Albert Einstein quotes

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Albert Einstein

Birthdate: 14. March 1879
Date of death: 18. April 1955

Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist. Einstein developed the theory of relativity, one of the two pillars of modern physics . Einstein's work is also known for its influence on the philosophy of science. Einstein is best known by the general public for his mass–energy equivalence formula E = mc2 . He 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", a pivotal step in the evolution of quantum theory.

Near the beginning of his career, Einstein thought that Newtonian mechanics was no longer enough to reconcile the laws of classical mechanics with the laws of the electromagnetic field. This led him to develop his special theory of relativity during his time at the Swiss Patent Office in Bern , Switzerland. However, he realized that the principle of relativity could also be extended to gravitational fields and—with his subsequent theory of gravitation in 1916—he published a paper on general relativity. He continued to deal with problems of statistical mechanics and quantum theory, which led to his explanations of particle theory and the motion of molecules. He also investigated the thermal properties of light which laid the foundation of the photon theory of light. In 1917, Einstein applied the general theory of relativity to model the large-scale structure of the universe.

Between 1895 and 1914, he lived in Switzerland , where he received his academic diploma from the Swiss Federal Polytechnic in Zürich in 1900. He later taught there at the same institute as a professor of theoretical physics between 1912 and 1914 before he left for Berlin. In 1901, after being stateless for more than five years, Einstein acquired Swiss citizenship, which he kept for the rest of his life. In 1905, Einstein was awarded a PhD by the University of Zürich. The same year, his annus mirabilis , he published four groundbreaking papers, which were to bring him to the notice of the academic world, at the age of 26.

He was visiting the United States when Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933 and—being Jewish—did not go back to Germany, where he had been a professor at the Berlin Academy of Sciences. He settled in the United States, becoming an American citizen in 1940. On the eve of World War II, he endorsed a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt alerting him to the potential development of "extremely powerful bombs of a new type" and recommending that the U.S. begin similar research. This eventually led to what would become the Manhattan Project. Einstein supported defending the Allied forces, but generally denounced the idea of using the newly discovered nuclear fission as a weapon. Later, with the British philosopher Bertrand Russell, Einstein signed the Russell–Einstein Manifesto, which highlighted the danger of nuclear weapons. Einstein was affiliated with the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, until his death in 1955.

Einstein published more than 300 scientific papers along with over 150 non-scientific works. Einstein's intellectual achievements and originality have made the word "Einstein" synonymous with "genius".

Works

„Blind belief in authority is the greatest enemy of truth.“

—  Albert Einstein

Letter to Jost Winteler (1901), quoted in The Private Lives of Albert Einstein by Roger Highfield and Paul Carter (1993), p. 79 http://books.google.com/books?id=zY7FE9ZyDO0C&lpg=PP1&pg=PA79#v=onepage&q&f=false. Einstein had been annoyed that Paul Drude, editor of Annalen der Physik, had dismissed out of hand some criticisms Einstein made of Drude's electron theory of metals.
1900s
Variant: A foolish faith in authority is the worst enemy of truth.

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

—  Albert Einstein

As quoted in Journal of France and Germany (1942–1944) by Gilbert Fowler White, in excerpt published in Living with Nature's Extremes: The Life of Gilbert Fowler White (2006) by Robert E. Hinshaw, p. 62. From the context http://books.google.com/books?id=_2qfZRp9SeEC&lpg=PP1&pg=PA62#v=onepage&q&f=false it seems that White did not specify whether he had heard Einstein himself say this or whether he was repeating a quote that had been passed along by someone else, so without a primary source the validity of this quote should be considered questionable.
Some have argued that elsewhere Einstein defined a "miracle" as a type of event he did not believe was possible—Einstein on Religion by Max Jammer (1999) quotes on p. 89 from a 1931 conversation Einstein had with David Reichinstein, where Reichinstein brought up philosopher Arthur Liebert's argument that the indeterminism of quantum mechanics might allow for the possibility of miracles, and Einstein replied that Liebert's argument dealt "with a domain in which lawful rationality [determinism] does not exist. A 'miracle,' however, is an exception from lawfulness; hence, there where lawfulness does not exist, also its exception, i.e., a miracle, cannot exist." ("Dort, wo eine Gesetzmässigkeit nicht vorhanden ist, kann auch ihre Ausnahme, d.h. ein Wunder, nicht existieren." D. Reichenstein, Die Religion der Gebildeten (1941), p. 21). However, it is clear from the context that Einstein was stating only that miracles cannot exist in a domain (quantum mechanics) where lawful rationality does not exist. He did not claim that miracles could never exist in any domain. Indeed, Einstein clearly believed, as seen in many quotations above, that the universe was comprehensible and rational, but he also described this characteristic of the universe as a "miracle". In another example, he is quoted as claiming belief in a God, "Who reveals Himself in the lawful harmony of the world."
As quoted in From Yale to Jail: The Life Story of a Moral Dissenter (1993) by David T. Dellinger, p. 418
Disputed
Variant: 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.
Variant: 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.

„Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.“

—  Albert Einstein

Letter to his son Eduard (5 February 1930), as quoted in Walter Isaacson, Einstein: His Life and Universe (2007), p. 367
1930s

„Try to become not a man of success, but try rather to become a man of value.“

—  Albert Einstein

As quoted by LIFE magazine (2 May 1955)
1950s
Variant: Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.

„Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.“

—  Albert Einstein

Variant: A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.

„Pure mathematics is in its way the poetry of logical ideas.“

—  Albert Einstein

1930s, Obituary for Emmy Noether (1935)
Context: Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas. One seeks the most general ideas of operation which will bring together in simple, logical and unified form the largest possible circle of formal relationships. In this effort toward logical beauty spiritual formulas are discovered necessary for the deeper penetration into the laws of nature.

„Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.“

—  Albert Einstein

Source: Attributed in posthumous publications, Einstein and the Poet (1983), p. 94
Context: Religion and science go together. As I've said before, science without religion is lame and religion without science is blind. They are interdependent and have a common goal—the search for truth. Hence it is absurd for religion to proscribe Galileo or Darwin or other scientists. And it is equally absurd when scientists say that there is no God. The real scientist has faith, which does not mean that he must subscribe to a creed. Without religion there is no charity. The soul given to each of us is moved by the same living spirit that moves the universe.

„Being a lover of freedom, when the revolution came in Germany, I looked to the universities to defend it, knowing that they had always boasted of their devotion to the cause of truth; but, no, the universities immediately were silenced. Then I looked to the great editors of the newspapers whose flaming editorials in days gone by had proclaimed their love of freedom; but they, like the universities, were silenced in a few short weeks. Then I looked to individual writers who, as literary guides of Germany, had written much and often concerning the place of freedom in modern life; but they, too, were mute.Only the church stood squarely across the path of Hitler's campaign for suppressing truth. I never had any special interest in the church before, but now I feel a great affection and admiration because the church alone has had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual truth and moral freedom. I am forced thus to confess that what I once despised I now praise unreservedly.“

