Hidden Gem: Einstein Memorial

Hidden Gem: Einstein Memorial

Lincoln. Jefferson. Washington.  These are the monuments you think of when someone mentions Washington DC.  But there a total of 160 monuments/memorials in our nation’s capital.  Some are odd, some are obscure.  The Albert Einstein memorial is just fun.

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The memorial shows a 4-ton bronze figure of Einstein seated on a granite bench. His expression is almost quizzical, and of course his hair is tussled looking.  In his left hand, Einstein a paper with mathematical equations for three of Einstein’s most important scientific contributions: the photoelectric effect, the theory of general relativity, and the equivalence of energy and matter.

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The bench features three quotations from Einstein:

As long as I have any choice in the matter, I shall live only in a country where civil liberty, tolerance, and equality of all citizens before the law prevail.

Joy and amazement of the beauty and grandeur of this world of which man can just form a faint notion.

The right to search for truth implies also a duty; one must not conceal any part of what one has recognized to be true.

The platform at his feet is actually a star map embedded with more than 2,700 metal studs representing the planets, sun, moon, and stars.

None of that sounds particularly fun, which is how I described it at the beginning of this post.  But there is something so grandfatherly about this statue and so benevolent about Einstein’s facial expression.  I have never visited this memorial and not seen someone climb up to sit in Einstein’s lap.

Joy and amazement, indeed.

The Einstein Memorial is located at the National Academy of Sciences, 2101 Constitution Avenue, in Washington DC.

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