A rendering of the 3D book in the shape of Einstein's bust. A rendering of the 3D book in the shape of Einstein's bust. A rendering of the 3D book in the shape of Einstein's bust. (Photo: Courtesy photo)

What's inside the 3D book in the shape of Einstein's head

Finished product will include essays about the future from 100 modern-day visionaries.

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield spent about six months living in outer space, floating around weightless. So it's quite appropriate that a guy who lived without gravity would be honoring the founder of the theory of relativity.

The space man will be the first contributor to a special book honoring the legendary physicist Albert Einstein. He will join 100 modern-day icons who will share their visions of the future in what is being billed as the world's first-ever 3D-printed book.

"Albert Einstein was a brilliant scientist and a passionate human being," Hadfield said. "He helped us to understand our universe in a new, clearer way, and I'm excited to help celebrate both his accomplishments and how he inspires us all."

Hadfield won the hearts of people all across the globe while he lived aboard the International Space Station and posted images to Twitter and videos to YouTube. His David Bowie tribute video garnered more than 30 million views.

In addition to Hadfield, four other contributors were also announced: environmentalist David Suzuki, Paralympian Rick Hansen, Olympic speed skater Johann Olab Koss and Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté. The book's publisher also hopes to include visionaries like Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, J.K. Rowling and Elon Musk. The book – which will be titled "Genius: 100 Visions of the Future" – is the brainchild of Hebrew University in Jerusalem, a school Einstein helped establish and where his archives are kept.

When completed, the 3D book will actually be in the shape of Einstein's head. The publication is expected to coincide with a gala event one year from this week – on Sept. 9, 2017 – called the Dinner of the Century, which will gather leaders from the sciences and humanities at the Smithsonian Institution.

Israeli designer Ron Arad, whose glasses are one of Oprah's favorite things, has been tasked with designing the book, which will be available in limited edition. An estimated 500 copies will be produced, with the proceeds going to charity. Also known for wearing quirky hats, Arad's award-winning design items include furniture made from old car parts, unconventional bicycles and even a leading design museum in Israel that changes color as its metallic surface rusts.

"When I began designing this book, I thought, we are dealing with the Einstein legacy – let's do something that's relatively new," Arad said. "That led to the creation of this book, where the two-dimensional pages form a three-dimensional portrait. I wanted the design of this book to reflect the legacy of Albert Einstein and I think the honor of the world's first 3D-printed book is suited to nobody better than one of history's greatest minds."

Professor Hanoch Gutfreund, the academic director of the Albert Einstein Archives at Hebrew University, sees this collaborative project as in tune with Einstein's thinking. "There is this perception that Einstein was a genius working alone, and discovering everything. That's not true," he told From The Grapevine from his home in Israel. "There was a whole community. He corresponded with dozens of great researchers, great minds. He made many mistakes. Many of his colleagues corrected him, but he was a leader. He was kind of an inspiration for everybody."

Rami Kleinmann is the President and CEO of the Canadian Friends of The Hebrew University, a group that's helping spearhead the new 3D project, timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Einstein's theory of relativity. "Everybody talks about out-of-the-box thinking. Everybody talks about creativity. Everybody is talking about innovation," Kleinmann told us. "We've finally reached the era of Albert Einstein. We've just been 100 years behind him. If he were alive today, I'm sure that he would be 100 years ahead of us again."

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