Mileva Marić

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Mileva Marić
Милева Марић
Mileva Maric.jpg
Mileva Marić, 1896.
Born (1875-12-19)December 19, 1875
Titel, Austro-Hungarian Monarchy (modern Serbia)
Died August 4, 1948(1948-08-04) (aged 72)
Zurich, Switzerland
Resting place
Friedhof Nordheim, Zurich, Switzerland
Ethnicity Serbian
Alma mater Eidgenössisches Polytechnikum today Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH) Zurich, Switzerland
Religion Serbian Orthodox
Spouse(s) Albert Einstein
Children Lieserl Einstein, Hans Albert Einstein, Eduard Einstein
Parents Miloš Marić
Marija Marić (née Ružić)

Mileva Marić (Serbian Cyrillic: Милева Марић; December 19, 1875 – August 4, 1948) was Albert Einstein's fellow student at the Zurich Polytechnic, and later became his first wife.


On December 19, 1875, Mileva Marić was born into a wealthy family in Titel in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy (today Serbia) as the eldest of three children of Miloš Marić (1846–1922) and Marija Ružić-Marić (1847–1935).[1] Shortly after her birth, her father ended his military career and took a job at the court in Ruma and later in Zagreb. She began her secondary education in 1886 at a high school for girls in Novi Sad,[2] but changed the following year to a high school in Sremska Mitrovica.[3] Beginning in 1890, she attended The Royal Serbian Grammar School in Šabac.[3] In 1891 her father obtained special permission to enroll Marić as a private student at the all male Royal Classical High School in Zagreb.[4] She passed the entrance exam and entered the tenth grade in 1892. She won special permission to attend physics lectures in February 1894 and passed the final exams in September 1894. Her grades in mathematics and physics were the highest awarded.[4] That year she fell seriously ill and decided to move to Switzerland, where on the 14th November she started at the "Girls High School" in Zurich.[5] In 1896, Marić passed her Matura-Exam, and started studying medicine at the University of Zurich for one semester.[5] In the autumn of 1896, Marić switched to the Zurich Polytechnic (later Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH)),[6] having passed the mathematics entrance examination with an average grade of 4.25 (scale 1-6).[7] She enrolled for the diploma course to teach physics and mathematics in secondary schools (section VIA) at the same time as Albert Einstein. She was the only woman in her group of six students, and only the fifth woman to enter that section.[5][8] She and Einstein became close friends quite soon.

In October Marić went to Heidelberg to study at Heidelberg University for the winter semester 1897/98, attending physics and mathematics lectures as an auditor.[9] She rejoined the Zurich Polytechnic in April 1898,[9] where her studies included the following courses: differential and integral calculus, descriptive and projective geometry, mechanics, theoretical physics, applied physics, experimental physics, and astronomy.[10] Marić sat the intermediate diploma examinations in 1899, one year later than the other students in her group. Her grade average of 5.05 (scale 1-6) placed her fifth out of the six students taking the examinations that year.[11] (Einstein had come top of the previous year's candidates with a grade average of 5.7.[12] Marić's grade in physics was 5.5, the same as Einstein's.) In 1900 Marić failed the final teaching diploma examinations with a grade average of 4.00, having obtained only grade 2.5 in the mathematics component (theory of functions). Einstein passed the exam in fourth place with a grade average of 4.91.[13]

Marić's academic career was disrupted in 1901 when she became pregnant by Einstein. When three months pregnant, she resat the diploma examination, but failed for the second time without improving her grade.[14] She also discontinued work on her diploma dissertation that she had hoped to develop into a Ph.D. thesis under the supervision of the physics professor Heinrich Weber.[15] She went to Novi Sad, where her daughter, referred to as Lieserl, was born in 1902, probably in January. The fate of the daughter is unknown; she may have died in late summer 1903, or been given up for adoption.

