Chaim Weizmann, the first president of Israel, died in 1952. Weizmann was a renowned biochemist and had founded the Weizmann Institute of Science. In searching for his replacement, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion decided to offer the position to another famous Jewish scientist: Albert Einstein. The 73-year-old quickly declined. “All my life I have dealt with objective matters,” he wrote in response to the offer. “I lack both the natural aptitude and the experience to deal properly with people and to exercise official function.” Einstein died less than three years later.
Another name for genius:
- The German-born Einstein transformed physics and astronomy with his theories of relativity, which revolutionized scientific thinking about concepts of space, time, gravity, and energy. His name has become synonymous with genius.
- Einstein left Germany in 1933 and took a position at Princeton University. His support for pacifism, civil rights, and left-wing causes caused J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI to start a surveillance campaign that lasted 22 years.
- Einstein died in April 1955 from an abdominal aortic aneurysm. He had requested cremation, but in a bizarre twist, a pathologist removed his brain during the autopsy and kept it, hoping that it might unlock the secrets of his genius.