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Einstein Quotes

Many quotes are from  Kevin Harris, some are  from The Expanded Quotable Einstein, collected and edited by Alice Calaprice (Princeton University Press, 2000), brainy quotes, The World as I See It by Albert Einstein, and other sources.


“Physical concepts are free creations of the human mind, and are not, however they may seem, uniquely determined by the external world.”

“The problems encountered in this level of consciousness cannot be solved in this level of consciousness.”

“As long as standing armies exist, there will always be the threat of war.”

“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity.”

“The truth is like an infinite wheel.  With each turn of the wheel we get closer to the truth, but we can never completely reach it.”

“The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible.”

“Imagination is more important than knowledge, for knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world.”

“I have no special gift; I am just passionately curious.”

Einstein was once asked, “How are you?” He replied, Relative to what?”

“If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn’t be called research.”

“Speak slowly, I don’t understand things quickly.”

“The hardest part was not solving the problems, but rather asking questions.  For once the right question is asked, the solution becomes apparent.”

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.


Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction."

"Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love."

"I want to know God's thoughts; the rest are details."

"The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax."

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

"The only real valuable thing is intuition."

"A person starts to live when he can live outside himself."

"I am convinced that He (God) does not play dice."

"God is subtle but he is not malicious."

"Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character."

"I never think of the future. It comes soon enough." 

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

"Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind."

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."

"Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."

"Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen."

"Science is a wonderful thing if one does not have to earn one's living at it."

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

"The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education."

"God does not care about our mathematical difficulties. He integrates empirically."

"The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking."

"Technological progress is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal."

"Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding."

"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."

"Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school."

"The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing."

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

"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."

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

"Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods."

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

"In order to form an immaculate member of a flock of sheep one must, above all, be a sheep."

"The fear of death is the most unjustified of all fears, for there's no risk of accident for someone who's dead."

"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."

"No, this trick won't work...How on earth are you ever going to explain in terms of chemistry and physics so important a biological phenomenon as first love?"

"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."

"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."

"The release of atom power has changed everything except our way of thinking...the solution to this problem lies in the heart of mankind. If only I had known, I should have become a watchmaker."

"Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence."

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed."

"The further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge."

"Now he has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion."

"One had to cram all this stuff into one's mind for the examinations, whether one liked it or not. This coercion had such a deterring effect on me that, after I had passed the final examination, I found the consideration of any scientific problems distasteful to me for an entire year."

" of the strongest motives that lead men to art and science is escape from everyday life with its painful crudity and hopeless dreariness, from the fetters of one's own ever-shifting desires. A finely tempered nature longs to escape from the personal life into the world of objective perception and thought."

"He who joyfully marches to music rank and file, has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice. This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, senseless violence, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism, how passionately I hate all this. How despicable and ignoble 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."

"A human being is a part of a whole, called by us _universe_, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest... a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."

Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts." (Sign hanging in Einstein's office at Princeton).

One thing I have learned in a long life: that all our science, measured against reality, is primitive and childlike—and yet it is the most precious thing we have

"My interest in science was always essentially limited to the study of principles.... That I have published so little is due to this same circumstance, as the great need to grasp principles has caused me to spend most of my time on fruitless pursuits."

"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."

"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—indeed, to avoid sterility and petrification."

"The ordinary adult never gives a thought to space-time problems.... I, on the contrary, developed so slowly that I did not begin to wonder about space and time until I was an adult. I then delved more deeply into the problem than any other adult or child would have done."

You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.


Without deep reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people.


You ask me if I keep a notebook to record my great ideas. I've only ever had one.


When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than any talent for abstract, positive thinking.


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


We still do not know one thousandth of one percent of what nature has revealed to us.


True religion is real living; living with all one's soul, with all one's goodness and righteousness.


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


We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.


To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science.


To the Master's honor all must turn, each in its track, without a sound, forever tracing Newton's ground.


There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.


There comes a time when the mind takes a higher plane of knowledge but can never prove how it got there.


There could be no fairer destiny for any physical theory than that it should point the way to a more comprehensive theory in which it lives on as a limiting case.

The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.


The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking and we thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.


The value of a man should be seen in what he gives and not in what he is able to receive.


The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives.


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


The only real valuable thing is intuition.


The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once.


The only source of knowledge is experience.


The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.


The process of scientific discovery is, in effect, a continual flight from wonder.

The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.


The man of science is a poor philosopher.


The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind.


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


The gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge.


The grand aim of all science is to cover the greatest number of empirical facts by logical deduction from the smallest number of hypotheses or axioms.


The hardest thing to understand in the world is the income tax.


I used to go away for weeks in a state of confusion.

I do not believe in the God of theology who rewards good and punishes evil.


I do not believe that civilization will be wiped out in a war fought with the atomic bomb. Perhaps two-thirds of the people of the earth will be killed.


