Einstein invented a refrigerator. That alone is intriguing to me. I like to think that, after solving the mysteries of the universe, contributing to the downfall of the Nazis, and doing some insanely hard math, he reached for a beer and found it lukewarm. With the Nazis defeated he was able to address this situation and design his very own genius beer fridge.


The belief is that he did little of the inventing, but leant his name and patent applying skills to help a former student with his fridge design.


The fridge used to be pretty dangerous. If there was a leak, the old ice box would pump out dangerous chemicals into a room and kill folks. Einstein and his student figured that if the machine had no moving parts there would be less chance for a leak. So less death, but you still get the cold beer.


So, if you’re Einstein, how do you make things cold? Heat. They put ammonia and butane in the pipes and applied heat with a gas burner or electric element. That activated all kinds of equations and pressures and whatever and made the beer cold (something about water pumping ammonia, ammonia pumping butane, and butane refrigerating things).


I don’t think the heat absorption fridge was any thing new. Einstein and his drinking buddy just used different gases. But to set out to make a beer cold by applying heat is a unique way of approaching something. There’s always an unconventional way to approach things. It’s all too easy to fall into clichés and conventions. There is always another way.


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