Einstein exhibit to showcase Nobel medal and postcard to mom

Residents of Taipei welcomed the cache of archives with fanfare on the city's streets.

We all know that Albert Einstein won the Nobel Prize, but how cool would it be to see the actual medal in person?

Well, now you can ... if you live near Taipei. Einstein's 1921 Nobel Prize is part of an exhibit opening this month in the capital of Taiwan. Other Einstein memorabilia on hand include scientific manuscripts, correspondence, medals, diplomas, books and even part of the physicist's vinyl records collection. Also on display will be a postcard that Einstein sent to his ailing mother reporting the exciting results from a solar eclipse expedition. The items are on loan from the Einstein Archives, which are located on the Jerusalem campus of Hebrew University.

Einstein's Nobel Prize from 1921 will be on display at the Asia exhibit.

Einstein's Nobel Prize from 1921 will be on display at the Asia exhibit. (Photo: Ardon Bar Hama)

A Brinks truck, complete with a police escort and a dummy car to throw off potential thieves, delivered the collection. Roni Grosz, a curator at the Einstein Archives, traveled from Israel to Taiwan to ensure the materials' safekeeping. "This exciting new exhibition in Taiwan inaugurates a new era of sharing Einstein with Asia," he told From The Grapevine. "More venues in China and in Japan are to follow where every exhibition will be a new permutation according to the locality."

This is not the first time that original items from the archives have traveled outside Israel. Perhaps the largest cache of Einstein materials toured the U.S. more than a decade ago as part of a project with the American Museum of Natural History, which made stops in Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles. Items in that exhibit included a large number of original manuscripts – such as pages from the general theory of relativity, family correspondences and Einstein's birth certificate.

The archives have loaned materials for other exhibitions in Switzerland, Germany and Australia – but never to Taiwan or China. The new Asia exhibit ranks among the largest loans the archives has ever made.

A postcard that Einstein sent to his mom, Pauline. A postcard that Einstein sent to his mom, Pauline. (Photo: Ardon Bar Hama)

The Taiwan exhibit comes at a time of increased attention on the world's favorite genius. Last year was packed with Einstein-related news – including a scientific discovery which ushered in a new era in astronomy, as well as an Emmy-nominated TV series about the Nobel Prize winner. Hebrew University also announced that it would be building a 3,000-square-foot museum to house the archives and open it up to the public.

The "Einstein: Life in Four Dimensions" exhibit in Taipei, which is located at the National Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, opens on Jan. 12 and goes until April 8.


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