Einstein plagiarized the work of several notable scientists in his 1905
papers on special relativity
and E = mc2, yet the physics community has
never bothered to set the record straight in the past century.
Proponents of Einstein have acted in a way that appears to corrupt the
historical record. Albert Einstein (1879 -1955), Time Magazine's "Person
of the Century", wrote a long treatise on special relativity theory (it was
actually called "On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies", 1905a), without
listing any references. Many of the key ideas it presented were known to Lorentz (for example, the
Lorentz transformation) and Poincaré before
Einstein wrote the famous 1905 paper.
As was typical of Einstein, he did not discover theories; he merely
commandeered them. He took an existing body of knowledge, picked and chose
the ideas he liked, then wove them into a tale about his contribution to
special relativity. This was done with the full knowledge and consent of
many of his peers, such as the editors at Annalen der Physik.
The most recognizable equation of all time is E = mc2. It is attributed by
convention to be the sole province of Albert Einstein (1905). However, the
conversion of matter into energy and energy into matter was known to Sir
Isaac Newton ("Gross bodies and light are convertible into one another...",
1704). The equation can be attributed to S. Tolver Preston (1875), to
Henri Poincaré (1900; according to Brown, 1967) and to Olinto De Pretto
(1904) before Einstein. Since Einstein never correctly derived
E = mc2 (Ives,
1952), there appears nothing to connect the equation with anything original
Arthur Eddington's selective presentation of data from the 1919 Eclipse so
that it supposedly supported "Einstein's" general relativity theory is
surely one of the biggest scientific hoaxes of the 20th century. His lavish
support of Einstein corrupted the course of history. Eddington was less
interested in testing a theory than he was in crowning Einstein the king of
The physics community, unwittingly perhaps, has engaged in a kind of fraud
and silent conspiracy; this is the byproduct of simply being bystanders as
the hyperinflation of Einstein's record and reputation took place. This
silence benefited anyone supporting Einstein.
Science, by its very nature, is insular. In general, chemists read and write
about chemistry, biologists read and write about biology, and physicists
read and write about physics. But they may all be competing for the same
research dollar (in its broadest sense). Thus, if scientists wanted more
money for themselves, they might decide to compete unfairly. The way they
can do this is convince the funding agencies that they are more important
than any other branch of science. If the funding agencies agree, it could
spell difficulty for the remaining sciences. One way to get more money is to
create a superhero - a superhero like Einstein.
Einstein's standing is the product of the physics community, his followers
and the media. Each group benefits enormously by elevating Einstein to icon
status. The physics community receives billions in research grants,
Einstein's supporters are handsomely rewarded, and media corporations like
Time Magazine get to sell millions of magazines by placing Einstein
cover as "Person of the Century".
When the scandal breaks, the physics community, Einstein's supporters and
the media will attempt to downplay the negative news and put a positive spin
on it. However, their efforts will be shown up when Einstein's paper,
the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies", is seen for what it is: the
consummate act of plagiarism in the 20th century.
Jules Henri Poincaré (1854 - 1912) was a great scientist who made a
significant contribution to special relativity theory. The Internet
Encyclopedia of Philosophy website says that Poincaré:
(1) "sketched a
preliminary version of the special theory of relativity"
(2) "stated that
the velocity of light is a limit velocity" (in his 1904 paper from the Bull.
of Sci. Math. 28, Poincaré indicated "a whole new mechanics, where the
inertia increasing with the velocity of light would become a limit and not
(3) suggested that "mass depends on speed"
the principle of relativity, according to which no mechanical or
electromagnetic experiment can discriminate between a state of uniform
motion and a state of rest"
(5) "derived the
It is evident how deeply involved with special relativity Poincaré was. Even
Keswani (1965) was prompted to say that,
"As far back as 1895, Poincaré, the
innovator, had conjectured that it is impossible to detect absolute motion",
and that "In 1900, he introduced 'the principle of relative motion' which he
later called by the equivalent terms 'the law of relativity' and 'the
principle of relativity' in his book, Science and Hypothesis, published in
Einstein acknowledged none of this preceding theoretical work when he
wrote his unreferenced 1905 paper.
