Albert Einstein, The Incorrigible Plagiarist
(Christopher Jon Bjerknes)
(XTX Inc., DownersGorve, Illinois, USA, 2002)
"The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources"
Proposing again the remark which we made some time ago in the presentation
of Kostro's Einstein and the Ether (Episteme, N. 3, 21 April
2001, pp. 306-310), "common people", and even "common scientists", will
be surprised by the facts they discover in Bjerknes' book (about 400 pages),
which is quite useful, in that it establishes a realistic - and more reasonable!
- picture of one of the most propagandized scientific myths of all time,
namely Einstein's myth (see for instance: Alan J. Friedman &
Carol C. Donley, Einstein as Myth and Muse, Cambridge University
As a matter of fact, reading this text should be a must for all people professionally interested in the "history" of Physics or of Science (for these readers the book, its "polemical" thesis notwithstanding, could become an indispensable tool, packed as it is with information, quotations, meticulous references, etc.), but it is highly recommended even to teachers, scientists of all kind, philosophers, epistemologists, in general to every person interested in the evolution of human civilization and knowledge. Indeed, it would be difficult to deny that the emergence of modern science is one of the most relevant events of all times, and that Relativity in particular is the "theory" which had the greatest impact and influence on XXth Century Western thought - though, in our opinion, and clearly in Bjerknes' as well, a negative one).
The book is a successful attempt to break down some of the many commonplaces and misconceptions which fill the typically apologetic History of Science, and the author does not seem at all afraid to take on such a "giant". As a consequence, the result of his efforts is a genuinely "rare find" and an interesting one.
In addition, we must emphasize that Christopher Jon Bjerknes is the great great grandson of Carl Anton Bjerknes, who created the Pulsating Sphere Theory of Gravity and of Electromagnetism, and who played an important rôle in the creation of the concept of charged particle mass.
Vilhelm, Carl's son, also became famous for his work in Meteorology (Polar Front Theory; see for instance Appropriating the Weather: Vilhelm Bjerknes and Construction of a Modern Meteorology, by Robert Marc Friedman, Cornell University Press, 1993; Vilhelm Bjerknes, MEM Volume of the American Meteorological Society, 1962), but his primary focus was always on Physics and Hydrodynamics of Aether Models, and he was the scientist who gave the Columbia lectures which are quoted in Almansi's paper (Fields of force, Columbia University Press, New-York, 1906; see the section entitled Reprints in this same volume of Episteme).
Continuing a truly fine family tradition, Vilhelm's son, Jacob, is also quite famous for his work in Meteorology (Theory of Cyclones - El Niño), and now we can say that Christopher Jon is carrying on following the footsteps of "aether theorists", who disliked (as we do) Einstein's theory, and the consequent disappearance of the concept of aether from mainstream Physics.
We must emphasize that this choice of "party" does not influence the usefulness of Bjerknes' essay even for those not willing to admit this criticism of Relativity. As a matter of fact, the book could even be construed to be rather more in favor of Relativity than the contrary, since the proof that Einstein "borrowed" many ideas from others famous scientists, renders them responsible for the dangerous nichilistic and irrational drift of modern scientific thought, which Episteme has always aimed to fight...
We proceed with the presentation of the book presenting first its Table
of Contents, and further a few excerpts. Afterwards, we publish
some additional commentary, mainly Phipps' review (another scientist well
known for his rather critical attitude against Relativity; we thank Dr.
Eugene F. Mallove, the Editor-in-Chief of Infinite Energy Magazine,
for his consent to publish it in parallel). We end this "chapter" with
an Appendix written by Bjerknes himself for the next edition of his research,
honored to be able to present it to our readers in exclusive preview.
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
1. THE PRI0RITY MYTH
2. SPACE-TIME, OR IS IT "TIME-SPACE"?
3. "THEORY OF RELATIVITY" OR "PSEUDORELATIVISM"?
4. HERO WORSHIP
5. E = mc2
6. EINSTEIN'S MODUS OPERANDI
8. MILEVA EINSTEIN-MARITY
9. P0LITICS AND ANECDOTES
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[Two articles of the author, together with information
about his life and work, are published in this same volume of Episteme]
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Excerpts (Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
It is easily proven that Albert Einstein did not originate the special theory of relativity in its entirety, or even in its majority. The historic record is readily available. Ludwig Gustav Lange, Woldemar Voigt, George Francis FitzGerald, Joseph Larmor, Hendrik Antoon Lorentz, Jules Henri Poincaré, Paul Drude, Paul Langevin, and many others, slowly developed the theory, step by step, and based it on thousands of years of recorded thought and research. Einstein may have made a few contributions to the theory, such as the relativistic equations for aberration and the Doppler-Fizeau Effect, though he may also have rendered an incorrect equation for the transverse mass of an electron, which, when corrected, becomes Lorentz' equation.