I have just got a new theory of eternity.


The high destiny of the individual is to serve rather than to rule.


The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.


The distinction between the past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.


When the solution is simple, God is answering.


When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder a second seems like an hour. That's relativity.


Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters. .


We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.


The environment is everything that isn't me.


The faster you go, the shorter you are.


That deep emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God.


The attempt to combine wisdom and power has only rarely been successful and then only for a short while.


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


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.


Force always attracts men of low morality.


Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.

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.


The devil has put a penalty on all things we enjoy in life. Either we suffer in health or we suffer in soul or we get fat.


The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.


No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.


Nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced.


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.


Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind.


Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it.


True art is characterized by an irresistible urge in the creative artist.

There is no logical way to the discovery of these elemental laws. There is only the way of intuition, which is helped by a feeling for the order lying behind the appearance.


Things should be made as simple as possible, but not any simpler.


The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it.

Never lose a holy curiosity.


No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.


Memory is deceptive because it is colored by today's events.


Morality is of the highest importance - but for us, not for God.


Confusion of goals and perfection of means seems, in my opinion, to characterize our age.


A question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or are the others crazy?


A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit and a violin; what else does a man need to be happy?


A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be.


Common sense invents and constructs no less than its own field than science does in its domain. It is, however, in the nature of common sense not to be aware of this situation.


Most of the fundamental ideas of science are essentially simple, and may, as a rule, be expressed in a language comprehensible to everyone.


Most people say that is it is the intellect which makes a great scientist. They are wrong: it is character.

Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.


Anger dwells only in the bosom of fools.


Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.

All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree.


All that is valuable in human society depends upon the opportunity for development accorded the individual.


All these primary impulses, not easily described in words, are the springs of man's actions.

Love is a better teacher than duty.

It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer.


Joy in looking and comprehending is nature's most beautiful gift.


Knowledge of what is does not open the door directly to what should be.


Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.


Let every man be respected as an individual and no man idolized.

It is strange to be known so universally and yet to be so lonely.


It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.


It should be possible to explain the laws of physics to a barmaid.


It stands to the everlasting credit of science that by acting on the human mind it has overcome man's insecurity before himself and before nature.


It was the experience of mystery - even if mixed with fear - that engendered religion.

It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.


It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.


It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.


It is only to the individual that a soul is given.


Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.


Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.


Intellectuals solve problems, geniuses prevent them.


Isn't it strange that I who have written only unpopular books should be such a popular fellow?


It gives me great pleasure indeed to see the stubbornness of an incorrigible nonconformist warmly acclaimed.


In matters of truth and justice, there is no difference between large and small problems, for issues concerning the treatment of people are all the same.


Information is not knowledge.

Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions.


As far as I'm concerned, I prefer silent vice to ostentatious virtue.


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


Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.


Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.

An empty stomach is not a good political adviser.

If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed.


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

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


I shall never believe that God plays dice with the world.


I think and think for months and years. Ninety-nine times, the conclusion is false. The hundredth time I am right.


I live in that solitude which is painful in youth, but delicious in the years of maturity.

I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation and is but a reflection of human frailty.


I do not believe in immortality of the individual, and I consider ethics to be an exclusively human concern with no superhuman authority behind it.

I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination.


I am not only a pacifist but a militant pacifist. I am willing to fight for peace. Nothing will end war unless the people themselves refuse to go to war.


I believe that a simple and unassuming manner of life is best for everyone, best both for the body and the mind.


Heroism on command, senseless violence, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism - how passionately I hate them!


Human beings must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it.


I am a deeply religious nonbeliever - this is a somewhat new kind of religion.

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


He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.

Other inspirational quotations

What the mind can conceive, and believe, it can achieve.”  --Napolean Hill

 “If you see the obstacles, you’ve taken your eyes off the goal.”

“Give and it shall be given you.”  --Luke

“Every day is a wonderful day.”  --Six year old boy with leukemia

“Life is an occasion, rise to it.”  --Mr. Magorium

“More gold has been mined from the thoughts of men than has ever been t6aken from the earth.” --Napolean Hill

“You reap what you sow.”

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”  --Eleanor Roosevelt

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you too, can become great.”  --Mark Twain

“If you believe in yourself, you can do anything.”

“Find what the customer really wants, and give it to him.”

“Visualize your dream—imagine it in your mind.”

“As long as you can admire and love, one is young forever.”  --Pablo Casals

Admire those who inspire you; inspire those who admire you.”

“What I’ve dared, I’ve willed. . .and what I’ve willed, I’ll do.”  --Herman Melville

“I use not only all the brains I have, but all the brains I can borrow.”  Woodrow Wilson

“To do for the world more than the world does for you—that is success.”  --Henry Ford

"Better to light a candle than curse the darkness."

"There's a delight that comes from helping other people."  --Paul Newman