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In the April, 2003, issue of Physics World, John Stachel, one of the early editors of Einstein's Collected Papers, published what he styled as a "review" of my book Albert Einstein: The Incorrigible Plagiarist. The so-called "review" opens with a personal attack against me stated in particularly meanspirited terms in an alleged effort to justify the otherwise sacrilegious "review" of a book that dares to accurately and thoroughly document the history of the theory of relativity. No mention is made of the facts and circumstances which precipitated the production and publication of this ad hominem attack against me, and I can only imagine that an innocent reader who happens upon Dr. Stachel's statements will find them bizarre and inexplicable.

The truth of the matter is that John Stachel coauthored an article "Belated Decision in the Hilbert-Einstein Priority Dispute" in the journal Science, Volume 278, (14 November 1997), pp. 1270-1273, which rewrote the history of David Hilbert's well established priority for the generally covariant field equations of gravitation. The claims made in this article relied largely upon a set of printer's proofs dated 6 December 1915 of Hilbert's famous 20 November 1915 Goettingen lecture "The Foundations of Physics". Stachel claimed that David Hilbert's proofs did not contain generally covariant field equations of gravitation, though the final paper eventually published in 1916 on this lecture did contain generally covariant field equations of gravitation--the implication being that David Hilbert learned the equations from Einstein's 25 November 1915 lecture. However, Stachel did not inform his readers of a material fact in his sensationalistic article. Hilbert's proofs were mutilated at some point in their history, and a critical part of the proofs has gone missing. No one knows when the proofs were altered, or why. Prof. Friedwardt Winterberg of the University of Nevada, Reno, informed me of these facts in the late summer of 2002.

Prof. Winterberg has demonstrated that even in their mutilated state these printer's proofs show that Hilbert had the generally covariant field equations of gravitation, before Einstein. This constitutes positive proof of Einstein's plagiarism, because we have a letter from Einstein to Hilbert dated 18 November 1915 in which Einstein acknowledges receipt of a copy of Hilbert's manuscript, which Einstein had requested from Hilbert on 15 November 1915. The chronology is straightforward. Einstein received a copy of Hilbert's work on 18 November 1915. Hilbert delivered his lecture to the Goettingen Academy on 20 November 1915. Einstein betrayed Hilbert's trust and plagiarized Hilbert's work on 25 November 1915.

I wrote to Dr. Stachel in September of 2002, informed him that I intended to publish on this subject and asked him to state for the record why he did not mention the mutilation of Hilbert's proofs in his article in Science. A brief correspondence ensued, with Dr. Stachel behaving very much as he did in his subsequent "review."

Dr. Stachel's avowed reasoning for not mentioning the mutilation of the proofs was, inter alia, that the article was an incomplete and preliminary report. I observed that his explanation seemed to conflict with the title and tone of his article in Science, which was dubbed a "Belated Decision". I failed to find a statement in Stachel's report that it was incomplete and preliminary, and found that since this was the case, it was all the more reason to mention the fact that the evidence was mutilated, so that those reading the article could arrive at an informed opinion of its claims, and test them against the facts in the full light of day.

Stachel had tried to change the subject to a review of my book he said he intended to write sometime in the future. I ignored his queries in this line and he presented me with an ultimatum that if I did not answer his questions he would consider the "discussion at an end." I refused to allow him to change the subject, and so ended our brief correspondence. Apparently, Dr. Stachel did not deem it necessary to inform his readers of these facts and circumstances, which preceded his nasty "review" of my book in Physics World.

Dr. Stachel calls attention to the fact that in my book I quoted portions of Wolfgang Pauli's factual statements of the objective priority of Lorentz and Poincare over Einstein, but quoted only some of Pauli's apparently insincere praise of Einstein--fully informing my readers that such praise follows in Pauli's article for the Encyklopaedie der mathematischen Wissenschaften. Though I find Dr. Stachel's dwelling on this nonissue petty and a distraction from the real issues of Einstein's plagiarism, which Stachel conspicuously avoids throughout his undignified rant, he seeks to attack my credibility, and I am, therefore, compelled to respond to his poorly thought out remarks.

Dr. Stachel refers to a letter from Felix Klein to Wolfgang Pauli, a transcription of which appears in Wissenschaftlicher Briefwechsel mit Bohr, Einstein, Heisenberg, u.a. = Scientific correspondence with Bohr, Einstein, Heisenberg, a.o., Springer, New York, (1979), pp. 27-28. It appears to Dr. Stachel that there is a mutual exclusion between Klein's directive to Pauli in this letter, that he should credit Poincare with Poincare's innovations, and my contentions that it appears that Pauli felt forced, or compelled, to praise Einstein with evidently insincere comments after proving that Poincare and Lorentz had created the special theory of relativity before Einstein.

