Think Einstein led a quiet life? You’d be wrong.
Almost every thinker of note has been involved in scandals over their lifetime, and absolutely all of them have conspiracy theories attributed to them after their death.
Here are a few that continue to swirl around Einstein.
It’s Einstein Week at Gizmodo. But who is the man behind the mind? Genius, a 10-part drama series starring Geoffrey Rush, reveals the untold story of Albert Einstein from Monday April 24 on National Geographic.
The Philadelphia Experiment
This one is by far the most fanciful, but also the most fascinating. So much so that it has already been turned into bad sci-fi.
The Philadelphia Experiment, also known as Project Rainbow by the US Navy, supposedly involved using Einstein’s theories to transport the Destroyer escort USS Eldridge through space and time.
It’s posited that Nikola Tesla and Einstein collaborated on a project to bend light around the ship to render it invisible to proximity mines. What resulted was a bit of ‘accidental’ teleportation that left many crew reportedly injured.
The USS Eldridge was reportedly covered in electrically charged wire to bend light around the hull, and a side affect was it falling victim to Einstein’s Unified Field Theory, allowing it to temporarily transport to another place — Norfolk, Virginia — and another time — several seconds before the experiment was meant to have started.
One problem: Tesla was dead at the time the experiment was conducted, and the fact that it sounds like the ravings of a drunken bosun.
Despite the fact that Einstein has been regarded by many as the thinker that defined the 20th Century, a decades-long plagiarism debate followed the German scientist around. Specifically, it related to his general theory of relativity.
While publicly it was heralded that Einstein was the thinker behind it, a scientist named Dr David Hilbert had laid his ownership on the theory, accusing Einstein of plagiarism.
It wasn’t settled until very recently, when after 100 years post its original discovery that a group of three scientists found Dr Hilbert’s papers lacking key parts of the theory that made up Einstein’s.
This might be the only thing Einstein has in common with Beyonce: both have been alleged to be members of the secretive Illuminati.
The Illuminati is reportedly a secret society founded in the late 1700’s that still exists today, working covertly to control world events.
Some conspiracy theorists believe Einstein was a member of the Illuminati, as seems to be a byproduct of fame from the late 19th Century through to today.
Rejection letter from Bern University
In 2016, a letter supposedly from Bern University penned in 1907 began doing the rounds online.
It read that Einstein was being denied an application for his Doctorate by the University on the grounds that his theories were ‘somewhat radical’.
It turns out that the letter itself is a sophisticated forgery: it’s written in English and not German; it features an image of a modern stamp bearing the image of Einstein, and the names and addresses are incorrect.
Keep this one in your back pocket at parties!
"The Next Generation of Idiots"
It’s easy to attribute smart-sounding quotes to intelligent people from history. Like this one from Albert Einstein:
I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.
Except, that quote isn’t from Einstein. The smart people at Snopes — who live to debunk the stupid things idiots write online — haven’t been able to find any correct attribution of the quote to indicate that it actually came from Einstein.
To learn more about Albert Einstein, check out the trailer for Genius below. Starring Geoffrey Rush, it tells the untold story of Albert Einstein. Premiering on April 24th on National Geographic.