Here at What’s A Geek, we love trivia knowledge. We love reading up on them, and we love talking about them. It’s a fantastic icebreaker at parties! And what better way to have fun with trivia knowledge than to dive deep into a trivia pop quiz?
Pop quiz, hotshot!
So… how much do you know about the greatest genius that ever lived? Who, you might ask? To be fair, there are a lot of great geniuses throughout humankind’s existence on this pretty blue space rock.
Ah, who am I kidding? You probably guessed it from this article’s title, genius!
It’s Albert Einstein!
Below are 15 interesting tidbits about Albert Einstein. The catch is that some of them may not be all that true. The trick is to figure out which of them is Einstein, and which ones are Neinstein! (See what we did there, eh? Eh? See, we love our puns too!)
Get your trivia on! It’s game time!
Einstein's brain was removed on the morning of his death, and kept in a jar for 20 years by a pathologist at the Princeton University Hospital.
EINSTEIN! This is actually eerily true. Americans were a bit overly fascinated with how Einstein's brain ticked and, as it turns out, they really did find it more peculiar than most!
Einstein was slow to begin to talk, and he was called “the dopey one” by his family.
EINSTEIN! And this ties in with the previous question! Brain doctors found out that the regions of Einstein's brain that governed speech were smaller than most normal people.
Einstein once said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results.”
NEINSTEIN. Unfortunately, Einstein has never said this. Other famous people this quote was misattributed to were Mark Twain and Benjamin Franklin.
Einstein's greatest breakthroughs came from visual experiments in his head rather than experiments in a laboratory.
EINSTEIN! With space in his brain left by his smaller speech centers, the regions for mathematics and spatial recognition had more wiggle room to grow. This enabled him to virtually visualize mathematical and scientific concepts in his mind.
A college math professor once called Einstein a “lazy dog”.
EINSTEIN! As an unfortunate side effect of his prowess in solving complex math problems, he was ironically bored with his math classes. Coupled with his difficulty in verbal expression and his rebellious streak, this left him constantly butting heads with his math mentors in school.
Einstein got his hair permed regularly to maintain his signature hairstyle.
NEINSTEIN. Wouldn't it be funny if he did, though? Then again, Einstein's naturally wavy hair is already crazy enough on its own. It's all unintentional, though; Einstein just really always forgets to comb his hair!
Einstein didn’t wear socks.
EINSTEIN! When he was younger, Einstein found that his big toes would always poke holes out of his socks. Since then, he decided to just simply do away with them. He was even proud of the fact that he could get away with not wearing socks, even at formal gatherings, by wearing high boots to conceal his bare feet!
Einstein was rumored to have had an affair with Marilyn Monroe.
EINSTEIN! This one probably stemmed from Monroe's roomie, fellow actress Shelley Winters, when she wrote in her autobiography that Monroe included Einstein in her 'free pass' list. Even in his old age, Einstein still enamored ladies!
Einstein played the violin.
EINSTEIN! Perhaps his only other love, aside from theoretical physics, Einstein had a passionate understanding of music, and his go-to instrument was his beloved violin. He named it Lina. Glad to know we're not the only ones wacky enough to name our most prized possessions!
Einstein enjoyed classical music and sailing.
EINSTEIN! Of course he'd enjoy classical music! He's a violinist! His most favorite violin piece is Mozart's Sonata in E minor. His enjoyment of sailing, however, was only ever cursory; he wasn't much of an expert, and only ever sailed to isolate himself to think.
Einstein helped invent the atomic bomb.
NEINSTEIN. While the Manhattan Project, which gave birth to the atom bomb, was largely influenced by Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity, Einstein himself did not participate in creating the ultimate weapon of mass destruction, because he was deemed too pacifist by the American government.
The FBI's first director, J. Edgar Hoover, suspected Einstein of being a Soviet spy.
EINSTEIN! Although Einstein was later deemed too pacifist for the Manhattan Project, the FBI actually did suspect him of being a Soviet spy, due to his rather socialist views, and his infamous rebellious streak within Germany's scientific community. They very nearly denied him entry into America, which would have resulted in his death at the hands of Nazi Germany.
Einstein was born in Austria.
NEINSTEIN. Einstein was actually born in Ulm, Germany.
Einstein was among the 5,000 people to sign a petition calling on Germany to overturn its ban on homosexuality.
EINSTEIN! Paragraph 175 was an infamous provision of the Strafgesetzbuch, the German Criminal Code. It criminalized homosexuality and bestiality, and was enforced from 1871 to 1994. In 1896, a German doctor, Magnus Hirschfeld, went around gathering signatures from the German scientific community to petition for removing Paragraph 175. Among the 5,000-plus signatories was a young Zurich Polytechnic freshman by the name of Albert Einstein!
Einstein's eyes remain kept in a safe box in New York.
EINSTEIN! In yet another case of America's rather weird fascination with the German genius, the same doctor who kept Einstein's brain for study also plucked the dead physicist's eyes out for posterity... and gave it to the dead guy's eye doctor!
Did you learn something new about our famous genius? How about learning a few more?
The National Geographic Channel has always prided itself on its award-winning documentaries on various topics about the natural sciences, and the people at the forefront of these sciences. Now, however, they’re going to try their hand at turning documentaries into full-blown scripted miniseries, delving deeper into the untold stories of some of the most brilliant minds humankind has ever produced, with their bold new series, Genius.
Based on the 2007 book Einstein, His Life and Universe by journalist Walter Isaacson, Genius sees Einstein (wonderfully played by Oscar-winner Geoffrey Rush, and English musician Johnny Flynn) tackling his turbulent life, from his rebellious years as a headstrong junior studying in the Luitpold Gymnasium, to his struggle in raising a family as a lowly patent clerk in Bern, Switzerland, all the way to his final years as a world-renowned theoretical physicist in Princeton, New Jersey. The ten-part miniseries seeks to reveal the man behind the mind, delving into Einstein’s happiness and heartbreak as he struggles to be a husband, a father, and a man of principle.
You thought those trivia facts up top were surprising? Well, you’re in for a whole lot more when you tune in to Genius every Wednesday night at 8:00PM on The National Geographic Channel!