in some cases, why they have done so — transparent to the user. Content published on the Web is published and should not be changed or removed as if it never existed in the first place. Undocumented changes detract from a site's credibility and may be confusing for users who have visited a site previously; in addition, servers may hold cached versions of the uncorrected pages, so two versions of the same page may be circulating on the Web."
For my money, this is a bad idea, no matter what the guidelines say. It could take a long time to settle on changes and the site remains up all the while, with its teaching and classroom materials, for a program that is already three years old.
As to why this took so long: I passed along Esterson's original message in March right away to OPB's Davis, asking for reaction and response. He passed it promptly to Hilton, the Australian producer. She responded promptly, saying that she also took "their assertions seriously which is why I adhered to rigorous academic standards in our research when preparing this documentary." Hilton, however, said she was on another film shoot and would need several weeks to address these concerns. She added that "it is worth noting that Mr. Esterson exclusively quotes hostile pro-Einstein scholars to support his 'arguments' and, in particular, John Stachel."
After further prodding of me by Esterson and by me of OPB and Hilton, she replied somewhat more fully in July. That response is printed below, but she also noted that it would take "an inordinate amount of time to go back through our research materials" which had already been archived. After further messages from me and Davis, and, of course, the relentless Esterson, Hilton said she would be back in her office on Dec. 9 and would respond further. That was received early today and is also recorded below.
First, here is Esterson's accounting, which is very succinct, at my request, in order to keep this column from becoming totally unreadable for all but the main characters:
'Einstein's Wife' Documentary: List of Errors
Below is a list of errors, misrepresentations, and contentions lacking substantive evidence, in the "Einstein's Wife" film.
Note: For a full critique of the film, including the detailed documenting of the errors, see http://www.esterson.org/einsteinwife1.htm.
1. Maric was not a "brilliant mathematician."
2. There is no evidence that Maric "collaborated with Einstein on his 1905 papers on Brownian Motion, Special Relativity and the photoelectric effect.
3. The account of the discovery of the Einstein/Maric letters is "totally and unequivocally false" [Robert Schulmann].
4. The publication of the Einstein/Maric letters did not "rock the international scientific community."
5. Maric did not "specialise in theoretical physics."
6. Lenard was not "one of the great pioneers of quantum physics."
7. Maric did not keep Einstein "abreast of" the "brave new world" of the photoelectric effect, etc.
8. There is no evidence that Maric "cut classes" at Zurich Polytechnic.
9. Maric was not, with Einstein, "trying to solve the puzzles of the universe in mathematical form . . ."
10. Einstein did not "fail [his] final exams."
11. The board of examiners did not "round Albert's mark to a pass."
12. Troemel-Ploetz's "explanation" for Maric's failure that "Einstein already has his diploma and she doesn't need one, one is enough in one family" is absurd, as they didn't marry until nearly three years later.
13. Einstein's personal research on physics did not depend on "Mileva's access and good standing with their professor [Weber] to keep their private research alive."
14. 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, the Special Relativity theory was only arrived at by Einstein several years later.
15. Maric was not with Einstein when he inaugurated the "Olympia Academy" in 1902.
16. Solovine did not say of Maric that, "She occasionally joined in." He said the opposite, that she listened but never contributed to the discussions. Solovine did not say of Maric that she was "clearly more interested in physics than housework."
17. The evidence that "Mileva's father visits them shortly after the birth and offers Einstein a handsome dowry" is based on dubious third-hand reminiscences obtained decades later.
18. There is no serious evidence that Einstein told Maric's father, "I didn't marry her for money. I married her because I love her, because we are one. She is my guardian angel against the sins of life and especially so in the sciences." It is a fourth-hand report of reminiscences by an interested party obtained decades later.
18. The "Einsteins" did not submit five papers for publication in 1905. Einstein alone did that.
19. Maric did not "review scientific papers."
20. There is no serious evidence that Maric told Einstein in private conversation: "This is a great achievement, a beautiful achievement."
21. Maric did not work with Einstein on the E=mc2 1905 paper.
22. Abraham Joffe did not "cite both Albert's and Mileva's names on the original manuscripts" of 1905.
23. The fragment of a page shown on the screen is not from the work the narrator claims.
24. There is no serious evidence "they debated, calculated and read and write about science problems" at this time.
25. There is no evidence that Mileva Maric's "name was removed" as co-author from the 1905 papers, since it wasn't there in the first place.
26. There is not a scrap of evidence that Maric "actually prepares some of Einstein's [public] lectures."
27. The statement in the voice of "Einstein" at the end of the documentary, "Without her I would never have started my work, and certainly not finished it," is without foundation. It is also absurd, because at that time (1904 according to the narrator earlier in the film) Einstein had scarcely begun his work, and it is inconceivable that he would have said he'd "finished it."
'Einstein's Wife' PBS Web Site: List of Errors
Below is a list of errors, misrepresentations, and contentions lacking substantive evidence, on the PBS "Einstein's Wife" Web site and associated Lesson Plans for school students.
Note: For a full critique of the PBS Web site material, including the detailed documenting of the errors, see http://www.esterson.org/einsteinwife2.htm.
1. Mileva Maric was not "erased from history."
2. Einstein wrote no personal autobiographies, only intellectual autobiographical articles.
3. Einstein did mention Maric in one of the autobiographical sketches.
4. Virtually all biographies of Einstein before 1987 mention Maric.
5. There is no evidence that "Einstein's executrix systematically destroyed potential evidence" about Maric's alleged role in his work.
6. There is no evidence that Einstein "demands all her time" when Maric 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 Maric's, "We finished some important work that will make my husband world famous" is unreliable third-hand gossip.
9. Maric 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 Maric 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 Maric collaborated on the 1905 papers.
13. Joffe nowhere "declares that he personally saw 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 Maric'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 Maric Einstein."
18. Maric was not "a gifted scholar and scientist" before she met Einstein. She had just graduated from high school.
19. The only documented "knowledge" Maric "shared with Albert" was a short rather jocular passage about one lecture on the speed of oxygen molecules.
20. There is no evidence that Maric was doing any extra-curricular "research."
21. Maric'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. Maric 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 Maric "studied physics at the highest levels" is totally without evidential support.
25. There is no evidence that Maric 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 Maric 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 Maric "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. Maric 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. Maric did not learn "cutting edge physics" with Lenard.
