Albert Einstein and his wife Mileva Maric in 1912. Albert Einstein and his wife Mileva Maric in 1912. Albert Einstein and his wife Mileva Maric in 1912. (Photo: Wikimedia)

5 surprising facts about Mileva Marić Einstein

Albert Einstein's first wife was a genius and a personality in her own right.

Mileva Marić, Albert Einstein's first wife, was born 141 years ago today on Dec. 19, 1875. To celebrate, we've curated some intriguing factoids about her life.

1. She was smart in her own right.

Mileva with her two sons, Hans Albert (left) and Eduard (right).Mileva with her two sons, Hans Albert (left) and Eduard (right). (Photo: Courtesy photo)

She attended several universities throughout Europe where she studied both mathematics and physics. Her grades were on par with Einstein's, whom she married in 1903. She collaborated with him on some of his theories which Einstein often referred to as "our work." The absent-minded professor also appreciated her keeping him in focus. "I miss having you nearby to kindly keep me in check and prevent me from meandering," he wrote to her.

2. Einstein occasionally missed her birthday.

Albert Einstein, who passed away decades before the invention of the internet, has millions of fans on social media.Albert Einstein wrote his wife a birthday note, but it was a tad late. (Photo: Central Press/Getty Images)

Many of Einstein's letters are stored at the Albert Einstein archives at Hebrew University in Israel, a school the beloved genius helped establish. Among them is a note from Albert to Mileva which includes this line: "My dear little sweetheart . . . first, my belated cordial congratulations on your birthday yesterday, which I had forgotten once again." In another note, from a cache of love letters during the courtship in 1900, Einstein a little more romantic: "When you're not with me, I feel as though I am not complete."

3. She could be sarcastic.

Mileva had a biting wit when she was dating a young Albert.Mileva had a biting wit when she was dating a young Albert. (Photo: Wikimedia)

While they started dating, an excited Einstein wrote her a long letter. At first, Mileva didn't respond, but then she wrote: "It's now been quote a while since I received your letter, and I would have replied immediately and thanked you for the sacrifice of writing four long pages, would have also told of the joy you provided me through our trip together, but you said I should write to you someday when I happened to be bored. And I am very obedient, and I waited and waited for boredom to set in; but so far my waiting has been in vain."

4. Her life story became an opera.

Yugoslavian-born Vida Ognjenović wrote a play about her which was later adapted into a libretto for the opera "Mileva" composed by Serbian composer Aleksandra Vrebalov. The two-act opera premiered in 2011 in Novi Sad to mark the the 150th anniversary of the National Theatre of Serbia, Marić's native country.

4. Einstein's Nobel paid her dividends

Nobel Prize plaque on podium.The Nobel Prize plaque rests on a podium. (Photo: Ragnar Singsaas/Getty Images)

When Einstein received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1922, he kept the award. But he gave the proceeds, an amount equal to about 10 times what the average professor made at the time, to Marić. She invested it into three Zurich apartment buildings, which she maintained until close to her death.


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