Mileva Maric; Promise Thwarted

PBS.Org Mileva Maric – Einstein’s Wife

PBS has compiled a history site devoted to Mileva Maric, the first wife of Albert Einstein who was herself a woman of tremendous intellect and promise. Much speculation has been made about how much she contributed to her husband’s achievements; Special and General Relativity, and Brownian motion. In the very least her son, Hans Albert recalled seeing his mother and father working together with mathematical equations, so one can assume rightly that she served as a sounding board and editor for Albert’s papers.

Mileva was born in Titel, Hungary (now Serbia) to a wealthy family , the eldest of three children. She displayed early gifts in mathematics, art and history. Her father made sure she received the best education, often managing to persuade officials to allow her to sit in on classes closed to women at that time and take the exams. When she was 15 ,she made the highest marks on the physics and mathematics exams in classes where she was only allowed to sit separated from the boys.

Her story is a tragic one; loss of two of three children; one from separation (possibly death) and her third child, a psychotic breakdown, the betrayal of Einstein himself due to his mistreatment and adultery, divorce, alienation from the scientific community and poor health. The site has much good information and does list one book I have read by Michele Zackheim; Einstein’s Daughter: The Search for Lieserl. Zackheim did an exhaustive study of Mileva’s life, in one situation, traveling to Serbia and contacting remaining family and friends. I would ignore Stachel’s work, also listed, as he claims she was not so bright and or creative. His opinion goes against other works I’ve read and the ‘love letters’ which indicate otherwise.

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About Deborah Leddon

Vegetarian Mother and Wife, Scientist at UTD CSS, passionate about my family, animal rights, the outdoors and my violin.
This entry was posted in Gender Issues, History of Science. Bookmark the permalink.

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