Some previous questions on Einstein bring the following question: is a complete (or incomplete) list of Einstein assistants available somewhere?

A quick search on the Internet brings several familiar names, but no list. I know many of them, but I would like to see a complete list, with dates of employment, if possible. Of course, one can look at the list of his co-authors, but not all assistants co-authored papers with him. Some of them were (or later become) famous mathematicians. As I understand, this was a formal payed position: a German professor was eligible to have assistants. This applies to the period when Einstein worked in Berlin. Perhaps he also had an assistant in Princeton, I am not sure.

EDIT. Here are the candidates whom I extracted from the publicaton list until 1938: W. Mayer (8), N. Rosen (4), J. Laub (3), L. Hopf (2), W. Ritz, O. Stern, A. Fokker, B. Hoffmann and P. Bergmann. (Other co-authors in this period are Lorenz, Minkowski, de Sitter and Grossmann, but they were not his assistants). Later publications add V. Bargmann, B. Kaufman, H. Born, A. Lande, S. Penner, B. Podolsky, and few other people who could not be his assistants.

Cornelius Lanczos was an assistant in 1928-29 but never co-authored a paper.

  • $\begingroup$ There Were Numerous Other Assistants And Collaborators There. One went on to become President of Beijing University $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 22, 2017 at 17:58
  • $\begingroup$ You can exclude Jakub Laub, the first coauthor of Einstein, who was not his assistant. They published their joint papers in 1908-09, when Einstein was still working in the patent office. Afterwards Laub became an assistant to Philip Lenard in Heidelberg in 1909. However, Lenard did not support Einstein's theories and fired Laub after he refused to devise an experiment to refute general relativity. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 22, 2017 at 22:02

2 Answers 2


Here is a list (no claim to completeness) covering Einstein's period in Princeton:

Walther Mayer 1930-1934 (see pp. 492-494 of "Subtle is the Lord" by Abraham Pais).

Nathan Rosen 1934-1936 (http://physics.technion.ac.il/extras/history/memoriam/rosen/Peres-Obituary.pdf)

Peter Bergmann 1936-1941 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Bergmann).

Valentine Bargmann 1937-1946 (http://relativity.livingreviews.org/Articles/lrr-2014-5/desc_2.html).

According to the book by Pais (pp. 496-497) later assistants were Ernst Straus 1944-1948, John Kemeny 1948-1949, Robert Kraichnan 1949-1950, and Bruria Kaufman 1950-1955.

  • $\begingroup$ I'd like to add that the Mayer-Vietoris sequence is named after Walther Mayer. $\endgroup$
    – hjhjhj57
    Commented Jan 18, 2015 at 10:41
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for this list. A list of assistants in Berlin (and Prague?) is also desirable, but probably more difficult to compose. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 18, 2015 at 14:22

The book "An Einstein Encyclopedia" (Princeton University Press, 2015) has a chapter about assistants. Indeed, some of them never published jointly with Einstein.

For the record, they are:

  1. Ludwig Hopf (Zürich then Prague)
  2. Emil Nohel (Prague)
  3. Otto Stern (Prague then Zürich)

Then comes a period with no assistant.

  1. Jakob Grommer (Berlin)
  2. Cornelius Lanczos (Berlin)
  3. Hermann Muentz, overlapping w/ Lanczos (Berlin)
  4. Walther Mayer ("Einstein's calculator") (Berlin, then Princeton)
  5. Nathan Rosen (Princeton)
  6. Leopold Infeld (Princeton)
  7. Banesh Hoffmann (Princeton)
  8. Peter Bergmann, overlapping w/ Hofmann (Princeton)

The book lists later assistants (1940-1955) with no claim of exhaustivity (all in Princeton):

  • Venlentin Bargmann
  • Ernst Strauss
  • John Kemeny
  • Robert Kraichnan
  • Bruria Kaufman

The book also contains a chapter about collaborators (and tons of other things).

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ John Kemeny gave an interesting assessment of his collaboration with Einstein. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 16:56

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