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When Einstein Wrote to Madam Curie

In response to Coffee Challenge, Why I am pro shout-out movement

Photo by janeb13 | Pixabay

Our history has so many untold stories. I feel this particular page from history is one of those hidden gems.

I, initially, published this article as a stand-alone piece. But I think this piece is a right fit for call from Winston for sharing stories that can highlight the good shoutouts can do. Being there for each other can do. My only intent is to ensure a lot more people know this beautiful story from history.

Infact, let me do one better since we are talking about being there for each other. There is no earning on this article as I draft this note but whatever it accumulates from this point on, I will donate 50 times that amount for education of underprivileged children in third world countries. Sounds fair? Yes, you will have your proof through a receipt in another article.

Please enjoy.

Death of Pierre Curie

In April 1906, Marie Curie lost her husband Pierre in a tragic accident. On a rainy night, Pierre fell under a horse cart while crossing a street in Paris, killing him instantly. Marie was devasted and could not recover from the loss for years.

Marie Curie and Paul Langevin

Paul Langevin, a young physics professor, worked with Curies before Pierre’s death.

Langevin was married but, it was an abusive relationship. His troubled marriage and Marie’s grief brought them together — they fell in love. They secretly rented an apartment in Paris.

Jeanne, Langevin’s wife, was enraged with the affair. She hired someone to break into the couple’s apartment and steal their love letters. Jeanne released them to the press.

The letters got published in the French tabloids that portrayed Marie Curie as a foreign Jewish homewrecker.

Einstein’s Letter to Marie Curie

In November 1911, the negative press overshadowed the announcement of Marie Curie as a Nobel prize winner in Chemistry. Swedish academy asked her not to attend the award ceremony in December.

During the most turbulent time of her life, Marie Curie received a letter from Albert Einstein with the following words of support and wisdom.

Prague, 23 November 1911

Highly esteemed Mrs. Curie,

Do not laugh at me for writing you without having anything sensible to say. But I am so enraged by the base manner in which the public is presently daring to concern itself with you that I absolutely must give vent to this feeling. However, I am convinced that you consistently despise this rabble, whether it obsequiously lavishes respect on you or whether it attempts to satiate its lust for sensationalism! I am impelled to tell you how much I have come to admire your intellect, your drive, and your honesty, and that I consider myself lucky to have made your personal acquaintance in Brussels. Anyone who does not number among these reptiles is certainly happy, now as before, that we have such personages among us as you, and Langevin too, real people with whom one feels privileged to be in contact. If the rabble continues to occupy itself with you, then simply don’t read that hogwash, but rather leave it to the reptile for whom it has been fabricated.

With most amicable regards to you, Langevin, and Perrin, yours very truly,

A. Einstein

P.S. I have determined the statistical law of motion of the diatomic molecule in Planck’s radiation field by means of a comical witticism, naturally under the constraint that the structure’s motion follows the laws of standard mechanics. My hope that this law is valid in reality is very small, though.

Friendship Between Einstein and Marie Curie

Marie Curie gathered courage and attended the award ceremony. There were no unwelcomed incidents. Later, the outrage over the affair blew over with Langevin settling with his wife outside the court.

Einstein and Marie went on to form a close friendship.

In 1935, after Marie’s death, Einstein had nothing but kind words for his deceased friend during a memorial celebration at New York’s Roerich Museum.

“I came to admire her human grandeur to an ever-growing degree,” he told the audience. “Her strength, her purity of will, her austerity toward herself, her objectivity, her incorruptible judgment — all these were of a kind seldom found joined in a single individual. … If but a small part of Madame Curie’s strength of character and devotion were alive in Europe’s intellectuals, Europe would face a brighter future.”

Albert Einstein and Marie Curie reminiscing by a lake in 1929 — Public search results from Google search engine

Madam Curie needs no introduction. She is the only woman in history who has won the Nobel prize twice and is the only person who has won the coveted awards in two different sciences.

If a legend like her needed some words of encouragement from a fellow scientist, then I guess we all do.

This is exactly what the following bunch of wonderful writers (or WABOL as I like to call us) have highlighted with their stories as their entries for this competition and I see a reflection of my own story in all of them. You can read all these stories here.

Mayuresh Belsare |Tamil | Lou Gibbons | Maria H. Khan | Angie Smartt | Jenine Bsharah Baines | Donnette Anglin | Ilana Lydia | Niall Leah | Lady Dr. Gabriella Korosi | Marilyn Flower | Maria Rattray| Julie Green | Monoreena Acharjee Majumdar | Christina | Sahil Patel | Ali | Lisa Gerard Braun | Umme Salma | Christina DeFeo | Hamsalekha | Yousuf Rafi | Sam Finlayson | Deb Fiore | Lucia Landini | Sally Prag | Sujona Chatterjee | RJ Reyes | Vidya Sury, Collecting Smiles | Jane Frost (Jane Grows Garden Rooms) | Suma Narayan | Sumit Kumar | B.R. Shenoy | Sharing Words | Ashley

Since we are already creating a tag blanket how about, shamelessly, adding some more people who have I cross paths on this digital platform, so far. Huh?

Yana Bostongirl | Sianna Lani | Jan Sebastian | Robert Ralph | Kristina God | Kristi Keller | Susan Bostian | Dr Mehmet Yildiz | Sharing Randomly | Dr. Preeti Singh | KiKi Walter | Preeti Ramachandran | Andrey Pilipets | Somsubhra Banerjee | Nancy Blackman | Winston | Purbita Chakraborty | David Martin | Filiz Özer | Satopanth Gourav Nayak | Zoey Hale | Janet Meisel | Rick Post | Christine Stevens | Terry Trueman

Enough? If I missed anyone, well you just escaped becoming a victim of a tag blanket.




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