“Einstein immigrated to the United States in 1933, where he held a professorship at Princeton University until his retirement in 1945. His routine there was simple. Between 9:00 and 10:00 A.M. he ate breakfast and perused the daily papers. At about 10:30 he left for his Princeton office, walking when the weather was nice; otherwise, a station wagon from the university would pick him up. He worked until 1:00, then returned home for a 1:30 lunch, a nap, and a cup of tea. The rest of the afternoon was spent at home, continuing his work, seeing visitors, and dealing with the correspondence that his secretary had sorted earlier in the day. Supper was at 6:30, followed by more work and more letters.

Despite his humble lifestyle, Einstein was a celebrity in Princeton, famous not only for his scientific accomplishments but also for his absentmindedness and disheveled appearance. (Einstein wore his hair long to avoid visits to the barber and eschewed socks and suspenders, which he considered unnecessary.) Walking to and from work, he was often waylaid by locals who wanted to meet the great physicist. A colleague remembered, ‘Einstein would pose with the waylayer’s wife, children, or grandchildren as desired and exchange a few good-humored words.

Then he would go on, shaking his head, saying: ‘Well, the old elephant has gone through his tricks again.’ ”


The section on Albert Einstein in Mason Currey’s book Daily Rituals: How Artists Work.