Quotations by Albert Einstein

Quotations | Speeches | Poetry

Albert Einstein, German-born theoretical physicist

Albert Einstein (March 14, 1879 - April 18, 1955) was a German-born theoretical physicist. He is best known for his theory of relativity and specifically mass-energy equivalence, E = mc2. Einstein received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics "for his services to Theoretical Physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect." Works by Albert Einstein include more than fifty scientific papers and also non-scientific books. Einstein is revered by the physics community, and in 1999 Time magazine named him the "Person of the Century". He is probably the most recognized scientist in history, as well as one of the most important, counted among or even surpassing the achievements of Galileo, Isaac Newton, and Charles Darwin. In wider culture the name "Einstein" has become synonymous with genius. (Source: Wilkipedia)


Albert Einstein
  1. A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.

  2. As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.

  3. At any rate, I am convinced that He [God] does not play dice. (In a letter to Max Born, 1926)

  4. Before God we are all equally wise - and equally foolish.

  5. Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen. (attributed)

  6. Do not worry about your difficulties in Mathematics. I can assure you mine are still greater.

  7. Ethical axioms are found and tested not very differently from the axioms of science. Truth is what stands the test of experience.

  8. Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom. ("Out of My Later Years," 1950)

  9. Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not one bit simpler. (attributed)

  10. Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even incapable of forming such opinions.

  11. For there is no secret and there is no defense; there is no possibility of control except through the aroused understanding and insistence of the peoples of the world. We scientists recognize our inescapable responsibility to carry to our fellow citizens an understanding of atomic energy and its implication for society. In this lies our only security and our only hope - we believe that an informed citizenry will act for life and not for death.

  12. God may be subtle, but He isn't plain mean.

  13. Gravity cannot be held responsible for people falling in love.

  14. Great spirits have always encountered opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly. (quoted in New York Times, March 13, 1940)

  15. He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would fully suffice. This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, senseless brutality, deplorable love-of-country stance, how violently I hate all this, how despicable an ignorable war is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be a part of so base an action! It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.

  16. I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.

  17. I never think of the future - it comes soon enough.

  18. I want to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts; the rest are details.

  19. If A is success in life, then A equals x plus y plus z. Work is x; y is play; and z is keeping your mouth shut. (Observer, Jan. 15, 1950)

  20. If I had only known, I would have been a locksmith.

  21. If one studies too zealously, one easily loses his pants.

  22. If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?

  23. If you are out to describe the truth, leave elegance to the tailor.

  24. If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts.

  25. Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. (attributed)

  26. It is best, it seems to me, to separate one's inner striving from one's trade as far as possible. It is not good when one's daily break is tied to God's special blessing.

  27. It is the duty of every citizen according to his best capacities to give validity to his convictions in political affairs. ('Treasury for the Free World,' 1946)

  28. It may affront the military-minded person to suggest a regime that does not maintain any military secrets.

  29. If A equals success, then the formula is _ A = _ X + _ Y + _ Z.
    _ X is work. _ Y is play. _ Z is keep your mouth shut.

  30. If I had only known, I would have been a locksmith.

  31. If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts. (attributed)

  32. It would be possible to describe everything scientifically, but it would make no sense; it would be without meaning, as if you described a Beethoven symphony as a variation of wave pressure.

  33. Imagination is more important than knowledge ...

  34. Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every man present his views without penalty there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.

  35. Man usually avoids attributing cleverness to somebody else - unless it is an enemy.

  36. My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind.

  37. Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.

  38. Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.

  39. Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.

  40. Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. ("Science, Philosophy and Religion: a Symposium", 1941)

  41. So long as they don't get violent, I want to let everyone say what they wish, for I myself have always said exactly what pleased me.

  42. Sometimes one pays most for the things one gets for nothing.

  43. Teaching should be such that what is offered is perceived as a valuable gift and not as a hard duty.

  44. The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax. (attributed)

  45. The ideals which have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Kindness, Beauty, and Truth. The trite subjects of human efforts, possessions, outward success, luxury have always seemed to me contemptible.

  46. The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.

  47. The independence created by philosophical insight is - in my opinion - the mark of distinction between a mere artisan or specialist and a real seeker after truth. (Einstein wrote in 1944)

  48. The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.

  49. The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is at all comprehensible.

  50. The release of atomic energy has not created a new problem. It has merely made more urgent the necessity of solving an existing one.

  51. The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.

  52. The significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them. (attributed)

  53. The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking and we thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophe. (Telegram, 24 May 1946)

  54. There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.

  55. Through the release of atomic energy, our generation has brought into the world the most revolutionary force since prehistoric man's discovery of fire. This basic force of the universe cannot be fitted into the outmoded concept of narrow nationalism.

  56. To punish me for my contempt for authority, fate made me an authority myself.

  57. Too many of us look upon Americans as dollar chasers. This is a cruel libel, even if it is reiterated thoughtlessly by the Americans themselves.

  58. Truth is what stands the test of experience.

  59. Try not to become a man of success but rather to become a man of value.

  60. We should take care not to make the intellect our god; it has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality.

  61. When I examined myself and my methods of thought, I came to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge.

  62. What really interests me is whether God had any choice in the creation of the world.

  63. When you look at yourself from a universal standpoint, something inside always reminds or informs you that there are bigger and better things to worry about. (The World as I See It.)

  64. When you sit with a nice girl for two hours, it seems like two minutes. When you sit on a hot stove for two minutes, it seems like two hours that's relativity.

  65. Yes, we have to divide up our time like that, between our politics and our equations. But to me our equations are far more important, for politics are only a matter of present concern. A mathematical equation stands forever.

  66. You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war. (attributed)

  67. You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat. (when asked to describe radio)