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.”


Upcoming Events

Event Date: April 15, 2024, at 9:30am

Join us for a 4 to 5 mile hike at one of the most popular parks in the West Metro, Richardson Nature Center in Bloomington.  It is located at the north end of Hyland Lake Park Reserve at 8737 East Bush Lake Road in Bloomington.  This trail is mostly dirt and grass with some paved areas.  Enjoy the park's wildlife and celebrate Tax Day with your UMRA hiking friends!

Event Date: April 15, 2024, at 10am

UMN Technology Commercialization facilitates the transfer of UMN innovation beyond the research lab by helping our diverse researchers in development of new products and services that benefit the public good, foster economic growth, and generate revenue to support the University's mission.

Event Date: April 16, 2024, at 11am

How did children’s mental health become a public health crisis? How can you tell the difference between developmentally appropriate misbehavior and behavior that needs professional intervention? For answers to these and other questions, we invited Sarah Jerstad, clinical director of psychological services at Children's Minnesota, to be our guest speaker for UMRA’s April 16 workshop. 

Event Date: April 19, 2024, at 2pm

Joni Mitchell will lead the discussion of The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne when the UMRA book club meets via Zoom at 2 p.m. on Friday, April 19.

Event Date: April 23, 2024, at 11am

Generative artificial intelligence (AI) has attracted substantial debate recently because it can be used in many contexts, including educational settings to do things such as answer exam questions and write papers. But what is generative AI? And how can we know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing? Law School Professor Daniel Schwarcz will enlighten us during UMRA’s Luncheon Forum on April 23.

Event Date: April 24, 2024, at 10am

UMRA’s spring Armchair Traveler Program from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 24, will take us to South Korea with Marilyn DeLong and to Germany with Lynn C. Anderson. Please mark your calendars and save the date. 

Event Date: April 26, 2024, at 2pm

Silk Parachute, an anthology of essays and the 40th of 44 published books by author John McPhee, will be the topic of discussion when UMRA’s Fourth Friday Book Club meets via Zoom from 2 to 3:30 p.m. CDT on April 26.

Event Date: May 6, 2024, at 9:30am

We are so fortunate to have former Arboretum Director and UMRA member, Peter Moe lead this approx 3.7 mile hike at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum!  We will meet on the welcoming terrace and travel through the Arboretum's Display Gardens, Sensory Garden, Woodland Wildflower Garden,  Shade Tree Exhibit, Tall Grass Prairie, Rhododendron Garden, 1920 Red Barn and the Bee and Pollinator Discovery Center, Sphagnum Bog and Green Heron Pond, Display Gardens and many other gardens and plant collections. 

Event Date: May 6, 2024, at 12:45pm

This session will continue the discussion begun in the May 8, 2023 session.  See that article for details.

Event Date: June 14, 2024, at 7:10pm

UMRA will be celebrating U of M Days with the Alumni Association.  The Minnesota Twins will be playing the Oakland Athletics on Friday evening, June 14, 7:10 PM.  

Event Date: June 17, 2024, at 11am

Picnic under the covered, open-air Como pavilion, gaze at the water, spy some birds, catch up with friends and former colleagues, and meet new members. We’ll have lunch with plenty of time for visiting and then compete in teams as we are challenged by our Quiz master(s)!

Event Date: June 24, 2024, at 8am

Healthy aging, mindfulness, fighting ageism, and more will be the focus of the third annual Age-Friendly University Day to be held on the U of M Twin Cities campus.