Einstein Foundation Sets 2017 As Coming Out Year

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While Albert Einstein remains one of the most recognizable figures in history, his legacy has concentrated primarily on his intellectual accomplishments. Few people, for instance, know he disliked wearing socks.

Albert Einstein FoundationNow, The Einstein Legacy Project (ELP) is teaming with several partners to celebrate the well-known genius and raise awareness for his legacy. The initiative is the brainchild of Canadian Friends of Hebrew University, an affiliate organization of The Hebrew University which was founded by Einstein in 1918 and to whom Einstein bequeathed his estate upon his passing in 1955.

"We are not a not-for-profit," says Elan Divon, co-founder, ELP. "We are a 'for-purpose' organization. We want to help kids become their dreams and live their potential. We are going to give kids an opportunity to believe their ideas are worth something, while offering tools and support to make those ideas a reality. And that is very powerful."

ELP is working with content shop Gardner Productions to develop videos and messaging to promote both the group's mission as well as attract investors to the project.

National Geographic is supporting its new scripted series "Genius" with a Viking Cruises sponsorship running across several marketing channels throughout the show's 10-part series, debuting April 25. The "Time" brand campaign features Torstein Hagen, Founder and Chairman of Viking Cruises as he shares Einstein’s interest in the concept of time and often refers to time as “the only scarce commodity.

Working with London-based industrial artist Ron Arad, ELP is developing what it calls the world's first 3D printed book that will feature essays from 100 diverse visionaries on their vision for the future.

The book will debut during the two-day Dinner of the Century event taking place September 9 and 10 in Montreal, Canada. The event will also include a VIP reception for Genius contributors such as chess grandmaster Gary Kasparov, Nobel Prize Winner Roger Kornberg, and Sir Ken Robinson, followed by “Einstein Talks” where the public will have the opportunity to hear from select innovators in science, technology, the arts and education.

Proceeds from the dinner will go towards building the Einstein Archive and Visitor Center in Jerusalem which will share, for the first time, Einstein’s treasures and estate with the general public. The Center is designed "to serve as an international attraction and a source of inspiration that tells the story of human innovation and ingenuity, as well as our universe," says ELP's co-founder Rami Kleinmann. A portion of the event's proceeds will also benefit the winners of the Next Einstein competition, he says.

Meanwhile, the organization is kicking off the fourth online Next Einstein competition where any person can submit a "game-changing" idea to win money to further develop their concept. This is the first year the competition is expanding beyond the virtual world to seek winners attending 19 schools in the Mpumalanga region of South Africa. The program is in partnership with the European Space Agency and sponsored by Singita Game Reserves. Teachers will be introducing the contest in their respective classrooms with one winner selected from each school by a panel of judges.

In order to help launch the Next Einstein in North America, the Project hosted what is now a new Guinness Book World Record of the "Largest gathering of people dressed as Albert Einstein" on March 28 in Canada. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted his dismay at missing the event, saying he wished he could have been there but his staff hid his "wig and mustache."

Einstein's thoughts are becoming more accessible. Hebrew University is digitizing its archives with free online access, and joint projects with three institutions: Hebrew U, CalTech, and Princeton Univ. Press are publishing additional materials.

Lastly, Einstein will be used to launch initiatives aimed at young women and those in developing countries to get them interested in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields. Working with local agencies, the Foundation is using its resources to provide access and materials to help inspire the next generation of innovators and scientists.

These initiatives are aimed at shifting the perception of Einstein away from his science to making him relevant as an inspirational figure to people today. "We want to bring Einstein and his spirit alive to a new generation," says Kleinmann.

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