The following article summarizes the original event which is listed below the summary.

Book Notes | ‘The Other Einstein’

March 15, 2024, at 2pm

The Other Einstein, a novel about the life of Albert Einstein’s first wife, Mileva Marić, is one of several works of historical fiction by the best-selling American author Marie Benedict. Marić was a brilliant scientist and mathematician. Benedict speculates that Marić contributed significantly to the papers and relativity theory that are attributed to Einstein.

The two met as classmates at Zurich Polytechnic School in 1896. Marić was one of the few female students at the school. Einstein, in Benedict’s telling, wheedles himself into the lives of the four female students living at a boarding house for young women. This slowly develops into a relationship with Marić, who helps him with his coursework. She finds herself in a love relationship with him.

Eventually, the romance results in a child born before their marriage. The pregnancy interferes with Marić finishing her degree. This prevents her from publishing her work as she lacks the credentials. Later, after they are married, Marić discovers that Einstein is having affairs. He is also taking her writing and publishing it with only his name. The marriage ends in divorce after Einstein writes conditions for them to continue living together that treat Marić like chattel.

The UMRA Book Club I group discussion was split between those who liked the book and members who do not like historical fiction because it is difficult to know what is fact and what is fiction. Some members also felt that the author spent too much time on the early years of the Einsteins and not on their later lives. 

The book raises several questions: Instead of “Einstein’s theory of relativity” would it be more correct to state “Einsteins’ theory of relativity”? And, “Was the title of the book actually referring not to Einstein’ first wife but to the Albert Einstein few of us knew?”

— Mariah Snyder, UMRA Book Club I




Book Club I to meet March 15

Fri, Mar 15 2024, 2pm

Event to be held via Zoom.

Mariah Snyder will lead the discussion of The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict, a bestselling author of historical fiction, when the UMRA Book Club meets via Zoom at 2 p.m. on Friday, March 15. The novel provides a look into the life of a brilliant woman whose contributions to Einstein’s theory of relativity were lost in the shadow of her husband’s scientific work. 

Email Pat Tollefson at [email protected] for more information. 

To read summaries of the book club’s discussions, go “Book Notes.”


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