34. There is no evidence that Maric "cut classes" at Zurich Polytechnic.
35. There is no evidence that Einstein's diploma "grades were rounded up to a passing mark."
Here's the Omb Again, and the Scholars
Okay, I'm back in the text for a moment. Here are various on-the-record statements about the film and Web presentation from three of the Einstein scholars who appear in the film, all of whom say they agree with Esterson's assessments. Some of these comments were in response to my inquiries (for example, one of the things I asked is why they waited so long to say something and whether they contacted PBS at the time) and some come from comments they made to Esterson that have since been made available to me.
This from Robert Schulmann, former Professor of History at Boston University and associate editor on the Collected Papers of Albert Einstein project:
"Soon after 'Einstein's Wife' was aired on PBS and after scrutinizing the PBS website dealing with the film, I wrote an email to the writer/producer, Ms. Geraldine Hilton, and her company, Melsa Productions. In it I expressed my anger at the distasteful manipulation of facts in which she had engaged. I never heard a word in response.
"Whatever her intentions, Ms. Hilton chose to misrepresent my comments in her film, adding insult to injury by crowing later that she had put one over on the Einstein scholars. (Ombudsman's note: See explanation below.) Aside from the pettiness of this remark, I deeply resent how by misrepresentation and stripping of context, Ms. Hilton's film skewed statements made by Holton, Stachel and myself, as well as twisted facts, most egregiously in the case of the so-called Joffe evidence. This goes well beyond personal insult. It is unconscionable that PBS be a party to distributing this dishonest presentation as classroom material to teachers and students, whose task it is to instruct and learn the proper use of evidence and respect for historical sources. At the very least, I think PBS should withdraw its recommendation of the Hilton film — and the film itself — as the basis for school curricula. Whatever the agenda of Melsa Productions, falsehoods and shoddy research have no place in the public arena. After many years as a grateful consumer of Public Broadcasting Company programs, I am convinced that PBS shares this concern."
A Comment to a Newspaper
The "remark" that Schulmann and others refer to comes from an interview with Hilton in the Australian newspaper the Byron Shire Echo on April 20, 2004. The story reported that, "The greatest difficulty in the research however was a fear by Einstein supporters that his name would be tainted but Ms. Hilton and her female researcher overcame that by playing on that Aussie laissez-faire attitude that people mistook for harmlessness or ineptitude."
Then the story explains by quoting Hilton as saying: "She's just an Aussie director, 'what would she know', is what they'd think, we'd act dumb, we're just a couple of Aussie chicks and they'd think, 'what would we know,' said Ms. Hilton."
This from Gerald Holton, Professor of Physics and Professor of the History of Science, Emeritus, at Harvard University:
"As to my 'not coming forward', as you report them to have said: I sure did, as many of my friends and colleagues will confirm. I told them how I felt to have been tricked into appearing in this awful film, because the film people said it was to be about Albert Einstein — not a word about his wife being made the main character, with entirely false claims. Thereby they also demeaned Mileva, about whose true, respectable role I and others have written."
This is what Holton wrote to Esterson earlier about the film portrayal of Maric:
"Ironically, the exaggeration of Mileva's scientific role, far beyond what she herself ever claimed or could be proved, only detracts both from her real and significant place in history, and from the tragic unfulfillment of her early hopes and promise. For she was one of the pioneers in the movement to bring women into science, even if she did not reap its benefits. At great personal sacrifice, as it later turned out, she seems to have been essential to Albert during the onerous years of his most creative early period, not only as anchor of his emotional life, but also as a sympathetic companion with whom he could sound out his highly unconventional ideas during the years when he was undergoing the quite unexpected, rapid metamorphosis from eager student to first-rank scientist."
This from John Stachel, Professor of Physics, Emeritus, and Director of the Center for Einstein Studies at Boston University and first editor of the Einstein Papers:
"I did make an attempt to contact PBS by email long ago, and also wrote an email directly to Geraldine Hilton, explaining that I felt I had been 'set up' by her. I often expressed misgivings to her before and during the filming about how objective she would be, and she reassured me that the film would present both sides fairly; but now she boasts about her false pretences of innocence, just so that she could get and use a snippet from a long interview with me as a foil for a 'rebuttal' in the film." (Ombudsman's note: This is also a reference to the comment in the Australian news story, above).
Stachel also wrote this: "I concur with Mr. Esterson's assessments, many of which are based on my own publications. See (or rather let me advise your readers to see) "The Young Einstein: Poetry and Truth" and "Albert Einstein and Mileva Maric: A Collaboration that Failed to Develop," both in my book "Einstein from 'B' to 'Z'"; and especially the Appendix to the New Introduction to the Centennial Edition of "Einstein's Miraculous Year," which deconstructs the only documentary item, the so-called "Russian evidence," offered in the PBS film in support of its claims about Maric's role in the papers published in 1905."
And In This Corner . . .
Here is what Geraldine Hilton, producer of "Einstein's Wife," wrote back in July in her first substantive response to the complaints received some months earlier from Esterson, via my office and Davis' office at OPB:
"You will have noted the authors of 'Mileva Maric: Einstein's Wife' (Ombudsman's note: This is a reference to Esterson's online critique of the film referenced above.) have outlined 92 citations in their attempt to discredit our documentary 'Einstein's Wife.' The question has to be asked why Esterson took so long to respond to the documentary. He states he has the support of Stachel, Holton and Schulmann, all interviewees in the documentary and yet not one has come forward and claimed they were misrepresented because they weren't. For example, Esterson's citation at  states that Mileva 'gives not the slightest suggestion to her friend that she made any contribution' (to the Paper on Capillarity). However, Robert Schulmann, (one of Esterson's supporters) an interviewee in the documentary states: 'It's very conceivable that Mileva had input on the paper, on Capillarity. That of course has nothing to do with special relativity. But it is fair enough to say that Mileva could conceivably have contributed to the first paper of his.' Schulmann admitted this after being handed a document which appears in The Collected Works of Albert Einstein which supported his statement.
"I have read through Esterson's article carefully, and there is nothing which refutes the case we outline in the film. Much of their argument is based on their own subjective, pedantry interpretation such as the use of 'personal pronouns.' There is much groundless duplication of arguments such as the use of 'Einstein-Marity,' which we dealt with in the documentary by obtaining articles in German, Russian and Serbian which required costly translations and resulted in providing solid counter arguments.
"The documentary research materials have since been archived and I simply do not have the resources to write a corresponding 10,000 word academic paper in response to Esterson's assertions. It will take an inordinate amount of time to go back through our research materials, including many duplicated in Esterson's bibliography. It would require going back to interviewees, some of whom have moved on to other institutions, cross reference again to our sources and then writing up a comprehensive paper. This is the reason we made the film rather than an article or book."
