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DoctorDon
2004-Jun-12, 04:32 PM
So, the story goes that when Einstein heard about Hubble's observation of the expansion of the Universe, he called his Cosmological Constant "my greatest blunder". But does anyone happen to know *exactly* where he said this? Is it in print? Is there first-hand testimony of an occasion when he said it?

I just wonder if this is something that's been repeated so often that everyone just "knows" it's true. After all, Kirk never said "beam me up, scotty" on the original star trek show, and Bogart never said "play it again, sam" in Casablanca, but I bet most people would swear they both do. :-)

So, if anyone has heard a direct quotation from Einstein about his blunder (not just someone saying he said it), I'd really be curious to know.

Thanks,

Don

Candy
2004-Jun-12, 05:14 PM
I googled "my greatest blunder" and found this article about wrongway einstein (http://einstein52.tripod.com/alberteinsteinprophetorplagiarist/id7.html). It might give direction for your question. 8-[

milli360
2004-Jun-16, 05:57 AM
It might give direction for your question.
Whoa! It's got the phrase, but no attribution. Instead, it has


Wouldnt you expect that the Person of the Century, Albert Einstein, be flawless in thought, conception and execution? He apparently plagiarized most of the special theory of relativity and he couldnt quite get a handle on the Cosmologic Constant, his greatest discovery that he recanted on when he was right. This would be a nightmare and a disaster for almost any other scientist, yet when it happens to Einstein, everyone looks the other way. His nickname should be wrongway Einstein.


I think a better source is the Quotable Einstein (or the Expanded Quotable Einstein) which attempts to track down a lot of the famous Einstein quotes. Unfortunately, I can't find my copy...

PS: Here's a link (http://www.jb.man.ac.uk/~jpl/cosmo/blunder.html) that says it was in a personal conversation with Einstein, reported by George Gamow in his book My World Line (check out the footnote).

Candy
2004-Jun-16, 06:35 AM
I used to think Einstein was the greatest, but after coming to the BABB my view changed. I can't give specifics, but I just don't think he is as bright as we think he is! :o Call it a gut feeling. :-k

milli360
2004-Jun-16, 06:50 AM
I can't give specifics

I thought you already did (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?p=251612#251612)?

Candy
2004-Jun-16, 06:58 AM
I can't give specifics

I thought you already did (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?p=251612#251612)? I have read more about Einstein (or should I say Einstein's first wife), and I hate to think a man would stoop so low. :-k

If it quacks...

milli360
2004-Jun-16, 07:14 AM
I have read more about Einstein (or should I say Einstein's first wife)
What have you read?

Candy
2004-Jun-16, 07:27 AM
I have read more about Einstein (or should I say Einstein's first wife)
What have you read? You're so good at past posts, read mine about Einstein. :wink: The man is clearly a product of his first wife. Think about it, after he divorced her, he never had an original thought of his own. Being the leader of a team does not count in my book! He joked about everything asked of him up until his death. :-k

milli360
2004-Jun-16, 11:51 AM
I have read more about Einstein (or should I say Einstein's first wife)
What have you read? You're so good at past posts, read mine about Einstein.

I had. I thought you meant, since then. I thought those past posts were answered.

PhantomWolf
2004-Jun-16, 12:06 PM
*rings a bell* Ding ding. Ladiessss and gentlemen! Tonight we have a match of unequal proportions so two titans battle over Einstein and who's wife was right. In the Red Corner weighing in with an impressive 1467 posts since her debuted in March, located in Chicago, Illinois and wearing blue trunks with white stripes is the challenger, Caaaaaaaaaaandy. In the blue corner, weighing in with 1845 post since Dec 2003, fighting out of North Carolina and wearing red trunks with white trim the current champion and defender..... miiiiiiiiiiiiiiilli360.

Now for your viewing pleasure. For the hundreds in attendance, and the thousands gathered about the world.....


LET'S GET READY TO RUUUUUUUUMBLE!!!!!!




