In Response to: Einstein at Princeton

The highlight of a son’s Princeton graduation is the event itself, with all the speeches and formalities. Not so with the Gilbert family. With the shortage of hotel rooms in Princeton town on that most important weekend, son Bill had to put his parents in “date lodging” at 18 Mercer St.

Arriving with plenty of time on the big day to get seats on the Nassau Hall lawn, we began our walk slowly up Mercer Street, enjoying the perfect weather and flowers on both sides of the street. Suddenly, my mother stopped and whispered in my ear, “Billy, Billy! There’s Albert Einstein!” And indeed there he was, in his rocking chair on his front porch. He was reading and smoking his pipe, so he did not notice the astounded Gilbert family.

My dear mother attended several other graduations with me, and she would always bring up the Einstein encounter, regardless of who was graduating. That was the only time in my four years at Princeton that I saw the great man. My roommate, a physics major, was jealous of my good luck.

William E. Gilbert ’50
Hilton Head Island, S.C.