For those of you still with us, here is the bulk of Esterson's response to Hilton:
"Geraldine Hilton asks: 'The question has to be asked why Esterson took so long to respond to the documentary.'
"The simple answer to this is that as I live in the UK I had no knowledge of the 'Einstein's Wife' film and PBS website until it was drawn to my attention in November 2005. As for Hilton's saying in relation to Stachel, Holton and Schulmann that 'not one has come forward and claimed they were misrepresented because they weren't,' that is beside the point. They don't say their limited contributions were misrepresented. They do, however, say that the film presents a view of the alleged contributions of Maric to Einstein's work that is a travesty of the ascertainable historical record. See, for instance: http://www.butterfliesandwheels.com/articleprint.php?num=201
"I note that Hilton make no attempt to rebut specific arguments in relation to factual information, she simply responds in general terms without getting to grips with the points she purports to answer. For instance, she writes: 'Much of their argument is based on their own subjective, pedantry interpretation such as the use of 'personal pronouns'."
"Since I detail a whole range of erroneous or misleading statements in the film, Hilton's writing that much of my argument relates to the use of personal pronouns gives some indication of the inadequacy of her response.
"To describe Stachel's detailed analysis of the use of personal pronouns by Einstein in relation to his extra-curricular activities in the letters to Maric from 1898-1901 as pedantic indicates that Hilton has little notion of what constitutes scholarly research. What Stachel has documented is that against Einstein's rare use of the collective 'we' or 'our' in these letters in relation to extra-curricular topics (to be distinguished from their co-operative work related to their diploma dissertation topics) there are numerous occasions in which he refers to 'his' work in relation to the same subject matter. For instance, the last two relevant letters by Einstein contain the following sentences: 'I'm busily at work on an electrodynamics of moving bodies, which promises to be quite a capital piece of work.' (17 December 1901) 'I spent all afternoon at [Professor] Kleiner's in Zurich telling him about my ideas about the electrodynamics of moving bodies.' (19 December 1901)
"Hilton failed to mention either of these sentences in her film — and many other like instances that Stachel cites. No doubt she thinks it would have been pedantic to have done so. Others will recognize this omission as illustrative of the tendentiously flawed nature of her film. In any case, as I'm sure Hilton fails to appreciate, in the letters in question Einstein was still working on the basis of Galilean motion relative to the ether, and they were written some four years or more before Einstein alighted on his special relativity principle (which dispensed with the ether), published in 1905.
"In my critique I noted that in her letter to her friend Helene Kaufler, Maric had written of the 1901 capillarity paper: 'Albert wrote a paper in physics that will probably soon be published in the Annalen der Physik. You can imagine how proud I am of my darling.' I said that this does not read as if Maric had any substantive input to this paper. Hilton responds by quoting Robert Schulmann's saying it is very conceivable that she made a contribution. Evidently she fails to grasp the distinction between something being 'conceivable', and hard 'evidence' that it was the case. (A great many contentions are conceivable, but nevertheless false.) The fact remains that, as I wrote, there is not the slightest suggestion in any of the letters Maric wrote to Kaufler that she made any contribution to Einstein's published papers, and Hilton has produced nothing that refutes my statement. In any case, the main issue is whether Maric made any contribution to the groundbreaking papers written 'four years later', in 1905, a crucial point which Hilton fails to address in her response, and for which there is no serious evidence.
"Hilton writes: 'There is much groundless duplication of arguments such as the use of 'Einstein-Marity,' which we dealt with in the documentary by obtaining articles in German, Russian and Serbian which required costly translations and resulted in providing solid counter arguments.'
"It is difficult to see what the fact that articles were obtained in German and Serbian has to do with the content of the passage in question (by the Soviet scientist Abraham Joffe). Contrary to the claims made in the film, the original passage in Russian unambiguously attributes the celebrated 1905 articles to a single author, 'a bureaucrat at the Patent Office in Bern,' namely Albert Einstein.
"Hilton gives away the flawed nature of her research when she writes of articles being obtained in Serbian and German. Presumably she is referring predominantly to the biography of Maric by Desanka Trbuhovic-Gjuric (many of whose dubious claims are stated as fact in the film), originally published in Serbian, later translated into the more accessible German. But all Trbuhovic-Gjuric provides is a grossly misleading 'paraphrase' of the passage in question. There was no need for translations from Serbian or German articles; all that matters is what is in the original Russian article by Joffe — and that makes no claim of his having seen the original papers, and unambiguously attributes the 1905 papers to a single author. Paraphrases in Serbian or German that misrepresent the passage in question are useless for obtaining the facts, yet Hilton's words show that she has used such flawed 'evidence' (otherwise why mention translations from Serbian and German?). See: http://www.butterfliesandwheels.com/articleprint.php?num=183
"I should add that the (false) claims about Joffe would entail that Maric co-authored the three most celebrated of Einstein's 1905 papers. But there is not a 'single' document to indicate Maric had any ideas about special relativity theory, Brownian Motion and the photoelectric effect. Nor is there a single letter or other document in which Maric even remotely suggests she made any contributions to these papers.
"The bulk of the case made in the film rests on the assertions of Evan Harris Walker and Senta Troemel-Ploetz (recycling claims from the book by Desanka Trbuhovic-Gjuric). John Stachel has refuted many of the central claims previously made by Walker and Troemel-Ploetz in his book 'Einstein From B to Z' (2002), pp. 31-38, and I have examined their wider claims (and those of Trbuhovic-Gjuric) in the following online articles showing that the scholarship of all three is deeply flawed: http://www.esterson.org/Who_Did_Einsteins_Mathematics.htm, http://www.esterson.org/Walker_Physics_Today.htm, http://www.esterson.org/milevamaric.htm.
Finally, here is . . .
Hilton's Response to Esterson's Critique of the Documentary
1. Maric was not a "brilliant mathematician." IN UNDERTAKING STUDIES IN THEORETICAL PHYSICS MARIC, AS INDEED ANY STUDENT, HAD TO BE HIGHLY PROFICIENT IN MATHEMATICS AS ANY PHYSICIST WILL ATTEST. DESANKA Trbuhovic-Gjuric, IN HER BIOGRAPHY OF MILEVA MARIC LOCATED MARIC'S HIGH SCHOOL RESULTS. DORD KRSTIC, ANOTHER BIOGRAPHER OF MARIC, CITES HER TRANSCRIPTS. SEE FOLLOWING:
1890 Graduation — Mileva Maric's best grades were in mathematics and physics. (Krstic, Dord 1991). Maric was accepted as a private student at the Royal School in Zagreb. She received a special permission to participate in the physics class, usually only held for boys. (Trbuhovic-Gjuric 1983; Krstic 1991).
