The Story Behind That Classic Photo Of Albert Einstein Sporting Sandals At The Beach

There's an iconic photograph of physicist extraordinaire Albert Einstein sitting on a rock dressed in shorts and open toed sandals, looking a bit like the original hipster.

This image has sparked the imagination of science nerds and Einstein fans for decades, and is often used in a "scientists have fun too" kinda way, but what's the real story behind this photo?

Turns out this is a snapshot of Albert at the beach wouldn't have happened without this guy:

His name is David Rothman, and he owned Rothman's Department Store in Southold, New York, where he sold Einstein a pair of "sundials":

In the summer of 1939, Albert Einstein spent his summer on Nassau Point, in Peconic, NY on eastern Long Island. My grandfather, David Rothman, was owner of Rothman’s Department Store in nearby Southold.

One June day, Einstein came into the store. Of course, my grandfather recognized him at once. He decided, though, to treat him just like any other customer.

“Are you looking for something in particular?” he asked

“Sundials,” Einstein said in his thick German accent.

Now, Rothman’s has always had a large variety of items—just about everything from housewares, to fishing tackle and bait, to hardware, to toys, to appliances. But no sundials. Not for sale, anyway. But…

“I do have one in my back yard,” my grandfather said.

He led Einstein—who seems a bit bewildered—to the back yard, to show him the sundial. “If you need one you can have this.”

Einstein took one look and began to laugh. He pointed to his feet. “No. Sundials.”

Sandals. Those, he had.

I'll say this about Einstein- he sure had some nice gams for a guy who spent his days theorizing instead of exercising!

-Via Dangerous Minds

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