Arago: 8-cent Einstein

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8-cent Einstein

The initial 8-cent stamp of the Prominent Americans Issue honors Albert Einstein (1879–1955). As a young man, the German-born mathematician wrote several papers, three on Brownian motion. The quantum theory photoelectric effect and special relativity are considered part of the foundation of modern physics. Though most noted for his theories on relativity, Einstein received the Nobel Prize in 1921 for his work on the photoelectric effect.

When Adolph Hitler came to power in January 1933, Einstein was a guest professor at Princeton University, a position which he had taken in December 1932. Einstein renounced his Prussian citizenship and stayed in the United States, where he was given permanent residency. He accepted a position at the newly-founded Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, and became an American citizen in 1940.

Einstein was instrumental in the 1933 foundation of the International Rescue Committee to assist opponents of Adolph Hitler. Having noted Hitler’s interest in developing an atomic weapon, in 1939 he urged President Roosevelt to sanction the study of nuclear fission for military purposes. This was the impetus for the Manhattan Project and the creation of the atom bomb.

Einstein’s fame within the world of science and popular culture is unlike that of any other scientist, and his name has become synonymous with intelligence and genius.

The 8-cent violet Einstein stamp was issued in Princeton, New Jersey, on March 14, 1966. It was produced as a sheet stamp printed from plates of four hundred and sold in panes of one hundred stamps with gauge 11 x 10.5 perforations. The stamp, designed by Frank Sebastiano, was based on a photograph taken in 1946 by Philippe Halsman. Arthur W. Dintaman engraved the vignette, and George A. Payne engraved the lettering. This was the first time Einstein appeared on a U.S. postage stamp.

The 8-cent Einstein stamp paid the eight-cent domestic airmail letter rate and later the domestic air postcard and the foreign surface postcard rates.


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