Center: the Einsteinhaus Kramgasse 49 in Bern. On the second floor: the flat where Albert and Mileva Einstein lived from 1903 to 1905

In 1903 Marić and Einstein married in Bern, Switzerland, where Einstein had found a job at the Federal Office for Intellectual Property. In 1904 their first son Hans Albert was born. The Einsteins lived in Bern until 1909, when Einstein got a teaching position at the University of Zürich. In 1910 their second son Eduard was born. In 1911 they moved to Prague, where Einstein held a teaching position at the Charles University. A year later, they returned to Zurich, as Einstein had accepted a professorship at his alma mater. In July 1913 Max Planck and Walther Nernst asked Einstein to accept to come to Berlin, which he did, but which caused Marić distress.[16] In August the Einsteins took a walking holiday with their son Hans Albert, Marie Curie and her two daughters, but Marić was delayed temporarily due to Eduard's illness.[17] In September the Einsteins visited Marić's parents near Novi Sad, and on the day they were to leave for Vienna Marić had her sons baptised as Orthodox Christians.[18] After Vienna Einstein visited relatives in Germany while Marić returned to Zurich. After Christmas she traveled to Berlin to stay with Fritz Haber who helped her look for accommodation for the Einsteins' impending move in April 1914.[19] The Einsteins both left Zurich for Berlin in late March, on the way Einstein visited an uncle in Antwerp and then Ehrenfest and Lorentz in Leiden while Marić took a holiday with the children in Locarno, arriving in Berlin in mid-April.[19]

The marriage had been in difficulties since 1912, in the spring of which Einstein became reacquainted with his first cousin Elsa Löwenthal (née Einstein), following which they began a regular correspondence. Marić, who had never wanted to go to Berlin, became increasingly unhappy in the city. Soon after settling in Berlin, Einstein insisted on harsh terms if she were to remain with him. In the summer of 1914, Marić took the boys back to Zurich, a move that was to become permanent. Einstein made a commitment, drawn up by a lawyer, to send her an annual maintenance of 5600 Reichsmarks in quarterly instalments, just under half of his salary.[20][21] The couple divorced on February 14, 1919.[22] They had negotiated a settlement[23] whereby the Nobel Prize money that Einstein anticipated he would soon receive was to be placed in trust for their two boys, while Marić would be able to draw on the interest, but have no authority over the capital without Einstein's permission,[24][25] After Einstein married his second wife in June, he returned to Zurich to talk to Marić about the children's future, taking Hans Albert on Lake Constance and Eduard to Arosa for convalescence.

In 1922, Einstein received news that he had won the Nobel Prize in November and the money was transferred to Marić in 1923. The money was used to buy three houses[26] in Zurich: Marić lived in one, a five story house at Huttenstrasse 62, the other two were investments.[27] The family of Georg Busch, later to become Professor at the ETH, was one of her tenants. In the late 1930s the costs of Eduard's care—he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and institutionalized at the University of Zurich psychiatric clinic "Burghölzli"[28]—overwhelmed Marić and resulted in the forced sale of two of the houses. In 1939 Marić agreed to transfer ownership of the Huttenstrasse house to Einstein in order to prevent its loss as well, with Marić retaining power of attorney. Einstein also made regular cash transfers to Marić for Eduard's and her own livelihood.[29]

Marić died at the age of 72 on August 4, 1948 in Zurich, and was buried at Nordheim-Cemetery.[30]

Role in physics[edit]

Albert and Mileva Einstein, 1912

The question of whether (and if so, to what extent) Marić contributed to Einstein's early work, and to the Annus Mirabilis Papers in particular, has been the subject of some debate. A consensus among professional historians of physics is that she made no significant scientific contribution.[31] A few academics have argued that she may have indeed played some fundamental role.[32]

Recently published letter between Mileva Maric and Albert Einstein is shedding light on who is the author (s) of the "Theory of Relativity". Albert Einstein received the Nobel Prize in 1921. He gave all the money from the Nobel Prize to his wife - Mileva Maric- this was the condition for the divorce settlement. Einstein did not leave any documents which acknowledged the contribution of Mileva Maric to the Theory of Relativity.[33]

  • In 1905, several articles bearing the name of Albert Einstein appeared in a German physics journal, Annalen der Physik. The most fateful among these was a paper entitled Zur Elektrodynamik bewegter Körper; von A. Einstein, Einstein's supposedly breakthrough paper on the "principle of relativity". Though it was perhaps submitted as coauthored by Mileva Einstein-Marity and Albert Einstein, or solely by Mileva Einstein-Marity, Albert's name appeared in the journal as the exclusive author of their work.

Abram Ioffe (Joffe) recounts that the paper was signed "Einstein-Marity". "Marity" is hungarian spelling of Serbian "Marić", 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).". . .

  • Ioffe's statements appeared fifty years after he had read the 1905 papers. It stuck with him all those many years that the papers were indelibly signed "Einstein-Marity". How could Ioffe have known that Mileva Maric went by the name of Einstein-Marity, if the name had not appeared on the 1905 papers? Joffe could not have known that Albert went by the name of "Einstein-Marity", because Albert Einstein never did.[34]
  • There is no Swiss custom by which the husband automatically adds his wife's maiden name to his, and even if there were, neither Albert nor Mileva were Swiss. Albert Einstein never signed his name "Einstein-Marity". 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".

