Monday, May 12, 2008

Smart Dude

Profile of Albert Einstein sculpture at the National Academy of Sciences

This one is for Cowbark of Boston Daily Photo who correctly guessed what was in the pictures in last Friday's entry. This statue of Albert Einstein is on the north side of Constitution Avenue across from the Lincoln Memorial and on the grounds of the National Academy of Sciences.  Installed in 1974, this 21 foot, 7,000 lb (3.2 mtons) statue of Einstein was sculpted by Robert Berks. Berks also sculpted Civil Rights activist Mary Jane McLeod Bethune, as well as a bust of President John F. Kennedy, Jr.

Einstein in a comfortable sweater and Birkenstocks, 
holding a sheaf of paper with his famous theories inscribed on it

Albert Einstein was born in Ulm, Germany in 1879. During his youth, his family moved to Switzerland and, upon his graduation from the Swiss Federal Polytechnic School, he obtained Swiss citizenship and sought a post as a teacher. Unable to find a teaching job, he took a job in the Swiss Patent Office. While engaged at the patent office, he develop most of his great works and theories. Eventually, he taught in various posts around Switzerland. In 1914, he became a German citizen, but in 1933 he renounced his citizenship in protest against the policies of the Nazi Party and emigrated to America. He accepted a position at Princeton University as Professor of Theoretical Physics and became a U.S. citizen in 1940. He retired from Princeton in 1945.

Don't you just wanna hug him or sit in his lap? 
Most people do when they visit this memorial to 
one of science's preeminent minds.

Einstein is best known for his Theory of Relativity (E = mc2). In 1921, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for "his services to Theoretical Physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of photoelectric effect." This preeminent scientist was a rather reclusive man who enjoyed classical music. He was twice married and had three children and two stepchildren. Einstein died in 1955 in Princeton. He was cremated and his ashes scattered, but before that pathologist Thomas Harvey removed Einstein's brain without his family's permission. Harvey hoped that neuroscience might one day discover what made Einstein so brilliant. This monument in Washington to one of the greatest minds in science is incredibly popular, particularly with high school tour groups. It's a great site for a group photo and it's the only monument in Washington you can sit or climb on without being yelled at, ticketed, or arrested!

Photo copyright: D.C. Confidential, 5/08


Cowbark said...

Yay! I love him! That last picture is a really great perspective.

I have used to have a picture of a few friends and I sitting in his lap, but I haven't been able to find it lately. Guess I'll have to take a new one next time I'm in town!

D.C. Confidential said...

Believe it or not, this was actually the very first time I'd been to the Einstein monument. It's not the easiest piece to access from a parking standpoint and it's not like you can say to visiting friends, I'll drop you off here and be back in 10 minutes, because coming back around isn't the easiest traffic proposition. Still, it's totally worth finding parking and hiking to it. I think I'm going to go back one evening and try some dusk/night shots...

Dusty Lens said...

Genius! I never knew we had this statue In DC. Which leads me to believe there is so much to see in DC, I'm going to need a full month vacation to visit.

Trouble with vacation is returning, there is difficulty in catching up. I hope to be back on track within a week or two.

Lara said...

oh, well, I guess it's a thrill to hug this great man! we have a picture with him in the Madame Tussaud's in London, so... :)

D.C. Confidential said...

Rob: It's kind of tucked behind some trees and, unless you know about it, you miss it. I did for years. But I've repented!

And you're right about vacations. You go on them, but when you come back, you almost need another one just to catch up.

Lara: Doesn't he just look cozy and hug-able? I'd like to think Einstein was a cuddly guy!