It’s become one of the most famous photographs ever, a world-renowned genius with his tongue stuck out, caught on film. With an IQ of 160, a Nobel Prize in physics and the legacy of being the man who developed the theory of relativity, you may think only of Einstein in a serious light, but it turns out he had a sense of humour too.
Einstein was in fact quite the comic, and had a quirky side to himself too, and was even described as a cartoonists dream come true by Time Magazine’s Frederic Golden. The photo of Einstein with his tongue out further cements this statement, and shows a delightfully different side to the scientist.
Snapped on His 72nd Birthday
The photograph was taken on March the 14th, 1951 when friends and family had gathered to celebrate Einstein’s birthday. Photographers from across the USA were present to cover the event and Einstein found this to be rather distressing.
As the celebrations were drawing to a close, Dr. Frank Aydelotte, the former head of the Institute for Advanced Study and a close friend of Einstein offered him a lift home along with his wife. Just as the trio was leaving; photographers surrounded the car in the hopes of getting one last snap.
As it turned out, it was UPI photographer Arthur Sasse’s lucky day, and after persistently trying to get Einstein to smile for the camera, he caught a reaction he’d never have expected.
The exasperated scientist, clearly tired of fake smiling at the camera, stuck out his tongue and Sasse got the shot. Other photographers missed the opportunity and Sasse was the man whose name has forever been linked with the iconic image.
A Celebrated Image
The story doesn’t end there though. Einstein turned out to be as happy with Sasse’s shot as if he’d won big playing the Bingo Canada has to offer, and ordered 9 copies.
He also chose the cropped version of the photo to be used as greeting cards that he then sent out to friends, and it was clear he was rather happy with the way he was depicted.
Out of the 9 photographs he ordered from UPI for personal use, he signed one for a reporter and, and this image turned out to be worth a pretty penny years after his death.
In June 2009 the signed photo was sold for a whopping $74,324. The other 8 images were kept by Einstein or given to friends, and their whereabouts is unknown or simply has not as yet been revealed.
A Poster Child for Mad Scientists
The photograph of Einstein did a lot more than just capture him in an amusing light; it gave the world the image it had wanted for so long.
Proof that no matter what kind of crazy scientist you are, you are still human and still have quirks, just like the rest of us.