Stories about science can exercise a deep influence on and in turn be influenced by other cultural spheres, even those which at first glance seem very far removed indeed from laboratories and seminar rooms. In the present essay, one particular scientist and his theories will be discussed as a public story of science. At the centre stands Albert Einstein and his theories of relativity, and the examples provided here are primarily taken from a "Swedish story" told during the first few years of the 1920s. 1 The story of one Albert Einstein and something called "relativity" dominated the public image of science in Sweden during the first half of that decade 2.
Year after year, famous physicists and other scientists had urged the Swedish Nobel Prize committee to award the prize in physics to Einstein. Many members of the international scientific community began to express irritation at the niggardly attitude of the Swedes toward the great man. By 1921, the time it seemed had finally come, but due to a lack of unanimity within the committee, it was decided not to award a prize in physics at all that year. The following year, the decision was finally made to award the