—  Albert Einstein

Attributed in “The Conflict Between Church And State In The Third Reich”, by S. Parkes Cadman, La Crosse Tribune and Leader-Press (28 October 1934), viewable online on p. 9 of the issue here http://newspaperarchive.com/us/wisconsin/la-crosse/la-crosse-tribune-and-leader-press/1934/10-28/ (double-click the page to zoom). The quote is preceded by “In this connection it is worth quoting in free translation a statement made by Professor Einstein last year to one of my colleagues who has been prominently identified with the Protestant church in its contacts with Germany.” [Emphasis added.] While based on something that Einstein said, Einstein himself stated that the quote was not an accurate record of his words or opinion. After the quote appeared in Time magazine (23 December 1940), p. 38 http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,765103,00.html, a minister in Harbor Springs, Michigan wrote to Einstein to check if the quote was real. Einstein wrote back “It is true that I made a statement which corresponds approximately with the text you quoted. I made this statement during the first years of the Nazi-Regime — much earlier than 1940 — and my expressions were a little more moderate.” (March 1943) http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/roadshow/archive/200706A19.html
In a later letter to Rev. Cornelius Greenway of Brooklyn, who asked if Einstein would write out the statement in his own hand, Einstein was more vehement in his repudiation of the statement (14 November 1950) http://books.google.com/books?id=T5R7JsRRtoIC&pg=PA94: <blockquote><p>The wording of the statement you have quoted is not my own. Shortly after Hitler came to power in Germany I had an oral conversation with a newspaper man about these matters. Since then my remarks have been elaborated and exaggerated nearly beyond recognition. I cannot in good conscience write down the statement you sent me as my own.</p><p> The matter is all the more embarrassing to me because I, like yourself, I am predominantly critical concerning the activities, and especially the political activities, through history of the official clergy. Thus, my former statement, even if reduced to my actual words (which I do not remember in detail) gives a wrong impression of my general attitude.</p></blockquote>
: In his original statement Einstein was probably referring to the actions of the Emergency Covenant of Pastors organized by Martin Niemöller, and the Confessing Church which he and other prominent churchmen such as Karl Barth and Dietrich Bonhoeffer established in opposition to Nazi policies.
: Einstein also made some scathingly negative comments about the behavior of the Church under the Nazi regime (and its behavior towards Jews throughout history) in a 1943 conversation with William Hermanns recorded in Hermanns' book Einstein and the Poet (1983). On p. 63 http://books.google.com/books?id=QXCyjj6T5ZUC&lpg=PP1&pg=PA63#v=onepage&q&f=false Hermanns records him saying "Never in history has violence been so widespread as in Nazi Germany. The concentration camps make the actions of Ghengis Khan look like child's play. But what makes me shudder is that the Church is silent. One doesn't need to be a prophet to say, 'The Catholic Church will pay for this silence.' Dr. Hermanns, you will live to see that there is moral law in the universe. . . .There are cosmic laws, Dr. Hermanns. They cannot be bribed by prayers or incense. What an insult to the principles of creation. But remember, that for God a thousand years is a day. This power maneuver of the Church, these Concordats through the centuries with worldly powers . . . the Church has to pay for it. We live now in a scientific age and in a psychological age. You are a sociologist, aren't you? You know what the Herdenmenschen (men of herd mentality) can do when they are organized and have a leader, especially if he is a spokesmen for the Church. I do not say that the unspeakable crimes of the Church for 2000 years had always the blessings of the Vatican, but it vaccinated its believers with the idea: We have the true God, and the Jews have crucified Him. The Church sowed hate instead of love, though the Ten Commandments state: Thou shalt not kill." And then on p. 64 http://books.google.com/books?id=QXCyjj6T5ZUC&lpg=PP1&pg=PA64#v=onepage&q&f=false: "I'm not a Communist but I can well understand why they destroyed the Church in Russia. All the wrongs come home, as the proverb says. The Church will pay for its dealings with Hitler, and Germany, too." And on p. 65 http://books.google.com/books?id=QXCyjj6T5ZUC&lpg=PP1&pg=PA65#v=onepage&q&f=false: "I don't like to implant in youth the Church's doctrine of a personal God, because that Church has behaved so inhumanely in the past 2000 years. The fear of punishment makes the people march. Consider the hate the Church manifested against the Jews and then against the Muslims, the Crusades with their crimes, the burning stakes of the Inquisition, the tacit consent of Hitler's actions while the Jews and the Poles dug their own graves and were slaughtered. And Hitler is said to have been an alter boy! The truly religious man has no fear of life and no fear of death—and certainly no blind faith; his faith must be in his conscience. . . . I am therefore against all organized religion. Too often in history, men have followed the cry of battle rather than the cry of truth." When Hermanns asked him "Isn't it only human to move along the line of least resistance?", Einstein responded "Yes. It is indeed human, as proved by Cardinal Pacelli, who was behind the Concordat with Hitler. Since when can one make a pact with Christ and Satan at the same time? And he is now the Pope! The moment I hear the word 'religion', my hair stands on end. The Church has always sold itself to those in power, and agreed to any bargain in return for immunity. It would have been fine if the spirit of religion had guided the Church; instead, the Church determined the spirit of religion. Churchmen through the ages have fought political and institutional corruption very little, so long as their own sanctity and church property were preserved."
Misattributed

„Were an angel of the Lord to come and drive all the people belonging to these two categories out of the temple, the assemblage would be seriously depleted, but there would still be some men, of both present and past times, left inside. Our Planck is one of them, and that is why we love him.“