In addition to having sketched the preliminary version of relativity,
Poincaré provided a critical part of the whole concept - namely, his
treatment of local time. He also originated the idea of clock
synchronization, which is critical to special relativity.
Charles Nordman was prompted to write,
"They will show that the credit for
most of the things which are currently attributed to Einstein is, in
reality, due to Poincaré", and "...in the opinion of the Relativists it is
the measuring rods which create space, the clocks which create time. All
this was known by Poincaré and others long before the time of Einstein, and
one does injustice to truth in ascribing the discovery to him".
Other scientists have not been quite as impressed with "Einstein's" special
relativity theory as has the public.
"Another curious feature of the now
famous paper, Einstein, 1905, is the absence of any reference to Poincaré
anyone else," Max Born wrote in Physics in My Generation.
"It gives you the
impression of quite a new venture. But that is, of course, as I have tried
to explain, not true" (Born, 1956).
G. Burniston Brown (1967) noted,
will be seen that, contrary to popular belief, Einstein played only a minor
part in the derivation of the useful formulae in the restricted or special
relativity theory, and Whittaker called it the relativity theory of Poincaré
Due to the fact that Einstein's special relativity theory was known in some
circles as the relativity theory of Poincaré and Lorentz, one would think
that Poincaré and Lorentz might have had something to do with its creation.
What is disturbing about the Einstein paper is that even though Poincaré was
the world's leading expert on relativity, apparently Einstein had never
heard of him or thought he had done anything worth referencing!
Poincaré, in a public address delivered in September 1904, made some notable
comments on special relativity theory.
"From all these results, if they are
confirmed, would arise an entirely new mechanics - would be, above all,
characterized by this fact that no velocity could surpass that of
light - because bodies would oppose an increasing inertia to the causes, which
would tend to accelerate their motion; and this inertia would become
infinite when one approached the velocity of light. No more for an observer
carried along himself in a translation, he did not suspect any apparent
velocity could surpass that of light: and this would be then a
contradiction, if we recall that this observer would not use the same clocks
as a fixed observer, but, indeed, clocks marking 'local time'." (Poincaré,
Einstein, the Plagiarist
It is now time to speak directly to the issue of what Einstein was: he was
first and foremost a plagiarist. He had few qualms about stealing the work
of others and submitting it as his own. That this was deliberate seems
Take this passage from Ronald W. Clark, Einstein: The Life and Times (there
are no references to Poincaré here; just a few meaningless quotes). This is
how page 101 reads:
"'On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies'...is in many
ways one of the most remarkable scientific papers that had ever been
written. Even in form and style it was unusual, lacking the notes and
references which give weight to most serious expositions!!!" (emphasis added).
Why would Einstein, with his training as a patent clerk, not
need to cite references in his article on special relativity? One would
think that Einstein, as a neophyte, would overreference rather than
Wouldn't one also expect somewhat higher standards from an editor when faced
with a long manuscript that had obviously not been credited? Apparently
there was no attempt at quality control when it was published in Annalen der
Physik. Most competent editors would have rejected the paper without even
reading it. At the barest minimum, one would expect the editor to research
the literature to determine whether Einstein's claim of primacy was correct.
Max Born stated,
"The striking point is that it contains not a single
reference to previous literature"
clearly indicating that the absence of references is abnormal and that, even
by early 20th century standards, this is most peculiar, even unprofessional.
Einstein twisted and turned to avoid plagiarism charges, but these were
From Bjerknes (2002), we learn the following passage from James MacKaye:
"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 [case], 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?"
Poincaré wrote 30 books and over 500 papers on philosophy, mathematics and
physics. Einstein wrote on mathematics, physics and philosophy, but claimed
he'd never read Poincaré's contributions to physics.
Yet many of Poincaré's ideas - for example, that the speed of light is a
limit and that mass increases with speed - wound up in Einstein's paper,
the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies" without being credited.
