Forget His Brain … What’s the Deal with Einstein’s Tongue?

By | May 31, 2022

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Portrait of physicist Albert Einstein sticking his tongue out - 1951 (Photo by ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

Of course, we all know who Albert Einstein was. His name is literally synonymous with ‘genius’ these days. We know he used his brilliant brain to think up brilliant notions like the theory of relativity and theoretical physics and the photoelectric effect and such. We also know that, according to a creepy urban legend, Einstein’s brain was stored in a jar after his death so that scientists could probe its wonders. But this story is not about Einstein’s brain or even his great academic accomplishments. Nope. This story is about Einstein’s tongue.

A Scientific Celebrity

Albert Einstein’s work gained widespread attention beginning in the 1920s. Although not many people truly understood his theories on space, mass, energy, and time, he earned a degree of celebrity status from his Nobel Prize win as much as for his caricature-like appearance. With his wild, white hair, German accent, and quirky personality, Einstein looked like he came straight out of central casting and was on his way to the set to play an absent-minded professor.

Folks were surprised to learn, too, that Einstein was not a socially awkward, bookish guy. He was actually a bit of a womanizer and fathered a child during a casual fling. People loved to read about him in the newspapers therefore he was often hounded by the press. 

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German-born physicist Albert Einstein in 1931 standing beside a blackboard with chalk-marked mathematical calculations written across it. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

A Great Sense of Humor

Despite being seriously brilliant, Einstein wasn’t always so serious. He often displayed a quick wit and great sense of humor that caught people off guard. In one instance, he was trying to explain his theory of relativity to a group of people who were struggling to grasp the concept. In frustration, Einstein decided to put it into layman’s terms. He explained, “When you sit with a nice girl for two hours you think it is only a minute, but when you sit on a hot stove for a minute you think it’s two hours. That’s relativity.”