March 14, 1879 – April 18, 1955
March 14, 2013 -- Theoretical physicist and Nobel Prize winner Albert Einstein, best known for his mass-energy equivalence formula, E = mc2 -- probably the world's most famous equation -- was born one hundred and thirty-four years ago today. Einstein is also recognized as the developer of the general theory of relativity, one of the two pillars of modern physics (alongside quantum mechanics). In 1921, he received the Nobel Prize in Physics "for his services to theoretical physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect," the latter pivotal in establishing quantum theory. In 1999, forty-four years after his death, leading physicists voted Einstein the "greatest physicist ever."
This popular photo of the physicist was taken on Einstein's 72nd birthday on March 14, 1951. UPI photographer Arthur Sasse was trying to persuade Einstein to smile for the camera, but having smiled for photographers many times that day, Einstein stuck out his tongue instead. Einstein requested 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 whopping $74,324, a record for an Einstein picture.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY PROFESSOR!
by Austin AlexisWhen Albert Einstein stuck his tongue outfor the camerawas it clean?And if he didn’t care,why not?What equation was he mucking-up,what Inca cord math was he unknotting,or what graph was he scribbling uponby defiantly not washing his mouth?What proofwas he trying to prove?Did he always have a pronouncement?Was he sayingwith his lips gapinglike a Rocky Mountain cavethat the mysteries of X,the nagging questions of existenceare too profoundfor seriousness?
This poetry selection is from Austin Alexis's book, For Lincoln & Other Poems, published by Poets Wear Prada in 2010.