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Einstein a plagiarist

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 Poincare before Einstein wrote the famous 1905 paper. 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 Poincare (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. Introduction 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. Special Relativity Jules Henri Poincare (1854-1912) was a great scientist who made a significant contribution to special relativity theory. The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy website says that Poincare: (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. Sci. Math. 28, Poincare 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 Poincare was.

Even Keswani (1965) was prompted to say that “As far back as 1895, Poincare, 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, Poincare 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 Poincare”, and “… the opinion of the Relativists it is the measuring rods which create space, the clocks which create time. All this was known by Poincare 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 Poincare 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 Poincare and LorentzE”

Due to the fact that Einstein’s special relativity theory was known in some circles as the relativity theory of Poincare and Lorentz, one would think that Poincare and Lorentz might have had something to do with its creation. What is disturbing about the Einstein paper is that even though Poincare was the world’s leading expert on relativity, apparently Einstein had never heard of him or thought he had done anything worth referencing! Poincare, 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 mechanicsEwould be, above all, characterised by this fact that no velocity could surpass that of lightEbecause 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 lightNo 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’. “

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