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Dear Matt:

Was Olivia Newton-John ever kissed by Albert Einstein?

-- Milton F, Normal Heights

Usually I don't much care which way the facts fall. True, false; you're right, you're wrong-- as long as my paycheck doesn't bounce, it's all the same to me. But this time, I really hoped I'd dig up some stories about Einstein and the Newton-Johns picnicking by the Thames, Uncle Albert giving giggly Olivia horsie rides and noogies and a friendly smooch. Or maybe details of the day Albert and Livvy rollerskated around Piccadilly Circus until she got dizzy and threw up on his shoes, and he kissed her to make it all better. Instead...nuts. I came up with nothing. Albert Einstein never kissed Olivia Newton-John. He never even met her. Personally, I'm bummed. It should have happened. It could have happened.

Olivia, born in Cambridge, England, in 1948, was the daughter of Bryn Newton-John (English teacher, Kings College) and Irene Born Newton-J. Irene's father was Max Born, a German physicist who won a Nobel Prize in 1954. Fellow Nobelist (1933) Einstein was a friend of Max and his family. According to biographies, Albert used to visit the Borns in Berlin and entertain them with his fiddle playing. So you see, it's not so crazy that Einstein just maybe, somehow, might have met Max's granddaughter Olivia and given her a friendly peck on her little toddler cheek. (Olivia was only seven when Einstein died.)The president of Hopelessly Devoted, the Olivia Newton John Fan Club, says not only did poor Olivia never meet Einstein, she only met her Grandpa Max once, even though he didn't die until Olivia was 22. But I'd like to believe she was secretly thinking about Albert when she recorded "Let's Get Physical." Or is that "Let's Get Physicists"?

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