But where is this letter?, or why only remains the one signed A. Einstein only? According to the research of B. Lukács[35] by the ime it was presented, in 12 May 1901 Mileva was pregnant of Lieserl. In the middle of May Einstein writes that he would marry, and in the beginning of July he writes that he would take any job. That is immediately answered by Marity, and starts the effort how to get a job in Thurgau Cantonal School at Frauenfeld.[36]

That is a matter of almost life and death. Look at the outcome: the application is unsuccessful, therefore Marity must bear Lieserl as a maiden and Lieserl vanishes! Everything would be better than that. Having an Annalen article increases the possibility of job. The manuscript is already at the editors. But maybe having an article as single author is better than one of two. Marity cannot be too fanatic now; later she can write other articles. Most probably Marity's name was removed with her consensus.

Evan Harris Walker, who argued that Mileva was co-author, or sole author, of the 1905 papers, quoted some of Albert's words, as found in The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein, and bear in mind that the vast majority of Mileva's letters to Albert were destroyed, with there being no more likely reasons for their destruction, than to hide her contribution and the fact that the works were unoriginal, "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.'[37] In document 75, Albert writes: 'I am also looking forward very much to our new work. You must now continue with your investigation.' In document 79, he says, 'we will send it to Wiedermann's Annalen.' In document 96, he refers to 'our investigations'; in document 101, to 'our theory of molecular forces.' In document 107, he tells her: 'Prof. Weber is very nice to me. . . I gave him our paper.'"

  • Why did the Nobel committee not award Einstein the Nobel Prize for his work on relativity theory? Could it have been that all who were familiar with the facts, knew that Einstein did not originate the major concepts behind relativity theory?
  • Mileva and Albert had coauthored papers before and Albert had assumed credit for that which Mileva had accomplished. Senta Trömel-Plötz presented a thorough account of Albert's shameless appropriation of Mileva's work and of Mileva's acquiescence.[38]

While there is not conclusive proof of her Relativity contribution, there is explicit quotes about Thermodinamics joined work in the Einstein-Marity letters.[39]

  • Why didn't Mileva come forward with the fact that she was the one who had written the work, if in fact she had? Did Albert buy Mileva's silence? Even if he had, was there more to hold Mileva back from exposing Albert, than the desperate need for monies?
  • Serbian women had little chance at fame in those days, other than as ornaments attached to their husbands' arms. Tesla, a Serb born in Austrian Empire, was unfairly treated in the West. What chance did Mileva stand? Albert was cruel to Mileva. Her self-confidence may have been destroyed. Albert once demanded in writing that Mileva obey his cruel and degrading orders, in a letter which can only be described as shocking and revolting. If Mileva had hoped that Albert would someday acknowledge her, she was mistaken. Albert, a misogynist, degraded her in a letter to Michele Besso,

"We men are deplorable, dependent creatures. But compared with these women, every one of us is king, for he stands more or less on his own two feet, not constantly waiting for something outside of himself to cling to. They, however, always wait for someone to come along who will use them as he sees fit. If this does not happen, they simply fall to pieces." While his misogynist behaviour is not proof of anything, the rest is . The aevidence can not yet disprof the theory of a join Einstein-Marity constribution to relativity, thought it is likely that she hadn't done it for her self."[40]

From the viewpoint of B. Lukács[41] after a meticulous research on "The collected paper of Einsteins" he concluded:

  • the paper "Folgerungen aus den Capillaritätserscheinungen" (Conclusions Drawn from the Phenomena of Capillarity) from the year 1901 is a common product of Einstein & Marity;
  • in 3 of the 4 famous 1905 Annalen papers Mileva’s substantial role is probable, but in the "Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies" any substantial role of Marity is unfounded;
  • in later years Einstein’s memory was inconstant about roles of early coworkers, so the lack of mentions of Marity in various autobiographies does not indicate anything at all; and
  • the divorce left very bad memories in Einstein, so his negligation of the first wife as a colleague is psychologically understandable, although not so from the viewpoint of Physics.[42]


Memorial gravestone at the Nordheim Cemetery in Zurich
Bust on the campus of the University of Novi Sad