Summer 1896 — Maric studies medicine for one semester at the University of Zurich.
Winter 1896 — Maric starts studies in mathemathics and physics in Switzerland at ETH Zurich. This was the only University in the area to accept women for the final exams. She is the fifth woman to study physics at ETH, the only one in her year.
1897 — Maric studies in Heidelberg, Germany (Theory of numbers, analytical mechanics, differential and integral calculus, elliptical functions, theory of heat, electrodynamics. (Trbuhovic-Gjuric, 4. Auflage 1984,p.49, and ETH-Archiv der wissenschaftlich-historischen Abteilung)
1898 — Back to Zurich. Intensive collaboration between Mileva Maric, Albert Einstein, Marcel Grossmann, Michele Besso.(Michelmore 1968, p. 35, 36, 56).
2. There is no evidence that Maric "collaborated with Einstein on his 1905 papers on Brownian Motion, Special Relativity and the photoelectric effect. REFER BELOW.
3. The account of the discovery of the Einstein/Maric letters is "totally and unequivocally false" [Robert Schulmann]. THE DOCUMENTARY DREW ON THE ACCOUNT AS TOLD BY ROBERT SCHULMANN IN HIS INTERVIEW. IT WAS TRUNCATED FOR BREVITY'S SAKE.
4. The publication of the Einstein/Maric letters did not "rock the international scientific community." THIS IS TAKEN FROM NEWSPAPER REPORTS AT THE TIME OF THE DISCOVERY OF THE LOVE LETTERS. FOR EXAMPLE:
The Boston Globe
OUT FROM THE SHADOWS OF 'GREAT' MEN
Author: Ellen Goodman, Globe Staff
Date: Thursday, March 15, 1990
Section: OP-ED PAGE
"Mileva Maric, fellow student and first wife of the famed Albert, is starring in one of the hottest controversies to hit the dry, footnoted world of historians and scientists. Ever since the American Association for the Advancement of Science held a panel on the subject last month there have been letters, counter-letters and counter-counter-letters."
5. Maric did not "specialise in theoretical physics." MARIC AND EINSTEIN WERE THE ONLY TWO STUDENTS WHO UNDERTOOK THEORETICAL PHYSICS IN THEIR DEGREE THAT YEAR. IT IS REASONABLE TO CONCLUDE THAT BEING THE CASE, THAT THEORETICAL PHYSICS HELD A SPECIAL INTEREST FOR BOTH OF THEM.
6. Lenard was not "one of the great pioneers of quantum physics." REFER BELOW. LENARD WAS STRONGLY ANTI-SEMITIC WHICH WE STRONGLY OPPOSE, HOWEVER, THIS DOES NOT DETRACT FROM HIS SCIENTIFIC WORK.
7. Maric did not keep Einstein "abreast of" the "brave new world" of the photoelectric effect, etc. MARIC’S LETTER TO EINSTEIN DETAILS HER EXCITEMENT IN ATTENDING LENARD'S LECTURE. REFER TO WEBSITE REBUTTALS ON LENARD'S PIONEERING WORK ON PHOTOELECTRIC EFFECT.
8. There is no evidence that Maric "cut classes" at Zurich Polytechnic. THERE ARE LETTERS WHICH SPEAK OF MARIC SPENDING LESS TIME ATTENDING LECTURES. ROBERT SCHULMANN STATES IN HIS INTERVIEW THAT SHE CUT CLASSES.
9. Maric was not, with Einstein, "trying to solve the puzzles of the universe in mathematical form . . ." CAN ESTERSON PROVIDE EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY? REFER TO THEIR SON, HANS WHO SAW THEM WORKING TOGETHER AS WELL AS A STUDENT WHO LIVED WITH THEM.
10. Einstein did not "fail [his] final exams." A MARK OF FIVE WAS NEEDED AT THE TIME OF THEIR STUDIES TO PASS. EINSTEIN ACHIEVED 4.9.
11. The board of examiners did not "round Albert's mark to a pass." SEE ABOVE #10.
12. Troemel-Ploetz's "explanation" for Maric's failure that "Einstein already has his diploma and she doesn't need one, one is enough in one family" is absurd, as they didn't marry until nearly three years later. THERE ARE NUMEROUS STUDIES AND PAPERS WHICH CONCLUDE THAT FEMALE UNDERGRADUATES, ACADEMICS, RESEARCHERS, WRITERS ETC., ARE PENALISED IN THEIR MARKS WHEN COMPARED TO MALE UNDERGRADUATES. BLINDFOLD STUDIES HAVE BEEN DONE WHERE STUDENTS SUBMIT WORK WITHOUT NAMES, WHICH WHEN RESUBMITTED WITH NAMES ATTACHED SHOWED WIDE VARIENCE IN MARKS WITH FEMALES SCORING FAR LESS THAN THEIR MALE COLLEAGUES IN THE BLIND SUBMISSION. IT WAS WELL KNOWN BEFORE THE END OF THEIR STUDIES, THAT MARIC AND EINSTEIN WERE LOVERS. IN CORRESPONDENCE TO EINSTEIN, MARIC STRONGLY INDICATED THAT SHE HAD A PERSONALITY CLASH WITH ONE OF HER LECTURERS. REFER STUDIES BY:
Steinpreis, R.E., Anders, K. A., & Ritzke, D. The impact of gender on the review of the curricula vitae of job applicants and tenure candidates: A National Empirical Study. Sex Roles: A Journal of Research Vol 41, Nos 7/8, 1999 pp509-528.
For Woman In Science, Slow Progress In Academia, Sara Reimer, New York Times April 15th, 2005.
C. Wenners and A. Wold, "Nepotism and Sexism in Peer-`Review", Nature, 387 (22 May 1997) pp. 341-343.
M. A. Paludi and L. A. Strayer, "`What's in an Author's Name? Different Evaluations of Performance as a Function of Author's Name,"' Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, 12 (1985) pp. 353-361.
M. A. Paludi and W. D. Bauer, "`Goldberg Revisited: What's in an Author's Name,'' Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, 9 (1983) pp. 387-390.
