Albert Einstein in popular culture
Albert Einstein has been the subject of or inspiration for many works of popular culture.
On Einstein's 72nd birthday on March 14, 1951, UPI photographer Arthur Sasse was trying to persuade him to smile for the camera, but having smiled for photographers many times that day, Einstein stuck out his tongue instead. This photograph became one of the most popular ever taken of Einstein, often used in merchandise depicting him in a lighthearted sense. Einstein enjoyed this photo and requested UPI to give him nine copies for personal use, one of which he signed for a reporter. On June 19, 2009, the original signed photograph was sold at auction for $74,324, a record for an Einstein picture.
Einstein is a favorite model for depictions of mad scientists and absent-minded professors; his expressive face and distinctive hairstyles have been widely copied and exaggerated. Time magazine's Frederic Golden wrote that Einstein was "a cartoonist's dream come true."
"Einstein" has become a word used to describe someone extremely intelligent; the name is also applied sarcastically to someone who states the obvious or displays a lack of intelligence or insight ("Way to go, Einstein!").
In 1999, leading physicists voted Einstein the "greatest physicist ever".
His birthday, March 14, is also Pi Day, so called because 3/14 corresponds to 3.14, the first three digits of the number Pi. The town of Princeton, New Jersey, where Einstein lived for more than 20 years, celebrates March 14 every year as "Princeton Pi Day and Einstein Birthday Party."
Usage of his name and image
Iranian cartoonist and humorist Javad Alizadeh publishes a column titled "4D Humor" in his Persian monthly Humor & Caricature, which features cartoons, caricatures and stories on Einstein-related topics. In 1991 he published in Persian "4D Humor", a comic book on Einstein's life and work, inspired mainly by the Theory of Relativity.
Einstein bequeathed his estate, as well as the use of his image (see personality rights), to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, which from the mid-1980s has sponsored the Einstein Papers Project with the Princeton University Press. Einstein actively supported the university during his life and this support continues with the royalties received from licensing activities. GreenLight licences the commercial use of the name "Albert Einstein" and associated imagery and likenesses of Einstein, as agent for the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. As head licensee the corporation can control commercial usage of Einstein's name and theoretically ensure compliance with certain standards (e.g., when Einstein's name is used as a trademark, the ™ symbol must be used).
There is a persistent popular belief that Einstein was left-handed, but there is no evidence that he was, and the belief has been called a myth. Einstein wrote with his right hand, and authoritative sources state flatly that he was right-handed. An autopsy on Einstein's brain showed a symmetry between the two hemispheres, rather than a left-sided dominance as is typical of most right-handed people or a right-sided dominance as found in most left-handed people.
Multiple schools are named after him.
- Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York
- Albert-Einstein-Schule, a former secondary school in Bochum, Germany
- Albert Einstein High School in Montgomery County, Maryland
- Albert Einstein Academy Charter School in San Diego, California
In media and drama
Einstein has been the subject of or inspiration for many novels, films and plays, such as Steve Martin's comedic play Picasso at the Lapin Agile. He was the subject of Philip Glass's 1976 opera Einstein on the Beach, and his humorous side is the subject of Ed Metzger's one-man play Albert Einstein: The Practical Bohemian.
He was the subject (along with Arthur Eddington) of the BBC Two film Einstein and Eddington, featuring David Tennant as Eddington and Andy Serkis as Einstein, and detailing Einstein's development of his theories and Eddington's attempts to prove them and in Yahoo Serious's intentionally inaccurate biography of Einstein as an Australian in the film Young Einstein.
An Einstein-like character appears in Nicolas Roeg's 1985 film Insignificance. Set in New York in 1953, the film includes a scene in which "The Professor" (played by Michael Emil) the character evidently representing Albert Einstein, discusses Relativity with "The Actress" (Theresa Russell), a Marilyn Monroe-like character.
In the 1984 comedy film Ghostbusters Peter Venkman says "Einstein did his best stuff when he was working as a patent clerk" in order to convince his co-worker not to worry too much about his reputation and studies.[better source needed]
In the movie Back to the Future, the character of Dr. Emmett 'Doc' Brown, played by actor Christopher Lloyd and portrayed as a brilliant scientist, time traveler and inventor, has a dog called "Einstein", named after Brown's favorite scientist. Lloyd also credited Einstein as being his inspiration for the character.
In the film X-Men: The Last Stand, Professor Xavier and Kitty Pryde have a brief conversation about Einstein discussing superhuman authority over ethics, with Xavier joking that Einstein may have been a mutant.
A holographic representation of Einstein, played by Jim Norton appeared in two episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, in the first episode of the two-part episode Descent which starts on the Enterprise with a game of poker being played by holodeck representations of Einstein, Sir Isaac Newton, and Stephen Hawking (portrayed by himself), all as programmed by Lt. Commander Data playing as the fourth person in the game.
In the television series Eureka, the town of Eureka was established when President Harry S. Truman commissioned development of a top-secret lab, staffed by Albert Einstein, after World War II and it became home to the scientists and their families working there.
In The Dreamstone, in the episode "Urpgor's Island", Urpgor, when in his mud bath, trying to think of ideas of getting the Dreamstone, makes a face of Albert Einstein for split seconds, whilst discussing of how intelligent he is.
Alan Lightman's first book Einstein's Dreams, consists of short stories which are portrayed as being the dreams of Einstein while he was working on the theory of relativity; these stories explain how time would work in imaginary parallel universes.
In the Powers comic book series, Einstein is referred to many times as someone Officer Walker holds a grudge against. During the "Legends storyarc", Christian Walker visits Einstein to try and find out why (as an immortal and superhero) he exists.
Greek singer Giorgos Lembesis has released a song titled "Einstein" in which he states that he always admired Albert Einstein, but now he needs his help in his relationship problems.[better source needed]
Swedish pop group Army of Lovers have mentioned Einstein in their 1993 hit single "Israelism". Also song from their 1992 studio-album Massive luxury overdose called "The particle song" tells about Einstein being the macho man of the molecules.
In video games
In Mega Man, released in 1987, Dr. Wily's design is inspired by Albert Einstein, and was initially conceived to appear as a tall, thin scientist with a mustache, glasses, balding hair, and lab coat.
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