Writer's Bloc Online
5 July 2000

Was the theory of relativity written in part on stolen time? From Writer's Bloc Online, the newsletter of the Washington, D.C., local of the National Writers Union . . .

The Schmidt Firing:
A Historical Perspective?

By Chris Garlock, editor

For an interesting historical footnote on the question of "stealing time" from work, I recently ran across the following in Carl Sagan's Broca's Brain:

"At the Patent Office, Einstein 'soon learned to do his chores more efficiently and this let him snatch precious morsels of time for his own surreptitious calculations, which he guiltily hid in a drawer when footsteps approached.' Such were the circumstances attending the birth of the great Relativity Theory."

"In 1905," Sagan continues, "Einstein published four research papers, the product of his spare time at the Swiss Patent Office." The papers of course, included the famous equation, E=mc2, which, among other things, says that although energy and mass can neither be created nor destroyed, one form of energy or matter can be converted into another form.

Or, to put it another way, work is work.