Einstein may have been `world’s worst husband`
London: Albert Einstein may be regarded as one of the world’s most important scientists but despite his innumerable professional successes, he found it hard to sustain a thriving personal life, according to a new book.
In his book, Einstein: His Life and Universe, Walter Isaacson has described how Einstein found maintaining a harmonious love life a battle he would never win.
In fact, so pragmatic was Einstein’s approach to love, that when he found his 11-year marriage to fellow scientist Mileva Maric was floundering, he issued a list of outrageous rules that he believed would allow the two to remain together for the sake of the children, the Daily Mail reported.
Shockingly the list demanded Maric continue to act as maid to her erstwhile husband - yet should expect no affection or attention in return.
Einstein was prompted to write the list when, in 1914,he realised that after 11 years, his marriage to first wife Maric - one of the first women to study mathematics and physics in Europe - was destined for failure.
The scientist ordered that she keep his rooms tidy, bring him three meals a day (to be eaten in his room), keep his clothes and laundry in good order, and keep his bedroom and study neat (she should not use his desk, of course).
There would apparently be no benefits to Maric in return. In fact, Einstein specified in his list of conditions, printed in Isaacson`s book (via website listsofnote.com), that she must not expect Einstein to either sit with her, or accompany her outside of the house - and she must stop talking when he requests.
She must ‘renounce all personal relations’ not strictly necessary for social reasons - which should not include expecting to be accompanied on social engagements.
Also, Einstein stipulated that his wife should not expect any intimacy from him, should not reproach him in any way; should stop talking to him if he requested it; should leave his bedroom or study immediately without protest if requested, and should refrain from belittling him in front of the children, either through words or behaviour.
However, just a few months after he issued his misogynistic manifesto, she left Einstein in Berlin and moved with their sons, Hans Albert and Eduard (their daughter, Lieserl, born in 1902, was given up for adoption), to Zurich.
After five years she filed for divorce and in 1919, it was granted.
Isaacson also divulged how as a young man, Einstein predicted in a letter to the mother of his first girlfriend that the ‘joys of science’ would be a refuge from ‘painful personal emotions’.
As a testimony to that fact, the father of the theory of relativity is known to have had many liaisons throughout his marriage to Maric. In fact, he became involved with Elsa, a first cousin who would become his second wife, in 1912, when he was still married to his first wife.
Although Einstein married Elsa in 1919, within four years he was already involved with Bette Neumann, his secretary and the niece of one of his friends.
“His conquest of general relativity proved easier than finding the formulas for the forces swirling within his family,” Isaacson said.
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