Albert Einstein Memorial

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Albert Einstein Memorial outside of the National Academy of Sciences Building in Washington, D.C. EinsteinMemorialDC.JPG
Albert Einstein Memorial outside of the National Academy of Sciences Building in Washington, D.C.

The Albert Einstein Memorial is a monumental bronze statue depicting Albert Einstein seated with manuscript papers in hand by sculptor Robert Berks. It is located in central Washington, D.C., United States, in a grove of trees at the southwest corner of the grounds of the National Academy of Sciences at 2101 Constitution Avenue N.W., near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Bronze metal alloy

Bronze is an alloy consisting primarily of copper, commonly with about 12–12.5% tin and often with the addition of other metals and sometimes non-metals or metalloids such as arsenic, phosphorus or silicon. These additions produce a range of alloys that may be harder than copper alone, or have other useful properties, such as stiffness, ductility, or machinability.

Albert Einstein German-born physicist and developer of the theory of relativity

Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of relativity, one of the two pillars of modern physics. His work is also known for its influence on the philosophy of science. He is best known to the general public for his mass–energy equivalence formula E = mc2, which has been dubbed "the world's most famous equation". He received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics "for his services to theoretical physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect", a pivotal step in the development of quantum theory.

Robert Berks American artist

Robert Berks was an American sculptor, industrial designer and planner. He created hundreds of bronze sculptures and monuments including the Mary McLeod Bethune Memorial, and the Albert Einstein Memorial in Washington, D.C.



The memorial, situated in an elm and holly grove in the southwest corner of the grounds of the National Academy of Sciences, was unveiled at the Academy's annual meeting, April 22, 1979, in honor of the centennial of Einstein's birth. At the dedication ceremony, physicist John Archibald Wheeler described the statue as "a monument to the man who united space and time into space-time...a remembrance of the man who taught us...that the universe does not go on from everlasting to everlasting, but begins with a bang." [1] The memorial is a popular spot for tourists visiting the national mall to pose for pictures. [2]

John Archibald Wheeler American theoretical physicist

John Archibald Wheeler was an American theoretical physicist. He was largely responsible for reviving interest in general relativity in the United States after World War II. Wheeler also worked with Niels Bohr in explaining the basic principles behind nuclear fission. Together with Gregory Breit, Wheeler developed the concept of the Breit–Wheeler process. He is best known for linking the term "black hole" to objects with gravitational collapse already predicted early in the 20th century, for coining the terms "quantum foam", "neutron moderator", "wormhole" and "it from bit", and for hypothesizing the "one-electron universe".

Replica of the 1979 monument in the academy garden of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities. AlbertEinsteinStatue-InIsraelAcademyOfSciencesAndHumanities-ByRobertBerks.JPG
Replica of the 1979 monument in the academy garden of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities.

The statue depicts Einstein seated in casual repose on a three-step bench of Mount Airy (North Carolina) white granite. The bronze figure weighs approximately 4 tons and is 12 feet in height. The monument is supported by three caissons, totaling 135 tons, sunk in bedrock to a depth of 23 to 25 feet., [3] It was cast at Modern Art Foundry, Astoria Queens, NY.

The sculptor, Robert Berks, known for his portrait busts and statues (John F. Kennedy at the Kennedy Center; Mary McLeod Bethune in Lincoln Park, Washington, D.C.), based the work on a bust of Einstein he sculpted from life in 1953 at Einstein's Princeton home. Landscape architect James A. Van Sweden designed the monument landscaping. [3]

John F. Kennedy 35th president of the United States

John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy, commonly referred to by his initials JFK, was an American politician and journalist who served as the 35th president of the United States from January 1961 until his assassination in November 1963. He served at the height of the Cold War, and the majority of his presidency dealt with managing relations with the Soviet Union. A member of the Democratic Party, Kennedy represented Massachusetts in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate prior to becoming president.

Mary McLeod Bethune American educator and civil rights leader

Mary Jane McLeod Bethune was an American educator, stateswoman, philanthropist, humanitarian, and civil rights activist best known for starting a private school for African-American students in Daytona Beach, Florida and co-founding UNCF on April 25, 1944 with William Trent and Frederick D. Patterson. She attracted donations of time and money, and developed the academic school as a college. It later continued to develop as Bethune-Cookman University. She also was appointed as a national adviser to president Franklin D. Roosevelt as part of what was known as his Black Cabinet. She was known as "The First Lady of The Struggle" because of her commitment to gain better lives for African Americans.

