Einstein’s Nobel Prize: A Glimpse Behind Closed Doors – The Archival Evidence

Einstein’s Nobel Prize: A Glimpse Behind Closed Doors – The Archival Evidence

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Elzinga, Aant, 2006, xii + 228pp., illus., cloth bound and jacketed

How and why, after many years of waiting, did Albert Einstein finally receive the Nobel Prize in Physics for 1921, awarded the following year?

On the basis of a penetrating study of documents in the Nobel archive at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm, the author reviews the sixty nominations Einstein received from 1910 to 1922. He analyzes the arguments against relativity theory and the Committee’s skepticism . . .


“ . . . In tandem with the revival of quantum scepticism in physics, his [Elzinga’s] book helps us recover Einstein’s story from the tendentious interpretation of it that has gone unchallenged far too long.” —BJHS

“ . . . The great value of Einstein’s Nobel Prize is its detailed analysis of relevant documents showing how the academy managed to give Einstein the prize despite his work on relativity . . .” —Isis

“ . . . one of his accomplishments with the book under review is that it brings attention to historical works published in Swedish and thus inaccessible to many people. His translation feat is thus of great importance in both directions when it comes to Einstein and the Nobel Prize. But most importantly, he adds his own research and insights and makes his own careful explanation of how Einstein got the Nobel Prize—and how the Nobel got Einstein for that matter. Anyone interested in Einstein or the Nobel institution should read this book.” —Nuncius

“ . . . The author guides the reader through the deliberations of the Physics Committee over the period 1910 to Oseen’s intervention in 1922 . . . ” —HSPS, vol. 37, no. 2

“ . . . The book is pedagogical, elegantly written, and so exciting that it is hard to lay down before the last page has been turned. The history of science interested public in the broadest sense should have no problems in reading this book—which I hope they will.” —Centaurus