By: Nadia Marie Perez
Traditions, traditions, traditions! That is what this note is about. Many of you may not know that this coming Saturday, March 14th is Albert Einstein’s birthday. This is a date that is very memorable in my household. For the past 11 years we have commemorated Einstein’s birthday and I would like to tell you how this tradition got started.
It all began back in 1998 when we were living in Lawrenceville, NJ a town just outside of Princeton which is where Einstein spent the rest of his life. My father had just finished reading The Private Albert Einstein and this section at the end of the book sparked the idea of celebrating his life:
“We list now a number of items in ordinary use that depend on Einstein for their theoretical basis. Naturally, a number of other scientists and engineers carried these items through to their present state, but they are all based on Einstein’s theories.”
Flourescent lights (photoelectricity)
CD disc players (photoelectricity)
Automatic Exposure Cameras (photoelecetricity)
Exposure meters (photoelectricity)
Photographic film (photochemistry)
…and much, much more!
After having read all of this my Dad got to thinking, “This man contributed so much to our lives and the way we live them and yet no one celebrates him. We celebrate the presidents who have led us, we celebrate people like Martin Luther King, Jr., we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day but this man whose work has contributed so much no one really remembers.” Thus began the tradition of celebrating Einstein!
Since it is on his birthday that we celebrate him we naturally make a cake to cut in his honor! Now this is no ordinary cake! This cake is decked out with Einstein and everything, caricatures drawn in icing by my Dad himself! Along with the cake we normally read a few quotes by Einstein from “The Quotable Einstein”, present a paper about his life and look at some of the old pictures of the man. It varies each year but the general theme is the same!
While living in New Jersey we also included taking a stroll at the Institute of Advanced Studies where the great man spent the rest of his life doing research on the Unification Theory; walking around the grounds behind it where there is a lovely wood and creek with trails running alongside. We went there for picnics as a family, I with my sketch diary in tow and my siblings with their toys to explore with. For my Dad it was like a sanctuary, so peaceful…
And so, once again we prepare to celebrate once more this Saturday and eat cake to honor this great man!