No such mutual exclusion exits. The factual disclosure that Poincare and Lorentz hold priority for the special theory of relativity rather requires that Pauli's statements of praise of Einstein be insincere, and indeed Pauli qualifies his statements, "in a way," which fact Dr. Stachel avoids addressing. All the elements of pressure and submission exist in Klein's letter, and one should bear in mind the stature of Felix Klein--then the world's leading expert on non-Euclidean geometry and one of the greatest of the great minds responsible for the reputation of the Goettingen Academy as a world leader in mathematics. In his letter, Klein directs Pauli as an authority, informs Pauli of his like for Einstein and Einstein's peculiar remarks, and makes clear to Pauli that he wants Einstein praised, albeit with the leftovers from Poincare. Wolfgang Pauli was quite young at the time and Felix Klein's attitude towards Einstein must have served as a source of pressure on Pauli to praise Einstein, even after proving that Einstein did not originate the major concepts of the special theory of relativity. However, Felix Klein's attitude is but one factor. Einstein had recently emerged as an international celebrity, and this, too, must have served as a source of enormous pressure on Pauli to praise Einstein. But these are many words wasted on a nonissue. If Pauli was as sincere in his praise of Einstein as sincere can be, it would not change his arguments that Lorentz and Poincare created the special theory of relativity, before Einstein--which subject Stachel avoids. John Stachel has apparently lost sight of the fact that I am not the issue, rather the history is the issue.

Far more interesting than Klein's directives to Pauli, is Klein's statement that Poincare, who stated before Einstein that the Lorentz transformations form a group, felt an animosity towards Einstein and that this was the sole reason why Poincare did not mention Einstein in his Goettingen lecture "The New Mechanics". Similar comments are found in the writings of Stjepan Mohorovicic, who pointed out that Einstein repeated (without an attribution) Poincare's method of synchronizing clocks with light signals, and, as a result, Poincare did not mention Einstein in the context of relativity (See: Die Einsteinsche Relativitaetstheorie und ihr mathematischer, physikalischer und philosophischer Charakter, Walter de Gruyter & Co., Berlin, Leipzig, (1923), pp. 23-24, 30).

Dr. Stachel has tried to manufacture contradictions in my work which do not exist and has wondered off into odd lists of what he incorrectly believes I did and did not cite, and he is so vague and timid in his remarks, that I would be required to state the implications of his remarks in order to thoroughly contest them, and in so doing run the risk of being accused of misrepresenting him. I will instead leave it to my intelligent readers to understand that Dr. Stachel's comments are so petty, inappropriate and insulting as to not merit further consideration.

However, it is noteworthy that in his long "review" Dr. Stachel nowhere mentions the fact that Einstein had an international reputation as a plagiarist throughout his career, and that his plagiarism was widely discussed in such reputable sources as the New York Times, and in the scientific literature around the world. Nor does Dr. Stachel refer to the fact that the original 1905 paper on the principle of relativity was signed "Einstein-Marity", or the fact that the theory of relativity was known as the "Lorentz-Einstein" theory from 1905 through the 1920's. There was apparently no room in Dr. Stachel's "review" for mention of the fact that the Einsteins' 1905 paper on the principle of relativity did not contain any references, though it was largely unoriginal; nor did Einstein's 1915 paper on the field equations of gravitation contain a single reference to the work of others, and it was clearly plagiarized from David Hilbert and Marcel Grossmann. Einstein clearly plagiarized the Lorentz transformation; as well as Poincare's principle of relativity, and his concept of, and exposition on, relative simultaneity; and Einstein failed to acknowledge that Poincare was the first to introduce the four-dimensional concept of space-time into the theory of relativity. Einstein's 1915 formula for the perihelion motion of Mercury is identical to the formula Paul Gerber published in 1898, as even Einstein's closest friends noted, with Einstein, under enormous pressure, eventually grudgingly acknowledging the fact in 1920. Einstein's 1911 prediction for the deflection of a light ray around the sun is nothing but a repetition of the Newtonian prediction made in the 1700's, as Einstein acknowledged in his private correspondence in 1913; and Einstein's revised 1915 prediction comes remarkably close to duplicating the prediction Johann Georg von Soldner made in 1801. Dr. Stachel completely avoided addressing any of the legitimate reasons for the numerous accusations of plagiarism and anticipation, which have been made against Einstein's work from 1905 onward. His silence on these issues speaks loudly.

I share Dr. Stachel's concern for the abuse Mileva Maric suffered, with the difference between us being that I properly attribute that abuse, perhaps even physical abuse, to its source, Albert Einstein. I could quote some of Einstein's hateful and misogynist diatribes, or offer up the evidence of his perverse behavior, his neglect of marital and familial obligations, his smear campaigns against Mileva Maric, but since I have already addressed these issues and since Dr. Stachel avows that he, like me, is genuinely concerned for her, I will leave it to him to expound upon these important issues. Strange though, Stachel found no room in his article for citation of my praise for Mileva Maric, and my arguments in the alternative. It would be nice, and it would be appropriate, if he would leave me as a personality out of the history, and return to that history.

In conclusion, we should all acknowledge the importance of recognizing and recording the facts of the history of the theory of relativity and the history of the "insane publicity" which has promoted and which continues to promote Einstein, virtually to the exclusion of his predecessors. We face a moral imperative to give Einstein's predecessors justice, if only posthumously, and we must acknowledge their legacy. We have an obligation to the science of history to accurately record the past. It was for this purpose of accurately recording the history that I wrote my book. I am quite proud of my Jewish heritage, and if John Stachel wants to change the subject to anti-Semitism, I will join him in condemning it in all its forms, and go about the work of a historian recording the facts surrounding Einstein's career of plagiarism, even if it means enduring Dr. Stachel's petty insults. I do not think that alarmist slogans and attempts to render the subject taboo have any place in a scholarly exploration of the facts.

Christopher Jon Bjerknes

Copyright 2003. All Rights Reserved.



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