Einstein's act of stealing almost the entire body of literature by Lorentz
and Poincaré to write his document raised the bar for plagiarism. In the
information age, this kind of plagiarism could never be perpetrated
indefinitely, yet the physics community has still not set the record
In his 1907 paper, Einstein spelled out his views on plagiarism:
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 am entitled to leave
out a thoroughly pedantic survey of the literature..."
With this statement, Einstein declared that plagiarism, suitably packaged,
is an acceptable research tool.
Here is the definition of "to plagiarize" from an unimpeachable source,
Webster's New International Dictionary of the English Language, Second
Edition, Unabridged, 1947, p. 1,878:
"To steal or purloin and pass off as
one's own (the ideas, words, artistic productions, etc. of one another); to
use without due credit the ideas, expressions or productions of another. To
commit plagiarism" (emphasis added).
Isn't this exactly what Einstein did?
Giving due credit involves two aspects: timeliness and appropriateness.
Telling the world that Lorentz provided the basis for special relativity 30
years after the fact is not timely (see below), is not appropriate and is
not giving due credit. Nothing Einstein wrote ex post facto with respect to
Lorentz's contributions alters the fundamental act of plagiarism.
The true nature of Einstein's plagiarism is set forth in his 1935 paper,
"Elementary Derivation of the Equivalence of Mass and Energy", where, in a
discussion on Maxwell, he wrote,
"The question as to the independence of
those relations is a natural one because the Lorentz transformation, the
real basis of special relativity theory..." (emphasis added).
So, Einstein even acknowledged that the Lorentz transformation was the real
basis of his 1905 paper. Anyone who doubts that he was a plagiarist should
ask one simple question:
"What did Einstein know and when did he know it?"
Einstein got away with premeditated plagiarism, not the incidental
plagiarism that is ubiquitous (Moody, 2001).
The History of E = mc2
Who originated the concept of matter being transformed into energy and vice
versa? It dates back at least to Sir Isaac Newton (1704). Brown (1967) made
the following statement:
"Thus gradually arose the formula E = mc2,
suggested without general proof by Poincaré in 1900".
One thing we can say with certainty is that Einstein did not
originate the equation E = mc2.
Then the question becomes: "Who did?"
Bjerknes (2002) suggested as a possible candidate S. Tolver Preston, who,
"formulated atomic energy, the atom bomb and superconductivity back in the
1870s, based on the formula E = mc2".
In addition to Preston, a major player in the history of E = mc2 who
deserves a lot of credit is Olinto De Pretto (1904). What makes this timing
so suspicious is that Einstein was fluent in Italian, he was reviewing
papers written by Italian physicists and his best friend was Michele Besso,
a Swiss Italian. Clearly, Einstein (1905b) would have had access to the
literature and the competence to read it. In "Einstein's E = mc2 'was
Italian's idea'" (Carroll, 1999), we see clear evidence that De Pretto was
ahead of Einstein in terms of the formula E = mc2.
In terms of his understanding the vast amount of energy that could be
released with a small amount of mass, Preston (1875) can be credited with
knowing this before Einstein was born. Clearly, Preston was using the
E = mc2 formula in his work, because the value he determined - e.g., that one
grain could lift a 100,000 ton object up to a height of 1.9 miles - yields
the equation E = mc2.
According to Ives (1952), the derivation Einstein attempted of the formula
E = mc2 was fatally flawed because Einstein set out to prove what he assumed.
This is similar to the careless handling of the equations for radioactive
decay which Einstein derived. It turns out that Einstein mixed kinematics
and mechanics, and out popped the neutrino. The neutrino may be a mythical
particle accidentally created by Einstein (Carezani, 1999). We have two
choices with respect to neutrinos: there are at least 40 different types or
there are zero types. Occam's razor rules here.
The Eclipse of 1919
There can be no clearer definition of scientific fraud than what went on in
the Tropics on May 29, 1919. What is particularly clear is that Eddington
fudged the solar eclipse data to make the results conform to "Einstein's"
work on general relativity. Poor (1930), Brown (1967), Clark
(1984) and McCausland (2001) all address the issues surrounding this eclipse.
