Milena Maric – The Wife of the Genius and the Genius herself
Mileva Maric was born on December 19, 1875 in Titel, as the oldest of three children of Milos Maric and Marija Ruzic Maric. Her parents gave her a nickname of Mica and smeared her because she was born with one leg shorted then other and because of which she had been lamenting. As a child, she had a gift for math and languages, painting and music. She started secondary school in Novi Sad, then moved to Sremska Mitrovica, then to Sabac, and when she was fifteen, her father granted her a special permit to attend a male private Royal High School in Zagreb. She passed the entrance examination and enrolled in the tenth grade in 1892. She had the highest marks in mathematics and physics in Zagreb. However, that year he became disillusioned and moved to Switzerland, where he started to attend the Zurich High School in November, at one time only a few European cities with a university that received women. She graduated after two years and started studying medicine, but she moved to the University Polytechnic until October. She was the only girl in the group of six students, and only the fifth woman in history accepted at the PU. One of her colleagues was also the young Albert Einstein, seventeen-year-old, with whom she quickly became friends.
Mileva’s first year of study was very successful, and the second one began with a semester in Heidelberg. She and Albert remained in contact while she was absent. She described him very much in detail in his study of pleasure, as he called her a “little fighter,” praying for her to come back fast. Mileva returned to Zurich, and until the spring of 1899 all the formalities disappeared. Mileva’s parents were tolerant, knowing that they had little prospects to marry her, taking into account her intelligence and her physical disadvantage. His parents, however, opposed the connection on every ground: it was too long for him, a book moth, and not a Jewish origin, but a Slovenian one. Albert demanded all her time, and she sacrificed her studies and friends for it. In 1900 both fell on their final exams – to pass, it was necessary to have an average of 5 on a scale of 1 to 6; Einstein had 4.9 and his grade was rounded to 5, so he still graduated, and Mileva’s average rating, four, had a weak rating from the theory of function, 2.5, although she received high marks from physics.
After failing to attend the exams, Maric remained in Zurich, working as an assistant in the lab and planning to resume the exams. Einstein went to Italy to visit her family. In May, they met at Lake Como for a couple of days. A few weeks later, Mileva discovered she was pregnant. She resumed the tests in July, though she did not increase her grade, and canceled her graduation thesis, which she hoped would develop into a doctoral thesis. By the end of January 1902, Mileva gave birth to the daughter of Lieserl at home in Novi Sad. There is no information what happened to Lieserl, she apparently died of illness at the age of one.
Never two physicists had a closer relationship than the two of them: Mileva and Albert ate together, prepared exams, wrote ideas and textbooks, slept together, raised their children, and talked about physics. In free time she often played the piano, following Albert on the violin, and had fun with friends, a group that became known as the “Olympia Academy”. Despite the opposition of his parents, in the Bern City Hall on January 6, 1903, Albert Eisenstein married Mileva Maric, his colleague and associate. Members of the Olympia Academy, Maurice Solovine and Conrad Habicht , were present on modest wedding. They did not have a honeymoon, and the celebration consisted only of lunch at the restaurant. Their marriage was an intellectual partnership. Einstein admired Mileva’s silent independence and intellectual ambition. He felt fortunate to find her, “Being who is straight and who is as intelligent and independent as I am” he said.
Their married life began with Einstein’s work at the Swiss Patent Office in Bern, and free time devoted to physics. Mileva tried to deal with the loss of her career and daughter. Just before their second anniversary of marriage, the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Marie and Pierre Curie, and this was certainly a painful reminder that she hoped for a career. But the next year, Albert got a raise, and Mileva gave birth to a baby, Hans Alberta. The1905 it was even better. Mileva wrote Helena Savic, a friend from Serbia: “We have done some important work that will make my husband world-famous.”
Early 1905. Albert was twenty-six years old and worked six days a week. Mileva was a housewife with twenty-nine years with a child in her lap. In a span of seven months, Einstein delivered revolutionary articles to Annalen der Physik, the best physical journal in Europe. Every thesis elegantly removes the beam from the structure of previously accepted scientific theory. Counting only 43 pages, these few papers offered a large part of the physics framework of the twentieth century.
His amazing work did not emerge from nowhere. Between 1902 and 1904, Einstein wrote three “roughly” papers, each containing a piece of the idea, or a new way of thinking about the structure of matter, the nature of radiation, the interaction of light and matter. These ideas were at rest until the results of the paper from 1905 appeared. In addition to articles in the journal, Einstein also presented a dissertation, proposing a method for determining the number and size of the ions. Compared to his other great achievements from 1905, this was not an inspirational topic. But the work endured a test of time, and was quoted more often than any other of his work. This year was the pinnacle of scientific achievement, the moment of divorce in the history of physics. For the first article, published in March, about the quantum of light and photoelectric effect, he received the Nobel Prize. The other two papers, published in June and September, were the Special Theory of Relativity and the Equivalence of Mass and Energy.
A decade after the annus mirabilis, Albert had a manuscript on a general theory of relativity. It was the peak of his career. He has spent the last three decades of his life looking for a unique theory that will connect gravity and light.
