Einstein’s Final Resting Place: Georgia Tech

Einstein’s Final Resting Place: Georgia Tech

(Above): Photo courtesy of Georgia Tech: The larger-than-life sculpture of Albert Einstein is expected to be a center of attention at Georgia Tech.

Georgia Tech will install and dedicate a larger-than-life bronze statue of Albert Einstein on the Midtown campus Friday, Oct. 23, at 3:30 p.m. as part of homecoming festivities.

The 12-foot, 3,500-pound likeness of the legendary Jewish physicist is the work of American sculptor Robert Berks, who crafted three versions based on a bust he sculpted in 1953 after spending two days with Einstein in Princeton, N.J.

A 22-foot version, dedicated in 1979, is at the National Academy of Sciences near the National Mall in Washington. The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Jerusalem has a 12-foot version. Tech’s version is moving from New York.

“Through the generous contributions of many alumni and friends, Georgia Tech will celebrate the arrival of an important and iconic work of art by one of our nation’s most revered sculptors,” Georgia Tech President George P. “Bud” Peterson said in an announcement. The university raised $1.5 million in private donations to bring the sculpture to the campus.

The Georgia Tech monument features a circular dais 19 feet, 7 inches in diameter. Einstein reclines on a rounded, stair-stepped bench and appears to gaze on a constellation of stars while holding in his left hand papers featuring the general theory of relativity, the photoelectric effect and the equivalence of energy and matter (E = mc2). The constellation illustrates the night sky Dec. 10, 1948, the date of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

“Georgia Tech and Atlanta embody science and civil and human rights like no other institution and city in the world.  It is fitting that we will be the home of this unique piece of public art,” Provost Rafael P. Bras said.

Matching the Washington and Jerusalem versions, the sculpture will be displayed with two engraved quotations:

  • “A human being is a part of the whole, called by us ‘Universe,’ a part limited in time and space.” — Albert Einstein
  • “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” — Article 1, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Dec. 10, 1948

Berks died in 2011. His widow, Tod, has worked with Georgia Tech to select the statue’s home at the northwestern corner of Tech Green near the Atlantic Promenade. She is expected to attend the ceremony.

The dedication will be followed at 4:30 p.m. by a free discussion on “Albert Einstein and the Creation of the Modern World: A Gentle Introduction.” Panelists will include College of Sciences Dean Paul Goldbart, School of Physics Chairman Pablo Laguna and Center for Relativistic Astrophysics Director Deirdre Shoemaker.

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