In Death, Einstein Makes More Money than John Lennon

By Nina Bai | November 3, 2008 4:53 pm

einsteinWho said going into science wasn’t a lucrative career move? In Forbes’ latest ranking of the highest earning dead celebrities, Albert Einstein beat out the likes of John Lennon, Andy Warhol and Marilyn Monroe to take the fourth spot behind Elvis Presley, Charles Schulz and Heath Ledger. Even though the father of relativity has been dead for 53 years, he remains one of the most recognizable faces in the world. He’s been a consistent appearance on Forbes’ list and raked in $18 million last year.

But where is all this money coming from? And who gets it?

As it turns out, Einstein doesn’t have any living heirs. He bequested all his personal papers, intellectual property rights and the right to use his image to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The university hires the company Greenlight to manage these rights and dole out permission for Einstein paraphernalia. (Greenlight also manages the rights to Steve McQueen and the Wright brothers.)

Greenlight says they receive 400 applications a year to use Einstein’s image, but they only approve about 40 of them. According to Martin Cribbs, director and brand strategy manager of Greenlight, to receive approval a company needs to prove that they are serious about the product, provide three years of sales predictions, and demonstrate a commitment to green issues. Cribbs says they reject proposals for cigarettes, sex toys, and anything of a scatological nature, like toilet paper.

Among products that have made the cut are Einstein calendars, mugs, jigsaw puzzles, action figures and a Japanese brand of coffee made by Nestle. The biggest source of revenue to the Einstein estate, however, comes from parents hoping to raise their very own geniuses. Disney’s line of Baby Einstein products, including educational DVD’s, books, and toys for babies, brings in millions every year. Most recently, Einstein has also been seen hawking Kobe Bryant’s new Nike ZKIII sneakers as part of its Genius campaign.

Earlier this year, Hebrew University asked an Israeli telephone company to retract its advertisements for its new Google-enabled mobile phones because they used the slogan “Everyone’s become an Einstein.” The company was told that it would cost NIS 400,000 (more than $100,000) to use the frizzy haired scientist-celeb for their ad campaign. Take that, Elvis.

Related Content:
DISCOVER: Einstein Inc.
DISCOVER: 20 Thing You Didn’t Know About… Relativity
DISCOVER: My Three Einsteins

Image: flickr / maveric2003

MORE ABOUT: Einstein
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  • blicu

    I think Albert ins most important than Lennon…

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  • TV Guide

    Rarely does a scientist (patent clerk) earn so much.

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  • Caleb Nelson

    Einstein was truly a genius. I love reading his material, and if it were lucrative enough, i would spend my time continuing his work. I had no idea that he was still raking in that much cash though.


  • ^0^

    The article didn’t quite cover on where the money was going to…

  • Acai Diet

    I can’t believe that Einstein makes more than Marlyn Monroe in death. His income is quite impressive. I guess I won’t be using the likes of Albert Einstein in any future advertising campaigns.

