98 Albert Einstein Quotes

Who doesn’t know Albert Einstein? An eminent scientist of the 20th century, Albert Einstein revolutionized physics with his theory of relativity. But beyond the Nobel prize-winning genius, do you really know this man and how he thought? Enhance your knowledge with 98 Albert Einstein quotes in this article.

Albert Einstein, the Famous Humanist Scientist…

A Childhood of Genius

Albert Einstein was born on March 14, 1879 in Ulm, Germany. He was the first child of Hermann Einstein, engineer, and Pauline Koch, an ardent music lover. He had one sister, Maria (called Maja), who was two years younger than him and with whom he remained very close throughout his life.

Very early on, little Albert took an interest in science. At the age of 5, he marveled at how the compass worked, which he found “miraculous”. At 12, he was captivated by a book on Euclidean geometry of the plane surface and solved mathematical problems posed by his uncle, an engineer. He read voraciously the books of a family friend who studied medicine. Between 12 and 16 years old, he taught himself differential and integral calculus.

However, like many geniuses, Einstein did not stand out in a positive way at school. He did not accept the power exercised by teachers, which he considered arbitrary (he would even get expelled from his school at the age of 15). He was often portrayed by his teachers as a bad apple, absent minded and shy, despite his great math skills.

Albert Einstein Quotes

At 16, Albert Einstein tried to join the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich but failed the entrance exam. He would finally get admitted the following year. It was at this school that the young scientist met the mathematician Marcel Grossmann, who would become his friend, and Mileva Maric, a brilliant physicist, whom he would marry a few years later, despite the disapproval of his family. The couple would also have a daughter (kept secret because she was born out of wedlock) and two sons together. Albert would leave his wife some time later for his second wife, Elsa Einstein.

In 1900, the young Albert Einstein would just barely graduate. Years later, he would go on to confide in his autobiography that he was, in reality, “incapable of following the lectures, of taking notes and of working on them in an academic way”.

A Prolific Career

Albert Einstein’s work focused on the nature of particles and universal mechanics. The innovative theses and famous formulas of the scientist (including the famous E = mc², mass-energy equivalence formula) opened up new perspectives in the scientific world and questioned the foundations of the relationship between man and the universe.

Albert Einstein’s first article was published in 1901. As early as 1905, his articles dealt with special relativity, a theory that revolutionized theoretical physics. Up until 1916, Einstein would, through his theses, form the basis of modern physics, and pave the way for fundamental research in quantum physics. His career was punctuated with many achievements:

  • 1906: Obtaining his doctorate.
  • 1909: Recognition by his peers and distinction of “doctor honoris causa” from the University of Geneva.
  • 1911: Invitation to a congress that brings together eminent scientists in Prague.
  • 1913: Joining the Prussian Academy of Sciences.
  • 1914: Joining the Royal Academy of Sciences and Letters in Berlin.
  • 1916: Publication of his book presenting his theory of gravity, known today under the name of general relativity.
  • 1921: Nobel Prize in physics for “his contributions to theoretical physics.”
  • 1939: His written letter to President Roosevelt giving his support to the Manhattan project and therefore to the atomic bomb (Einstein would regret it the rest of his life and would campaign until his death for world atomic disarmament).

Numerous Commitments

Beyond his scientific career, Albert Einstein was also a unique personality who was not shy when it came to expressing his opinions. A staunch pacifist, he detested military institutions and co-signed a petition for peace in 1913.

However, his humanist opinions (he notably became President of the League for Human Rights in 1925) and his Jewish origins earned him, during the 1920s, threats from the German Nazi Party. Because of this, in 1933 he was forced to leave Germany for the United States.

During the Cold War, Albert Einstein’s stances against the arms race did not only make him friends. His socialist convictions in the midst of McCarthyism led him to being surveilled by the FBI. He also engaged in the fight against racial discrimination by notably refusing to work in universities practicing racial segregation.

After Einstein’s Death…

The physicist would die of a ruptured aneurysm in 1955, at the age of 76, in the United States. His ashes were scattered in a place that has remained secret. On a side note, his brain was stolen to be autopsied by the forensic scientist who certified his death. The conclusions regarding the study of the genius’s brain are controversial today.

The theoretical scientist leaves behind a series of works. Among these, we note the most popular, namely:

  • The Theory of Special and General Relativity”, a work published for the first time in 1905 (general relativity) then in 1916 (special relativity).
  • Why War”, co-written with Sigmund Freud, published in 1933.
  • The Evolution of Physics”, co-written with another great physicist, Leopold Infield, published in 1936.
  • The World as I See It”, a political and philosophy essay comprising articles by Albert Einstein from 1934 to 1958, first edition published in the United States in 1949 (first edition).

