This Tesla Society article is one of many websites claiming that some scientific discoveries attributed to Albert Einstein were in part or in full done by his first wife, Mileva Marić.

There is more and more evidence that Mileva Einstein Maric (Einstein's wife) is the coauthor of "The Theory of Relativity".

There is evidence to support this idea, including:

  • an apparent listing of her name on a draft.
  • Some letters between Einstein and his wife, Mileva, appear to be missing.
  • Einstein did not publish anything major after those initial papers written during the time he was with his first wife.
  • Einstein gave his Nobel prize's money to his wife during their divorce.
  • Einstein's famous equation E=mc^2 was discovered by Olinto De Pretto and this was never acknowledged in Einstein's work.
  • There is other evidence of their collaboration.

Was the Theory of Relativity co-authored by Marić?

  • 6
    Let's tidy up the claim here to be less 'fraud' and 'stain on integrity' which are opinion-based and more 'wife was coauthor' like the quoted site.
    – Oddthinking
    May 21, 2017 at 22:47
  • 5
    Let's not debate that. Let's focus the question on the facts.
    – Oddthinking
    May 21, 2017 at 23:24
  • 24
    Which theory of relativity (general or special)? And, Einstein got his Nobel for the photoelectric effect, NOT relativity.
    – hdhondt
    May 21, 2017 at 23:54
  • 9
    Tesla was a General-Relativity denier until his death.
    – Sklivvz
    May 22, 2017 at 0:28
  • 5
    The point about De Pretto is absurd. De Pretto hypothesized that there might be some kind of mass-energy equivalence based on a bogus theory and gave the simplest dimensionally consistent relationship between them as a guess. Einstein derived the relationship from a (seemingly) correct theoretical framework. The full form of what he derived includes an extra momentum term - it only simplifies to E=mc^2 if there is no momentum. Thus, Einstein derived something more general and not the same as De Pretto in any case.
    – KAI
    May 22, 2017 at 16:08

1 Answer 1


There's low probability that Marić made a significant contribution to Einstein's Theory of Relativity, let alone that she co-authored it with him.

From Einstein from 'B' to 'Z' by John Stachel:

In summary, the letters to Marić show Einstein referring to his studies, his ideas, his work on the electrodynamics of moving bodies over a dozen times (and we may add a couple more if we include his letter to Grossmann), as compared to one reference to our work on the problem of relative motion. In the one case where we have a letter of Marić in direct response to one of Einstein's, where it would have been most natural for her to respond to his ideas on the electrodynamics of moving bodies, we find the same response to ideas in physics that we find in all her letters: silence. This proves nothing, as I emphasized in my paper, but it certainly must influence our estimate of the probability that Marić made a significant contribution.

Pg. 36 - Google Books

(the "as compared to one reference to our work on the problem of relative motion" refers to what The Forgotten Life of Einstein's First Wife article you linked to put a lot of emphasis on)

Further down the page, Stachel also notes:

In her case, we have no published papers; no letters with a serious scientific content, either to Einstein nor to anyone else; nor any other objective evidence of her supposed creative talents. We do not even have hearsay accounts of conversations she had with anyone else that have a specific, scientific content, let alone a content claiming to report her ideas.

Of course, as Stachel himself noted, this does not prove anything and indeed absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, making this very difficult or even impossible to conclusively prove.

Edit: I'll also try to address the Nobel Prize money argument. According to one source, Einstein's original intent was clearly to support their children rather than to provide some sort of compensation to Mileva herself:

The draft of the divorce agreement stated: “Disposal of the interest would be left entirely to your discretion. The capital would be deposited in Switzerland and placed in safe-keeping for the children.”

As reworded by Mileva’s lawyer, in the divorce decree the phrase “placed in safe-keeping for the children” became “In the case of the remarriage or death of Mrs. Einstein [the capital] shall go to the children.” Even if the practical consequences hardly changed – due to the fact that Mileva “shall have no authority over the capital without the consent of Prof. Einstein” - Albert’s clear statement of intent regarding the children’s heritage was swept under the rug. Yet happy to escape prolonged negotiations, in order to end an unfortunate marriage, Albert may not even have realized the difference.

Also, as noted in the comments, Einstein never won a Nobel Prize for the theory of relativity, but for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect.

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