Einstein’s office at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., photographed on the day of his death, April 18, 1955
LIFE photographer Ralph Morse was among scores of journalists who descended on Princeton that day, hoping to find and report on something, anything, that might offer insight into what Einstein’s passing meant to his friends, family and peers as well as strangers around the world. No one but Morse, however, finagled his way into Einstein’s office. No one but Morse came away with a photograph that, six decades later, serves as a haunting reflection of both the man and his life’s work: a seemingly simple picture of Einstein’s desk, cluttered with notebooks, journals, a pipe, a tobacco tin; behind the desk a blackboard covered with equations and formulas that, to the untrained eye, possess an almost runic power.
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