A theory of Einstein the irrational plagiarist
Christopher Jon Bjerknes.
Thursday, 19 September 2002

THE name "Einstein" evokes images of a good-humoured 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 space-time concepts, Varicak's non-Euclidean
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
Handels-Zeitung 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 well-known 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. Side-by-side 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.