The Prague muse inspired Einstein to create the Theory of Relativity / Prazska muza inspirovala Einsteina, aby sepsal Teorii RelativityEinstein created the Theory of relativity in Prague | Czechmatediary
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The Prague muse inspired Einstein to create the Theory of Relativity / Prazska muza inspirovala Einsteina, aby sepsal Teorii Relativity

Albert Einstein image /ww.ceskenoviny.czThe theory of relativity is probably the most famous accomplishment of Albert Einstein, the scientist of all times. A few people know however, that the idea may have been born in Prague. ‘How is that possible?’, you may ask. ‘Einstein was not Czech he was German!’ That is true, he was born in Bavarian Ulm (1879) and died in the USA in 1955. But in 1911 and 1912 Einstein spent 16 months teaching at the German university in Prague.  He and his family lived in Lesnicka Street while he was lecturing theoretical physics at Klementinum and at the German Institute of Physics in Vinicna Street. There he had met a mathematics professor, Mr. George Pick, who advised Einstein on what books to study in order for him to find answers for his unanswered questions. During his stay in Prague Einstein published numerous articles on theory of relativity, gravitation, thermodynamics and quantum physics.

During his free time (did he even have any?) he would hang out at the Berta Fantova’s saloon, located in the Unicorn house at the Old Town Square. Besides drinking beer, he also liked to play the violin for the locals there. And who were his drinking buddies? Quite the ‘insignificant’ crowd such as Max Brod, Franz Kafka or Hugo Bergman. There was also quite the gossip going around that Einstein had an illegitimate son in Prague. That however is still a mystery since no one seemed to have proven this interesting idea.

Later in his life Einstein became part of the Czech life again when the communist government began their unjustified political executions of people like Milada Horakova. During this time Einstein himself wrote a telegram to the Czech president of that time, Klement Gottwald, and pleaded for their lives: ” They were all  victims of German concentration camps; I am certain that they deserve to live.” His pleading did not help the cause.

CZ: Teorie Relativity, kterou se Albert Einstein proslavil asi nejvice, vznikla pravdepodobne v Praze. Jak je to mozne, ptate se? Vzdyt Einstein nebyl Cech! Mate pravdu, narodil se v bavorskem Ulmu (1879) a zemrel v USA (1955). Behem sveho zivota ale take kratkou dobu ucil na nemecke universite v Praze, a to v letech 1911 a 1912. Bydlel s rodinou v Lesnicke ulici a prednasel teoretickou fyziku v Klementinu a v sidle Fyzikalniho ustavu nemecke university ve Vinicne ulici. Prave na teto universite potkal profesora matematiky, George Picka, ktery Einsteinovi radil jakou literaturu si ma prostudovat, aby  nasel odpovedi na jeho nedoresene otazky. Behem tohoto prazskeho pobytu publikoval Einstein nekolik praci z teorie relativity a gravitace, termodinamiky, teorie zareni a kvantove fyziky.

V Praze pry ‘paril’ (ale take tam hral nekdy na housle) v salonu Berty Fantove na Staromestskem namesti v dome U Jednorozce. A s kym ze tam popijel pivo? S ‘neznamymi’ osobami jako je Max Brod, Franz Kafka nebo Hugo Bergman. Take se mimo jine suska o tom, ze si Einstein v Praze poridil syna, to se ale jeste nepovedlo nikomu prokazat.

Einstein se pozdeji znovu zapojil do ceskeho deni a to behem znamych inscenovanych politickych procesu v 50. letech, kdy  zaslal telegram samotnemu Klementu Gottwaldowi ohledne planovane justicni vrazde Milady Horakove a jejich 12-ti kolegu. V telegramu napsal: ” Byli obetmi nacismu, vezni nemeckych koncentracnich taboru. Jsem hluboce presvedcen, ze si zaslouzi zit”. Jeho prosba nepomohla.


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9 comments… add one
  • Vlastimil April 20, 2009, 7:35 am

    I am sure Enstein got the ideas for his Theory in Pragues beer halls. He was a very gifted individual. Not only his gray cells were working as nobody else’s, he also played fiddles and had many female lovers. Since he, as most Jews at that time, spoke German and were part of German culture, I would not say his smartness had anything to do with Czech environment or culture. He hanged out with Franz Kafka, who didn’t like Czechs even if his lover was a Czech woman. I am sure Albert Einstein did not respect Czechs too much either , he did not know them, he lived in a German Prague. But I am sure, his lovers were nice Czech girls :)) and then I can understand that while being with them , everything was “relative”…

  • Albert April 20, 2009, 11:56 am

    Ahoj Tanja,

    Congratulations this article has been indexed by Google. You must do one for Hugo Bergmann.
    I used “Hube Bergman” for a Google search and only a link to this article popped up.
    Hube Berman must be insignificant, yes? But wait, did I see Franz Kafka’s name mentioned?
    Your source article contains a smidgeon more.
    “Do společnosti židovských intelektuálů Maxe Broda, Huga Bergmanna, Felixe Weltsche a Franze Kafky ho uvedl Pick.”
    You translated Hugo’s the name into English and presto Hugo Berman became invisible to the world.
    Both Google and Wikipedia knows Hugo Bergmann


  • Tanja April 20, 2009, 3:40 pm

    Wow Vlastimil,you know a lot! And you are funny :)…or should I say witty 😉

  • Tanja April 20, 2009, 3:41 pm

    Thanks Albert, I will correct it from “hube” to “hugo”. Good catch!

  • Vlastimil April 20, 2009, 3:42 pm


    I am not trying to be funny. I am dead serious 😉

  • Karen April 29, 2009, 10:13 pm

    Hi Tanja, I showed this post to my Prague flatmate from Italy, who is a theoretical physicist specializing in gravity. Last night he showed me where the Saloon was in Old Town Square and the plaque talking about Albert Einstein. Even though I have walked by that plaque many times, I would never have noticed it if not for your post. They even had a version of the plaque in English, not just Czech!

  • Tanja April 30, 2009, 4:49 pm

    Wow, how special! Next time I go to Prague I got to check out that plaque.
    By the way, you have got some intense roommate 😉

  • Karen May 3, 2009, 2:02 am

    Flatmate, not roommate 🙂

  • Marcel Marcel October 25, 2010, 1:51 pm

    Vlastimil je ocividne kokot!

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