—  Albert Einstein

1910s, Principles of Research (1918)
Context: In the temple of science are many mansions, and various indeed are they that dwell therein and the motives that have led them thither. Many take to science out of a joyful sense of superior intellectual power; science is their own special sport to which they look for vivid experience and the satisfaction of ambition; many others are to be found in the temple who have offered the products of their brains on this altar for purely utilitarian purposes. Were an angel of the Lord to come and drive all the people belonging to these two categories out of the temple, the assemblage would be seriously depleted, but there would still be some men, of both present and past times, left inside. Our Planck is one of them, and that is why we love him.
I am quite aware that we have just now lightheartedly expelled in imagination many excellent men who are largely, perhaps chiefly, responsible for the buildings of the temple of science; and in many cases our angel would find it a pretty ticklish job to decide. But of one thing I feel sure: if the types we have just expelled were the only types there were, the temple would never have come to be, any more than a forest can grow which consists of nothing but creepers. For these people any sphere of human activity will do, if it comes to a point; whether they become engineers, officers, tradesmen, or scientists depends on circumstances.
Now let us have another look at those who have found favor with the angel. Most of them are somewhat odd, uncommunicative, solitary fellows, really less like each other, in spite of these common characteristics, than the hosts of the rejected. What has brought them to the temple? That is a difficult question and no single answer will cover it.

„If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.“

—  Albert Einstein

Found in Montana Libraries: Volumes 8-14 (1954), p. cxxx http://books.google.com/books?id=PpwaAAAAMAAJ&q=%22more+fairy+tales%22#search_anchor. The story is given as follows: "In the current New Mexico Library Bulletin, Elizabeth Margulis tells a story of a woman who was a personal friend of the late dean of scientists, Dr. Albert Einstein. Motivated partly by her admiration for him, she held hopes that her son might become a scientist. One day she asked Dr. Einstein's advice about the kind of reading that would best prepare the child for this career. To her surprise, the scientist recommended 'Fairy tales and more fairy tales.' The mother protested that she was really serious about this and she wanted a serious answer; but Dr. Einstein persisted, adding that creative imagination is the essential element in the intellectual equipment of the true scientist, and that fairy tales are the childhood stimulus to this quality." However, it is unclear from this description whether Margulis heard this story personally from the woman who had supposedly had this discussion with Einstein, and the relevant issue of the New Mexico Library Bulletin does not appear to be online.
Variant: "First, give him fairy tales; second, give him fairy tales, and third, give him fairy tales!" Found in The Wilson Library Bulletin, Vol. 37 from 1962, which says on p. 678 http://books.google.com/books?id=KfQOAQAAMAAJ&q=einstein#search_anchor that this quote was reported by "Doris Gates, writer and children's librarian".
Variant: "Fairy tales … More fairy tales … Even more fairy tales". Found in Breaking the Magic Spell: Radical Theories of Folk and Fairy Tales by Jack Zipes (1979), p. 1 http://books.google.com/books?id=MxZFuahqzsMC&lpg=PP1&pg=PA1#v=onepage&q&f=false.
Variant: "If you want your children to be brilliant, tell them fairy tales. If you want them to be very brilliant, tell them even more fairy tales." Found in Chocolate for a Woman's Heart & Soul by Kay Allenbaugh (1998), p. 57 http://books.google.com/books?id=grrpJh7-CfcC&q=brilliant#search_anchor. This version can be found in Usenet posts from before 1998, like this one from 1995 http://groups.google.com/group/rec.music.beatles/msg/cec9a9fdf803b72b?hl=en.
Variant: "If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be very intelligent, read them more fairy tales." Found in Mad, Bad and Dangerous?: The Scientist and the Cinema by Christopher Frayling (2005), p. 6 http://books.google.com/books?id=HjRYA3ELdG0C&lpg=PA6&dq=einstein%20%22want%20your%20children%20to%20be%20intelligent%22&pg=PA6#v=onepage&q=einstein%20%22want%20your%20children%20to%20be%20intelligent%22&f=false.
Variant: "If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales." Found in Super joy English, Volume 8 by 佳音事業機構 (2006), p. 87 http://books.google.com/books?id=-HUBKzP8zsUC&lpg=PP1&pg=PA87#v=onepage&q&f=false
Disputed
Context: Fairy tales and more fairy tales. [in response to a mother who wanted her son to become a scientist and asked Einstein what reading material to give him]

„Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts.“

—  Albert Einstein, book The World as I See It

Variant: Small is the number of them that see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts
Source: "Einstein's Reply to Criticisms" (1949), The World As I See It (1949), p. 66 of the edition at http://books.google.com/books?id=aNKOo94tO6cC&lpg=PP1&pg=PA66#v=onepage&q&f=false

Citát „What is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right.“

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