[hehehe, sorry couldn't resist. ;)]

George
2004-Jun-16, 02:20 PM
The irony is that his cosmological constant is now needed and is part of this 3rd revolution in cosmology, but, he missed it by a factor of 10^60! What moron could be off by 10^60? [-X

[Oops... make that 10^120. So, I only missed by 10^60. :o ]

Tranquility
2004-Jun-16, 02:36 PM
The irony is that his cosmological constant is now needed and is part of this 3rd revolution in cosmology, but, he missed it by a factor of 10^60! What moron could be off by 10^60? [-X

[Oops... make that 10^120. So, I only missed by 10^60. :o ]

Haha :lol: :lol:

Ricimer
2004-Jun-16, 03:06 PM
I'm confused as to how Einstein's marital short-fallings means he stole the concept of SR from his wife, and can't come up with an original idea.

Mileva couldn't even pass the final tests to get a physics degree!


My guess is Einstein, when he still was on a good standing with Mileva, used her as a sounding board. I.e. if she would help him refine his explaination, sorta like editing a report for a friend.

milli360
2004-Jun-16, 03:14 PM
OK, I'm worried. I left my trunks at home. And what's an Inverted Atomic Drop? Does that have anything to do with relativity?

Normandy6644
2004-Jun-16, 03:18 PM
I'm confused as to how Einstein's marital short-fallings means he stole the concept of SR from his wife, and can't come up with an original idea.

Mileva couldn't even pass the final tests to get a physics degree!


My guess is Einstein, when he still was on a good standing with Mileva, used her as a sounding board. I.e. if she would help him refine his explaination, sorta like editing a report for a friend.

Well, she most likely didn't get her degree because she was busy being pregnant. I agree with you second part though, since she was a capable physicist it is likely that she and Einstein talked about SR, and who knows perhaps she even came up with something here or there, but I think most of the credit belongs to Einstein.

milli360
2004-Jun-16, 03:43 PM
Well, she most likely didn't get her degree because she was busy being pregnant.
Not unless she was pregnant and we haven't found out about it yet.

That PBS website (http://www.pbs.org/opb/einsteinswife/milevastory/early.htm) says they both failed their exams in the summer of 1900 (Einstein passed, according to Pais), and their daughter Lieserl wasn't born until January of 1902.

Taibak
2004-Jun-16, 03:43 PM
And what's an Inverted Atomic Drop? Does that have anything to do with relativity?

Well that depends on how fast you do it. :lol:

Ricimer
2004-Jun-16, 04:10 PM
Normandy: IIRC she wasn't pregnant at the time (even with the illegitimate child).

And she failed the tests twice, not just once.

TriangleMan
2004-Jun-16, 04:43 PM
Normandy: IIRC she wasn't pregnant at the time (even with the illegitimate child).

And she failed the tests twice, not just once.

I was about to say that as well, I believe Mileva wrote her exams twice and did not pass either time.

Kaptain K
2004-Jun-16, 06:08 PM
In the blue corner, weighing in with 1845 post since Dec 2003, fighting out of North Carolina and wearing red trunks with white trim the current champion and defender..... miiiiiiiiiiiiiiilli360.
Don't forget his 3142 posts as Kilopi and 3142 posts as Grapes of Wrath (aka Grab o Raft) before that!

Sam5
2004-Jun-16, 06:26 PM
The man is clearly a product of his first wife. Think about it, after he divorced her, he never had an original thought of his own. Being the leader of a team does not count in my book! He joked about everything asked of him up until his death. :-k

Hmm, interesting.

Einstein married Mileva, on January 6, 1903, and he immediately began turning out important papers. He divorced her on Feb. 14, 1919, and he produced no important papers after that. And, he gave her all of his Nobel Prize money.

Hmm.

Heck! I’ve been approaching this situation from the physics angle, and here you have gone and solved it from the romantic angle! #-o

milli360
2004-Jun-16, 06:38 PM
Don't forget his 3142 posts as Kilopi
Not quite that many

He divorced her on Feb. 14, 1919, and he produced no important papers after that.
He produced a few after that. :)

And, they'd broken up in 1914, before he found his principle of general relativity, even according to those execrable PBS webpages (http://www.pbs.org/opb/einsteinswife/map/index.htm).

