Posts Tagged ‘Albert Einstein Memorial’

Plant-Based D.C. Landmarks

Sadly, despite having worked in downtown D.C. for the past 30 years, I had never visited the United States Botanic Garden during the Christmas holiday season before this year.  I’ve been there many times but not during the holidays. But a friend who only lived here for a year before moving out of the area knew about the Botanic Garden’s annual holiday display, entitled Season’s Greenings, and the sights, smells, and sounds that accompany it.  When she asked me about this year’s display, it prompted me to go check it out.  And I’m so glad I did.

This year’s display is a multifaceted one that stretches throughout the Botanic Garden.  First, it includes the return of a series of D.C. landmarks made out of plant materials.  The holiday display also includes thousands of blooms throughout the Conservatory, from exotic orchids to a showcase of heirloom and newly developed poinsettia varieties in the seasonal Poinsettia Room.  Lastly, this year’s holiday decorations include a showcase of model trains chugging around, below, through, and above plant-based recreations of iconic sights and roadside attractions from across the United States.

I will be covering the Poinsettia display, and the model train and roadside attractions showcase in the near future.  Today’s blog post focuses on the collection of D.C. landmarks, all made from a myriad of plant and other natural materials, which is displayed in the Garden Court.  There are a dozen local landmarks and memorials on display this year.  The White House swing set, which had been included in previous years, was not present this year because the actual swing set is no longer at the White House.  In it’s place is the Albert Einstein Memorial.  Also new this year is the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which opened a little over a year ago.  All of the landmarks would be incredible in and of themselves.  But knowing that they are made of plants adds to the experience.

For added holiday cheer at the Botanic Garden, there are concerts on Tuesday and Thursday evenings in December, when hours are extended until 8pm.  If you can, I highly recommend going on one of these days for both the music and to see the exhibit and plant collections illuminated by colorful lights.  One of my first thoughts after seeing Seasons Greenings was wishing that I had known about it and gone in previous years.  So do yourself a favor and go so you don’t have the same thought years from now.

 

[Click on the photos above to view the full size versions]

1 – U.S. Capitol Building
2 – The Thomas Jefferson Memorial
3 – Library of Congress, Thomas Jefferson Building
4 – Lincoln Memorial
5 – National Museum of African American History and Culture
6 – National Museum of the American Indian
7 – Smithsonian Institution, The Castle
8 – U.S. Botanic Garden Conservatory
9 – U.S. Supreme Court
10 – Washington Monument
11 – White House
12 – Albert Einstein Memorial

NOTE:  My blog post on “Seasons Greetings: Railroads and Roadside Attractions” will appear next Monday.

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The Albert Einstein Memorial

Albert Einstein once said, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” In reference to the theory of relativity, Einstein also said, “I thought of that while riding my bicycle.” So to commemorate his undeniable wisdom, as well as today’s anniversary of his birth in 1879, I went to The Albert Einstein Memorial on this afternoon’s bike ride.

The Einstein Memorial is a monumental bronze statue depicting Albert Einstein seated with manuscript papers in hand.  The bronze figure weighs approximately 4 tons, and measures 21 feet from the top of its head to the tip of its feet. The monument is supported by three caissons, totaling 135 tons, sunk in bedrock to a depth of 23 to 25 feet. The statue and bench are at one side of a circular dais, 28 feet in diameter. And embedded in the dais are more than 2,700 metal studs representing astronomical objects, including the sun, moon, planets, 4 asteroids, 5 galaxies, 10 quasars, and many stars in their relative celestial position at the exact time that the memorial was dedicated.

The memorial is situated in an elm and holly grove in the southwest corner on the grounds of the National Academy of Sciences on Constitution Avenue in D.C. (MAP).  Einstein was elected a foreign associate of the Academy in 1922 and became a member in 1942, two years after he became a naturalized United States citizen.

By the way, Einstein is known for more than just his quotes about bicycles. He’s also known for his theories of special and general relativity, which drastically altered man’s view of the universe, and for his work in particle and energy theory which helped make possible quantum mechanics and, ultimately, the atomic bomb.

If you go to see the memorial for this genius, keep in mind that it’s said if you rub the nose of the Albert Einstein statue, you’ll acquire some of his smarts.  And judging by the appearance of his nose, a lot of people believe this and have rubbed it.

But today, March 14, is not just the birthday of the famous German-born theoretical physicist and mathematician.  It is also National Pi Day.  National Pi Day is actually a U.S. holiday. The House of Representatives passed House Resolution 224 in 2009, designating March 14 as National Pi Day.

Pi (pronounced “pie”) is the ratio used to compute the circumference, area, and volume of circles, and is a mathematical constant.  It is an irrational number, continuing infinitely without repeating. It is usually estimated to the hundredths place (3.14), but with the use of computers, pi has been calculated to over 2 trillion digits past the decimal.  So today’s date, when expressed in the decimal format as 3.14, is is the rounded-off numerical equivalent of the value of Pi.  Extended out by its next three additional digits of 1, 5 and 9, and you have “Pi minute” at 1:59pm.

So to celebrate today’s double holiday, I first stopped by a restaurant named District of Pi, located at 910 F Street in Penn Quarter (MAP), where I got my order to go.  I got a thin crust pizza pie with mozzarella, Italian meatballs, red peppers, and basil.  It was then that I rode over to the Einstein Memorial, where I enjoyed a pizza pie picnic lunch on National Pi Day while relaxing at the memorial at Pi Minute.

Despite how fun today’s Pi Day ride was, next year’s National Pi Day will be even more exciting.  On that day, we will all get one, shining moment in which we can write the date as: 3/14/15; 9:26:53. Which, as everyone knows, are the first ten digits of Pi in perfect order.

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