Posts Tagged ‘fame’

GOATs are Human Too!

December 5, 2009

Albert Einstein

When it comes to physicists, Albert Einstein is widely perceived to be the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time). Indeed, the iconic Father of Relativity was a global rock star in his lifetime. When he visited Japan in 1922, adoring crowds streamed after him wherever he went.

Einstein was always ill at ease with such adulation. He was so revered that people tended to see him as superhuman. His self-deprecating manner and comments did nothing to puncture his image as the most brilliant man who ever lived.

In today’s celebrity-crazy culture, we routinely deify anyone and everyone who has even the slightest combination of talent and fame. Such idol worship is not only a disservice to them but to us as well, because by elevating these essentially normal human beings above ourselves, we devalue our own lives.

By all accounts, Einstein was a kind, gracious and down-to-earth man. He loved the peace and isolation he found at Princeton University, probably the only place on earth where he could walk around and not be praised and gushed over by passersby every other step.

The following Einstein quotes from the book The New Quotable Einstein offer a revealing glimpse into the humble nature of this legendary figure.

Thanks to my having hit upon the fortunate idea of introducing the relativity principle into physics, you (and others) enormously overestimate my scientific abilities, to the point where this makes me somewhat uncomfortable.
Letter to Arnold Sommerfeld, January 14, 1908 (age 29)

WIth fame I become more and more stupid, (more…)