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.

  • $\begingroup$ Would you object to a list cobbled together froma variety of different sources? $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Jan 17 '15 at 20:19
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Of course I will not object, but appreciate if someone composes this list from various sources. $\endgroup$ – Alexandre Eremenko Jan 17 '15 at 20:23
  • $\begingroup$ Unlike Wikipedia, we do appreciate "new research" incorporated into the answers, do we? $\endgroup$ – Alexandre Eremenko Jan 17 '15 at 20:37
  • $\begingroup$ Definitely; I'd be happy to see an answer from different sources. I'm not sure how on-topic a flat-out list is, though. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Jan 17 '15 at 20:38
  • $\begingroup$ And I am sure that this will be a valuable contribution to the list on the history of science:-) Especially if this list is not readily available. $\endgroup$ – Alexandre Eremenko Jan 17 '15 at 20:43

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 Jan 18 '15 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. $\endgroup$ – Alexandre Eremenko Jan 18 '15 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).


There Were Numerous Other Assistants And Collaborators There. One went on to become President of Beijing University

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Can you give us his name? $\endgroup$ – Alexandre Eremenko Jan 22 '17 at 19:46

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.