Monday, March 20, 2006

Even Einstein is shilling for me

Oh, Al. You're just too much.


jel said...

LOL that was a good one! :)

have a good day!

Ruth said...

LOL! Brenda, that picture is awesome!

Carrie said...

Hi Brenda,

This gave me a really good laugh. So creative! Did you come up with this, or was it someone else?

Julana said...

I thought he was pretty smart, until I read the story of how his first wife helped him with his big theory. Then he left her with their disabled son and went off and married someone else.
Not much romantic about that guy.

Brenda Coulter said...

Julana, a few people continue to circulate the rumor that Einstein's first wife made a significant contribution to the theory of Special Relativity, but most scientists who study his papers scoff at the idea. While it would have been natural to bounce ideas off his wife, a colleague, Albert certainly never hinted that she had assisted him in any material way. She was a mathematician, but not one of any great stature.

Also, the couple had been divorced for several years before Albert married again. Although he was remarried by the time he won the Nobel Prize, he gave his first wife all of the money, keeping his promise to support their children. But before anyone assumes that was his way of acknowledging his first wife's "contribution" to the Nobel win, I want to point out that he did not win the prize for Special Relativity and the famous E=mc² formula, but for his theories on the nature of light--which nobody has ever suggested his first wife had any hand in developing.

I don't know the details of Albert's divorce and his relationship with his children, but neither do I buy the story that he cheated his first wife and then abandoned her and the children without a backward glance.

Brenda Coulter said...

Carrie, I'm afraid all of the writing on the blackboard was mine and not Professor Einstein's. If you want to make your own sign, head over to this site, which was pointed out to me by the ever helpful Mr Porkpop.

Mom Nancy said...

This is great. My husband is has a PhD in General Relativity and once worked at the Albert Einstein Institute in Potsdam, Germany! I may have to make my own sign for him to post in his office to publicize my books!

Bonnie Calhoun said...

this is fabulous...I'll have to bookmark that site...You go girl!

Bonnie Calhoun said...

I couldn't get the link to it just me or is it broke? LOL

Neal said...

Hee hee hee. Very good.

Julana said...

I read the story on the PBS site:

I still lean toward sympathy for the first wife, because I know what caring for a child with special needs entails. It's unfair that the husband's story gets glamorized and told over and over, and she sinks into obscurity. I know we will never know the true story.

Brenda Coulter said...

Yeah, Neal, I thought you'd like that. ;-)

Bonnie my sweet, the link is good. They might have been experiencing a traffic jam when you tried to click.

Nancy, I bet your husband knows my favorite Limerick:

There was a young lady named Bright,
Whose speed was far faster than light.
She went out one day,
In a Relative way,
And returned on the previous night!

--Reginald Buller

And Julana, I wasn't aware there had been a PBS special called "Einstein's Wife," so I clicked over to the link you provided. The site tells us the TV program's agenda right there at the top of the page: "Who was Mileva Maric? Why was she erased from Einstein's life story?" My skeptical mind went on alert the instant I read that. If you're going to prove to me that this woman was "erased" from Einstein's life story, you're going to have to present me with facts, not conjecture. I knew that wasn't going to happen when, a couple of sentences later, I read, "Einstein's autobiographies never mentioned his first wife." Well, I happened to know that Einstein never wrote an autobiography (if he had, it would be sitting on my bookshelf right next to my copy of Relativity: The Special and the General Theory), so I closed the window and moved on.

And then at one of my regular web-browsing stops, Arts and Letters Daily, Mileva Maric's name caught my eye and I clicked over to this article. It's a scholarly, heavily-footnoted debunking of many of the "facts" presented in the PBS special, which turns out to have been very poorly researched.

Einstein does not appear to have been terribly interested in his children after his divorce, but he lived in the U.S. and they were in Europe. In those days, divorced fathers didn't, as a rule, remain involved in their children's lives. Especially when they were separated by an ocean.

Model dad? Not by any stretch. But neither do I believe Mileva made a meaningful contribution to Einstein's Special Relativity (or to any other) papers and was then denied credit by a selfish ex-husband and "erased" from her proper page in history.

Julana said...

I'm of Dr. Laura's train of thought-- the man should have stayed on the same side of the ocean as his children. I don't understand people who have so little attachment to their children.
I don't know how much influence his wife had on his thinking. (I actually heard about this on a post at allthings2all.) But she still has my sympathy, given her situation. Mental illness seems to have run in her family. Maybe she had a touch.

Brenda Coulter said...

I'm of Dr. Laura's train of thought-- the man should have stayed on the same side of the ocean as his children.

Amen to that.