Talk:Albert Einstein

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Query about wording[edit]

@DVdm: "Reconciled Maxwell's equations for electricity and magnetism with the laws of mechanics by introducing major changes to mechanics close to the speed of light" (my italics). Are you sure Einstein expressed it such a restricted way—without a hint that it's more generally applicable over the range of speeds? Source? Tony (talk) 10:35, 19 September 2018 (UTC)

  • The problem lies in the wording, which is why I edited it. It says that Einstein reconciled blah blah by introducing major changes to mechanics close to the speed of light. That's not what is meant, surely. Tony (talk) 10:38, 19 September 2018 (UTC)
Hi Tony1, it depends on which changes one considers. The changes to the formulae of mechanics are of course neither major or minor. They are just changes. But the changes to the values are only major in the vicinity of the speed of light. For small speeds the changes are minor. That is what the original wording tries to convey, and your edit removed that. The original wording provided more information and was fine, so I undid the edit. - DVdm (talk) 11:23, 19 September 2018 (UTC)
The original and reinstated wording (which is displayed just above) is completely misleading. It says that the changes to mechanics he introduced were only "close to the speed of light". Are you sure you don't mean the changes he exemplified? Do you see the problem? Tony (talk) 14:34, 19 September 2018 (UTC)
It is not the changes that are close to the speed of light. It is the the part of mechanics that is close to the speed of light: "mechanics close to the speed of light". In that part of mechanics, the changes are major indeed. I don't see a problem. - DVdm (talk) 14:53, 19 September 2018 (UTC)
There is a big problem with the wording. It doesn't express what you express here, but something very different (and untenable). Have you read my post above carefully? Tony (talk) 02:47, 20 September 2018 (UTC)

Outside opinion here: now that DVdm explains it, I can see that the intent expressed is that close to the speed of light, the changes that Einstein introduced are major. But I certainly was not able to grasp that on first reading, so I agree with Tony that it needs to be expressed better. I've only read this talk page, not the changes, so I don't know if the way he expressed it is great. DVdm, since you clearly know the intent, can you just find a more clear way to express it? Dicklyon (talk) 02:59, 20 September 2018 (UTC)

 OK, done: [1]. Thanks for your comment. - DVdm (talk) 06:56, 20 September 2018 (UTC)

───────────────────────── The following can be misread:

It reconciles Maxwell's equations for electricity and magnetism with the laws of mechanics, by introducing changes to mechanics, resulting in small changes in the Newtonian limit and large changes in situations where objects are moving at speeds close to the speed of light. 

The above wording seems to be saying that the changes that Einstein introduced to mechanics resulted in changes in the definition of the "Newtonian limit". Prokaryotic Caspase Homolog (talk) 10:49, 20 September 2018 (UTC)

Feel free to hone Face-smile.svg - DVdm (talk) 11:59, 20 September 2018 (UTC)
Fine-tuning (honing) didn't work. What made the sentence hard to fix was the entire surrounding context. Prokaryotic Caspase Homolog (talk) 08:00, 21 September 2018 (UTC)
@Tony1 and Dicklyon: Does my rewording work? Prokaryotic Caspase Homolog (talk) 08:18, 21 September 2018 (UTC)
PCH, to me, your recent change is good. But I'm not in the field. Tony (talk) 09:51, 21 September 2018 (UTC)
That is precisely why your input is valuable! Face-smile.svg An encyclopedia is not supposed to be a forum when show-offs get to baffle the target audience with their supposedly deep knowledge of a technical subject. This is an Albert Einstein biography, not a technical article meant to go into detail about his theories. For example, a statement saying that Minkowski understood the principle of relativity " be a generalization of rotational invariance from space to space-time" not only snows the typical reader, it is also misleading. Prokaryotic Caspase Homolog (talk) 14:54, 21 September 2018 (UTC)
Agreed. But let's be fair, "a generalization of rotational invariance from space to space-time", is a pretty spectacularly nifty thing to contemplate, isn't it? Face-smile.svg. - DVdm (talk) 14:59, 21 September 2018 (UTC)
Sure! - DVdm (talk) 10:56, 21 September 2018 (UTC)
The text reads better, for sure. But it also attributed some interpretation of Einstein to his primary sources, which I'm not at all sure I agree with (that is, for example, I'm not at all sure his original papers argued that the ether theory was superfluous, even though that was an implication of it). I don't know if this came in with recent edits or was there before (the diffs are complicated!). It would be good to see secondary sources for the interpretive stuff, so I tagged for citation needed. Dicklyon (talk) 02:50, 22 September 2018 (UTC)
Some of the statements that you question were carried over from previous version. Also, I had also noticed the need for additional references, but you tagged before I could fill them in. Smiley green alien KO.svg Will take care of them as soon as I am able. Face-smile.svg Prokaryotic Caspase Homolog (talk) 03:09, 22 September 2018 (UTC)
I'm surprised you did not tag It reconciled conflicts between Maxwell's equations (the laws of electricity and magnetism) and the laws of Newtonian mechanics by introducing changes to the laws of mechanics, but on the other hand did tag the statement about the aether being made superfluous. That was a plain, direct statement in Einstein's paper requiring no interpretation. Anyhow, I added a note with an interwiki link to Saha's translation. Prokaryotic Caspase Homolog (talk) 05:22, 22 September 2018 (UTC)

I have three suggestions for minor edits:

1. In the section labeled "1933: Immigration to the US," the last sentence reads as follows: "On september 9, they take the ferry to Dover, and arrive in the US on october 17." Perhaps it should be, "On September 9, 1933 Einstein and Elsa took a ferry to Dover and ultimately arrived in the United States on October 17, 1933."

