Academic journal article Journal of Information Ethics

Albert Einstein the Incorrigible Plagiarist

Academic journal article Journal of Information Ethics

Albert Einstein the Incorrigible Plagiarist

Article excerpt

Albert Einstein the Incorrigible Plagiarist Christopher Jon Bjerknes. Downers Grove, IL: XTX, Inc. 408 pp., $19.95.

There is something unsettling about this book. What do you do with a study that begins with a disclaimer that explicitly states it is intended solely for entertainment purposes; that due to human error, it may contain substantial mistakes as to content; that neither the author nor publisher has any responsibility for any harm or damage resulting from the use of any information, argument, or conclusion contained in it? It comes on like a sequel to The Da Vinci Code. That was a best seller and very entertaining, but more fantasy than history. So it may well be with this work which is, at best, unreliable.

In a very disjointed, slap-dash effort, the author makes the disturbing if not shocking case that Albert Einstein allegedly failed to give credit where it was due to his intellectual predecessors. Americans are usually weak in scholarly research whereas Europeans are usually strong, but Einstein was apparently at best indifferent to if not unethical about acknowledging the contributions of those who went before him.

Mr. Bjerknes is anything but systematic in presenting and developing his case that Einstein failed to mention the contributions of Dutch physicist Hendrik Antoon Lorentz and Frenchman Jules Henri Poincaré to what we now refer to as Einstein's Theory of Relativity. Einstein essentially took over Poincaré's works, which were themselves a mixture of his (Poincaré's) ideas with those of Lorentz. The subject matter deals with the basics of our physical universe: matter, motion, light, gravitation, and the indeterminate ether. …

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