Albert Einstein: Plagiarist of the Century?
Albert Einstein: Plagiarist of the Century?
>> "Einstein plagiarised 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.
by Richard Moody Jr
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
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 recognisable 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 Jules 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 by Einstein.
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 science.
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 on the 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, "On 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 states 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 be exceeded"); (3) suggested that "mass
depends on speed"; (4) "formulated 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";
and (5) "derived the Lorentz transformation".
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 1902". 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
synchronisation, 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 or 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, "It 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 and Lorentz... "
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 nor 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, characterised 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, 1905)
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 obvious.
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 recognise
the need to cite references in his article on special relativity? One
would think that Einstein, as a neophyte, would overreference rather
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" (emphasis added) (Born, 1956). He is
clearly indicating that the absence of references is abnormal and
that, even by early 20th century standards, this is most peculiar,
Einstein twisted and turned to avoid plagiarism charges, but these
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 had 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 "On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies" without being
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 straight.
In his 1907 paper, Einstein spelled out his views on plagiarism: "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 am entitled to leave out a thoroughly pedantic survey of the
With this statement, Einstein declared that plagiarism, suitably
packaged, is an acceptable research tool.
Here is the definition of "to plagiarise" 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,
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 much 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
What makes the expeditions to Sobral and Principe so suspect is
Eddington's zealous support of Einstein, as can be seen in his
statement, "By standing foremost in testing, and ultimately verifying
the 'enemy' theory, our national observatory kept alive the finest
traditions of science..." (emphasis added) (Clark, 1984). In this
instance, apparently Eddington was not familiar with the basic tenets
of science. His job was to collect data-not verify Einstein's
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..."' (emphasis added). Eddington reveals his true
prejudice: he was willing to do anything to see that Einstein was
proved right. But Eddington was not to be deterred: "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 a shred of evidence that was consistent with "Einstein's"
general relativity theory, he immediately proclaimed it as proof of
the theory. Is this science?
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 o the sun, is a well known and simple formula of
physical optics"; "Not a single one 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 could not wait to get 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 by relativity.
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
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 comment that "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 warped". 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". Why 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:
"They [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 particularly accurate"; "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" (emphasis added).
It is clear that from the outset that 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 the
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 demeanour of any true scientist. Eddington
ceased to be a scientist and, instead, became an advocate for
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 BIPP
asked, "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
It cannot be emphasised 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 rigour is the measure of truth.
Little do people realise how science is conducted in the presence of
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 halo.
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 it? 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. The
first 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 sawn 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 earth sciences; a third, biology; and a fourth, chemistry (e.g.,
cold fusion). What will happen if, for the sake of argument, physics
collapses? Will science fall? "<<
Albert Einstein: Plagiarist of the Century?
On Jul 26, 6:13*pm, Bret L > wrote:
> Albert Einstein: Plagiarist of the Century?
We must come up with a 'final solution' for them, don't you agree,
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