Top, Titia J. "Sex Bias in the Evaluation of Performance in the Scientific, Artistic, and Literary Professions: A Review." Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, 24 (1991) 73 — 106. Criticism of some studies that have found bias in evaluations of work, depending on whether the judge thought the author male or female.
Cathy Kessel and others mentioned Neal Koblitz's AWN newsletter article Are Student Ratings Unfair to Women?
13. Einstein's personal research on physics did not depend on "Mileva's access and good standing with their professor [Weber] to keep their private research alive." THIS IS A BLATENTLY FALSE STATEMENT. EINSTEIN STATES IN ONE OF HIS LETTERS TO MILEVA THAT SHE MUST KEEP IN THE GOOD BOOKS WTH PROFESSOR WEBER WHO WAS SUPERVISING HER DOCTORATE BECAUSE THEY NEEDED THE USE OF HIS LABORATORY FOR THEIR OWN RESEARCH.
14. 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, the Special Relativity theory was only arrived at by Einstein several years later. FALSE. MARIC AND EINSTEIN'S LETTERS TO EACH OTHER TALK ABOUT THE LATEST SCIENTIFIC BOOKS BEING READ BY THEM WHICH WERE NOT PART OF THEIR CURRICULUM.
15. Maric was not with Einstein when he inaugurated the "Olympia Academy" in 1902. THIS HAS NO BEARING ON THE FACT THAT MILEVA ATTENDED THESE WITH EINSTEIN WHEN SHE JOINED HIM SEVERAL MONTHS LATER. EYEWITNESS ACCOUNTS FROM MAURICE SOLOVINE WHO ATTENDED THEM DETAILS HER ATTENDANCE.
16. Solovine did not say of Maric that "she occasionally joined in." He said the opposite, that she listened but never contributed to the discussions. Solovine did not say of Maric that she was "clearly more interested in physics than housework." THESE WERE DIRECT QUOTES FROM DENIS OVERBYE IN HIS INTERVIEW BASED ON HIS BOOK "A SCIENTIFIC ROMANCE." SOLOVINE DID STATE "Mileva, intelligent and reserved, listened to us attentively."
17. The evidence that "Mileva's father visits them shortly after the birth and offers Einstein a handsome dowry" is based on dubious third-hand reminiscences obtained decades later. WHY IS THE SOURCE WHO IS QUOTED AS SAYING THIS DUBIOUS? IS ESTERSON A SCIENCE HISTORIAN?
18. There is no serious evidence that Einstein told Maric's father "I didn't marry her for money. I married her because I love her, because we are one. She is my guardian angel against the sins of life and especially so in the sciences." It is a fourth-hand report of reminiscences by an interested party obtained decades later. REFER TO Trbuhovic-Gjuric, BIOGRAPHY.
19. The "Einsteins" did not submit five papers for publication in 1905. Einstein alone did that. IT WAS A COLLABORATIVE EFFORT. THE FACT THAT EINSTEIN'S NAME WAS ON THE PAPERS DOES NOT DISCOUNT MARIC'S CONTRIBUTION.
20. Maric did not "review scientific papers." INCORRECT — SHE DID.
21. There is no serious evidence that Maric told Einstein in private conversation: "This is a great achievement, a beautiful achievement." THE DOCUMENTARY'S SOURCE WAS Trbuhovic-Gjuric biography on Mileva.
22. Maric did not work with Einstein on the E=mc2 1905 paper. WHY THEN DID EINSTEIN WRITE TO MARIC "'How happy and proud I will be, when we two together have victoriously led our work on relative motion to an end!' — Albert Einstein." EINSTEIN'S WORDS ARE EVIDENCE ALONE THAT THEY HAD ALREADY COMMENCED JOINT RESEARCH ON RELATIVE MOTION THEORY.
23. Abraham Joffe did not "cite both Albert's and Mileva's names on the original manuscripts" of 1905. ESTERSON ADMITS THAT "It is unusual that Joffe this one time happened to refer to Einstein by the name 'Einstein-Marity'!!! REFER BELOW #23.
24. The fragment of a page shown on the screen is not from the work the narrator claims. A. F. Joffe (also: Ioffe), "In Remembrance of Albert Einstein", Uspekhi Fizicheskikh Nauk, Volume 57, Number 2, (1955), p. 187. THE 'FRAGMENT' IN THE DOCUMENTARY IS FROM AN ARTICLE WRITTEN BY DANIL DANNIN, RUSSIAN AUTHOR WHO QUOTED DIRECTLY FROM ABRAM JOFFE'S OBITUARY ON ALBERT EINSTEIN IN 1955. THE QUOTE IS JOFFE'S. ABRAHAM F JOFFE, A MEMBER OF THE SOVIET ACADEMY OF SCIENCES, CLAIMED THAT HE SAW THE ORIGINAL PAPERS WHEN HE WAS AN ASSISTANT TO WILHELM RONTGEN WHO BELONGED TO THE EDITORIAL BOARD OF ANNALEN DER PHYSIK WHICH PUBLISHED THE ARTICLES. AN ARTICLE IN A 1955 SOVIET JOURNAL BY DANIL DANNIN QUOTES JOFFE, NOW DECEASED, AS ASCRIBING THE 1905 PAPERS TO 'EINSTEIN-MARITY' MELSA FILMS OBTAINED THE ORIGINAL MICROFICHE OF DANNIN'S ARTICLE AND HAD IT TRANSLATED. ESTERSON DOES NOT DISPUTE THE QUOTATION THAT THE NAMES 'EINSTEIN-MARITY' WERE SEEN BY JOFFE ON THE ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPTS SUBMITTED FOR PUBLICATION IN 1905. THEIR DISPUTE IS IN THE INTERPRETATION OF THE USE OF THE NAMES "EINSTEIN-MARITY." WE DISPUTE THEIR CLAIM PARTICULARLY WHEN EINSTEIN NEVER REFERRED TO HIMSELF AS EINSTEIN-MARITY IN LATER PUBLISHED WORKS. MARITY WAS MARIC'S HUNGARIANISED MAIDEN NAME. MELSA FILMS MAKES NO CLAIM AS TO WHY THE SPECIAL RELATIVITY PAPER WAS THEN PUBLISHED IN EINSTEIN'S NAME ALONE.
