In the shadow of Einstein

Einstein's Wife – The Real Story of Mileva Einstein-Marić
TRAGIC FATE / The unreasonable treatment of hopeful scientist Mileva Einstein-Marić continued after her death.


The Serbian physicist and mathematician Mileva Einstein-Mari (1875–1948) was one of the few women of his time who took higher science education. She became Albert Einstein's (1879–1955) first wife. Together they had their daughter Lieserl out of wedlock and sons Hans Albert and Eduard while married.

I Einstein's Wife reveals the true and tragic story of Maric, the so-called Mileva Story, based on documentation such as letters and transcripts. Through these we gain insight into how Maric went from being a gifted student with the entire world for her feet to becoming a sick, depressed and divorced housewife.

The book is divided into three main sections with sub-chapters, except for the second section, which consists of only seven pages. In the first part, Professor Emeritus outlines David C. Cassidy the life course of Maric, who turned 73 years old. In the second part, the science historian puts Ruth Lewin Sime her in the context of contemporary women who also struggled to gain a foothold in academia, and in the last and longest section reveals the British math and physics teacher Allen Esterson "Mileva Story".

From student to housewife

In the fall of 1896, Maric and Albert Einstein to study at the Zurich Polytechnic Institute in Switzerland. Marić becomes the fifth in a series of women to be admitted to a faculty of science. She is painfully aware that gender discrimination in academia is strong and that few women are able to complete the course of study, but initially she is not affected by this.

During the study period, the collaboration between Maric and Einstein develops rapidly, both professionally and privately. Already in 1897 she left Zurich to study a semester at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, for unknown reasons. It is wondered if she is leaving not to be distracted by her feelings for Einstein. In that case, the distance works against his will. The famous exchange of letters starts then, and the platonic relationship becomes even stronger than before.

When Einstein eventually tells his mother that he wants to marry Maric, she replies: "You are ruining your future and your opportunities. She's a book, just like you, but you need a wife. By the age of thirty, she will be an old witch. ”Einstein defies her mother's advice to leave Maric, and ironically, it will be he who destroys her future.

Maric is the fifth in a series of women to be admitted to a faculty of science.

Maric's career plans get a solid shot for the bow with poor grades on the graduation in 1900. She tries again in 1901 while she is three months on the road with her daughter, but fails.

Einstein, on the other hand, passes the final exam on the first attempt and goes straight to work, miles away from Maric. In 1902 she gives birth to Lieserl, whose fate is uncertain: Lieserl dies – or is adopted four months after birth because her parents are not legally married.

Einstein, Albert (1879-1955), Einstein-Maric, Mileva (1875-1948)
Einstein, Albert (1879-1955), Einstein-Maric, Mileva (1875-1948)

In 1903, Maric marries Einstein and takes up the traditional housewife role. The following year she gave birth to Hans Albert, and in 1910 Eduard came to the world.

Through a series of letters, she describes her unhappy life to her friend Helene Kaufler Savic: «My loved ones are again far away from me and it is so hard, so hard for me. It makes my life bitter.»

Women-hostile attitudes

Einstein understood neither Marić's grief over the stranded career and the loss of Lieserl nor that, with his own absence, he made her even more bitter and frustrated. He was only concerned with his own career, which accelerated in 1905 with the articles on atomic, quantum and relativity in the journal Annalen der Physik.

At the time, women's hostile attitudes within academia were perhaps one of the reasons why Maric was derailed by love, motherhood and marriage. At that time, it was unrealistic to imagine that a woman could have both a career and a mother.

Da Marie Curie (1867-1934) and her husband Pierre Curie efore Nobel Prize in Physics In 1903, Marie as the first female award winner, many thought she was his assistant or muse. Although she once again won Nobel Prize – then i Chemistry – in 1911, after her spouse's death and this time alone, she was black painted in the press because of an affair with a married colleague instead of being famous for bringing home her second Nobel Prize.

Maric's history is relevant in our time, because in an international scientific context, women are still under-represented and face a number of obstacles. Last year, physicist and writer searched , briella Greison # about Maric being posthumously awarded a degree at the Zurich Polytechnic Institute. After four months of discussions, the institution refused to award Maric the degree; despite the evidence confirming that she was Einstein's partner.

72 years after his death, Mileva Einstein-Maric is still being treated unfairly by being denied a place in science history.

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