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Mileva Maric

Page history last edited by Stephen Reed 10 years, 1 month ago

Mileva Einstein Maric

           By: Stephen Dwight Reed

 

     Mileva Maric (b. 19 December, 1875 - d. 4 August, 1948) might have been one of the most influential women to science and people don’t even know it. Most people only know of Einstein’s second wife but Mileva was Einstein’s first wife and childhood friend.  Mileva had a long and eventful life with many achievements and hardships.

                

Biography

    Mileva Maric was born December 19, 1875 into a wealthy family in Titel in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy which is today’s Serbia. She was the oldest of 3 kids. Being from a wealthy family, Mileva was more privileged than most girls and was able to receive better schooling. From an early age she showed interests in math and science and art. When Mileva was 15, her father received permission for her to take classes at an all male prep school. She was fairly shy and usually just kept to herself while earning highest grades in math and physics. In 1894 Mileva became very sick and moved to Switzerland and attended a girls high school in Zurich. After passing her Matura exam, Mileva began studying medicine at the University of Zurich but she only stayed there for one semester. After that semester, Mileva transferred to Zurich Polytechnic, which later became Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology). One of Mileva’s classmates at Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule was Albert Einstein. At the time Albert was 17 and Mileva was 21. Mileva’s first 2 years of schooling went very well, so she decided to move to Heidelberg for a semester to study, during her absence, Albert and Mileva exchanged many letters. Albert referred to Mileva as a “little runaway”. When she returned in the spring of 1899 all formality between the two had gone out the window. Albert called her Dollie and Mileva call him Johnny; the two were in a modern love affair. However, Mileva’s parents did not approve of the affair. They would not give approval because She was too old, too bookish, lame, a Serb, and not Jewish, but the more they opposed the love affair, the more the two were drawn to each other.
            In 1900 Mileva started to slip in her academics. That year she failed her final exams and her 4 was pulled down by a 2.5 in the theory of functions while Albert's 4.9 was rounded up to a 5 and just barely got by. Albert earned his diploma but did not have a job waiting for him after graduation so he went to visit his family. After failing her exams the first time Mileva stayed at school and studied to take her exams a second time. Mileva and Einstein reunited in may and many weeks later Mileva found out she was pregnant. Mileva had failed her exams in July and had then grown to rely on Einstein to give the child a name and provide Mileva with a way to express her scientific abilities. Einstein had gotten a job 20 miles from home in Zurich that paid very poorly and had begin to find every reason to not see Mileva. In early 1902 Mileva had a daughter that Einstein might have never seen. No one has any documentation on her life. Now, at the age of 27, with Mileva’s failure in school and illegitimate child, Mileva felt like a complete disgrace to her family. On the other hand Einstein was 23 and an employee of the Swiss Patent Office in Bern.
            On 6th of January 1903 Mileva, at the age of 28, and Einstein, at the age of 24, got married at the Bern city hall. Around this time Lieserl came down with scarlet fever. Nobody knows what happened to her after that whether she got put up for adoption or she died but what we do know is that when Mileva went to Bern to be with Albert, Lieserl was no longer with her. Starting out when Mileva got to Bern Albert had no time for her between work and physics so Mileva found ways to cope on her own and just as all this was happening Marie and Pierre Curie got the Nobel prize in physics which was a harsh reminder of Mileva’s academic failures. However, 1905 would bring a welcoming surprise to the couple. Albert got a raise and published his 4 scientific papers that marked important breakthroughs. According to an article found on PBS Mileva told a Serbian friend, "we finished some important work that will make my husband world famous."
            In 1909 Einstein quit his job at the patent office in Bern and took a job as a professor in Zurich. In Zurich, Einstein reconnected with a former girlfriend and at this time there were signs that the marriage wasn’t doing too well. In order to bring back the strength of the marriage the couple went on a vacation and lone behold their second son was born in 1910 and they named him Edward. In 1911 the family moved to Paraguay because Albert had been appointed full professor at the Karl-Ferdinand University. The move was hard for Mileva due to the tension between the German nationalist elite and the Czechs. In 1912 the family moved back to Zurich which Mileva had hoped would mend the relationship but it didn’t. Albert had a new math collaborator, Marcel Grossman and a new lover, his cousin, Elsa Loewenthal. On Albert's 34th birthday he had received a card from Elsa and that night Mileva was not at the party.
     In 1914 Albert accepted the position of a permanent member of the prestigious Prussian Academy of Sciences, as well as a full professorship at the University of Berlin. Mileva was not ok with this move and as a matter of fact she opposed it very heavily because Elsa lived in Berlin but that didn’t stop Albert. When they got to Berlin and they got settled Albert gave Mileva a long list of rules that included, "you must answer me at once when I speak to you." Right before WW1 broke out Mileva took the boys and moved back to Zurich hoping that Albert would follow. He stayed in Berlin and moved in with Elsa Which is where he finished the rest of his General Theory of Relativity. In 1916 when Albert demanded a divorce Mileva collapsed and was put in the hospital. While in the hospital friends and family of Mileva helped with the boys. At the end of the war Mileva agreed to the divorce and Einstein signed over any future Nobel Prize money as the divorce settlement. In the end of 1919 there was a solar eclipse that had proved Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. Einstein was now world famous but would never again produce anything on physics that would compare to his past work.

