It is now quite widely believed that Mileva Maric, Einstein’s first wife, played an active role in Einstein’s early scientific work.… Read the rest
Another opportunity for subjecting these claims to close scrutiny.
Unfortunately erroneous and misleading contentions frequently attain wide currency, and it seems that many people fail to treat factual assertions in print with appropriate caution.
Authors of non-fiction books, especially those addressed to children, should not use exaggeration, tendentious selection of material, and misrepresentation of the historical facts in service of a message.
In September 2009 I submitted an article to the feminist journal Women’s Studies International Forum, and in February 2010 I was informed that the journal had decided against publication. Nothing unusual in that, of course. No doubt the great majority of articles submitted to journals are rejected, for a multitude of reasons. But when I enquired why no reason had been given, the Editor-in-Chief replied that the paper had not been sent out for review as she did not feel that it had sufficient evidence in terms of references or citations to back up some of the claims that were made.
Now, whatever deficiencies there may have been in the article, insufficient citation was not one of them. In … Read the rest
Evidence lacking, evidence pointing the other way, evidence twisted then twisted again.… Read the rest
PBS continues to promote a meretricious documentary.
Have you read Allen’s article on PBS and Einstein’s wife? PBS is extremely irritating. It’s doing a bad thing. It’s ignoring its plain duty and responsibility. It’s not doing its job properly. It’s sneaking around. First it was stalling and delaying and making excuses, and now it’s sneaking around. It’s being bad. It has not only failed to take down the Einstein’s Wife website, despite the advice of its own ombudsman and despite telling Allen ‘We are looking for additional scholarly review to help us know how to proceed in making sure that the web site content is as accurate as possible,’ it has now commissioned Andrea Gabor to rewrite it. That’s like commissioning Michael Behe to rewrite … Read the rest
ABC dropped ‘Einstein’s Wife’; what does PBS think it’s doing?
Is there any evidence that Marić ‘helped Einstein with the math’?
The discussion of what the Statement of Academic Freedom means, of what it means to cover and what (if anything) it doesn’t mean to cover, goes on in comments, so I wanted to add a point or two.
The trouble is that it’s rather carefully worded in such a way that it’s hard to figure out exactly what it does and doesn’t cover. ‘[A]cademics, both inside and outside the classroom, have unrestricted liberty to question and test received wisdom and to put forward controversial and unpopular opinions, whether or not these are deemed offensive’ and ‘academic institutions have no right to curb the exercise of this freedom by members of their staff’. What is ‘received wisdom’ and what are ‘opinions’? … Read the rest
Alan Boyle posted Allen Esterson’s reply to Troemel-Ploetz on ‘Cosmic Log’ today. I meant to say something else about the November 20 post (the one with Troemel-Ploetz’s reply) yesterday but I forgot. (I know, I know. But I can only hold one thought in my head at a time. Be patient with me.) But it’s interesting, and it’s always coming up. It’s something Boyle said this time:
We’ve gone back and forth over the role that Albert Einstein’s first wife, Mileva Maric, may have played in the development of the special theory of relativity…and now I’ve gotten the other side of the story from Senta Troemel-Ploetz…
The other side. Of the story. But it isn’t a story, and there isn’t … Read the rest
So maybe women really do think logic is ‘a pestiferous male invention’ (The Dictionary of Fashionable Nonsense). It would seem so by this, anyway – Senta Troemel-Ploetz replying on Alan Boyle’s blog to Allen Esterson’s article on Troemel-Ploetz’s paper claiming that Mileva Marić ‘did Einstein’s mathematics.’ It’s a cringe-making performance, frankly. She offers no real evidence, she simply cites ‘a tradition that always attributes achievement to men even if the men themselves claim their wives were the authors’ and then gives three quotations from Einstein to Mileva Marić:
“How happy I am to have found an equal in you (eine ebenbuertige Kreatur) who is as strong and independent as I am.” “Until you are my dear little wife,
Gerald Holton did come forward and claim he was misrepresented.
Producers of informational content must be prepared to correct material errors.
How did the notion that Mileva Marić helped Einstein with his mathematics get around?
The evidence and historical documentation are not there.… Read the rest
PBS has been ‘considering’ the matter for months now…
I’ve noticed something interesting. Ever read any Deborah Tannen? Differences in the way women and men use language? Women say ‘sorry’ a lot more than men do, that kind of thing? Somewhat worrying, a tad too similar to the Gilligan-Harding school of feminism which is too inclined to characterize women as big soppy soft-headed damp-palmed lachrymose huggy squishy melty getOFFme fools – but interesting all the same, and she is better at both gathering data and thinking about the data once she’s gathered. Anyway – differences in the way men and women use language. I think I’ve noticed a new one (new in the sense that I hadn’t noticed it before, though Tannen probably has). Here is my theory. [protracted … Read the rest
Historical claims must be inspected carefully, just as when testing hypotheses.
(Copyright 2005, Alberto A. Martínez and School Science Review.)