In 2005 Marić was honoured in Zurich by the ETH and the "Gesellschaft zu Fraumünster", and a memorial plate was unveiled on the house Huttenstrasse 62, her residence in Zurich, in her memory.[43] In the same year a bust was placed in her high-school town, Sremska Mitrovica. Another bust is located on the campus of the University of Novi Sad. A high-school in her birth town Titel is also named after her.[44] Sixty years after her death, a memorial plate was placed on the house of the former clinic in Zurich where she died, and in June 2009 a memorial gravestone was dedicated to her at the Nordheim-Cemetery where she rests.[45]

In 1995 Narodna knjiga in Belgrade published the book Mileva Marić Ajnštajn by Dragana Bukumirović, in Serbian;[46] three years later followed the play Mileva Ajnštajn by Vida Ognjenović, later also translated into English.[47]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ M. Popović (2003). In Albert's Shadow: The Life and Letters of Mileva Marić, Einstein's First Wife, p. xv: "The Family Tree of Mileva Marić-Einstein."
  2. ^ Highfield, 1993, p.36
  3. ^ a b Highfield, 1993, p.36.
  4. ^ a b Highfield, 1993, p.37
  5. ^ a b c Highfield, 1993, p.38
  6. ^ Trbuhovic-Gjuric, 1988, p.35
  7. ^ Trbuhovic-Gjuric (1988), p.60.
  8. ^ D. Trbuhuvić-Gjurić, Im Schatten Albert Einsteins, 1988, p. 35
  9. ^ a b Highfield, 1993, p.43
  10. ^ 'Trbuhovic-Gjuric, 1988, p. 43. (1991, p. 49), and ETH-Archiv der wissenschaftlich-historischen Abteilung
  11. ^ Trbuhovic-Gjuric, 1988, p. 63.
  12. ^ The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein, Vol. 1, Doc. 42.
  13. ^ The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein, Vol. 1, Doc. 67.
  14. ^ Stachel (1996), pp. 41, 52, n.22.
  15. ^ Highfield, 1993, p.80.
  16. ^ Highfield, 1993, pp.154,156
  17. ^ Highfield, 1993, p.157
  18. ^ Highfield, 1993, p.160
  19. ^ a b Highfield, 1993, p.166
  20. ^ (approximately 44000 Euros — 5600 times 7.9 — according to [1])
  21. ^ Highfield, 1993, p. 172; Isaacson, 2007, p. 186.
  22. ^ Highfield, 1993, p.188.
  23. ^ "Einstein Works Out Details of His 1919 Divorce from Mileva Maric". Shapell Manuscript Collection. Shapell Manuscript Foundation. 
  24. ^ Highfield and Carter page 187: 180,000 Swiss Francs
  25. ^ The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein, Vol. 8, doc. 562.
  26. ^ "Einstein Writes About House Bought With Nobel Prize Money". Shapell Manuscript Collection. Shapell Manuscript Foundation. 
  27. ^ Highfield, 1993, p.221
  28. ^ Thomas Huonker: Diagnose: «moralisch defekt» Kastration, Sterilisation und «Rassenhygiene» im Dienst der Schweizer Sozialpolitik und Psychiatrie 1890-1970, Zürich 2003, p. 204ff. (german)
  29. ^ Highfield, 1993, p. 252
  30. ^ Burial Record for Mileva Marić Einstein at
  31. ^ Pais, A. (1994), pp. 1-29; Holton, G. (1996), pp. 177-193; Stachel, J. (2002), pp. 26-38; 39-55; Martinez, A. (2005); Calaprice, A. & Lipscombe, T. (2005), pp. 41-42.
  32. ^ Maurer, M. (1996); Troemel-Ploetz, S. (1990); Walker, E.H. (1991).
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^
  39. ^
  40. ^ The Ultimate Quotable Einstein Escrito por Albert Einstein, Princeton University Press-
  41. ^
  42. ^
  43. ^ ETH und Gesellschaft zu Fraumünster, Zurich ehren Mileva Einstein-Marić „Mitentwicklerin der Relativitätstheorie“ Sechseläuten 2005. Laudatio: Katharina von Salis (german)
  44. ^ Tesla Memorial Society of New York Website: Mileva Maric-Einstein
  45. ^ Unveiling and consecration of memorial gravestone dedicated to Mileva Marić Einstein Republic of Serbia, Ministry for Diaspora, 14 June 2009.
  46. ^ Savić, Svenka (2002). "The Road to Mileva Marić-Einstein: Private Letters". Belgrade Women`s Studies Journal (Belgrade: Belgrade Women`s Studies Center) 1 (Anniversary Issue 1992/2002): 201–210. Retrieved 2011-05-05. "[...] a book written by Dragana Bukumirović, a journalist with "Politika", entitled Mileva Marić-Ajnštajn[...]" 
  47. ^ Mrs. Einstein takes the stage Lincolnwood Review, November 7, 2002.


