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Einstein Quotes


Einstein's Big Idea homepage

"The state of mind which enables a man to do work of this kind ... is akin to that of the religious worshipper or the lover; the daily effort comes from no deliberate intention or program, but straight from the heart."

—From "Principles of Research," a speech delivered at Max Planck's 60th birthday celebration, 1918; published in Mein Weltbild, by Albert Einstein (Amsterdam: Querido Verlag, 1934); reprinted in Ideas and Opinions, by Albert Einstein (New York: Crown, 1954), pp. 224-227; Expanded, p. 235

"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."

—To Nobel laureate James Franck, on his belief that it is usually children, not adults, who reflect on space-time problems. Quoted in Helle Zeit, Dunkle Zeit: In Memoriam Albert Einstein, edited by Carl Seelig (Zurich: Europa Verlag, 1956), p. 72; Expanded, pp. 20-21

"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."

—From a message for a Ben Schemen dinner, March 1952; Einstein Archive 28-932; Expanded, p. 286

"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."

—From the memoirs of William Miller, an editor, quoted in Life magazine, May 2, 1955; Expanded, p. 281

"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."

—Letter to Maurice Solovine, October 30, 1924; Einstein Archive 21-195; published in Letters to Solovine, 1906-1955, by Albert Einstein. Trans. from the French by Wade Baskin, with facsimile letters in German. (New York: Carol Publishing, 1993); Expanded, p. 245

"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."

—Quoted in Albert Einstein: Creator and Rebel, by Banesh Hoffmann (New York: Viking, 1972), v; Expanded, p. 261

"Why is it that nobody understands me, and everybody likes me?"

—From an interview, The New York Times, March 12, 1944; Expanded, p. 14




Note: All quotes drawn from The Expanded Quotable Einstein, collected and edited by Alice Calaprice (Princeton University Press, 2000)

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