Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Albert Einstein

German-born American Physicist, Humanitarian, Philosopher

"A perfection of means, and confusion of aims, seems to be our main problem."

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

"A person who never made a mistake, never did anything new. "

"A photograph never grows old. You and I change, people change all through the months and years but a photograph always remains the same. How nice to look at a photograph of mother or father taken many years ago. You see them as you remember them. But as people live on, they change completely. That is why I think a photograph can be kind. "

"A problem can't be solved with the same level of thinking that created it. "

"A ship is always safe at the shore - but that is NOT what it is built for. "

"A society's competitive advantage will come not from how well its schools teach the multiplication and periodic tables, but from how well they stimulate imagination and creativity. "

"A storm broke loose in my mind."

"A theory can be proved by experiment; but no path leads from experiment to the birth of a theory."

"A theory is something nobody believes, except the person who made it. An experiment is something everybody believes, except the person who made it. "

"A theory is the more impressive the greater the simplicity of its premises is, the more different kinds of things it relates, and the more extended is its area of applicability. Therefore the deep impression which classical thermodynamics made upon me. It is the only physical theory of universal content concerning which I am convinced that within the framework of the applicability of its basic concepts, it will never be overthrown."

"A theory must be as simple as possible but not simpler "

"A true genius admits that he/she knows nothing. "

"Adversity introduces a man to himself. "

"All generalizations are false, including this one. "

"All great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. "

"All of us who are concerned for peace and triumph of reason and justice must be keenly aware how small an influence reason and honest good will exert upon events in the political field."

"All our thoughts and concepts are called up by sense-experiences and have a meaning only in reference to these sense-experiences. On the other hand, however, they are products of the spontaneous activity of our minds. They are thus in no wise logical consequences of the content of these sense-experiences. We must therefore investigate how they are related to the experience."

"All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom."

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

"All the fifty years of conscious brooding have brought me no closer to answer the question, 'What are light quanta?' Of course today every rascal thinks he knows the answer, but he is deluding himself."

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

"Although I am a typical loner in my daily life, my consciousness of belonging to the invisible community of those who strive for truth, beauty, and justice has preserved me from feeling isolated."

"Always do what's right; this will gratify some and astonish the rest. "

"America is today the hope of all honorable men who respect the rights of their fellow men and who believe in the principle of freedom and justice. "

"An autocratic system of coercion, in my opinion soon degenerates. For force always attract men of low morality. "

"An autocratic system of coercion, in my opinion, soon degenerates. For force always attracts men of low morality, and I believe it to be an invariable rule that tyrants of genius are succeeded by scoundrels."

"Any fool can know. The point is to understand. "

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

"Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either. "

"Anyone who thinks science is trying to make human life easier or more pleasant is utterly mistaken."

"Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity. "

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

"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."

"As for the search for truth, I know from my own painful searching, with its many blind alleys, how hard it is to take a reliable step, be it ever so small, towards the understanding of that which is truly significant."

"As long as I have any choice in the matter, I will live only in a country where civil liberty, tolerance and equality of all citizens before the law are the rule."

"As our circle of knowledge expands, so does the circumference of darkness surrounding it. "

"As punishment for my contempt for authority, Fate has made me an authority myself. "

"As the area of light expands, so does the perimeter of darkness. "

"At least once a day, allow yourself the freedom to think and dream for yourself. "

"Bear in mind that the wonderful things you learn in your schools are the work of many generations. All this is put in your hands as your inheritance in order that you may receive it, honor it, add to it, and one day faithfully hand it on to your children. "

"Beyond the realms of what we see, into the regions or the unexplored limited only by our imaginations. "

"Black holes are where God divided by zero. "

"Blind belief in authority is the greatest enemy of truth. "

"Brief is this existence, as a visit in a strange house. The path to be pursued is poorly lit by a flickering consciousness. "

"Buddhism has the characteristics of what would be expected in a cosmic religion for the future: it transcends a personal God, avoids dogmas and theology; it covers both the natural & spiritual, and it is based on a religious sense aspiring from the experience of all things, natural and spiritual, as a meaningful unity. "

"Bureaucracy is the death of all sound work. "

"But without deeper reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people--first of all for those upon whose smiles and well-being our own happiness is wholly dependent, and then for the many, unknown to us, to whose destinies we are bound by the ties of sympathy. "

"But, on the other hand, everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe — a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble."

"By an application of the theory of relativity to the taste of readers, today in Germany I am called a German man of science, and in England I am represented as a Swiss Jew. If I come to be represented as a bête noire, the descriptions will be reversed, and I shall become a Swiss Jew for the Germans and a German man of science for the English!"