Ricimer
2004-Jun-16, 06:43 PM
as for the 1903 starting point:

He just landed a stable job in that patent office. That allowed him to have the financial basis to support a wife, and so he married.

It also provided him with the security, and time (and often a place) to pursue the few experiments, think and write the papers.

After 1919 Einstein didn't write to many big papers anymore, but he was still productive, and participated in science.

milli360
2004-Jun-16, 06:46 PM
After 1919 Einstein didn't write to many big papers anymore, but he was still productive, and participated in science.
He was forty years old, and as near as I can tell wrote more and bigger papers than all other forty year old physicists combined.

I may be exaggerating a little.

Kaptain K
2004-Jun-16, 06:50 PM
Also, IIRC, he spent the last decades of his life working on a Grand Unification Theory and since that is still unsolved, a decline in output might be expected! :o

Sam5
2004-Jun-16, 07:06 PM
And, they'd broken up in 1914, before he found his principle of general relativity,

See “Outline of a Generalized Theory of Relativity and of a Theory of Gravitation”, Lipzig, 1913, “Physical Part” by Albert Einstein, “Mathematical Part” by Marcel Grossmann, published in Volume 4 of “The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein.” :D

Normandy6644
2004-Jun-16, 08:02 PM
The man is clearly a product of his first wife. Think about it, after he divorced her, he never had an original thought of his own. Being the leader of a team does not count in my book! He joked about everything asked of him up until his death. :-k

Einstein married Mileva, on January 6, 1903, and he immediately began turning out important papers. He divorced her on Feb. 14, 1919, and he produced no important papers after that. And, he gave her all of his Nobel Prize money.

He was still turning out quite a bit of good stuff after 1919, just not the sequel to relativity. He spent quite a bit of time working against quantum mechanics, and some of his criticisms helped move QM along much quicker, in spite of Einstein being essentially wrong.

And he gave Mileva the Nobel Prize money because he had divorced her and left with kids and essentially nothing.

TriangleMan
2004-Jun-16, 08:19 PM
Having discussed this issue in an older thread I'm of the opinion that unless a "smoking gun" appears which clearly shows Mileva's contribution to some of Einstein's work then we cannot give Mileva credit based on inference and possibilities. Part of me hopes that such evidence exists but if it hasn't surfaced so far I doubt it will so the work remains Einstein's alone.

Tensor
2004-Jun-17, 03:22 AM
There is a lot of information here (http://www.ajnpx.com/html/Einstein-Ripped-Off.html). This site is a refutation of those that accuse Einstein of plagerizing his Theories, and as such, there is some bias built in. It does go into the question of Mileva's contributions at different places, along with the question: if she did write the paper, where are all her other contributions? It does have some very good historical backround the development of the SR ideas, prior to Einstein. One point he makes, that I feel is interesting is this: while some theories may look as if they are the same, the underlying principles are not. Which sums up Lorentz and Einstein's versions of gamma.

Candy
2004-Jun-17, 05:06 AM
I believe Battered Woman Syndrome (http://www.letswrap.com/dvinfo/psych.htm) is a big part of Mileva's problems. I know there is more to BWS, but I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV. 8-[ There are huge psychological reasons for Mileva's actions i.e. failing here exams. It may be as simple as not feeling worthy due to the neglect inflicted on her during her marriage. Einstein was not secretive about his affairs. I bet there is a whole lot of history left out during the marriage.

Milli360 could beat my blindfolded in every subject (no pun intended). I just like getting him revved up. :wink: FYI, Pluto is not a planet. :wink:

Ricimer
2004-Jun-17, 05:50 AM
umm, candy. She took the exams before she and einstein married.