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  • Krstić, D. (1991). Appendix A: "Mileva Einstein-Maric." In Elizabeth Roboz Einstein: Hans Albert Einstein. Reminiscences of His Life and Our Life Together, Iowa City (Iowa Institute of Hydraulic Research) 1991, pp. 85–99. ISBN 0-87414-083-8
  • Krstić, D. (2004). Mileva & Albert Einstein: Their Love and Scientific Collaboration. DIDAKTA d.o.o. Radovljica. ISBN 961-6530-08-9
  • Martinez, A. (2005). Handling evidence in history: the case of Einstein's Wife in School Science Review, Vol. 86, No. 316 (March 2005), pp. 49–56.
  • Maurer, M. (1990). "Weil nicht sein kann, was nicht sein darf...'DIE ELTERN' ODER 'DER VATER' DER RELATIVITÄTSTHEORIE? Zum Streit über den Anteil von Mileva Maric an der Entstehung der Relativitätstheorie". Published in: PCnews, Nr. 48, Jg. 11, Heft 3, Wien, Juni 1996, S. 20-27. Electronic Version of RLI-Homepage (im RLI-Web): August 2005
  • Milentijević, Radmila (2012). Милева Марић Ајнштајн: живот са Албертом Ајнштајном (Mileva Marić Einstein: A Life with Albert Einstein). Belgrade: Prosveta. ISBN 9788607019632 [2]
  • Ognjenović, V. (1998). Mileva Ajnštajn/Mileva Einstein. Translated by Janković, M. In: Ćirilov, J., Pantić, M. (eds.). Infinity Contained in Ten Square Yards. An Anthology of Contemporary Plays. Serbian PEN Centre, Beograd 2008. ISBN 978-86-84555-10-8
  • Pais, A. (1994). Einstein Lived Here. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-853994-0
  • Popović, M. (ed.) (2003). In Albert's Shadow: The Life and Letters of Mileva Marić, Einstein's First Wife. Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-7856-X
  • Shankland, R. S. "Conversations with Albert Einstein", in: American Journal of Physics, Vol. 31, 1963, S. 47-57.
  • Stachel, J. (1996). Albert Einstein and Mileva Marić: A Collaboration that Failed to Develop. In H. M. Pycior, N. G. Slack, and P. G. Abir-Am (eds.) (1996), Creative Couples in the Sciences, Rutgers University Press. ISBN 0-8135-2187-4
  • Stachel, J. (2002). Einstein from 'B' to 'Z'. Boston: Birkhäuser. ISBN 3-7643-4143-2 pp. 31-38; pp. 39–55.
  • Stachel, J (ed.) (2005). Einstein's Miraculous Year: Five Papers That Changed the Face of Physics. Princeton. Appendix to Introduction, Centenary Edition, pp. liv-lxxii.
  • Trbuhovic-Gjuric, D. (1983). Im Schatten Albert Einsteins. Das tragische Leben der Mileva Einstein-Maric, Bern: Paul Haupt. ISBN 3-258-04700-6.
  • Trbuhovic-Gjuric, D. (1988). Im Schatten Albert Einsteins. Das tragische Leben der Mileva Einstein-Maric, Bern: Paul Haupt. (1988). Editorially augmented edition. ISBN 3-258-03973-9.
  • Trbuhovic-Gjuric, D. (1991). Mileva Einstein: Une Vie, Editions des Femmes. ISBN 2-7210-0407-7. (Translation into French by Nicole Casanova of Im Schatten Albert Einsteins. Das tragische Leben der Mileva Einstein-Maric, 1988 edition.)
  • Troemel-Ploetz, S. (1990). Mileva Einstein-Marić: The Woman Who Did Einstein's Mathematics. In: Women’s Studies International Forum, Volume 13, Issue 5, 1990, pp. 415–432 (Abstract)
  • Walker, E.H.: Did Einstein espouse his spouse's ideas? with a reply by John Stachel et al. In: Physics Today, February 1991
  • Zackheim, M.: Einstein’s daughter. The search for Lieserl. Riverhead Books, New York 1999 ISBN 1-57322-127-9

External links[edit]