So where did Einstein really get his ideas?

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 02 April, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 02 April, 2011, 12:00am

Did Albert Einstein steal his special relativity ideas from his wife? That has always been a heated question in the history of science. So it was puzzling that while covering the upcoming Einstein fest in Hong Kong, a colleague uncovered a January 6, 1923 Post report about the great man's second visit to Hong Kong in which Mrs Einstein seemed to profess an 'ignorance is bliss' attitude about her husband's famous theory. 'I don't want to understand it; I am far happier without [it],' she said. Unfortunately, the report didn't spell out her name.

Well, she must have been Elsa, his cousin and second wife. Einstein divorced his first wife, the brilliant Mileva Maric, who was the only female physics major at the turn-of-the-century polytechnic in Zurich, where Einstein went for studies. Mileva never got much credit for her ideas about special relativity - which was actually much 'in the air' at the time - much like the unjustly neglected Rosalind Franklin who gave the crucial samples to James Watson and Francis Crick that led to their discovery of the DNA structure.

It's a man's world after all.