Einstein's Sink – Leiden, Netherlands - Atlas Obscura

Einstein's Sink

A lecture hall sink once used by Einstein and other noted physicists is now regarded as a strange science relic. 


Sitting, as it has for almost a century, in a large physics hall, now at Leiden University in The Netherlands, the basin known as the Einstein Sink, has continually kept the hands of science clean despite almost being discarded a number of times.

The famous sink originally stood in the Kamerlingh Onnes Laboratory at the university from 1920 on, but in 1997 it was finally moved to its current home in the Leiden Bio Science Park. Having sat in the massive lecture hall for the better part of an scientifically influential century, the sink saw use by a number of famed physicists including theoretical physicist Paul Ehrenfest, Nobel Prize winner Hendrik Lorentz, and of course Albert Einstein, the most famous of the visiting physicist who also gave his name to the mundane font.

Truly, there is nothing remarkable about this sink other than its age and proximity to Einstein. Yet like countless religious relics the sink has taken on a mythic quality just by being there. The sink continues to sit in its large lecture hall home, as students, professors, and visiting Einstein pilgrims continue to wash their hands in it. 

It was almost disposed of during a relocation effort in 2015, but thanks to a small petition, the Einstein Sink was saved. Anyone wanting to wash their hands in the footsteps of greatness, just walk up to the visitors desk and ask to see the Einstein sink in the “De Sitter room”.

From Around the Web