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Mileva Einstein (Marić)

Serbian: Милева Марић
Birthplace: Titel, Vojvodina, Serbia
Death: August 04, 1948 (72)
Zurich, Zurich District, Canton of Zurich, Switzerland
Place of Burial: Zürich, Schweiz
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Miloš Marić and Marija Ruzic
Ex-wife of Albert Einstein, Nobel Prize in Physics 1921
Mother of Lieserl Einstein; Hans Albert Einstein and Eduard Einstein
Sister of Zorka Marić and Milos Maric

Occupation: Mathematician and Physicist, First wife
Managed by: Yigal Burstein
Last Updated:

About Mileva Einstein

From Wikipedia:

On December 19, 1875, Mileva Marić was born into a wealthy family in Titel, in the province of Vojvodina, the eldest of three children of Miloš Marić (1846–1922) and Marija Ruzić - Marić (1847–1935). Shortly after her birth, her father ended his military career and took a job at the court in Ruma and later in Zagreb. She began her secondary education in 1886 at a high school for girls in Novi Sad, but changed the following year to a high school in Sremska Mitrovica. Beginning in 1890, she attended the Royal Serbian Grammar School in Šabac. In 1891 her father obtained special permission to enroll Marić as a private student at the all male Royal Classical High School in Zagreb. She passed the entrance exam and entered the tenth grade in 1892. She won special permission to attend physics lectures in February 1894 and passed the final exams in September 1894. Her grades in mathematics and physics were the highest awarded. That year she fell seriously ill and decided to move to Switzerland, where on the 14th November she started at the "Girls High School" in Zurich. In 1896, Marić passed her Matura-Exam, and started studying medicine at the University of Zurich for one semester. In the autumn of 1896, Marić switched to the Zurich Polytechnic (later Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH)), having passed the mathematics entrance examination with an average grade of 4.25 (scale 1-6). She enrolled for a diploma course to teach physics and mathematics in secondary schools at the same time as Albert Einstein. She was the only woman in her group of six students, and only the fifth woman to study mathematics and physics at the Polytechnic. She and Einstein became close friends quite soon.

In October Marić went to Heidelberg to study at Heidelberg University for the winter semester 1897/98, attending physics and mathematics lectures as an auditor. She rejoined the Zurich Polytechnic in April 1898, where her studies included the following courses: differential and integral calculus, descriptive and projective geometry, mechanics, theoretical physics, applied physics, experimental physics, and astronomy. Marić sat the intermediate diploma examinations in 1899, one year later than the other students in her group. Her grade average of 5.05 (scale 1-6) placed her fifth out of the six students taking the examinations that year. (Einstein had come top of the previous year's candidates with a grade average of 5.7. Marić's grade in physics was 5.5, the same as Einstein's.) In 1900 Marić failed the final teaching diploma examinations with a grade average of 4.00, having obtained only grade 2.5 in the mathematics component (theory of functions). Einstein passed the exam in fourth place with a grade average of 4.91.

Marić's academic career was disrupted in 1901 when she became pregnant by Einstein. When three months pregnant, she resat the diploma examination, but failed for the second time without improving her grade. She also discontinued work on her diploma dissertation that she had hoped to develop into a Ph.D. thesis under the supervision of the physics professor Heinrich Weber. She went to Novi Sad, where her daughter, referred to as Lieserl, was born in 1902, probably in January. Her fate is unknown: she may have died in late summer 1903, or been given up for adoption.

