Would you believe that Einstein was the inspiration for Yoda, E.T., and even a spiffy BMX bike trick? Here are 6 things inspired by Albert Einstein, the smartest man who ever lived:
Stuart Freeborn, the make-up supervisor for the original Star Wars trilogy modeled Yoda after his own face. He added a bit of Einstein's eyes and wrinkles for that "wise look" of the Jedi master. (Source)
See also: Top 5 Star Wars Designs and What Inspired Them at Geek in Heels blog
2. E=MC2 Ballet
It turns out, Einstein's theory of relativity may just be perfect for ... the ballet!
In 2005, artistic director Mark Baldwin of the Rambert Dance Company created a new ballet, called the Constant Speed (a reference to the constant speed of light irrespective of the motion of the light source, which was postulated by Einstein).
Jerry Cowhig of the Institute of Physics that commissioned the work said:
"Dance is an expressive medium and it will be ideal for abstract concepts like the theories of Einstein on everything from tiny atoms to the dynamics of the whole cosmos." (Source)
3. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
Steven Spielberg hired special effect artist Carlo Rambaldi to create the animatronic model of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.
Spielberg also asked Rambaldi to incorporate features of Ernest Hemingway, poet Carl Sandburg, and Albert Einstein into the eyes and face of E.T. Rambaldi did, but he also threw in a bit of his own cat into E.T.! (Source)
(Photo: E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial / Universal at Yahoo! Movies)
4. Einstein on the Beach Opera
[YouTube clip: a Documentary on Philip Glass, music starts at 0:50,
Einstein on the Beach at 3:00]
In 1976, Philip Glass scored and wrote an opera (directed by Robert Wilson) called Einstein on the Beach. It is Glass' first and longest opera - the full version takes approximately 5 hours to complete with absolutely no intermission! Because of the length, the audience is free to come and go as they like.
Actually, Wilson wanted Charlie Chaplin or Adolf Hitler as the subject of the opera, whereas Glass wanted Mahatma Gandhi. The two compromised on Albert Einstein.
Einstein on the Beach is hailed as a groundbreaking work in opera: even stranger than the 5 hour performance, the opera is also accompanied by a slideshow of visual imageries that border on crazy!
(In 1993, the rock band Counting Crows recorded a single titled Einstein on the Beach (For an Eggman), which title was inspired by Glass' opera)
5. Einstein Comes Through, the Play
In 2004, David Ellenstein was thinking of ideas for a one-man play as a backup to his regular acting gigs when he ran into actor Marc Silver. Turns out, both of them had played Einstein before, so naturally they decided to write a play about the man:
The two playwrights tell the story of Hank, an actor who performs a one-man Einstein show, but can't on this day due to uncertain circumstances. He turns to Einstein to get him back on track and out of trouble.
"We used Marc's day job as a starting point because it gave the character the option of being the actor or Einstein," he said. "The play is surreal. It's a pretty wild ride because it jumps around between him being an actor and Einstein." (Source)
6. Einstein Flip BMX Trick
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Einstein's annus mirabilis (that's what he called his most productive year ever), Helen Czerski, a Cambridge University physicist and BMX rider Ben Wallace collaborated to create a nifty bike trick dubbed the "Einstein Flip":
The stunt "pushes the boundaries of what it is humanly possible to do on a bike", said Helen Czerski, a Cambridge University physicist, who collaborated with BMX rider Ben Wallace to create the manoeuvre to show young people the physics in everyday life.
Wallace, 18, launched himself off a 6ft ramp and rotated 360 degrees while folding his bike underneath him. Ms Czerski said: "It is at the limits of what is possible. I did the maths and found that it could work. Having said that, I wouldn't want try this myself - however much I trust my calculations. It takes a lot of guts." (Source)
(Photo: David Bebber)
Don't miss this article: 10 Strange Facts About Einstein