  • joe nahhas

    2009 is the end of Einstein’s space-jail of time and Fraud symbol E=mc²
    Time is not a structure like space to allow space-to time-back to space jumping claimed by Physicists regardless of what physicists have to say about it because Physics is a business and not necessarily science or scientific and like every business it comes with fraud and fraud is Einstein’s space-time (x, y, z, it) continuum that led to fraud symbol E=mc² and yes I am saying that 109 years of Nobel prize winners physics and physicists are all wrong and space-time physics is based on scientific fraud. When “results” expected and “No” discovery, Physicists rigged Physics for grant money since the start of the industrial revolution. Physics today is at least 51 % fraud!
    r ——————>>Exp (ì w t) ———->> S=r Exp (ì wt) Nahhas’ Equation
    Orbit——–>> Orbit light sensing——>> Visual Orbit; Exp = Exponential
    Particle —->> light sensing of moving objects———— >> Wave
    Newton———>>light sensing———->> Quantum
    Quantum = Newton x Visual Effects
    Quantum – Newton = Relativistic = Optical Illusions
    E (Energy by definition) = mv²/2 = mc²/2; if v = c
    m = mass; v= speed; c= light speed; w= angular velocity; t= time
    S = r Exp (ì w t) = r [cos (wt) + ì sin (wt)] Visual effects
    P = visual velocity = change of visual location
    P = d S/d t = v Exp (ì w t) + ì w r Exp (ì w t)
    = (v + ì w r) Exp (ì w t) = v (1 + ì) Exp (ì w t) = visual speed; v = wr
    E (visual energy= what you see in lab) = m p²/2; replace v by p in E = mv²/2
    = m p²/2 = m v²/2 (1 + ì) ² Exp (2ì wt)
    = mv²/2 (2ì) [cosine (2wt) + ì sine (2wt)]
    =ì mv² [1 – 2 sine² (wt) + 2 ì sine (wt) cosine (wt)];v = speed; c = light speed
    wt = π/2
    E (visual) = ìmv² (1 – 2 + 0)
    E (visual) = -ì mc² ≡ mc² (absolute value;-ì = negative complex unit) If v = c
    w t = π/4
    E (visual) = imv² [1-1 +ỉ] =-mc²; v = c
    wt =-π/4+ỉln2/2; 2ỉ wt=-ỉπ/2 – ln2
    Exp (2i wt) = Exp [-ỉπ/2] Exp [l n (1/2)] = [-ỉ (1/2)]
    E (visual) = imv² (-ỉ/2) =1/2mc² v = c
    Conclusion: E = mc² is the visual Illusion of E = mc²/2 All rights reserved.
    PS: In case of E=mc² claims to be rest energy claims then
    E=1/2m (m v + m’ r) ² = (1/2m) (m’ r) ²; v = 0
    E = (1/2m) (mc) ²; m’ r =mc

  • Alex

    Einstein’s Physics Dollar Store on Campus
    MIT Harvard Cal-Tech
    Sponsored by NASA
    Why Relativity theory is not Physics and why Einstein’s “thought” = 0
    Walking the walk and talking the talk taking on all space-time confusion of physics by
    MIT Harvard and Cal-Tech and all other Physics dollar stores departments
    And why LHC burned itself

    Visual Effects and the confusions of “Modern” physics

    r ——— Light sensing of moving objects ——- S
    Actual object—– Light ——— Visual object
    r – ——-cosine (wt) + i sine (wt) – S = r [cosine (wt) + i sine (wt)]
    Newton– Kepler’s time visual effects — Time dependent Newton
    Particle ————– Visual effects ——————– Wave

    Line of Sight: r cosine wt

    r ——————- r cosine (wt) line of sight light aberrations

    A moving object with velocity v will be visualized by
    light sensing through an angle (wt);w = constant and t= time
    Also, sine wt = v/c; cosine wt = √ [1-sine² (wt) = √ [1-(v/c) ²]

    A visual object moving with velocity v will be seen as S

    S = r [cosine (wt) + i sine (wt)] = r Exp [i wt]; Exp = Exponential

    S = r [√ [1-(v/c) ²] + ỉ (v/c)] = S x + i S y

    S x = Visual along the line of sight = r [√ [1-(v/c) ²]

    This Equation is special relativity length contraction formula
    And it is just the visual effects caused by light aberrations of a
    moving object along the line of sight.

    In a right angled velocity triangle A B C: Angle A = wt; angle B = 90°; Angle C = 90° -wt
    AB = hypotenuse = c; BC = opposite = v; CA= adjacent = √ [1-(v/c) ²]

  • Binglybert

    Crazy people rock!

  • Jackson

    Yeah man I can see that happening… FOR SURE

  • elephants and asses

    If the Beattles put their music up on ITunes when it launched, Lennon would stand a much better chance!

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  • steve

    well i didn’t know that using a picture from einstein is so expensive. Well the family members from him will be very happy !!

  • Dave

    Wow, this is amazing. I seriously didn’t even think that dead people can still make money. Family must be indeed very happy about this, if he has any relatives alive.

  • Lawrence Pavese

    The “all” of his personal papers he be=quested does that include those in which were” not” in possession at the time of Mr. A. Einsteins’ death?

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