I enjoyed reading the book, “E=MC²: A Biography of the World’s Most Famous Equation,” by David Bodanis. That’s the mass-energy equivalence formula propounded by Einstein.

Albert Einstein, who is often dubbed the “genius of geniuses,” has a remarkable story that should inspire many (you don’t have to be a genius to be inspired by one). It is now common for even humanities students to talk about relative perspectives, and the relativity of value judgments: well, give credit to Einstein for that.

Additionally, most reputable science departments have scrapped the obsolescent methods of rote learning or memorization as a tool, and will even let you come in with “cheat sheets.” They want you to be critical thinkers. Again, credit the famous rebel genius, who was known to have been expelled from school as a teen for clashing with authorities and criticizing the learning methods. It is common on Ivy League campuses to find “aspiring” (I would never use wannabe) rebel geniuses, wanting to bring out the Einstein in them!

However, the book explores the idea that Einstein’s first wife, who was a brilliant Mathematician, may have been responsible for his works, and that the accomplishments he is famous for could not have been wholly produced by him, because he had not been a “stellar” student on record. It is also on record that he failed qualifying exams, so how could he have come up with about the most brilliant revelations known to mankind, and lucidly described them scientifically and Mathematically?

Because Einstein failed to impress his professors, he was never able to get a recommendation for his PhD, but had to work as a lowly patent officer, and was passed up for promotion at the patent office, which a friend’s father connected him with.

It was while working as a frustrated lowly employee at the patent office that Einstein produced his greatest works of genius. His papers were accepted for the conferment of his PhD, and Einstein achieved overnight success, much to the astonishment of his former professors, and many of the scientific elite, who could not believe he was responsible for the groundbreaking postulations.

Two lessons from Albert Einstein’s story: first, biased teachers can’t hold back your brilliance. Nobody even knows or cares about Einstein’s former possibly jaundiced teachers. But in fairness to them, Einstein was a rebel. It is perhaps difficult for teachers to motivate and harness the talent of a rebel.

Second, if you must have a life partner, hopefully you find one that stimulates your interests, and contributes to what makes you grow, and vice versa.

Most modern historians refute the idea that his brilliant first wife, Mileva Maric may have contributed to his great accomplishments. Some cite the fact that she failed her Mathematics exam, which Einstein passed. It is possible that she at least served as a good sounding board for his ideas.

Furthermore, I have not noticed a historian, acknowledge the hardship she would have suffered, when she became pregnant with their “hidden” first child. People who have been in love and in committed relationships, understand that one partner may tend to make more sacrifices than the other, and may abandon or fail in their interests, because of their commitments to their love.

Many of us African men and women may have an insight into Mileva, the wife of the accomplished man. We can relate with the sacrifices we saw our mothers make for our fathers; sacrifices our mothers made for our home. We grew up understanding that our mothers were the rocks on which our fathers’ accomplishments stood. They were invariably the unsung heroes, who moved mountains and did unfathomable magic, to unfold miracles and make destinies manifest.

Today, they call one aspect of the phenomenon of woman, multitasking: the child on her back, as she pounded yams for dinner, sifted the fine grains on a tray for the week, as she alternated, while keeping an eye on her daughters playing in the yard. Mother reminded herself to finish knitting the sweater to match the skirt she had just completed sewing for the younger child’s graduation from the sixth grade. The unparalleled yet unsung genius of woman.

Mileva’s greater commitment to their relationship may have manifested in her failing her Mathematics exam and that failure may not necessarily be evidence that she could not have contributed to Einstein’s accomplishments.

History indicates that although Einstein remains the genius we all love, he was relatively selfish in his relationships. Thus, we know (although we forgive him) he was not a great husband, and fell desperately short as a father. Einstein is supposed to have infamously quipped, “monogamy is not natural!” 

I think he was inspired at some point by his brilliant first wife, Mileva Maric!