A celebration was being held on the night of March 14 1951 at the Princeton Club by friends and colleagues of Dr. Einstein. It was the latter’s 72nd birthday. Photographers from all over the United States were there to cover the event much to the chagrin of unassuming professor.
Dr Frank Aydelotte, the former head of the Institute for Advanced Study, and his wife offered to drive Einstein home to 112 Mercer Street. As he entered the auto, the cameramen rushed to make ‘just one more’ picture. UPI photographer Arthur Sasse was trying to persuade him to smile for the camera, but having smiled for photographers many times that day, visibly tired Dr. Einstein stuck out his tongue instead. He made the iconic shot, but the other photographers surrounding the car missed it.
The appropriateness of the photo was heavily debated by Sasse’s editors before being published on International News Photos Network. It became one of the most popular photos ever taken of Einstein, who himself requested nine prints for his personal use. The original image included the faces of Dr. and Mrs. Aydelotte in the car, but it was cropped by Einstein himself, who liked it so much that he sent his friends greeting cards decorated with the image. It was emblematic of a man who wore his hair long, a funny leather jacket, no socks, no suspenders, no collar, no tie.