Letter From Albert Einstein To Marie Curie Tells Her To Ignore The Trolls

Albert Einstein shouldn't just be known for his giant brain — but for his enormous heart, too.

In 1911, he wrote a letter to his peer Noble Laureate Marie Curie encouraging her to ignore all the unfounded criticism she was facing at the time. I say "unfounded" because it had nothing to do with any of the work she was doing. Instead, of course, it mostly involved her personal life.

At the time, Curie was under a lot of fire for her affair with a physicist named Paul Langevin, though he was estranged from his wife, and critics said that it "tarnished the good name" of her late husband Pierre Curie. Furthermore, despite winning a Nobel Prize for her revolutionary work on radioactivity, she was denied a seat in the French Academy of Sciences in January of 1911 — likely because she was a woman and an atheist (plus, some rumored her to be Jewish — a definite issue in an anti-Semitic France).

In response to all this, Einstein praised Curie's work, and offered her some sage advice that could certainly still apply to anyone in a similar situation now: "don't read that hogwash." Einstein was clearly ahead of his time, giving her the hard-earned respect she deserved — that of an equal.

With that, here is Einstein's (translated) letter to Curie that astrobiologist David Grinspoon discovered and then published in Einstein Papers this week:



Einstein clearly knows what he's talking about — and not just in the realm of physics. Curie proved that his faith in her was aptly placed, as she went on to win her second Nobel Prize later in 1911, despite all the "hogwash" going on around her. Now that's determination.

What do you think of Einstein's letter to Curie?

Photo Credit: Oren Jack Turner, Princeton, N.J. Modified with Photoshop by PM_Poon and later by Dantadd. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Screengrab via Einstein Papers


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