25. There is no serious evidence "they debated, calculated and read and write about science problems" at this time. AGAIN THE USE OF THE WORD 'SERIOUS' IS AN ATTEMPT TO DIMINISH WRITTEN EVIDENCE FROM PRIMARY SOURCE DOCUMENTATION SUCH AS LETTERS WHICH SPEAK ABOUT MARIC SPENDING ALL HER TIME WITH EINSTEIN WORKING TOGETHER. E.G. AND THIS IS IN 1910! "Svetozar Varicak, a student who lived with the Einsteins for several months in about 1910, remembered how Maric, after a day of cleaning, cooking and caring for the children, would then busy herself with Einstein's mathematical calculations, often working late into the night. Varicak said he remembered feeling 'so sorry for Mileva' that he sometimes helped her with the housework" Source: Trbuhovic-Gjuric. ADDITIONALLY, "DURING THE EARLY YEARS OF THEIR MARRIAGE, WHICH ARE ALSO THE MOST PRODUCTIVE PERIOD OF EINSTEIN'S CAREER, EINSTEIN CREDITS MARIC WITH 'SOLVING ALL OF HIS MATHEMATICAL PROBLEMS,' A FACT CONFIRMED BY THEIR SON HANS ALBERT. SOURCE: DORD KRISTIC — INTERVIEW WITH HANS ALBERT EINSTEIN.
26. There is no evidence that Mileva Maric's "name was removed" as co-author from the 1905 papers, since it wasn't there in the first place. JOFFE SAID HE SAW THE NAMES 'EINSTEIN-MARITY' ON THE ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT. JOFFE WAS AND REMAINS A HIGHLY REGARDED SCIENTIST IN THE SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY.
27. There is not a scrap of evidence that Maric "actually prepares some of Einstein's [public] lectures." YES THERE IS. REF: DORD KRSTIC WHO HAS A COPY OF ONE OF EINSTEIN'S LECTURES WHICH IS WRITTEN IN MILEVA'S HAND.
28. The statement in the voice of "Einstein" at the end of the documentary, "Without her I would never have started my work, and certainly not finished it," is without foundation. It is also absurd, because at that time (1904 according to the narrator earlier in the film) Einstein had scarcely begun his work, and it is inconceivable that he would have said he'd "finished it." THESE OBJECTIONS ARE PLAINLY BIASED. THIS STATEMENT IS AN ALL ENCOMPASSING GRACE NOTE, NOT A LITERAL REFERENCE TO 1904. IT IS TAKEN FROM A FIRST HAND ACCOUNT BY THE Trbuhovic-Gjuric, WHO INTERVIEWED MARIC'S RELATIVES WITH WHOM EINSTEIN STAYED ON HIS VISITS BACK TO NOVI SAD. ROBERT SHULMANN VISITED Trbuhovic-Gjuric, WHEN SHE WAS GRAVELY ILL IN ZURICH SUCH WAS HIS STRONG BELIEF THAT SHE MAY HAVE CRITICAL INFORMATION WHICH MIGHT LEAD HIM TO THE WHEREABOUTS OF THE LONG LOST LOVE LETTERS.
Hilton's Response to Esterson's Critique of the Web Site
1. Mileva Maric was not "erased from history." FALSE. IT WAS NOT UNTIL THE DISCOVERY OF MARIC AND EINSTEIN'S 'LOVE LETTERS' THAT MARIC BECAME KNOWN TO THE BROADER, NONSCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY AS A SCIENTIST HERSELF. NOT A PROBLEM IF YOU WISH TO MODIFY WEBSITE.
2. Einstein wrote no personal autobiographies, only intellectual autobiographical articles. INTELLECTUAL INFORMS THE PERSONAL. THIS IS SPLITTING HAIRS.
3. Einstein did mention Maric in one of the autobiographical sketches. BUT ISN'T THE OBJECTION RAISED ABOVE THAT EINSTEIN DID NOT WRITE OF THE PERSONAL?
4. Virtually all biographies of Einstein before 1987 mention Maric. MINIMALLY. VERY MINIMALLY — A SENTENCE OR TWO, ONE OF WHICH DESCRIBES HER AS A "SERBIAN PEASANT" DESANKA TRBHOVIC-GURIC'S WAS THE FIRST BIOGRAPHY ON MARIC. IT HAS BEEN TRANSLATED INTO MANY LANGUAGES BUT AS YET, AND PERHAPS TELLINGLY, NOT ENGLISH. DO NOT MIND IF YOU AMEND WEBSITE TO REFLECT THAT MARIC'S EXISTENCE IS "LARGELY UNKNOWN." IT WAS COMMONLY SAID TO ME DURING MY RESEARCH THAT "WASN'T SHE EINSTEIN'S COUSIN" OBVIOUSLY REFERRING TO ELSA, EINSTEIN'S SECOND WIFE.
5. There is no evidence that "Einstein's executrix systematically destroyed potential evidence" about Maric's alleged role in his work. THERE IS EVIDENCE OF CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN MARIC AND EINSTEIN WHICH WAS COPIED DEFINITELY WENT MISSING WHEN HELEN DUKAS, EINSTEIN'S EXECTRIX DIED. I DID NOT MAKE ANY CLAIMS THAT THESE WERE "POTENTIAL EVIDENCE ABOUT MARIC'S ALLEGED ROLE IN HIS WORK." IF THE WEBSITE STATES THIS (WHICH I COULD NOT LOCATE), PLEASE DELETE.
6. There is no evidence that Einstein "demands all her time" when Maric was a Polytechnic student, nor that she "sacrificed her studies" on his account. LETTERS BY HER GIRLFRIEND MILANA BOTA ATTEST TO THIS.
7. They did not "both fail their exams." Einstein passed. SEE OP CIT.
8. The alleged comment of Maric's "We finished some important work that will make my husband world famous" is unreliable third-hand gossip. THIS MIGHT HAVE BEEN MARIC BOASTING BUT TO SAY THAT THIS SOURCE IS GOSSIP IS UNFOUNDED. SOURCE: Desanka Trbuhovic-Gjuric, biography.
9. Maric 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.) FALSE. MILEVA PURCHASED THREE PROPERTIES AND RESIDED IN ONE OF THESE IN ZURICH WITH THE PROCEEDS OF THE NOBEL PRIZE. IT WAS ALWAYS A CONCERN OF EINSTEIN AND MARIC THAT THE SONS BE PROVIDED FOR.
10. There is no evidence that Maric liked dealing with statistics. SEE BELOW
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. WE AGREE THAT EINSTEIN DID MAKE MAJOR CONTRIBUTIONS TO STATISTICAL PHYSICS HOWEVER, EINSTEIN ALSO WROTE HOW HE DISLIKED MATHEMATICS. THIS DOES NOT DETRACT FROM THE FACT THAT HE OBVIOUSLY OPERATED AT A HIGH LEVEL IN MATHEMATICS. I RECALL THAT MAURICE SOLOVINE MAKES A REFERENCE TO THIS, HOWEVER, NEED TO CHECK HIS BOOK AGAIN.