In 1903 Marić and Einstein married in Bern, Switzerland, where Einstein had found a job at the Federal Office for Intellectual Property. In 1904 their first son Hans Albert was born. The Einsteins lived in Bern until 1909, when Einstein got a teaching position at the University of Zürich. In 1910 their second son Eduard was born. In 1911 they moved to Prague, where Einstein held a teaching position at the German University. A year later, they returned to Zurich, as Einstein had accepted a professorship at his alma mater. In July 1913 Max Planck and Walther Nernst asked Einstein to accept to come to Berlin, which he did, but which caused Marić distress. In August the Einsteins took a walking holiday with their son Hans Albert, Marie Curie and her two daughters, but Marić was delayed temporarily due to Eduard's illness. In September the Einsteins visited Marić's parents near Novi Sad, and on the day they were to leave for Vienna Marić had her sons baptised as Orthodox Christians. After Vienna Einstein visited relatives in Germany while Marić returned to Zurich. After Christmas she traveled to Berlin to stay with Fritz Haber who helped her look for accommodation for the Einsteins' impending move in April 1914. The Einsteins both left Zurich for Berlin in late March, on the way Einstein visited an uncle in Antwerp and then Ehrenfest and Lorentz in Leiden while Marić took a holiday with the children in Locarno, arriving in Berlin in mid-April. In May Ehrenfest noted that Marić was pining for Switzerland, and in summer she took the boys back to Zurich, to a boarding house, never to return to Albert. By the end of 1914 the couple's friends realized the marriage had collapsed; Marić moved to a flat on Voltastrasse and Einstein promised her an annual maintenance of 5600 Reichsmarks.

The couple divorced on February 14, 1919. They had negotiated a settlement whereby the Nobel Prize money that Einstein anticipated he would soon receive was to be placed in trust for their two boys, while Marić would be able to draw on the interest, but have no authority over the capital without Einstein's permission, After Einstein married his second wife in June, he returned to Zurich to talk to Marić about the children's future, taking Hans Albert on Lake Constance and Eduard to Arosa for convalescence.

In 1922, Einstein received news that he had won the Nobel Prize in November and the money was transferred to Marić in 1923. The money was used to buy three houses in Zurich: Marić lived in one, a five story house at Huttenstrasse 62, the other two were investments. The family of Georg Busch, later to become Professor at the ETH, was one of her tenants. In the late 1930s the costs of Eduard's care — he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia — and institutionalized at the University of Zurich psychiatric clinic "Burghölzli"; overwhelmed Marić and resulted in the forced sale of two of the houses. In 1939 Marić agreed to transfer ownership of the Huttenstrasse house to Einstein in order to prevent its loss as well, with Marić retaining power of attorney. Einstein also made regular cash transfers to Marić for Eduard's and her own livelihood.

Marić died at the age of 72 on August 4, 1948 in Zurich, and was buried at Nordheim-Cemetery.

Role in physics

The question whether (and if so, to what extent) Marić contributed to Einstein's early work, and to the Annus Mirabilis Papers in particular, has been the subject of some debate. However, the overwhelming consensus among professional historians of physics is that she did not. A few academics, outside the consensus among historians, have argued that she may have played some role.


In 2005 Marić was honoured in Zurich by the ETH and the "Gesellschaft zu Fraumünster", and a memorial plate was unveiled on the house Huttenstrasse 62, her residence in Zurich, in her memory. In the same year a bust was placed in her high-school town, Sremska Mitrovica. Another bust is located on the campus of the University of Novi Sad. A high-school in her birth town Titel is also named after her. 60 years after her death, a memorial plate was placed on the house of the former clinic in Zurich where she died, and in June 2009 a memorial gravestone was dedicated to her at the Nordheim-Cemetery where she rests.

In 1995 the novel Mileva Marić Ajnštajn by Dragana Bukumirović was published in Serbian; three years later it was followed by the play Mileva Ajnštajn by Vida Ognjenović, later also translated into English.

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Mileva Einstein's Timeline

December 19, 1875
Titel, Vojvodina, Serbia
January 1902
Novi Sad, Vojvodina, Serbia
May 14, 1904
Bern, Bern, Canton of Bern, Switzerland
July 28, 1910
Zurich, Switzerland
August 4, 1948
Age 72
Zurich, Zurich District, Canton of Zurich, Switzerland
Age 72
Friedhof Nordheim cemetery, Zürich, Schweiz (Switzerland)