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Retro Relativity: Albert Einstein Driving a Flying Car – 1931

During his lifetime, Albert Einstein apparently never learned to drive a car–something that also held true for Vladimir Nabokov, Ray Bradbury, Elizabeth Bishop, and Jack Kerouac. But he did manage to experience the thrill of getting behind the wheel, at least once. Above, watch a newly-discovered home movie of Einstein and his second wife, Elsa, visiting the Warner Bros. soundstage on February 3, 1931. The following day, The New York Times published this report:

“Professor Einstein was surprised tonight into loud and long laughter.

“Hollywood demonstrated its principles of “relativity,” how it makes things seem what they are not, by use of a dilapidated motor car.

“At the First National studio, German technicians persuaded Professor Einstein to change his mind about not being photographed and photographed him in the old car with Frau Elsa, his wife. He cannot drive a car.

“Tonight the German technicians brought the film to the Einstein bungalow. The lights went out.

“Then the ancient automobile appeared on the screen with Einstein at the wheel, driving Frau Elsa on a sight-seeing tour.

“Down Broadway, Los Angeles they drove, then to the beaches. Suddenly the car rose like an airplane, and as Einstein took one hand from the wheel to point out the scenery, the Rocky Mountains appeared below. Then the car landed on familiar soil and the drive continued through Germany.

“It was just a Hollywood trick of double exposure and a thrilling comedy, but not for the public. The master film was destroyed, and the only copy was given to the Einsteins.

That one surviving copy of the film eventually ended up in the archives at Lincoln Center, where it sat unnoticed for decades, until Becca Bender, an archivist, stumbled up on it last year. And fortunately now we can all enjoy that light moment shot so long ago. VIA (8) Albert Einstein Driving a Flying Car – 1931 – YouTube

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  • Transgender Aisha May 15, 2018, 5:17 PM

    When Einstein was attempting to leave the NAZI they told him all their scientists had proven his theories wrong. He replied that one was all that was needed.

  • Fletcher Christian May 15, 2018, 5:48 PM

    Yup. Science isn’t democratic. At least not hard science; some of the subjects sometimes called “science”, such as anthropology and the like, are sufficiently subjective that they might be subject to democracy. Physics, no.