Albert Einstein's first work on the theory of relativity did not appear until 1905. There is substantial evidence that Albert Einstein did not write this 1905 paper on the "principle of relativity" alone. His wife, Mileva Einstein-Marity, may have been co-author, or the sole author, of the work.
If Albert Einstein did not originate the major concepts of the special
theory of relativity, how could such a historically significant fact have
escaped the attention of the world for nearly a century? The simple answer
is that it did not.
- - - - -
(from an auto-review appeared in Canberra Times, an Australian newspaper, Thursday, 19 September 2002)
The name ''Einstein'' evokes images of a good-humoured genius, who revolutionised our concepts of space, time, energy, mass and motion. Time named Albert Einstein "person of the century". The language itself has incorporated "Einstein" into our common vocabulary as a synonym for extraordinary brilliance. Many consider Einstein to have been the finest mind in recorded human history.
That is the popular image, fostered by textbooks, the media, and hero worshiping physicists and historians. However, when one reads the scientific literature written by Einstein's contemporaries, a quite different picture emerges: one of an irrational plagiarist, who manipulated credit for their work.
Einstein is perhaps most famous for the special theory of relativity, published in 1905 in the German physics journal, Annalen der Physik. The paper was devoid of references, a fact that Einstein's friend and Nobel prize winner for physics, Max Born, found troubling.
''The striking point is that it contains not a single reference to previous literature,'' Born stated in 1955, before the International Relativity Conference in Bern. ''It gives you the impression of quite a new venture. But that is, of course, as I have tried to explain, not true.''
Though Einstein's 1905 article contained no references, it was so strikingly similar to a paper written by Hendrik Lorentz the previous year, that Walter Kaufmann and Max Planck felt a need to publicly point out that Einstein had merely provided a metaphysical reinterpretation and generalisation of Lorentz' scientific theory, a metaphysical reinterpretation and generalisation Henri Poincare had already published.
As Charles Nordmann, astronomer to the Paris Observatory, pointed out: ''It is really to Henri Poincare, the great Frenchman whose death has left a void that will never be filled, that we must accord the merit of having first proved, with the greatest lucidity and the most prudent audacity, that time and space, as we know them, can only be relative. A few quotations from his works will not be out of place. They will show that the credit for most of the things which are currently attributed to Einstein is, in reality, due to Poincare.''
Einstein acknowledged the fact, but justified his plagiarism in a cavalier fashion in Annalen der Physik in 1907. "It appears to me that it is the nature of the business that what follows has already been partly solved by other authors. Despite that fact, since the issues of concern are here addressed from a new point of view, I believe I am entitled to leave out a thoroughly pedantic survey of the literature, all the more so because it is hoped that these gaps will yet be filled by other authors, as has already happened with my first work on the principle of relativity through the commendable efforts of Mr. Planck and Mr. Kaufmann."
The completed field equations of the general theory of relativity were first deduced by David Hilbert, a fact Einstein was forced to acknowledge in 1916, after he had plagiarised them from Hilbert in late 1915. Paul Gerber solved the problem of the perihelion of Mercury in 1898. Physicist Ernst Gehrcke gave a lecture on the theory of relativity in the Berlin Philharmonic on August 24, 1920, and publicly confronted Einstein, who was in attendance, with Einstein's plagiarism of Lorentz' mathematical formalisms of the special theory of relativity, Palagyi's space-time concepts, Varicak's non-Euclidean geometry and of the plagiarism of the mathematical solution of the problem of the perihelion of Mercury first arrived at by Gerber. Gehrcke addressed Einstein to his face and told the crowd that the emperor had no clothes.
This was Einstein's response published in the Berliner Tageblatt und Handels-Zeitung on August 27, 1920, translated into English in the book Albert Einstein's Theory of General Relativity edited by Gerald E. Tauber: ". . . Gerber, who has given the correct formula for the perihelion motion of Mercury before I did. The experts are not only in agreement that Gerber's derivation is wrong through and through, but the formula cannot be obtained as a consequence of the main assumption made by Gerber. Mr Gerber's work is therefore completely useless, an unsuccessful and erroneous theoretical attempt.