Albert Einstein remains one of the greatest scientific figures of all time. His face is an icon and his formulas are mantras that are posted all over. Moreover, Étienne Klein, physicist and philosopher of science, wrote about Einstein:

“We have dedicated to this complete intellectual – who was also a popular hero -, during his lifetime and afterwards, more than 2,000 books, millions of articles, and hundreds of documentaries.”

Albert Einstein Quotes

Albert Einstein Quotes

Albert Einstein Quotes on Life

  • “Life is like riding a bicycle. In order to keep your balance, you must keep moving.”
  • “If A is a success in life, then A equals x plus y plus z. Work is x; y is play; and z is keeping your mouth shut.”
  • “There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; or you can live as if everything is a miracle.”
  • “A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness.”
  • “If I would be a young man again and had to decide how to make my living, I would not try to become a scientist or scholar or teacher. I would rather choose to be a plumber or a peddler in hope to find that modest degree of independence still available under present circumstances.”
  • “Every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.”
  • “To ponder interminably over the reason for one’s own existence or the meaning of life in general seems to me, from an objective point of view, to be sheer folly.”
  • “I never think of the future. It comes soon enough.”

Albert Einstein Quotes on the World and the Universe

Albert Einstein Quotes

  • “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who look at them without doing anything about it.”
  • “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
  • “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.”
  • “The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is at all comprehensible.”

Albert Einstein Quotes on Ideas

  • “People like us who believe in physics know that the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”
  • “Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity.”
  • “Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love.”
  • “The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax!”
  • “The ideals that have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been kindness, beauty, and truth.”
  • “I do not at all believe in human freedom in the philosophical sense. Everybody acts not only under external compulsion but also in accordance with inner necessity.”
  • “The man who regards his own life and that of his fellow-creatures as meaningless is not merely unfortunate but almost disqualified for life.”

Albert Einstein Quotes on Morality and Conscience

  • “The state is our servant and we don’t have to be its slaves.”
  • “Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it.”
  • “Moral value cannot be replaced by intelligence value and I would add: Thank God!”
  • “I do not at all believe in human freedom in the philosophical sense. Everybody acts not only under external compulsion but also in accordance with inner necessity.”
  • “My passionate interest in social justice and social responsibility has always stood in curious contrast to a marked lack of desire for direct association with men and women. Such isolation is sometimes bitter, but I do not regret being cut off from the understanding and sympathy of other men.”
  • “I gang my own gait and have never belonged to my country, my home, my friends, or even my immediate family, with my whole heart; in the face of all these ties I have never lost an obstinate sense of detachment, of the need for solitude — a feeling which increases with the years. ”
  • “In two weeks, the sheep-like masses can be worked up by the newspapers into such a state of excited fury that the men are prepared to put on uniform and kill and be killed.”

Albert Einstein Quotes on Men and Humanity

  • “The value of a man should be seen in what he gives and not in what he is able to receive.”
  • “Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value. ”
  • “Only the individual can think, and thereby create new values for society.”
  • “It is every man’s obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it.”
  • “How strange is the lot of us mortals! Each of us is here for a brief sojourn; for what purpose he knows not, though he sometimes thinks he senses it”
  • “Concern for man and his fate must always form the chief interest of all technical endeavors. Never forget this in the midst of your diagrams and equations.”
  • “It is important for the common good to foster individuality: for only the individual can produce the new ideas which the community needs for its continuous improvement and requirements.”
  • “To be an irreproachable member of a sheep community, you must first of all be a sheep yourself.”
  • “It is the human person, free and creative, who shapes the beautiful and the sublime, while the masses remain drawn into an infernal round of imbecility and stupidity.”
  • “As a human being, one has been endowed with just enough intelligence to be able to see clearly how utterly inadequate that intelligence is when confronted with what exists.”
  • “And yet so high, in spite of everything, is my opinion of the human race that I believe this bogey would have disappeared long ago, had the sound sense of the nations not been systematically corrupted by commercial and political interests acting through the schools and the press.”
  • “Everyone should be respected as an individual, but no one idolized.”
  • “We cannot despair of humanity, since we ourselves are human beings.”