What makes the expeditions to Sobral and Principe so suspect is Eddington's
zealous support of Einstein, as can be seen in his statement,
foremost in testing, and ultimately verifying the 'enemy' theory, our
national observatory kept alive the finest traditions of science..."
In this instance, apparently Eddington was
not familiar with the basic tenets of science. His job was to collect data -
not verify Einstein's theories.
Further evidence for the fraud can be deduced from Eddington's own
statements and the introduction to them provided by Clark (ibid., p. 285):
"May 29 began with heavy rain, which stopped only about noon. Not until 1.30
pm when the eclipse had already begun did the party get its first glimpse of
the sun: 'We had to carry out our programme of photographs on faith...'"
Eddington reveals his true prejudice: he was willing to do
anything to see that Einstein was proved right. But Eddington was not to be
"It looked as though the effort, so far as the Principe expedition
was concerned, might have been abortive"; "We developed the photographs, two
each night for six nights after the eclipse. The cloudy weather upset my
plans and I had to treat the measures in a different way from what I
intended; consequently I have not been able to make any preliminary
announcement of the result" (emphasis added) (Clark, ibid.).
Actually, Eddington's words speak volumes about the result. As soon as he
found one shred of evidence that was consistent with "Einstein's" general
relativity theory, he immediately proclaimed it as proof of the theory. Is
Where were the astronomers when Eddington presented his findings? Did anyone
besides Eddington actually look at the photographic plates? Poor did, and he
completely repudiated the findings of Eddington. This should have given
pause to any ethical scientist.
Here are some quotes from Poor's summary:
"The mathematical formula, by
which Einstein calculated his deflection of 1.75 seconds for light rays
passing the edge of the sun, is a well known and simple formula of physical
optics"; "Not a single one of the fundamental concepts of varying time, or
warped or twisted space, of simultaneity, or of the relativity of motion is
in any way involved in Einstein's prediction of, or formulas for, the
deflection of light"; "The many and elaborate eclipse expeditions have,
therefore, been given a fictitious importance. Their results can neither
prove nor disprove the relativity theory" (emphasis added) (Poor, 1930).
From Brown (1967), we learn that
Eddington couldn't wait to get it out to
the world community that Einstein's theory was confirmed. What Eddington
based this on was a premature assessment of the photographic plates.
Initially, stars did "appear" to bend as they should, as required by
Einstein, but then, according to Brown, the unexpected happened: several
stars were then observed to bend in a direction transverse to the expected
direction and still others to bend in a direction opposite to that predicted
The absurdity of the data collected during the Eclipse of 1919 was
demonstrated by Poor (1930), who pointed out that 85% of the data were
discarded from the South American eclipse due to "accidental error", i.e.,
it contradicted Einstein's scale constant. By a strange coincidence, the 15%
of the "good" data were consistent with Einstein's scale constant. Somehow,
the stars that did not conform to Einstein's theories conveniently got
temporarily shelved - and the myth began.
So, based on a handful of ambiguous data points, 200 years of theory,
experimentation and observation were cast aside to make room for Einstein.
Yet the discredited experiment by Eddington is still quoted as gospel by
Stephen Hawking (1999). It is difficult to comprehend how Hawking could
"The new theory of curved space-time was called general relativity. It was confirmed in spectacular fashion in 1919, when a British
expedition to West Africa observed a slight shift in the position of stars
near the sun during an eclipse. Their light, as Einstein had predicted, was
bent as it passed the sun. Here was direct evidence that space and time were
Does Hawking honestly believe that a handful of data points,
massaged more thoroughly than a side of Kobe beef, constitutes the basis for
overthrowing a paradigm that had survived over two centuries of acid
The real question, though, is: "Where was Einstein in all this?" Surely, by
the time he wrote his 1935 paper, he must have known of the work of Poor:
"The actual stellar displacements, if real, do not show the slightest
resemblance to the predicted Einstein deflections: they do not agree in
direction, in size, or the rate of decrease with distance from the sun".
didn't he go on the record and address a paper that directly contradicted
his work? Why haven't the followers of Einstein tried to set the record
straight with respect to the bogus data of 1919?
