The two scientists exchanged letters in 1911, when Marie Curie was at the heart of a media scandal over an affair with physicist Paul Langevin.
“Ignore low level criticism.” This is, more or less, the advice given by Albert Einstein to Marie Curie in November 1911,
A few weeks before she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, the widow of Pierre Curie (who died in 1906) found herself at the heart of a media scandal over her affair with physicist Paul Langevin.
The latter’s wife, from whom he had recently been separated, sent letters from the two lovers to the press. Returning to France after a conference in Brussels, Marie Curie was greeted by an angry crowd at her Paris home. An experience so frightening that she decided to move in with a friend with her two daughters, until the matter calmed down.
“Don’t read this bunch of nonsense”
The situation shocked Albert Einstein, who had met the French scientist in Brussels, reveals a letter published by the American University Princeton (in English). “The vile way in which public opinion allows itself to take an interest in you makes me so furious that I have to share this feeling with you,” wrote the physicist in his letter, dated November 23, 1911.
“If the populace continues to be interested in you, then just don’t read this bunch of nonsense, and instead leave it to the reptiles for whom it is invented,” concludes Albert Einstein. Before discussing his latest scientific research, on the “statistical law of displacement of diatomic molecules”, in a postscript absolutely incomprehensible to ordinary people.