
A theory of Einstein the irrational
plagiarist
Christopher Jon
Bjerknes. From: Klaus Friebe
Thursday, 19 September 2002
The name
"Einstein" evokes images of a goodhumoured genius, who revolutionised our
concepts of space, time, energy, mass and motion. Time named Albert Einstein
"person of the century". The language itself has incorporated "Einstein" into
our common vocabulary as a synonym for extraordinary brilliance. Many consider
Einstein to have been the finest mind in recorded human history.
That
is the popular image, fostered by textbooks, the media, and hero worshiping
physicists and historians. However, when one reads the scientific literature
written by Einstein's contemporaries, a quite different picture emerges: one of
an irrational plagiarist, who manipulated credit for their work.
Einstein is perhaps most famous for the special theory of relativity,
published in 1905 in the German physics journal, Annalen der Physik. The paper
was devoid of references, a fact that Einstein's friend and Nobel prize winner
for physics, Max Born, found troubling.
"The striking point is that it contains not a single reference to
previous literature," Born stated in 1955, before the International Relativity
Conference in Bern. "It gives you the impression of quite a new venture. But
that is, of course, as I have tried to explain, not true."
Though Einstein's 1905 article contained no references, it was so
strikingly similar to a paper written by Hendrik Lorentz the previous year, that
Walter Kaufmann and Max Planck felt a need to publicly point out that Einstein
had merely provided a metaphysical reinterpretation and generalisation of
Lorentz' scientific theory, a metaphysical reinterpretation and generalisation
Henri Poincare had already published.
As Charles Nordmann, astronomer to the Paris Observatory, pointed
out: "It is really to Henri Poincare, the great Frenchman whose death has left a
void that will never be filled, that we must accord the merit of having first
proved, with the greatest lucidity and the most prudent audacity, that time and
space, as we know them, can only be relative. A few quotations from his works
will not be out of place. They will show that the credit for most of the things
which are currently attributed to Einstein is, in reality, due to Poincare."
Einstein acknowledged the fact, but justified his plagiarism in a
cavalier fashion in Annalen der Physik in 1907. "It appears to me that it is the
nature of the business that what follows has already been partly solved by other
authors. Despite that fact, since the issues of concern are here addressed from
a new point of view, I believe I am entitled to leave out a thoroughly pedantic
survey of the literature, all the more so because it is hoped that these gaps
will yet be filled by other authors, as has already happened with my first work
on the principle of relativity through the commendable efforts of Mr. Planck and
Mr. Kaufmann."
The completed field equations of the general theory of relativity
were first deduced by David Hilbert, a fact Einstein was forced to acknowledge
in 1916, after he had plagiarised them from Hilbert in late 1915. Paul Gerber
solved the problem of the perihelion of Mercury in 1898. Physicist Ernst Gehrcke
gave a lecture on the theory of relativity in the Berlin Philharmonic on August
24, 1920, and publicly confronted Einstein, who was in attendance, with
Einstein's plagiarism of Lorentz' mathematical formalisms of the special theory
of relativity, Palagyi's spacetime concepts, Varicak's nonEuclidean geometry
and of the plagiarism of the mathematical solution of the problem of the
perihelion of Mercury first arrived at by Gerber. Gehrcke addressed Einstein to
his face and told the crowd that the emperor had no clothes.
This was Einstein's response published in the Berliner Tageblatt
und HandelsZeitung on August 27, 1920, translated into English in the book
Albert Einstein's Theory of General Relativity edited by Gerald E. Tauber: ". .
.. Gerber, who has given the correct formula for the perihelion motion of Mercury
before I did. The experts are not only in agreement that Gerber's derivation is
wrong through and through, but the formula cannot be obtained as a consequence
of the main assumption made by Gerber. Mr Gerber's work is therefore completely
useless, an unsuccessful and erroneous theoretical attempt.
"I maintain that the theory of general relativity has provided the
first real explanation of the perihelion motion of mercury. I have not mentioned
the work by Gerber originally, because I did not know it when I wrote my work on
the perihelion motion of Mercury; even if I had been aware of it, I would not
have had any reason to mention it."
The fact that Einstein was a plagiarist is common knowledge in the
physics community. What isn't so wellknown is that the sources Einstein
parroted were also largely unoriginal. In 1919, writing in the Philosophical
Magazine Harry Bateman, a British mathematician and physicist who had emigrated
to the United States, unsuccessfully sought acknowledgment of his work.
"The appearance of Dr Silberstein's recent article on General
Relativity without the Equivalence Hypothesis encourages me to restate my own
views on the subject," Bateman wrote.
"I am perhaps entitled to do this as my work on the subject of
general relativity was published before that of Einstein and Kottler, and
appears to have been overlooked by recent writers."
My book is a documentation of Einstein's plagiarism of the theory
of relativity. It discloses his method for manipulating credit for the work of
his contemporaries, reprints the prior works he parroted, and demonstrates that
he could not have drawn his conclusions without prior knowledge of the works he
copied but failed to reference.
Numerous republished quotations from Einstein's contemporaries
prove that they were aware of his plagiarism. Sidebyside comparisons of
Einstein's words juxtaposed to those of his predecessors prove the almost
verbatim repetition. There is even substantial evidence presented in the book
that Einstein plagiarised the work of his first wife, Mileva Maric, who had
plagiarised others.
Mr Bjerknes, an American historian of science, has authored six
books on Einstein and the theory of relativity.
Albert Einstein: The Incorrigible Plagiarist (ISBN 0971962987) is
available at www.amazon.com.
Excerpts at: www.xtxinc.com