What makes this so suspicious is that both the instruments and the physical
conditions were not conducive to making measurements of great precision. As
pointed out in a 2002 Internet article by the British Institute of Precise
Physics, the cap cameras used in the expeditions were accurate to only
1/25th of a degree. This meant that just for the cap camera uncertainty
alone, Eddington was reading values over 200 times too precise.
McCausland (2001) quotes the former Editor of Nature, Sir John Maddox:
[Crommelin and Eddington] were bent on measuring the deflection of light"
"What is not so well documented is that the measurements in 1919 were not
"In spite of the fact that experimental evidence for
relativity seems to have been very flimsy in 1919, Einstein's enormous fame
has remained intact and his theory has ever since been held to be one of the
highest achievements of human thought"
It is clear that from the outset
Eddington was in no way interested in
testing "Einstein's" theory; he was only interested in confirming it. One of
the motivating factors in Eddington's decision to promote Einstein was that
both men shared a similar political persuasion: pacifism. To suggest that
politics played no role in Eddington's glowing support of Einstein, one need
ask only one question:
"Would Eddington have been so quick to support
Einstein if Einstein had been a hawk?"
This is no idle observation. Eddington took his role as the great peacemaker very seriously. He wanted to
unite British and German scientists after World War I. What better way than
to elevate the "enemy" theorist Einstein to exalted status? In his zeal to
become peacemaker, Eddington lost the fundamental objectivity that is the
essential demeanor of any true scientist. Eddington ceased to be a
scientist and, instead, became an advocate for Einstein.
The obvious fudging of the data by Eddington and others is a blatant
subversion of scientific process and may have misdirected scientific
research for the better part of a century. It probably surpasses the
Piltdown Man as the greatest hoax of 20th-century science. The
"Was this the hoax of the century?" and exclaimed,
"Royal Society 1919
Eclipse Relativity Report Duped World for 80 Years!"
McCausland stated that,
"In the author's opinion, the confident announcement of the decisive
confirmation of Einstein's general theory in November 1919 was not a triumph
of science, as it is often portrayed, but one of the most unfortunate
incidents in the history of 20th-century science".
It cannot be emphasized enough that the Eclipse of 1919 made Einstein,
Einstein. It propelled him to international fame overnight, despite the fact
that the data were fabricated and there was no support for general
relativity whatsoever. This perversion of history has been known about for
over 80 years and is still supported by people like Stephen Hawking
and David Levy.
Summary and Conclusions
The general public tends to believe that scientists are the ultimate
defenders of ethics, that scientific rigor is the measure of truth. Little
do people realize how science is conducted in the presence of personality.
It seems that Einstein believed he was above scientific protocol. He thought
he could bend the rules to his own liking and get away with it; hang in
there long enough and his enemies would die off and his followers would win
the day. In science, the last follower standing wins - and gets to write
history. In the case of Einstein, his blatant and repeated dalliance with
plagiarism is all but forgotten and his followers have borrowed repeatedly
from the discoveries of other scientists and used them to adorn Einstein's
Einstein's reputation is supported by a three-legged stool.
One leg is Einstein's alleged plagiarism. Was he a plagiarist?
The second leg is the
physics community. What did they know about Einstein and when did they know
The third leg is the media. Are they instruments of truth or deception
when it comes to Einstein? Only time will tell.
The physics community is also supported by a three-legged stool.
leg is Einstein's physics
The second leg is cold fusion
The third leg is autodynamics
The overriding problem with a three-legged stool is that if
only one leg is sawed off, the stool collapses. There are at least three
very serious disciplines where it is predictable that physics may collapse.
Science is a multi-legged stool:
one leg is physics
a second leg is the
a third, biology
a fourth, chemistry (e.g., cold
What will happen if, for the sake of argument, physics collapses?
Will science fall?
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