Albert Einstein Quotes on Knowledge and Experience

Albert Einstein Quotes

  • “Learning is experience. Everything else is just information.”
  • “Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
  • “Let everyone reason in their soul and conscience, that they form an idea based on their own learning and not from that of others.”
  • “The school should always have as its aim that the young man leave it as a harmonious personality, not as a specialist.”
  • “Teaching should be such that what is offered is perceived as a valuable gift and not as hard duty.”
  • “If you cannot explain a basic concept to a six-year-old, that means you do not completely understand it yourself.”
  • “Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods. For we do not know how things really are and we only know the representation we make of them.”
  • “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”
  • “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

Albert Einstein Quotes on Certainties and Illusions

  • “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but there won’t be too many people to witness World War IV.”
  • “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”
  • “The only absolute thing in a world like ours is humor.”
  • “Not everything that can be counted counts and not everything that counts can be counted.”
  • “There is no such thing as a stupid question, only stupid answers.”
  • “If I started to care about my appearance, I wouldn’t be myself.”
  • “Humanity is passionate about ridiculous goals such as wealth, publicity, luxury. To me these have always been contemptible.”
  • “Where there is a will, there is a way.”
  • “If there is no price to be paid, it is also not of value.”

Albert Einstein Quotes on Science and Mathematics

  • “Theory is when you know everything, but nothing works. Practice is everything works, but no one knows why. In our laboratory, theory and practice are combined: nothing works, and no one knows why!”
  • “It is easier to break an atom than a prejudice.”
  • “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.”
  • “A problem without a solution is a misstated problem.”
  • “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”
  • “The staircase of science is Jacob’s ladder; it ends only at the feet of God.”
  • “Do not worry about your difficulties in Mathematics. I can assure you mine are still greater.”
  • “If the bee disappeared off the face of the Earth, man would only have four years left to live.”
  • “Astrology is a science in itself and contains an illuminating body of knowledge. It taught me many things and I am greatly indebted to it. Geophysical evidence reveals the power of the stars and the planets in relation to the terrestrial. In turn, astrology reinforces this power to some extent. This is why astrology is like a life-giving elixir to mankind.”
  • “For a large part of mankind, Science and justice go beyond fortune and power.”
  • “Mechanics is only a general scheme; it becomes a theory only by the explicit indication of the laws of force, as Newton did so successfully with celestial mechanics.”
  • “It is the theory which decides what we can observe.”
  • “I find the idea quite intolerable that an electron exposed to radiation should choose of its own free will not only its moment to jump off but its direction. In that case I would rather be a cobbler, or even an employee in a gaming house, than a physicist.”

Albert Einstein Quotes on Progress

  • “As long as there are unhappy children, the word progress is meaningless.”
  • “It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.”
  • “Technological progress is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal.”
  • “All the wealth of the world, even in the hands of a man totally committed to the idea of progress, will never allow the slightest moral development of humanity.”
  • “The man and his safety must be the first concern of any technological adventure.”

Albert Einstein Quotes on Creativity and Imagination

  • “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”
  • “Logic will take you from point A to point B, imagination will take you everywhere.”
  • “If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.”
  • “He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors.”
  • “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
  • “If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.”
  • “Nothing is ever entirely black.”
  • “To invent you must think aside.”
  • “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.”
  • “If someone can enjoy marching to music in rank and file, I can feel only contempt for him; he has received his large brain by mistake, a spinal cord would have been enough.”
  • “Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are incapable of forming such opinions.”
  • “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.”
  • “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom the emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.”
  • “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

Albert Einstein Quotes on God and Religion

  • “Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.”
  • “The word ‘God’ is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation, no matter how subtle, can (for me) change this.”
  • “For me, the Jewish religion like all other religions is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions.”
  • “Sure, it depends on the point of view. Try and penetrate with our limited means the secrets of nature and you will find that, behind all the discernible laws and connections, there remains something subtle, intangible and inexplicable. Veneration for this force beyond anything that we can comprehend is my religion. To that extent I am, in fact, religious. My religion is the deep respect for what is beyond the realms we can explore.”
  • “I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious, then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.”
  • “God doesn’t play dice with the universe.”
  • “First define for me what you mean by God and I’ll tell you if I believe in it.”
  • “I want to know all God’s thoughts; the rest are mere details.”
  • “The cosmic religious feeling is the strongest and noblest motive for scientific research.”

You now know a little more about this genius that was Albert Einstein. Did you know all these quotes from Albert Einstein? Which one do you like best? Feel free to share your opinions in the comments!

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