2. I personally don't think the ferry needs to be mentioned. A citation here would also be nice because specific dates are used.

3. The dating system is not consistent (e.g., earlier in this section 28 March is used, whereas the sentence I discussed in #1 uses the American format). This inconsistency is visible throughout the article and often within the same sections.

I'm new to editing Wikipedia articles. I hope this is the correct way to suggest edits; please let me know if I'm in the wrong place. ScienceJohn99 (talk) 21:51, 17 July 2019 (UTC)

@ScienceJohn99: Welcome, and thank you! I edited the page. If you look at the top of this top page, it clearly says this page is originally written in American English and should remain as such unless there is broad consensus to change. In American English, months come before dates, so changing all the dates to this format is justified. Nerd271 (talk) 06:05, 20 July 2019 (UTC)

@Nerd271 thank you for the welcome. I did see the note about using the American dating system in this article. I don’t know how many instances exist where the dates are incorrectly formatted, but I’m betting there are more than what I found on a cursory search through two subsections. My eyes automatically look for these things because I had a German advisor in graduate school. ;-) I’m happy to start correcting or you can ask someone who isn’t a newbie; just pointing it out in case it’s of interest. ScienceJohn99 (talk) 14:56, 21 July 2019 (UTC)

No One Goes it Alone[edit]

The possible contribution of Einstein's first wife to Relativity should not be ignored. Without a section on this, the article is inaccurate, out-of-date, and perhaps even biased. (talk) 04:32, 28 February 2019 (UTC)

Do you have a source explaining what specific contributions were made by his first wife? —UpdateNerd (talk) 07:43, 28 February 2019 (UTC)
At most, it appears that Einstein used Mileva Maric as a sounding-board. Trying to make more of that would be misreading the affectionate letters that have been preserved from this early period between the two, in particular the one letter where Einstein wrote, "bringing our work on relative motion to a successful conclusion!" The letters between Einstein and Maric are highly asymmetric in their topic coverage. Einstein's letters are full of his ideas about physics, while Maric's are silent about physics. Furthermore, although Maric was exceptional in her time for being a physics student (which was one of the things that attracted Einstein to her in the first place), she does not seem to have been especially talented at the subject, failing to pass her exams. The conspiracy theory first advanced by Walker Harris in the late 1980s remains nothing more than a conspiracy theory. Prokaryotic Caspase Homolog (talk) 18:36, 28 February 2019 (UTC)


The Albert Einstein page should link to Mileva Marić Einstein. She is mentioned, and has her own page, but the link is missing.

There is a link to her both in the infobox and in the first mention of her in the text, the "Einstein's future wife, a 20-year old Serbian woman Mileva Marić". – Þjarkur (talk) 20:57, 16 April 2019 (UTC)

After graduating in 1900, Einstein spent almost two frustrating years searching for a teaching post.[edit]

Wasn't he spending this time working on his PhD?
According to another page:
Alfred_Kleiner "Einstein's controversy with Paul Drude took place in the middle of 1901. It was at this time that Einstein transitioned from Weber to Kleiner ... At that time, most dissertations in physics by ETH students were carried out under the supervision of H.F. Weber, Einstein's former teacher at the Polytechnikum, as it was then called. ... Einstein also showed Kleiner his first PhD thesis dissertation in November 1901 "
Can't find anything about this "controversy".
p.s. are all these the same place, can't it be simplified:-
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
, Swiss Federal Polytechnic in Zürich
, Zürich Polytechnic
, Polytechnikum
, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule

Yes, they are all (sort of) the same. The institute had different names at different times as it underwent restructuring. Prokaryotic Caspase Homolog (talk) 15:00, 19 June 2019 (UTC)

There is evidence that A.E. did in fact find a job! In Schaffhausen. I discovered the following on an obscure website, but it is only in German (Google Translated) Albert Einstein in Schaffhausen 1901/02 in September 1901 came A. Einstein to Schaffhausen , for a job as a tutor at the private teaching and educational institution of Dr. Jakob Nüesch to take over. From December 1901 to the end of January 1902, he was staying in the Restaurant "Cardinal". Albert Einstein took effect on 15 September 1901 his job as a tutor in the "Teaching and Education Institute" Dr. Jakob Nüesch in Schaffhausen on. Although he was not entirely comfortable in this position already in advance, so he was glad to escape at least for some time his material needs, especially as he Dr. von Nüesch had received an annual contract. To his friend Marcel Grossmann, Einstein writes: "But now I'm in the fortunate position to be at least for one year the eternal food concern going. Because I'm ... made on 15 September at a mathematics teacher in Schaffhausen as a private teacher, where I prepare a young Englishman for the baccalaureate. You can imagine how happy I am about it, even if such a place for self-nature is not just an ideal. But I believe that this, after all, still a little time for my favorite studies remains, so I do not have to get rusty at least ... " (talk) 10:58, 19 June 2019 (UTC)

Managing to land temporary jobs as a teacher in Winterthur and later, for a private school in Schaffhausen wasn't his notion of what he wanted to do with his life. Perhaps "...After graduating in 1900, Einstein spent almost two frustrating years searching for a teaching post..." should be more accurately worded. I'm separated from my reference materials at the moment, so I can't make any corrections. Thanks for pointing out the ambiguity in wording! Prokaryotic Caspase Homolog (talk) 15:00, 19 June 2019 (UTC)

Jancsi von Neumann?[edit]

I think someone hacked the John von Neumann link, "Jancsi" means "Johnny" in Hungarian. (talk) 10:19, 23 July 2019 (UTC)

Sorry, it was a mistake, I see it's a genuine quote. (talk) 10:30, 23 July 2019 (UTC)