How Absent Minded Was Albert Einstein and Was Einstein the Quintessential Professor?

It’s hard to tell from the evidence if Albert Einstein was absent minded, many of the stories told about Einstein could be fabrications to perpetuate that stereotype.

What we know is that he was a daydreamer as a schoolboy, so much so that his headmaster informed young Albert’s father, “It doesn’t matter what field he goes into, he’ll never make a success of anything.”

Although this turned out to be far from the truth, in college Einstein’s first wife and his best friend reportedly took turns reminding him to do such basics as eat and show up for classes.

An instance that illustrates Einstein’s lack of social understanding was when he met with young Queen Elizabeth and they shared a violin duet.

He reportedly stopped mid-piece to tell the young queen to quiet down, she was playing too loud.

Stories like this abounded, and his reputation as absentminded and even slightly bizarre continued to grow.

Part of this was no doubt due to his physical image, complete with a shock of wild hair, sleepy eyes, and tattered clothing.

With the rising popularity of the motion picture industry at the time, his unruly image became well known worldwide.

After years of teaching and fame, just for the heck of it, Einstein took to going without socks.

They were an “unnecessary complication,” he said, but it furthered his spacey image.

Still, there are a few far-fetched stories, like the one about him returning to his office and reading his own “GONE TO LUNCH. BE BACK IN 10 MINUTES” sign.

Supposedly, he was found sitting outside, waiting for himself to come back.