With his pipe, genially self-effacing manner, and electrified hair, Einstein was too splendid a figure to remain permanently obscure,
and in 1919, the war over, the world suddenly discovered him.
Almost at once his theories of relativity developed a reputation for being impossible for an ordinary person to grasp.
Matters were not helped, as David Bodanis points out in his superb book E=mc^2,
when the New York Times decided to do a story, and,
for reasons that can never fail to excite wonder—sent the paper's golfing correspondent, one Henry Crouch, to conduct the interview.
Crouch was hopelessly out of his depth, and got nearly everything wrong.
Among the more lasting errors in his report was the assertion that Einstein had found a publisher daring enough to publish a book that only twelve men "in all the world could comprehend."
There was no such book, no such publisher, no such circle of learned men, but the notion stuck anyway.
Soon the number of people who could grasp relativity had been reduced even further in the popular imagination,
and the scientific establishment, it must be said, did little to disturb the myth.