12. Joffe is not a "supporter" of the claim that Maric collaborated on the 1905 papers. I AGREE — PLEASE AMEND AS THE DOCUMENTARY DOES NOT MAKE THIS CLAIM. WE ASK THE QUESTION "WHY WAS HER NAME THEN NOT ON THE PUBLISHED PAPERS WHEN JOFFE SAW IT ON THE ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPTS?"
13. Joffe nowhere "declares that he personally saw the names of two authors on the 1905 papers." PLEASE CORRECT THE WEBSITE TO STATE THAT JOFFE SAW THE NAMES 'EINSTEIN-MARITY' ON THE ORIGINAL SUBMISSION OF 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. SEE EXPLANATION ON DOCUMENTARY REBUTTALS.
15. There are no "tantalizing clues" suggesting Maric's collaboration with Einstein in any letters to her friends. FALSE. THERE IS FIRST HAND PRIMARY EVIDENCE BY MARIC, EINSTEIN, FELLOW STUDENTS THAT MARIC PLAYED A CRITICAL PART IN EINSTEIN'S FORMATIVE YEARS LEADING UP TO 1905.
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. AMEND WEBSITE TO REFLECT THEIR CLAIM AS STATED HERE.
17. There is no evidence "to confirm that . . . Einstein did have a partner . . . in his scientific research — his first wife Mileva Maric Einstein." FALSE. THERE IS SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE INCLUDING ROBERT SCHULMANN ADMITTING IN THE DOCUMENTARY THAT SHE PROBABLY DID CONTRIBUTE TO EINSTEIN'S PUBLISHED CAPILLARITY PAPER.
18. Maric was not "a gifted scholar and scientist" before she met Einstein. She had just graduated from high school. MARIC OBTAINED THE HIGHEST MARKS IN HER HIGH SCHOOL IN MATHEMATICS AND SCIENCE. IT IS A STRETCH THOUGH TO SAY SHE WAS A SCIENTIST AT THAT STAGE SO PLEASE AMEND WEBSITE. REFER Trbuhovic-Gjuric.
19. The only documented "knowledge" Maric "shared with Albert" was a short rather jocular passage about one lecture on the speed of oxygen molecules. N/A
20. There is no evidence that Maric was doing any extra-curricular "research." SEE NOTE IN DOCUMENTARY REBUTTALS. EINSTEIN AND MARIC WRITE IN THEIR CORRESPONDENCE THAT THEY WERE WAS READING THE CLASSIC WORKS OF BOLTZMANN, DRUDE, HELMHOLTZ, HERZ, KIRCHKOFF AND OSWARD. MILEVA IN ONE OF HER LETTERS ALSO RECOMMENDS EINSTEIN READ PLANCK. SHE OBVIOUSLY KNEW OF THIS MAJOR SCIENTIFIC FIGURE'S SIGNIFICANCE.
21. Maric'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. 18% IS JUST NOT WORTH THE BOTHER — HER GRADES WERE COMPARABLE EXCEPT IN ONE SUBJECT.
22. Maric was not "denied" a diploma, she failed because of her very low mathematics grade. DENIED OR FAILED HAVE THE SAME MEANING. AMEND TO READ FAILED.
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. NOT RELEVANT.
24. The statement that Maric "studied physics at the highest levels" is totally without evidential support. BLATANTLY FALSE. THEORETICAL PHYSICS WAS THE NEW GROUND OF SCIENCE AT THAT TIME.
25. There is no evidence that Maric collaborated with Einstein on his work when she was his wife. PLEASE SUPPLY EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY.
26. They did not "publish some early works together," nor "conduct research together" outside of their Polytechnic studies. AGAIN, REFER TO EINSTEIN'S PUBLISHED CAPILLARITY PAPER AND ROBERT SCHULMANN'S STATEMENT IN HIS INTERVIEW WHEN HE ADMITS MARIC LIKELY PLAYED A ROLE IN THE CAPILLARITY PAPER.
27. The statement that Maric brought back from Heidelberg knowledge that "served as part of the foundation of quantum mechanics" is scientific nonsense. REFER TO LENARD'S WORK ON QUANTUM MECHANICS IN REBUTALS REGARDING DOCUMENTARY.
MILEVA SPENT HER WINTER SEMESTER 1897-1898 IN HEIDELBERG, GERMANY. IN HER LETTER TO EINSTEIN WRITTEN FROM HEIDELBERG, MILEVA EXPRESSED HER FASCINATION WITH A LECTURE OF THE GERMAN PHYSICIST PHILLIP LENARD ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE VELOCITY OF MOLECULES AND THE DISTANCE TRAVERSED BY IT BETWEEN COLLISIONS, A TOPIC RELEVANT IN EINSTEIN'S STUDIES OF BROWNIAN MOTION.
28. There is not a scrap of evidence that "Mileva's name [was] removed" as co-author from the celebrated 1905 papers. SEE FOLLOWING:
ABRAM FEDOROVICH JOFFE (IOFFE) RECOUNTS THAT THE ORIGINAL PAPERS HE SAW WERE SIGNED "EINSTEIN-MARITY." "MARITY" IS A VARIANT OF THE SERBIAN "MARIC," MILEVA'S MAIDEN NAME. JOFFE, WHO HAD SEEN THE ORIGINAL 1905 MANUSCRIPT, IS ON RECORD AS STATING: "FOR PHYSICS, AND ESPECIALLY FOR THE PHYSICS OF MY GENERATION — THAT OF EINSTEIN'S CONTEMPORARIES, EINSTEIN'S ENTRANCE INTO THE ARENA OF SCIENCE IS UNFORGETTABLE. IN 1905, THREE ARTICLES APPEARED IN THE 'ANNALEN DER PHYSIK', WHICH BEGAN THREE VERY IMPORTANT BRANCHES OF 20TH CENTURY PHYSICS. THOSE WERE THE THEORY OF BROWNIAN MOVEMENT, THE THEORY OF THE PHOTOELECTRIC EFFECT AND THE THEORY OF RELATIVITY. THE AUTHOR OF THESE ARTICLES — AN UNKNOWN PERSON AT THAT TIME, WAS A BUREAUCRAT AT THE PATENT OFFICE IN BERN, EINSTEIN-MARITY (MARITY — THE MAIDEN NAME OF HIS WIFE, WHICH BY SWISS CUSTOM IS ADDED TO THE HUSBAND'S FAMILY NAME)." 286 . . .
