Sex Scandals In Science
If you created a mental image of a scientist you may well think of them being pretty obsessive with a straight-laced image. As true a reflection as that may be, there have been many scientists who have had a ‘magnetic’ effect on woman. If you thought there was no sex scandals in science, you are mistaken.
(Albert Einstein - Image via Wikipedia)
Even Albert Einstein, one of the most famous scientists of all time, was renowned for his extra-marital ‘experiments’. During his two marriages, Einstein had many affairs. One quote, from Einstein, on the subject of marriage was;
“Marriage is the unsuccessful attempt to make something lasting out of an incident.”
Einstein must have believed that. He married his first wife Mileva after finding out that he had made her pregnant – even if he had wanted to make something lasting out of ‘that’ incident, it didn’t last long. Einstein divorced Mileva after he had started an affair with his cousin Elsa, who went on to become wife number two. The second marriage may have lasted until the death of Elsa but throughout, Einstein continued to have many affairs with other women.
The actual identities and indeed intensity of the affairs has been debated by historians endlessly, but some evidence has come to light. Writers Roger Highfield and Paul Carter claim that they have found evidence that Einstein had affairs with Betty Neumann (one of his secretaries), Margarette Lebach (An Australian blond-bombshell) and two rich woman named Elsa Mendel and Estella Katzenellenbogen.
It wasn’t just the affairs that cause problems between Einstein and his wife Elsa, he also had a wandering eye. On one occasion, the American dramatist Clifford Odets noticed that Einstein had been ‘eyeing-up’ his wife when they met at a function. Odets was so incensed that he took a pair of scissors to the photos of the meeting and cut out Einstein’s head from all of them,
Albert Einstein is not the only famous scientist to be somewhat of a womaniser. Austrian physicist and Nobel Prize winner, Erwin Schrodinger, may be the man behind the equation at the heart of quantum theory but his other interest was sex. Biographer Walter Moore stated that Schrodinger was “devoted to it as the principal non-scientific occupation of his life.”
(Erwin Schrodinger - Image via Wikipedia)
Schrodinger had embarked on many affairs by the time he had to escape the Nazis in 1933. He arrived in Dublin at the Institute for Advanced Studies with his wife, his mistress and one of his many illegitimate children in tow. Once he had his office sorted out, Schrodinger set about getting more mistresses. It is claimed that some of Schrodinger’s greatest discoveries came in between intensive sex sessions with one of his mistresses – a claim that is often repeated in his diaries.
It is not just the male scientists who get in on the act though. On 4th November 1911, the front page of French newspaper Le Journal ran a headline which translated as; “A story of love: Madame Curie and Professor Langevin.” The story that followed was a report of an affair between Marie Curie and physicist Paul Langevin. It was an affair that rocked the scientific world.
(Marie Curie - Image via Wikipedia)
The basis of the story the newspaper ran had come from testimony from Langevin’s mother-in-law who painted a very nasty picture of Marie Curie; she claimed that Curie was a shameless home-breaker who had deliberately lured a colleague away from his wife and children. A strong rebuttal was issued from Curie, to which she received a strong apology. One thing that could not be denied though was that Curie and Langevin had been having an affair and still were by the time Curie was declared the winner of the 1911 Nobel prize for Chemistry. A letter was sent from a committee member insisted that Curie refuse the prize and stay away from the ceremony. Marie Curie did not stay away and collected her prize. However, it did help to drive Marie and Langevin apart. While Curie went back to the lab to work, Langevin returned to his wife and took another mistress instead – this time, a low-profile mistress.