3 Times when Albert Einstein was Clearly Quite Scattered
Albert Einstein may have gone down in the books as a genius, but these actions prove that absent-mindedness was absolutely no stranger to him.
Einstein threw an invitation for an honorary doctorate in the trash
What went wrong? Einstein received a large envelope in 1909 with a paper full of Latin calligraphy. He didn't think it was for him and threw it away. It was an invitation to his first honorary doctorate, a great honor in academia.
Did it work out? The Université de Genève eventually managed to reach Einstein through a friend. Einstein stood out considerably with his informal attire and straw hat. And at dinner, he asked a posh tablemate, "Do you know what Calvin would do if he were here? The stern church reformer John Calvin was the founder of the university. Einstein continued, "He would raise a pyre and burn us all for our profligacy. The man didn't speak to Einstein for the rest of the evening.
Einstein and Niels Bohr forgot to get off the streetcar
What went wrong? After picking up the Nobel Prize in Stockholm in July 1923, Einstein visited his colleague Niels Bohr in Copenhagen. They had been discussing quantum physics for years. This field, which explains the behavior of the very smallest particles, grew out of Einstein's discovery of the photoelectric effect in 1905. But Einstein himself did not go along with it.
Bohr was convinced that tiny particles could behave randomly; Einstein said, "God doesn't play dice. Such a lively debate ensued on the streetcar from the station to Bohr's house that they forgot to get off. They rode way too far and returned to the station. Again they rode past the right stop.
Did it work out? Einstein and Bohr decided to keep riding back and forth to continue talking in the streetcar.
Einstein got lost on his solo sailing trips
What went wrong? In his American years, Einstein enjoyed sailing solo along the East Coast in the summers. He made the long trips in his sailboat to think undisturbed. He thought a life jacket was nonsense, although he had never learned to swim. Once in the summer of 1934, when he left in the afternoon and had not returned by eleven o'clock, his friends called the Coast Guard.
Did it work out? Einstein was found alive in a bay. He did not see the problem.