ALBERT EINSTEIN NEVER SIGNED HIS NAME "EINSTEIN-MARITY" IN ANY OF HIS PUBLISHED PAPERS. SWISS LAW PERMITS THE MALE, THE FEMALE, OR BOTH, TO USE A DOUBLE LAST NAME, BUT THIS MUST BE DECLARED BEFORE THE MARRIAGE, AND IT WAS MILEVA, NOT ALBERT, WHO OPTED FOR THE LAST NAME "EINSTEIN-MARITY." A MARRIED PERSON MAY USE THE HYPHENATED "ALLIANZNAME" IN EVERYDAY USE, BUT IT WAS MILEVA WHO WENT BY "EINSTEIN-MARITY," NOT ALBERT. ALBERT SIGNED HIS MARRIAGE RECORDS SIMPLY "EINSTEIN." MILEVA'S DEATH NOTICE READS "EINSTEIN-MARITY." WHY IT WAS DROPPED IN PUBLICATION IS AN UNSOLVED MYSTERY.
29. To say that Maric "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. THIS DOES NOT DETRACT FROM EINSTEIN'S OBVIOUS GENIUS.
30. There is no evidence that "they worked closely together for years" on his papers. FALSE. MILEVA REMAINED AN ARDENT SUPPORTER OF EINSTEIN'S CONTINUING RESEARCH EVEN AFTER THEIR DIVORCE, REQUESTING HIM TO SEND HER HIS LATEST RESEARCH AND PUBLICATIONS. PRIMARY EVIDENCE FROM EINSTEIN SCHOLARS STATE THAT THE 1905 PAPERS WERE THE CULMINATION OF HIS STUDENT YEARS AT THE ETH AND AS A POST GRADUATE. MILEVA WAS BY HIS SIDE FOR THE MAJOR PART OF THESE 8 YEARS.
31. Maric was not "a pioneering woman in the world of physics," and she did not "contribute" to Quantum Physics. FALSE. MARIC WAS A PIONEERING WOMAN IN THE WORLD OF PHYICS. SHE WAS ONE OF THE FIRST WOMEN TO UNDERTAKE THEORETICAL PHYICS AT THE ETH AND WAS ONE OF ONLY A HANDFUL OF WOMEN TO STUDY MATHEMATICS AND PHYSICS AT HEIDLEBERG UNIVERSITY.
32. Philipp Lenard was not "a pioneer in quantum physics." SEE FOLLOWING:
Philipp Lenard was born in Bratislava (Pozsony(Hungarian) Pressburg(German), the former city of the Hungarian parliament; now Slovakia) on July 7, 1862. He studied under the illustrious Bunsen and Helmholtz, and obtained his doctoral degree in 1886 at the University of Heidelberg. () After posts at Aachen, Bonn, Breslau, Heidelberg (1896-1898), and Kiel (1898-1907), he returned finally to the University of Heidelberg in 1907 as the head of the Philipp Lenard Institute.
His early work included studies of phosphorescence and luminescence and the conductivity of flames. He also conducted studies on the size and shape distributions of raindrops and constructed a novel wind tunnel in which water droplets of various sizes could be held stationary for a few seconds. He was the first to recognize that large raindrops are not tear-shaped, but are rather shaped something like a hamburger bun.
As a physicist, Lenard's major contributions were in the study of cathode rays, which he began in 1888. Prior to his work, cathode rays were produced in primitive tubes which are partially evacuated glass tubes that have metallic electrodes in them, across which a high voltage can be placed. Cathode rays were difficult to study because they were inside sealed glass tubes, difficult to access, and because the rays were in the presence of air molecules (fully evacuated tubes didn't produce rays). Lenard overcame these problems by devising a method of making small metallic windows in the glass that were thick enough to be able to withstand the pressure differences, but thin enough to allow passage of the rays. Having made a window for the rays, he could pass them out into the laboratory, or, alternatively, into another chamber that was completely evacuated. He was able to conveniently detect the rays and measure their intensity by means of paper sheets coated with phosphorescent materials.
As a result of his Crookes tube investigations, he showed that the rays produced by radiating metals in a vacuum with ultraviolet light were similar in many respects to cathode rays. His most important observations were that the energy of the rays was independent of the light intensity, but was greater for shorter wavelengths of light. Another observation that Lenard made was that the absorption of the rays was, to first order, proportional to the density of the material they were made to pass through. This appeared to contradict the idea that they were some sort of electromagnetic radiation. He also showed that the rays could pass through some inches of air of a normal density, and appeared to be scattered by it, implying that they must be particles that were even smaller than the molecules in air. He confirmed some of J.J. Thomson's work, which ultimately arrived at the understanding that cathode rays were streams of energetic electrons.
These observations were explained by Albert Einstein as a quantum effect. This theory predicted that the plot of the cathode ray energy versus the frequency would be a straight line with a slope equal to Planck's constant, h. This was shown to be the case some years later. The photo-electric quantum theory was the work cited when Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics. This much embittered Lenard, who became a prominent skeptic of relativity and of Einstein's theories generally. Ironically, Einstein never really accepted quantum mechanics, and was its most prominent critic.
33. Maric did not learn "cutting edge physics" with Lenard. SEE ABOVE.
34. There is no evidence that Maric "cut classes" at Zurich Polytechnic. ROBERT SCHULMANN SAID THIS HIMSELF IN HIS INTERVIEW IN THE DOCUMENTARY, EVEN THOUGH ESTERSON STATES HE HAS SCHULMANN'S SUPPORT.
35. There is no evidence that Einstein's diploma "grades were rounded up to a passing mark." SEE NOTES IN DOCUMENTARY REBUTTALS.
*Ombudsman's Note: Soon after the publication of this column on Dec. 15, and a brief follow-up Mailbag column on Dec. 21, Allen Esterson submitted lengthy critiques of the response, by "Einstein's Wife" producer Geraldine Hilton, to his earlier criticism. At the risk of making this already very long column even longer, I have added Esterson's latest critiques of Hilton's responses to his criticisms of the documentary and of the Web site. So, while this does provide still more reading material, it has the virtue of keeping the entire discussion on a single Web site. Those of you following this will also note that the Ombudsman's Mailbag posted on Dec. 21 contained a statement by PBS explaining its policy on maintaining and possibly amending the accompanying "Einstein's Wife" Web presentation.