I’ve always known about Albert Einstein, but since I wasn’t very good at science or very interested in science, he was just a blip in my life. So when I received the book The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict, I was pretty excited to learn more. Plus, I really liked the cover artwork.
The Other Einstein tells the story about Mileva Maric, the only female in 1896 to study physics at Polytechnic University in Zurich and was one of the first women to study science in Europe. Her father recognized that Mileva was smart and wanted her to have a life outside of the house so he worked hard to make sure she received the right education. He had to petition to get her into the program at Polytechnic University.
Mileva first meets Albert in the program at the university. She wanted to concentrate on her studies and was not looking to fall in love so she ignored her feelings for Albert. Mileva had a birth defect that left her with a limp. Growing up she always overheard people talking about how she would never find love, leaving her alone the rest of her life. She took that to heart and wouldn’t believe someone like Albert would like her.
The Other Einstein introduces the theory that Mileva was a better physicist than Albert. They collaborated on several projects and papers making for a great collaboration team. They collaborated on many of his published papers. She came up with the Theory of Relativity while traveling on a train and seeing the clock at the train station. The same theory that won Albert the Noble Peace Prize. He refused to put her name on the published papers. He refused to give her credit for the Theory of Relativity. He refused to put her name on a patent he filed for machinery that they also collaborated on.
Told from Mileva’s point-of-view, this historical novel is about the difficulties she encountered all her life, but mainly while married to Einstein. He was a selfish man and became abusive after their marriage, neglecting her, and pretty much ignoring the existence of their first child born out of wedlock. He expected her to stay home, catering to his and the family’s needs instead of using her intelligence. He treated her like the hired help.
Over time, Mileva started living in Albert’s shadow, losing a little bit of herself. Luckily she realized if she wanted to be happy, she needed to leave him and get back to her science. Mileva was a ground-breaking and intelligent woman who I think would have been very famous had she lived a hundred years later. I’m glad a light is finally being shined on her and what she accomplished.
A vivid and mesmerizing novel about the extraordinary woman who married and worked with one of the greatest scientists in history.
What secrets may have lurked in the shadows of Albert Einstein’s fame? His first wife, Mileva “Mitza” Marić, was more than the devoted mother of their three children—she was also a brilliant physicist in her own right, and her contributions to the special theory of relativity have been hotly debated for more than a century.
In 1896, the extraordinarily gifted Mileva is the only woman studying physics at an elite school in Zürich. There, she falls for charismatic fellow student Albert Einstein, who promises to treat her as an equal in both love and science. But as Albert’s fame grows, so too does Mileva’s worry that her light will be lost in her husband’s shadow forever.
A literary historical in the tradition of The Paris Wife and Mrs. Poe, The Other Einstein reveals a complicated partnership that is as fascinating as it is troubling.
Until next time…enjoy the view from your passenger seat