Proponents of Einstein have acted in a way that appears to corrupt the
historical record. Albert Einstein (1879&endash;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
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
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&endash;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 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
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
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 or thought he had done anything
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 mechanicsÉwould be, above all, characterised by
this fact that no velocity could surpass that of lightÉbecause 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 than underreference.
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, 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, "On 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 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 literature..."
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
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, "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 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...'" (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 eclipseÉ 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 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
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)
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 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 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 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 scrutiny?
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 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 demeanour of
any true scientist. Eddington ceased to be a scientist and, instead, became an advocate
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 20th-century science".
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 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 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
The physics community is supported by a multi-legged stool. The first
leg is Einstein's stature. The second leg is the hard nucleus that will be toppled by cold
fusion. This third leg is relativity that will be superseded by Autodynamics. Other legs
of the stool may fall as well. The overwhelming problem with a multi-legged stool is that
if enough legs are sawed off, the stool will collapse. It is predictable that physics may
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?
¥ Bjerknes, C.J. (2002), Albert Einstein: The Incorrigible
Plagiarist, XTX Inc., Dowers Grove.
¥ Born, M. (1956), Physics in My Generation, Pergamon Press,
London, p. 193.
¥ Brown, G. Burniston (1967), "What is wrong with
relativity?", Bull. of the Inst. of Physics and Physical Soc., pp. 71-77.
¥ Carezani, R. (1999), Autodynamics: Fundamental Basis for a New
Relativistic Mechanics, SAA, Society for the Advancement of Autodynamics.
¥ Carroll, R., "Einstein's E = mc2 'was Italian's idea'", The
Guardian, November 11, 1999.
¥ Clark, R.W. (1984), Einstein: The Life and Times, Avon Books,
¥ De Pretto, O. (1904), "Ipotesi dell'etere nella vita
dell'universo", Reale Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti, Feb. 1904,
tomo LXIII, parte II, pp. 439-500.
¥ Einstein, A. (1905a), "Zur Elektrodynamik bewegter
Körper" ("On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies"), Annalen der Physik
¥ Einstein, A. (1905b), Does the Inertia of a Body Depend on its
Energy Content?", Annalen der Physik 18:639-641.
¥ Einstein, A. (1907), "Über die vom Relativitätspringzip
geforderte Trägheit der Energie", Annalen der Physik 23(4):371-384 (quote on
¥ Einstein, A. (1935), "Elementary Derivation of the Equivalence
of Mass and Energy", Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. 61:223-230 (first delivered as The
Eleventh Josiah Willard Gibbs Lecture at a joint meeting of the American Physical Society
and Section A of the AAAS, Pittsburgh, December 28, 1934).
¥ Hawking, S., "Person of the Century", Time Magazine,
December 31, 1999.
¥ Ives, H.E. (1952), "Derivation of the Mass-Energy
Relation", J. Opt. Soc. Amer. 42:540-543.
¥ Keswani, G.H. (1965), "Origin and Concept of Relativity", Brit.
J. Phil. Soc. 15:286-306.
¥ Mackaye, J. (1931), The Dynamic Universe, Charles Scribner's
Sons, New York, pp. 42-43.
¥ Maddox, J. (1995), "More Precise Solar-limb
Light-bending", Nature 377:11.
¥ Moody, R., Jr (2001), "Plagiarism Personified", Mensa
¥ Newton, Sir Isaac (1704), Opticks, Dover Publications, Inc.,
New York, p. cxv.
¥ Nordman, C. (1921), Einstein et l'univers, translated by
Joseph McCabe as "Einstein and the Universe", Henry Holt and Co., New York, pp.
10-11, 16 (from Bjerknes, 2002).
¥ Poincaré, J.H. (1905), "The Principles of Mathematical
Physics", The Monist, vol. XV, no. 1, January 1905; from an address delivered
before the International Congress of Arts and Sciences, St Louis, September 1904.
¥ Poor, C.L. (1930), "The Deflection of Light as Observed at
Total Solar Eclipses", J. Opt. Soc. Amer. 20:173-211.
¥ The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Jules Henri Poincaré
(1854&endash;1912), at http://www.utm.edu/research/iep/p/poincare.htm.
¥ Webster, N. (1947), Webster's New International Dictionary of the
English Language, Second Edition, Unabridged, p. 1878.
About the Author:
Richard Moody, Jr, has a Master's Degree in Geology, is the author of three books on chess
theory and has written for the Mensa Bulletin. For the past four years, he has done
intensive research into Albert Einstein.
He can be contacted by email at Slmrea@aol.com.