"I maintain that the theory of general relativity has provided the first real explanation of the perihelion motion of mercury. I have not mentioned the work by Gerber originally, because I did not know it when I wrote my work on the perihelion motion of Mercury; even if I had been aware of it, I would not have had any reason to mention it."
The fact that Einstein was a plagiarist is common knowledge in the physics community. What isn't so well-known is that the sources Einstein parroted were also largely unoriginal. In 1919, writing in the Philosophical Magazine Harry Bateman, a British mathematician and physicist who had emigrated to the United States, unsuccessfully sought acknowledgment of his work.
"I am perhaps entitled to do this as my work on the subject of general relativity was published before that of Einstein and Kottler, and appears to have been overlooked by recent writers."
My book is a documentation of Einstein's plagiarism of the theory of relativity. It discloses his method for manipulating credit for the work of his contemporaries, reprints the prior works he parroted, and demonstrates that he could not have drawn his conclusions without prior knowledge of the works he copied but failed to reference.
Numerous republished quotations from Einstein's contemporaries prove that they were aware of his plagiarism. Side-by-side comparisons of Einstein's words juxtaposed to those of his predecessors prove the almost verbatim repetition. There is even substantial evidence presented in the book that Einstein plagiarised the work of his first wife, Mileva Maric, who had plagiarised others.
"Although generally associated with the names of Einstein and Minkowski, the really essentia physical considerations underlying the theories are due to Larmor and Lorentz." -- Alfred Arthur Robb
"Einstein published a paper which set forth the relativity theory of Poincaré and Lorentz with some amplifications, and which attracted much attention." -- Sir Edmund Whittaker
"The appearance of Dr. Silberstein's recent article on 'General Relativity without the Equivalence Hypothesis' encourages me to restate my own views on the subject. I am perhaps entitled to do this as my work on the subject of General Relativity was published before that of Einstein and Kottler, and appears to have been overlooked by recent writers." -- Harry Bateman
"All this was maintained by Poincare and others long before the time of Einstein, and one does injustice to truth in ascribing the discovery to him." -- Charles Nordmann
"Many of you have looked upon [Einstein's] paper 'Zur Elektrodynamik bewegter Koerper' in Annalen der Physik ... and you will have noticed some peculiarities. The striking point is that it contains not a single reference to previous literature. It gives you the impression of quite a new venture. But that is, of course, as I have tried to explain, not true." -- Max Born
"In point of fact, therefore, Poincaré was not only the first to enunciate the principle, but he also discovered in Lorentz's work the necessary mathematical formulation of the principle. All this happened before Einstein's paper appeared." -- G. H. Keswani
"Einstein's explanation is a dimensional disguise for Lorentz's. ... Thus Einstein's theory is not a denial of, nor an alternative for, that of Lorentz. It is only a duplicate and disguise for it. ... Einstein continually maintains that the theory of Lorentz is right, only he disagrees with his 'interpretation.' Is it not clear, therefore, that in this, as in other cases, Einstein's theory is merely a disguise for Lorentz's, the apparent disagreement about 'interpretation' being a matter of words only?" -- James Mackaye
Mr Bjerknes, an American historian of science, has authored six books
on Einstein and the theory of relativity. Albert Einstein: The Incorrigible
Plagiarist (ISBN 0971962987) is available at www.amazon.com.
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A reviewer, a physicist, July 18, 2002
ALBERT EINSTEIN WAS INDEED A PLAGIARIST
This book is very well documented, and, therefore, very convincing. I read the Dover reprint of 'The Principle of Relativity' years ago, and realized then that Einstein just copied Lorentz, because Lorentz' article appeared a before Einstein's and says essentially the same things. But this book goes far beyond that and really shows a pattern by Einstein of plagiarism. I was surprised to discover that Einstein's wife may have written the journal articles for him. The number of citations and quotations in this book is really impressive and together form a compelling argument stated in a very logical progression of facts. My only regret is that there isn't more on the general theory of relativity, but the author hinted that more is to come, and that this book is part of a series. I look forward to the future releases. I'm pleased with it and would recommend it. It will change your view of Einstein and of the theory of relativity. If you are doing research, I can tell you that I have never seen a book which provides more information on the complete history of the theories than this book, including Whittaker's.