Candy
2004-Jun-17, 06:02 AM
umm, candy. She took the exams before she and einstein married. Oops. Insert the words heavy relationship instead of marriage. Hopefully, you get the gest. I will rephrase, BWS doesn't start after the marriage. It is usually during the entire relationship. Women always notice the warning symptoms afterwards (meaning after the whole relationship ends). I sure hope someone jumps in here with some real psychology. I only took 1 course. 8-[

AGN Fuel
2004-Jun-17, 06:06 AM
Well, she most likely didn't get her degree because she was busy being pregnant.
Not unless she was pregnant and we haven't found out about it yet.

That PBS website (http://www.pbs.org/opb/einsteinswife/milevastory/early.htm) says they both failed their exams in the summer of 1900 (Einstein passed, according to Pais), and their daughter Lieserl wasn't born until January of 1902.

What - you were expecting a standard, run-of-the-mill 9 months for the wife of the founder of special & general relativity??? :lol: :lol: :lol:

milli360
2004-Jun-17, 08:29 AM
And, they'd broken up in 1914, before he found his principle of general relativity,

See “Outline of a Generalized Theory of Relativity and of a Theory of Gravitation”, Lipzig, 1913, “Physical Part” by Albert Einstein, “Mathematical Part” by Marcel Grossmann, published in Volume 4 of “The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein.”
Yes he worked on it for a long time. His breakthrough did not occur until late 1915.

I believe Battered Woman Syndrome (http://www.letswrap.com/dvinfo/psych.htm) is a big part of Mileva's problems. I know there is more to BWS, but I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV.



Milli360 could beat me blindfolded in every subject (no pun intended).
I can't believe that you just made a BWS joke. Or is that a bondage joke?


I just like getting him revved up.
:wink: FYI, Pluto is not a planet. :wink:
Go pick on the IAU (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?p=223866#223866) instead of the old and infirm. :)

Ricimer
2004-Jun-17, 02:42 PM
Candy, there is no indication that the relationship soured until after they married, until after Einstein started to get somewhere.

Heck, all current knowledge of their dating period shows a very doting and loving Einstein.

Candy
2004-Jun-17, 05:35 PM
I can't believe that you just made a BWS joke. Or is that a bondage joke?Visualize, my man, visualize. :P

I just like getting him revved up.
:wink: FYI, Pluto is not a planet. :wink:
Go pick on the IAU (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?p=223866#223866) instead of the old and infirm. :)Gee, I don't have time to read a book. For some reason, what did stick out was... we will not rename Pluto as a minor planet, because it would require changing all the text books. :wink:

Candy
2004-Jun-17, 05:39 PM
Candy, there is no indication that the relationship soured until after they married, until after Einstein started to get somewhere.

Heck, all current knowledge of their dating period shows a very doting and loving Einstein. I know I read somewhere that her parents did not approve of Einstein. Probably for a good reason that was never recorded in the history books. :-k I could be wrong, though. Sorry, my brain is fried right now due to all the studying for finals. I almost snapped under the pressure. :o

CUStudent
2004-Jun-17, 06:53 PM
So, if anyone has heard a direct quotation from Einstein about his blunder (not just someone saying he said it), I'd really be curious to know.


I've been lurking here for a while but this question prompted me to register and respond.

From what I understand, Einstein never actually said that the cosmological constant was his "greatest blunder." Those words came from George Gamow in one of his writings (I don't remember precisely which one), and were then attributed to Einstein. I learned this at this year's George Gamow Lecture at the University of Colorado on, of all things, the cosmological constant.

Hope this helps.

Candy
2004-Jun-18, 06:47 AM
So, if anyone has heard a direct quotation from Einstein about his blunder (not just someone saying he said it), I'd really be curious to know.


I've been lurking here for a while but this question prompted me to register and respond.

From what I understand, Einstein never actually said that the cosmological constant was his "greatest blunder." Those words came from George Gamow in one of his writings (I don't remember precisely which one), and were then attributed to Einstein. I learned this at this year's George Gamow Lecture at the University of Colorado on, of all things, the cosmological constant.

Hope this helps. I like CUStudent! Welcome, young one! I saw your other post, thank you for providing a link. :D