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On Tuesday November 24th, professor Robbert Dijkgraaf (IAS, Princeton) will unveil a painted version of Einstein’s Field Equation on Museum Boerhaave’s outside wall. This launches a series of at least ten physics formulas to be visualized on walls throughout the historic city center of Leiden.

Einstein coined his equation exactly 100 years ago as the mathematical foundation for his theory of general relativity. The so-called cosmological constant was added later, after discussions with Leiden’s Willem de Sitter.


Physicists Sense Jan van der Molen (LION) and Ivo van Vulpen (Nikhef, UvA) initiated the idea to put Leiden’s scientific history in the spotlights, next to its rich history in the humanities, already emphasized by the omnipresent wall poems. The city has an enormous scientific heritage and is the birth ground of many famous and widely used physical formulas.

In addition to the Einstein Field Equation, the Leiden people will e.g. be inspired by Snell’s law on the refraction of light, Huygens’ pendulum law, the Lorentz contraction formula (theory of special relativity), Van der Waals’ equation of state (thermodynamics), the Ehrenfest Theorem (Quantum Mechanics), the Oort constants (Oort cloud) and the electron spin formulas.

All formulas will be designed and painted by Ben Walenkamp and Jan Willem Bruins of  Stichting TEGEN-BEELD, who already enriched the city with over a hundred wall poems.

The project is supported by Leiden municipality, Leiden University’s Science Faculty, the  Gorterstichting and the  Lorentzfonds.


On Tuesday 24 November, Einstein's wall formula will be unveiled by Robbert Dijkgraaf, director of the Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton. Time: 15:45, location: Museum Boerhaave, Lange St. Agnietenstraat 10, Leiden. 

More information: 

Sense Jan van der Molen (Leiden University)

Ivo van Vulpen (Nikhef, UvA)

Dirk van Delft (Museum Boerhaave)