 

Contributions to STEM

     Some people speculate on Mileva’s involvement in the Theory of Relativity. Since the publication on The Love Letters published in 1992 new light has been shed on the subject. Scientists have begun to contemplate and argue “what if”, and pushing to find more evidence on what role Mileva played in The Theory of Relativity. Evan Harris Walker (an American Physicist) argued that Mileva was a co-author or maybe even a sole author and based his arguments on the letters to and from Mileva. Walker says, “I find statements in 13 of [Albert's] 43 letters to [Mileva] that refer to her research or to an ongoing collaborative effort -- for example, in document 74, 'another method which has similarities with yours.’ Or in document 75 Albert writes'I am also looking forward very much to our new work. You must now continue with your investigation.” However most of the arguments are based on the words of Abram F. Joffe (Ioffe), a respected member of the Soviet Academy of Sciences and an assistant to W.C. Roentgen from 1902 to 1906. He saw the original version of Einstein's three most famous papers (on Brownian motion, the photoelectric effect, and the theory of relativity) and said that they were signed Einstein-Marity. Marity is the Hungarian version of Maric. With this evidence it is believed that Mileva Played more of a role in Einstein’s theories that people know. What if Einstein Stole Mileva’s studies and published them for himself? They may have even worked together. In a letter to Mileva, Albert writes, "We'll be students (horribile dictu) as long as we live...When you're my dear little wife we'll diligently work on science together so we don't become old philistines, right?" Unfortunately the letters are not much on specifics so one can only speculate. For all we know if it wasn’t for Mileva, Einstein may have never even finished the research on the theory of relativity. 

 

Interesting Facts

·      Parents: Miloš Marić (1846–1922) and Marija Ružić - Marić (1847–1935)

·      Fifth woman accepted to Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule

·      Possibly the coauthor of The Theory of Relativity

·      A Soviet scientist claims to have seen the names Einstein and Maric on the originals of 3 papers written during Einstein’s Annus Mirabilis (The Miracle Year)

·      Maric was not brought to light until Einstein’s and Maric’s letters to each other were published in 1987 called The Love Letters 

 

Impact on 21st Century Society and Culture

     Mileva Maric’s contributions to the 21st century are more than physics. Since the discovery of The Love Letters Mileva has blown up. Before that nobody knew who she was. Now, she has started a revolution in women in STEM fields. Mileva’s life and frustrated ambitions, some would say, serve as a metaphor for the struggle that women in science received well into the 20th century. Mileva’s story is one of perseverance and has inspired women to push for degrees and jobs in STEM fields. Mileva has offered support for women and also probably one of the greatest discoveries on earth with The Theory of Relativity

 

Work Cited

"Mileva’s Story." PBS. Web. 23 April 2014.

         <http://www.pbs.org/opb/einsteinswife/milevastory/index.htm>.

 

Esterson, Allen. "Mileva Maric: Einstein’s Wife." Esterson. Web. 23 April

         2014 < http://www.esterson.org/milevamaric.htm>.

 

"Mileva Einstein Maric is the coauthor of “The Theory of Relativity” with 

Albert Einstein." Tesla Memorial Society of New York. Web.23 April 2014.

<http://www.teslasociety.com/theoryofrel.htm>.

 

 

[1] http://www.pbs.org/opb/einsteinswife/editor_note.htm

[2] http://www.esterson.org/milevamaric.htm

[3] http://www.teslasociety.com/theoryofrel.htm

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