Albert Einstein and the story behind a photo that became an icon
Albert Einstein and the story behind a photo that became an icon, It’s been 70 years since the genius stuck his tongue out at pesky reporters. The photo made him an icon. But what is the story behind the famous image?
It was March 14, 1951, the day Albert Einstein turned 72 years old. The famous physicist, who was born in Ulm, Germany, had already lived in the United States for many years. At the time, he was working at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. At the research center, they celebrated his birthday.
As Einstein left the scene, paparazzi were on the lookout, hoping to hear one of the world-renowned professor’s witty jokes about the global political situation and snap a perfect photo.
Not a fan of hogging the media spotlight and growing weary of being a spokesperson, Einstein was annoyed by the presence of reporters. Yet here he was, trapped in the backseat of a limousine between the Institute’s former director, Frank Aydelotte, and his wife, Marie, unable to escape the flash of cameras.
“Enough is enough,” Einstein is said to have shouted repeatedly at the insistent journalists. “Hey teacher, smile for a birthday picture please,” said one of them.
In a gesture of annoyance, the offbeat free spirit stuck out her tongue at them, a moment that was captured by photographer Arthur Sasse. The image quickly circulated around the world and became an iconic image.
an iconic photo
The absent-minded professor, who wore his hair uncombed and often forgot to put on his socks, but whose theory of relativity is only understood by the world’s greatest minds, was elevated to a mythical figure during the course of his own life. The cheeky snap also earned her pop icon status.
However, it was not the photographer who helped make the photo world famous, but Einstein himself, who ordered many prints and cropped them so that the Aydelotte couple could no longer be seen. He also sent dozens of photos to colleagues, friends and acquaintances. “The extended tongue reflects my political views,” he wrote to his friend Johanna Fantova. In 2009, an original signed copy sold for $74,324 (62,677 euros) at auction, making it the most expensive photo of the genius.
Einstein and human stupidity
Einstein, who was Jewish, had fled Nazi Germany and knew what it felt like to be the subject of a government witch hunt. Therefore, he did not approve of the Cold War and the hunt for alleged communists instigated by Senator Joseph McCarthy, in which many politicians, intellectuals, and artists were accused of being “un-Americans”.
Einstein had a lot to say about such human stupidity: “The government of foolish people cannot be overcome because there are many of them and their voice counts as much as ours,” reads a quote from Einstein translated from German. “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. But I’m still not very sure about the universe,” says another of the professor’s jokes.
Einstein met this stupidity with genius and a dash of humor.
Since it was taken, the photo of Einstein sticking out his tongue has been reproduced millions of times on posters, t-shirts, greeting cards, mugs, and murals. And even today, decades after his death, the revolutionary genius and thinker continues to have numerous followers, from young to old. (rr/dz)
Know some contributions that Albert Einstein left to science
Albert Einstein, one of the few physicists whose fame is as high as the relevance of his intellect and contributions, was born in Ulm, a German city located on the banks of the Danube River, on March 14, 1879.
At approximately 26 years of age, he published his theory of Special Relativity while working at the patent factory in Bern, Switzerland. With this theory, he deduced one of the most important and recognized formulas of all time, that of the equivalence between kinetic energy and mass: E = mc².
In 1915, he presented the theory of General Relativity, in which he completely reformulated the concept of gravity, which brought with it the study of the origin and evolution of the universe. Two years later, British scientists observing the solar eclipse corroborated his predictions about the bending of light, landing him on the front page of several newspapers and becoming a global icon.