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Einstein's inspiring advice to Marie Curie on trolls ‘Don't read that hogwash’

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It can be an upsetting, humiliating and often frightening experience to be trolled. 

Trolling - where internet users post deliberately provocative and aggressive statements against a person - is unfortunately a common part of internet culture and it regularly made front page news in 2014, from the Scottish charity who labelled J.K. Rowling a "b***" for donating money to Scotland's anti-independence campaign, Better Together, to Cambridge University professor Mary Beard's public battle with her abusers on Twitter, which she went on to befriend.

But trolling isn't a modern-day phenomenon. 

A resurfaced century-old letter from Albert Einstein to Marie Curie shows that the legendary female scientist, who discovered the X-ray and won two Nobel prizes, also faced the criticism of trolls. 

In the letter (below) from 1911, which was recently discovered in a huge trove of new Einstein letters and published online this week, Einstein praises her work and offers some timeless advice on dealing with haters.

A young Albert Einstein in 1925

A young Albert Einstein in 1925

I am so enraged by the base manner in which the the public is presently daring to concern yourself with you,” wrote the physicist. 

At the time, Curie's bid for a seat in the French Academy of Sciences had been rejected because she was a woman and atheist and news came out that she, a widow, was having an affair with a physicist named Paul Langevin, who was estranged from his wife. Critics slammed her for tarnishing the name of her deceased husband Pierre Curie, whom she won her first Nobel prize win.

Einstein letter to Marie Curie

Addressing this disparagement, Einstein wrote: “I am impelled to tell you how much I admire your intellect, your drive, and your honesty, and that I consider myself lucky to have made your personal acquaintance in Brussels.”

“If the rabble continues to occupy itself with you, then simply don’t read that hogwash, but rather leave it to the reptile for whom it has been fabricated,” he added.

Even history’s greatest minds need reminding that sometimes you just have to ignore negative noise in the background. Read Einstein's inspiring words to Curie above.

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