cover image Albert Einstein/Mileva Maric--The Love Letters

Albert Einstein/Mileva Maric--The Love Letters

Albert Einstein. Princeton University Press, $24.95 (107pp) ISBN 978-0-691-08760-3

``When I'm back in Zurich, the first thing we'll do is climb the Utliberg. . . . And then we'll start in on Hemholtz's electromagnetic theory of light.'' So wrote the 20-year-old Einstein to fellow physics student Maric. Of these 54 short letters, written from 1897 to 1903, the year they wed, all but three have been included by Renn and Schulman in the publisher's Collected Papers of Albert Einstein, vol. 1. The letters reveal the disdain of Einstein's bourgeois family for his ambitious, slightly older Serbian lover ``Dollie,'' who would bear his child Lieserl. The baby is referred to in only a couple of letters, and her fate remains a mystery. The editors' brief introduction and explanatory endnotes do little to illuminate the letters' many scholarly and scientific references. While Maric (who wrote only 11 letters) remains a shadowy figure, Einstein, whom she addresses as ``Johnnie,'' touches on issues and sources in the field of physics that occupy his thinking. These references, however, will be of interest mainly to readers familiar with the theories he would later develop. (May)