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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index E > Albert Einstein Quotes > Discovery

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Albert Einstein
(14 Mar 1879 - 18 Apr 1955)

German-American physicist who developed the special and general theories of relativity. He was awarded the 1921 Nobel Prize for Physics for his explanation of the photoelectric effect.



Development of Western science is based on two great achievements: the invention of the formal logical system (in Euclidean geometry) by the Greek philosophers, and the discovery of the possibility to find out causal relationships by systematic experiment (during the Renaissance). In my opinion, one has not to be astonished that the Chinese sages have not made these steps. The astonishing thing is that these discoveries were made at all.
— Albert Einstein
Letter to J. S. Switzer, 23 Apr 1953, Einstein Archive 61-381. Quoted in Alice Calaprice, The Quotable Einstein (1996), 180.
Science quotes on:  |  Cause (231)  |  Enquiry (75)  |  Logic (187)

If you wish to learn from the theoretical physicist anything about the methods which he uses, I would give you the following piece of advice: Don’t listen to his words, examine his achievements. For to the discoverer in that field, the constructions of his imagination appear so necessary and so natural that he is apt to treat them not as the creations of his thoughts but as given realities.
— Albert Einstein
In Herbert Spencer Lecture at Oxford (10 Jun 1933), 'On the Methods of Theoretical Physics'. Printed inPhilosophy of Science (Apr 1934), 1, No. 2, 163.
Science quotes on:  |  Achievement (128)  |  Advice (33)  |  Appearance (77)  |  Construction (69)  |  Creation (211)  |  Discovery (591)  |  Examine (24)  |  Field (119)  |  Imagination (209)  |  Learn (160)  |  Listen (26)  |  Method (154)  |  Necessity (125)  |  Reality (140)  |  Theoretical Physicist (12)  |  Thought (374)  |  Wish (62)  |  Word (221)

Looking back … over the long and labyrinthine path which finally led to the discovery [of the quantum theory], I am vividly reminded of Goethe’s saying that men will always be making mistakes as long as they are striving after something.
— Albert Einstein
Science quotes on:  |  Discovery (591)  |  Error (230)  |  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (127)  |  Labyrinth (9)  |  Lead (101)  |  Mistake (107)  |  Path (59)  |  Quantum Theory (55)  |  Strive (35)  |  Vivid (16)

Our experience up to date justifies us in feeling sure that in Nature is actualized the ideal of mathematical simplicity. It is my conviction that pure mathematical construction enables us to discover the concepts and the laws connecting them, which gives us the key to understanding nature… In a certain sense, therefore, I hold it true that pure thought can grasp reality, as the ancients dreamed.
— Albert Einstein
In Herbert Spencer Lecture at Oxford (10 Jun 1933), 'On the Methods of Theoretical Physics'. Printed in Discovery (Jul 1933), 14, 227. Also quoted in Stefano Zambelli and ‎Donald A. R. George, Nonlinearity, Complexity and Randomness in Economics (2012).
Science quotes on:  |  Ancient (68)  |  Concept (102)  |  Connection (86)  |  Construction (69)  |  Conviction (57)  |  Discovery (591)  |  Dream (92)  |  Enabling (7)  |  Experience (268)  |  Feeling (79)  |  Grasp (43)  |  Ideal (52)  |  Justification (33)  |  Key (38)  |  Law (418)  |  Mathematics (587)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Pure (62)  |  Reality (140)  |  Simplicity (126)  |  Thought (374)  |  Truth (750)  |  Understanding (317)

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.
— Albert Einstein
In letter (1 May 1935), Letters to the Editor, 'The Late Emmy Noether: Professor Einstein Writes in Appreciation of a Fellow-Mathematician', New York Times (4 May 1935), 12.
Science quotes on:  |  Beauty (171)  |  Deep (81)  |  Discovery (591)  |  Formula (51)  |  Idea (440)  |  Law Of Nature (52)  |  Logic (187)  |  Necessity (125)  |  Penetration (13)  |  Poetry (96)  |  Pure Mathematics (27)  |  Seeking (30)  |  Spirit (113)

The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery. There comes a leap in consciousness, call it intuition or what you will, and the solution comes to you and you don’t know why or how.
— Albert Einstein
Quoted in Forbes (15 Sep 1974). In Larry Chang, Wisdom for the Soul (2006), 179.
Science quotes on:  |  Discovery (591)  |  Intellect (157)  |  Intuition (39)  |  Problem (362)  |  Solution (168)

The mind can proceed only so far upon what it knows and can prove. There comes a point where the mind takes a higher plane of knowledge, but can never prove how it got there. All great discoveries have involved such a leap
— Albert Einstein
Ronald W. Clark, Einstein: The Life and Times (1984), 755.
Science quotes on:  |  Discovery (591)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Mind (544)  |  Proof (192)

The process of scientific discovery is, in effect, a continual flight from wonder.
— Albert Einstein
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Continual (13)  |  Discovery (591)  |  Effect (133)  |  Flight (45)  |  Process (201)  |  Scientific (169)  |  Wonder (134)