Lincoln Park (Washington, D.C.) park in Washington, D.C.

Lincoln Park is the largest urban park located in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, D.C. It was known historically as Lincoln Square. From 1862 to 1865, it was the site of the largest hospital in Washington, DC: Lincoln Hospital.

Einstein was elected a foreign associate of the National Academy of Sciences in 1922, the year after he won the Nobel Prize in physics, and became a member of the Academy in 1942, two years after he became a naturalized American citizen. [3]

Berks created two replicas of his 1979 monument. One of the replicas can presently be viewed in the academy garden of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities; another on the campus of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia. [4] .

Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities academy of sciences

Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, based in Jerusalem, was established in 1961 by the State of Israel to foster contact between Israeli scholars in the sciences and humanities and create a think tank for advising the government on research projects of national importance. Its members include many of Israel's most distinguished scholars.

Georgia Institute of Technology public research university in Atlanta, Georgia, United States

The Georgia Institute of Technology, also known as Georgia Tech, is a public research university and institute of technology located in Atlanta, Georgia. It is part of the University System of Georgia and has satellite campuses in Savannah, Georgia; Metz, France; Athlone, Ireland; Shenzhen, China; and Singapore.


The Einstein Memorial seen from the side. Einstein Memorial side view.jpg
The Einstein Memorial seen from the side.
Einstein Memorial at night Einstein statue, National Research Council, Washington, D.C LCCN2011630701.tif
Einstein Memorial at night

The statue and bench are at one side of a circular dais, 28 feet (8.5 m) in diameter, made from emerald-pearl granite from Larvik, Norway. Embedded in the dais are more than 2,700 metal studs representing the location of astronomical objects, including the sun, moon, planets, 4 asteroids, 5 galaxies, 10 quasars, and many stars at noon on April 22, 1979, when the memorial was dedicated. The studs are different sizes to denote the apparent magnitude of the relevant object, and different studs denote binary stars, spectroscopic binaries, pulsars, globular clusters, open clusters, and quasars. The celestial objects were accurately positioned by astronomers at the U.S. Naval Observatory. Familiar constellations are marked on the map for easy identification. [1]

To a visitor standing at the center of the dais, Einstein appears to be making direct eye contact, and any spoken words are notably amplified.


Engraved as though written on the papers held in the statue's left hand are three equations, summarizing three of Einstein's most important scientific advances:

Along the back of the bench, behind the statue, three famous quotations from the scientist are inscribed. They were selected to reflect Einstein's sense of wonder, scientific integrity, and concern for social justice. [1] They are :

The statue was filmed and subsequently used in the opening title sequence of Sesame Street during the show's 20th season.

A copy of the Albert Einstein Memorial made of 100% dark and white chocolate was once on display in the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC. [5]

In July 2012, the sculpture was yarn bombed by the Polish-born artist Olek, who enclosed the entire statue in a colorful crocheted wrap of pinks, purples, and teal. [6]

See also

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  1. 1 2 3 The Einstein Memorial at the National Academies: A Visitor's Guide (pamphlet), National Academies
  2. Owens, Trevor (2012). "Tripadvisor Rates Einstein: Using the social web to unpack the public meanings of a cultural heritage site". International Journal of Web Based Communities. doi:10.1504/IJWBC.2012.044681.
  3. 1 2 3 "The Einstein Memorial". The NAS Building. National Academy of Science. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
  4. Braukman, Stacy (10 Dec 2015). "The Art of Genius". Georgia Tech Newsroom. Retrieved 12 Feb 2016.
  5. "Chocolate Einstein". Physics Central. American Physical Society. Retrieved 19 June 2016.
  6. Freed, Benjamin (July 19, 2012). "Albert Einstein Memorial Gets Yarn-Bombed". Archived from the original on 10 October 2014. Retrieved 9 April 2013.

Coordinates: 38°53′33″N77°02′54″W / 38.8924°N 77.0483°W / 38.8924; -77.0483