Thursday, January 26, 2012

Mystery History -- Solved!

I stumped everyone this week. I thought that by showing a photo of the esteemed person holding flowers up, thereby blocking part of his face, someone would make the leap that it was Dr. E=MC2 himself.

In the 1932 photo above, Albert Einstein and his wife Elsa are given a huge send-off as they prepare to leave Pasadena after one of their sojourns here.

Here's a more revealing shot:

I did screen captures from a historic video that you'll find here.

In the early 1930s, Einstein spent three winters in Pasadena, living the first year in a bungalow at 707 S. Oakland Ave. During the following two winters, he resided at Caltech as a visiting professor and gave prominence to that institution and others. He spent his time working, lecturing and making public appearances here and throughout the greater Los Angeles area.

In January 1933, Einstein and Pasadena stood together as he made a national radio address from the stage of the Pasadena Civic Auditorium advocating for peaceful relations with Germany.

Here's a photo of him at the curtain that evening:

An answer came back only a few days later when Adolph Hitler became chancellor and the Nazi party made it clear that Einstein, a German and a Jew, would never be welcomed back to Germany. He never again set foot in his native land.

Here he's looking through a telescope at the Mount Wilson Observatory, accompanied by Edwin Hubble (center) and observatory director Walter Adams.

And here he's giving a talk at the Carnegie Observatories headquarters in Pasadena in 1931:

Many of Caltech's competitors in the annual Pasadena Collegiate Field Tournament have worn curly white wigs in tribute to the physicist:

In 2005 I co-produced a video titled "When Einstein Lived in Pasadena" to commemorate the 100th anniversary of his famous five papers. Institutions throughout the world hosted exhibits and special events throughout the year and traditional media and websites explored his life and career. The City of Pasadena won a national award for the video from the City-County Communications and Marketing Association (3CMA) that year.

The five groundbreaking papers set traditional scientific theories on their ears and sparked remarkable innovation that continues to this day. In the five papers, the 26-year-old patent clerk proved the existence of atoms, presented his special theory of relativity and put quantum theory on its feet.

When he was awarded his only Nobel Prize in 1921, it was for his work on the photoelectric effect, the basis for today’s quantum theory, which deals with the behavior of matter at the atomic and subatomic level.

These studies were just the beginning for Einstein, who went on to create the general theory of relativity (E=MC2) and to pioneer quantum mechanics.

Albert Einstein is considered the most significant person in the 20th century and one of the most brilliant minds in history.

And he was all ours for three winters in the 1930s.

Caltech has a nice site here.

Many thanks to British Pathe, Carnegie Observatories, Caltech and Corbis. The photo at the Pasadena Collegiate Field Tournament was shot by yours truly.


Pasadena Adjacent said...

It would be great if the central library had a showing of "When Einstein lived in Pasadena"

Bellis said...

Oh Ann, there was no way I'd have guessed there was a man behind the flowers, but I feel I should have known! At Caltech PR we imbibed the Einstein connection with our morning coffee and afternoon tea. Robert Millikan, Caltech's head, knew that Einstein liked living in Pasadena and loved the weather, so he offered him a permanent position at a not very generous salary. Princeton topped it, and off he went.

You've provided a lot of new information about the great man that I didn't know, so I'd love to see your film. How can I view it?

Petrea Burchard said...

Kudos for a fabulous post, Ann. Seems like he was such a jolly guy--maybe that's just how he looked. I hadn't seen any of these photos. I love seeing the interior of the Carnegie Observatory building!

Petrea Burchard said...

forgot to click to follow comments

pasadenapio said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
pasadenapio said...

PA and Bellis, we used to have a couple of videotapes at Central Library, but they've done away with those technological dinosaurs. I'll convert a video into a couple of DVDs and ask the library make them available for checkout. I might run it again on KPAS as well, which also streams on the city website.

Petrea, the Carnegie Observatories headquarters on Santa Barbara Street in Pasadena offers tours from time to time and hosts an annual open house. You might want to call to see about those options. I've been there many times for meetings and whatnot. It's gorgeous and fascinating, inside and out.

Petrea Burchard said...

Thanks, Ann, that's a great idea.

Bellis said...

Thanks for offering to convert the tape into a DVD. Petrea would enjoy visiting Carnegie observatories, they're hidden away in a stately and historic building.

Petrea Burchard said...

I've photographed the exterior and written a post about it--such a surprise to come upon it on a side street off of North Lake Avenue. But I've never been inside and didn't know it was possible. That would be a very cool field trip.