Saturday, November 3, 2012

Alfred Nobel, Albert Einstein, and Isis


Did you ever wonder what's on the other side of  Albert Einstein's 1921 Nobel Prize medal?
Here it is, just in time for Weekend Reflections.

It shows the Genius of Science revealing Nature, in the form of the goddess Isis.
She is emerging from the clouds holding a cornucopia.
Surrounding the image are the Latin words for "Inventions enhance life which is beautified by art."

The diploma that was awarded along with his medal acknowledges Einstein's contribution to theoretical physics.

For its translation and for clear images of the medal and the diploma, please see this page from the Hebrew University's Einstein Archives Online.

"Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity was, at that time, still controversial and members of the Swedish Academy avoided the issue by granting him the prize for his groundbreaking contribution to the understanding of the Photoelectric Effect. Some of them did support General Relativity, but a mere eclipse was not enough proof for all committee members to risk their reputations on Einstein’s new theory."  (source)
These items (replicas, I assume) are currently exhibited  in the ground floor corridor of the Hebrew University Medical School which is at Hadassah Ein Kerem campus.
The Nobel Prize display cases are between the med school and the hospital.
Maybe they are meant to give inspiration to the hard-working med students as they rush by. 
P.S.  I'll add an interesting story in the comments section.


Dina said...

From Wikipedia

"When Germany invaded Denmark in World War II, Hungarian chemist George de Hevesy dissolved the gold Nobel Prizes of German physicists Max von Laue (1914) and James Franck (1925) in aqua regia to prevent the Nazis from confiscating them. The German government had prohibited Germans from accepting or keeping any Nobel Prize after jailed peace activist Carl von Ossietzky had received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1935. De Hevesy placed the resulting solution on a shelf in his laboratory at the Niels Bohr Institute. It was subsequently ignored by the Nazis who thought the jar—one of perhaps hundreds on the shelving—contained common chemicals. After the war, de Hevesy returned to find the solution undisturbed and precipitated the gold out of the acid. The gold was returned to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and the Nobel Foundation. They re-cast the medals and again presented them to Laue and Franck."

Marleen said...

Beautiful reflection.
Thanks for your interesting story.

Audrey said...

joli coups d oeil et magnifique objet ;o)

VP said...

Love the story in your comment!

James said...

I must admit that I've never wondered what's on the other side of Albert Einstein's 1921 Nobel Prize medal but I'm glad you told me. :) It makes a very nice reflection too.

Kay said...

That is such an interesting story about George de Hevesy. I guess he was definitely a wise, smart genius to outsmart the Nazis.