In 1909 Einstein resigned from the University of Bern, left his job at the Patent Office and became a professor at the University of Zurich. He also began to correspond with his former mistress. In order to restore peace, the Einsteins go on vacation. Their second son, Edward, was born in 1910. The following year, Albert moved his family to Prague, where he taught at the University of Karl-Ferdinand. They returned to Zurich in 1912 – but not in the old life, as Mileva hoped. Albert found a new mistress – his cousin Elsa Leventhal.
In 1913, Einstein was asked to come and teach in Berlin, which Mileva strongly opposed, among other things because Elsa lived in Berlin. In August of that year Einsteins went on vacation. In September, they visited Mileva’s parents in Titel, and on the day of their departure to Vienna, Mileva’s sons were baptized in the Orthodox Church. After Vienna, Einstein visited relatives in Germany, and Mileva returned to Zurich. After Christmas, she traveled to Berlin and stayed with a friend who helped her find accommodation for their upcoming move to Berlin, scheduled for April 1814. Mileva and Albert left Zurich in late March: Albert accepted the position of lecturer at the University of Berlin, as well as membership in the prestigious Prussian Academy of Sciences.
Mileva Maric was unhappy in Berlin. Shortly after they moved, Einstein insisted on the strict conditions she had to respect if she wanted to stay with him: she gave her a long list of rules, with orders like “you have to answer me right away when I ask you something.” Therefore, Mileva returned to Zurich in July with the boys. She hoped Albert would be back. But he began to live with Elsa and complete his General Theory of Relativity.
In 1916, Albert requested divorce from Mileva. She fainted at that time and was taken to the hospital; Albert thought she was faking it. In August Helena Savic comes to check how Mileva is. She is bedridden, so Helena takes the boys for a month, giving Miles a time to recover. In October, she was still ill, and her sister Zorka was sent to care for Mileva’s sons, but Zorka then experienced a nervous breakdown, and spent the next two years at the Swiss Psychiatric Clinic.
After the war, Mileva agreed to divorce, provided that the money from any Nobel Prize belongs to her. Surprisingly, Albert agreed, and now he was free to marry Elsa. He pledged that he would send Mileva an annual support of 5600 marks, which was less than half his salary. As the 1919th approached the end, observations of the solar ellipse proved the General Relativity theory. Mileva was forty-four years; divorced and chronically ill; she survived the loss of her career, daughter and husband. Albert is forty years old, he is a world-renowned schientist-0 and ready for further research, but he has never recreated something of the same standard as his work in 1905. Mileva had some money from the divorce, and she was earning some more by giving classes of mathematics and music. Life was tolerable. But in 1920, Mileva was called to Novi Sad. Her elderly parents could not fight themselves with the growing paranoia and hostility of her sister Zorka. Mileva remained in Novi Sad for three months, and returned to Serbia in 1922, because Zorka burned a large sum of money hidden in an empty barn. The events were shifting at astonishing speed: Zorka had another nervous breakdown, Milos died of a heart attack, and Albert wins the Nobel Prize.
Albert was on a tour of the Far East when it happened and could not attend the December ceremony. In 1923, he transferred the money to Mileva. It was the smallest amount ever donated by the Nobel Foundation, only 121,572 Swedish kronor (worth about 348,000 US dollars in 2003). Mileva invested money in three houses in Zurich, one in which she lived alone.
In 1929, Mileva was fifty-three years old. Over the next ten years, she will lose everything that matters to her. It started when Edward was diagnosed with schizophrenia, and was placed at the university psychiatric clinic, which cost Mileva a house; Albert then avoided the anti-Semitism of Nazi Berlin by emigrating to America with Elsa and Helen. The next New Year Mileva’s mother died, and three years later, Mileva went home last time to bury Zorka. After that, Hans Albert, his wife and their two children moved to the United States, and within a few months, Mileva’s youngest grandchildren died.
Mileva died at the hospital at 72, on August 4, 1948 in Zurich, and was buried at the Nordheim Fridhof Cemetery.
Einstein died in 1955, making Otto Nathan and Helen Dukas confidants of their personal documents. The two were heavily patronized and prevented the publication of the book by Hans Albert’s wife, Frida, in 1958, because it contained quotations from letters written by Albert, Mileva and their sons.
More than a decade later, Princeton Press begins to work on the twenty-volume publication of Collected Inventory of Albert Einstein. Nathan stopped the project because he was fighting with several editors. In the meantime, the files are copied again because Einstein’s testament stipulates that when Dukas dies, all originals must go to the Hebrew University. She died in 1982, but the project continues, and uses copies. By 1985, Frida’s book had long been forgotten. The Princenton Press editor, John Steak, heard of some early “love letters” owned Einstein’s cousins in California. He found Evelyn Einstein in Berkeley. She has an unpublished manuscript of her mother, but not the letters. The search lead to the safe, and the secret warehouse containing over 400 letters. The book containing 51 letter came out in 1987, and the scientific world was brushing the name of Mileva Maric. The public gets the breath of the story in 1992, when most of Love Letters are published.