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.
— Albert Einstein
Science quotes on:  |  Appearance (77)  |  Discovery (591)  |  Feeling (79)  |  Help (68)  |  Intuition (39)  |  Logic (187)  |  Natural Law (26)  |  Order (167)

[Misquotation? Probably not by Einstein.] We owe a lot to the Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made.
— Albert Einstein
Webmaster doubts that this is a true Albert Einstein quote, having been unable to find it in any major collection of quotations (although it is seen widely quoted) and has been unable to find any source or citation elsewhere. The quote seems of the notable kind that, were it valid, it would have surely have been included in a major collection of Einstein quotes. Nor has it been found attributed to someone else. So, since it is impossible to prove a negative, Webmaster can only caution anyone using this quote that it seems to be an orphan. To provide this warning is the reason it is included here. Neither can it be found attributed to someone else. Otherwise, remember the words of Studs Terkel: “I like quoting Einstein. Know why? Because nobody dares contradict you.” in ‘Voice of America’, The Guardian (1 Mar 2002). If you have knowledge of a primary source, please contact the Webmaster.
Science quotes on:  |  Count (34)  |  Discovery (591)  |  India (15)  |  Misattributed (3)  |  Worthwhile (9)


See also:
  • 14 Mar - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Einstein's birth.
  • Albert Einstein - My Theory - The Times (1919).
  • Geometry and Experience - Address by Albert Einstein to the Prussian Academy of Sciences (27 Jan 1921).
  • Even Einstein's Little Universe Is Big Enough - New York Times article (2 Feb 1921).
  • Large color picture of Albert Einstein (850 x 1000 px).
  • Albert Einstein - Context of “God … integrates empirically” quote - Medium image (500 x 350 px)
  • Albert Einstein - Context of “Laws of mathematics refer to reality” quote
  • Albert Einstein - Context of “Laws of mathematics refer to reality” quote - with Large image (800 x 600 px).
  • Albert Einstein - Context of “God … integrates empirically” quote - Large image (800 x 600 px)
  • Albert Einstein - context of quote Mathematics…a product of human thought - Medium image (500 x 350 px)
  • Albert Einstein - context of quote Mathematics…a product of human thought - Large image (800 x 600 px)
  • Albert Einstein - context of quote “Politics is more difficult than physics” - Medium image (500 x 350 px)
  • Albert Einstein - context of quote “Politics is more difficult than physics” - Large image (800 x 600 px)
  • Albert Einstein - context of quote “Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind.” - Medium image (500 x 350 px)
  • Albert Einstein - context of quote “Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind.” - Large image (800 x 600 px)
  • Albert Einstein - context of quote The Lord God is subtle - Medium image (500 x 350 px)
  • Albert Einstein - context of quote The Lord God is subtle - Large image (800 x 600 px)
  • Albert Einstein - context of quote Imagination is more important than knowledge - Medium image (500 x 350 px)
  • Albert Einstein - context of quote Imagination is more important than knowledge - Large image (800 x 600 px)
  • Albert Einstein - context of quote A theory can be proved by experiment - Medium image (500 x 350 px)
  • Albert Einstein - context of quote A theory can be proved by experiment - Large image (800 x 600 px)
  • Albert Einstein - context of quote Falling in love is not at all the most stupid thing - Medium image (500 x 350 px)
  • Albert Einstein - context of quote Falling in love is not at all the most stupid thing - Large image (800 x 600 px)
  • Albert Einstein - context of quote That is relativity - Medium image (500 x 350 px)
  • Albert Einstein - context of quote That is relativity - Large image (800 x 600 px)
  • Albert Einstein - context of quote “One thing I have learned in a long life” - Medium image (500 x 350 px)
  • Albert Einstein - context of quote One thing I have learned in a long life - Large image (800 x 600 px)
  • Albert Einstein - context of quote “Why is the electron negative?” - Medium image (500 x 350 px)
  • Albert Einstein - context of quote “Why is the electron negative?” - Large image (800 x 600 px)
  • Albert Einstein - context of quote “The formulation of a problem is often far more essential than its solution” - Medium image (500 x 350 px)
  • Albert Einstein - context of quote “The formulation of a problem is often far more essential than its solution” - Large image (800 x 600 px)
  • Albert Einstein - context of quote “Our exalted technological progress” - Medium image (500 x 350 px)
  • Albert Einstein - context of quote “Our exalted technological progress” - Large image (800 x 600 px)
  • Albert Einstein - context of quote “There exists a passion for comprehension” - Medium image (500 x 350 px)
  • Albert Einstein - context of quote “There exists a passion for comprehension” - Large image (800 x 600 px)
  • Albert Einstein - context of quote “An equation is for eternity” - Medium image (500 x 350 px)
  • Albert Einstein - context of quote “An equation is for eternity” - Large image (800 x 600 px)
  • Subtle Is the Lord: The Science and the Life of Albert Einstein, by Abraham Pais. - book suggestion.
  • Booklist for Albert Einstein.

Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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