On March 14, 1951, at an event at Princeton to honor his 72nd birthday, Albert Einstein was asked to smile for the camera by photographer Arthur Sasse. Much to Sasse’s surprise, Einstein stuck out his tongue instead! Einstein was so amused by the image that he contacted UPI and requested nine prints for his personal use.
Albert Einstein signed a copy of the photo for award-winning CBS and ABC anchor reporter Howard K. Smith as a gesture of his admiration of Smith’s work.The German inscription (translated) states: “This gesture you will like, because it is aimed at all of humanity. A civilian can afford to do what no diplomat would dare.”
“This photo of Einstein sticking his tongue out captures his spirit of rebelliousness and non-conformity,” said John Reznikoff of University Archives in Westport, Connecticut, when shown the photo. “It is without a doubt the most desirable photo of Einstein I have ever seen.” He believes Einstein knew the risky implication of his now-famous gesture. “You can tell by the inscription that he fully understood the power the image conveyed, and what he was doing was quite dangerous considering the Government was forcing intellectuals to name names.” The gesture was made in the middle of one of the most controversial times in American history – the McCarthy Era.
This image of one of the world’s most famous geniuses has become a timeless symbol of non-conformity. According to Marcia Bartusiak, author of Einstein’s Unfinished Symphony and The Day We Found the Universe “it shows one of history’s greatest men doing something very out of character for what we imagine great figures of history should look like. It’s a jolt to see science’s most familiar face doing something just a bit naughty.”
So the next time you stick your tongue out for a picture, be sure you have taken care of it by using The Original TUNG Brush and Gel as part of your daily routine! You never know when that photo may become famous!