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Discover Leiden science history through Atlas Obscura

The Leiden wall formulae, Einstein's sink or the signature wall of Ehrenfest. It are just a few of Leiden's hidden science treasures. Alumnus from the Leiden Observatory Alex Pietrow described a few of these places on travel website Atlas Obscura.

Telescope or coathanger? Photo: Alex Pietrow

Modern versus antique

The labs of the Jan Hendrik Oort building in Leiden University‚Äôs physics and astronomy department are full of many modern wonders, while the halls are also peppered with antique and historical objects. The first you come across when entering the building will be the Van der Wall telescope. According to Pietrow 'once the world's biggest telescope, it was later used as a coat hanger by a famous Dutch astronomer.'

Einstein's sink

One of the oddest items described by Pietrow is 'Einsteins sink'. But truly, there is nothing remarkable about this sink other than its age and proximity to Einstein', Pietrow writes. ' 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.'

Curious about Einstein's sink and the other hidden science treasures of Leiden? Find the items of Pietrow at https://www.atlasobscura.com/.

The sink is indeed not a striking appearance. Photo: Alex Pietrow

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