Albert Einstein was a genius but also he made some mistakes, specially with the details of his equations and theories. In the book Einstein’s Mistakes: The Human Failings of Genius (W.W. Norton, $12.93), Hans Ohanian writes that Albert often let his intuition overrule flawed proofs and shaky math.
DISCOVER Magazine also posted a story on Einstein’s biggest flubs: thinking black holes were impossible, believing the universe was static, and saying that “God does not play dice.”
Chronology of Albert Einstein’s Mistakes
- 1905 Mistake in clock synchronization procedure on which Einstein based special relativity.
- 1905 Failure to consider Michelson-Morley experiment.
- 1905 Mistake in transverse mass of high-speed particles.
- 1905 Multiple mistakes in the mathematics and physics used in calculation of viscosity of liquids, from which Einstein deduced size of molecules.
- 1905 Mistakes in the relationship between thermal radiation and quanta of light.
- 1905 Mistake in the first proof of E = mc2.
- 1906 Mistakes in the second, third, and fourth proofs of E = mc2.
- 1907 Mistake in the synchronization procedure for accelerated clocks.
- 1907 Mistakes in the Principle of Equivalence of gravitation and acceleration.
- 1911 Mistake in the first calculation of the bending of light.
- 1913 Mistake in the first attempt at a theory of general relativity.
- 1914 Mistake in the fifth proof of E = mc2.
- 1915 Mistake in the Einstein-de Haas experiment.
- 1915 Mistakes in several attempts at theories of general relativity.
- 1916 Mistake in the interpretation of Mach’s principle.
- 1917 Mistake in the introduction of the cosmological constant (the “biggest blunder”).
- 1919 Mistakes in two attempts to modify general relativity.
- 1925 Mistakes and more mistakes in the attempts to formulate a unified theory.
- 1927 Mistakes in discussions with Bohr on quantum uncertainties.
- 1933 Mistakes in interpretation of quantum mechanics (Does God play dice?).
- 1934 Mistake in the sixth proof of E = mc2.
- 1939 Mistake in the interpretation of the Schwarzschild singularity and gravitational collapse (the black hole).
- 1946 Mistake in the seventh proof of E = mc2.
Post author: Daniel Semper