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

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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.



All of our exalted technological progress, civilization for that matter, is comparable to an axe in the hand of a pathological criminal.
— Albert Einstein
Letter to Heinrich Zangger (Dec 1917), Collected Papers Vol. 8, 412, as cited in Jürgen Neffe, Einstein: A Biography (2007), 256.
Science quotes on:  |  Axe (5)  |  Civilization (119)  |  Comparable (4)  |  Criminal (8)  |  Exalted (3)  |  Hand (59)  |  Pathological (4)  |  Progress (253)  |  Technology (124)

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 (167)  |  Enquiry (72)  |  Logic (154)

It must be conceded that a theory has an important advantage if its basic concepts and fundamental hypotheses are 'close to experience,' and greater confidence in such a theory is certainly justified. There is less danger of going completely astray, particularly since it takes so much less time and effort to disprove such theories by experience. Yet more and more, as the depth of our knowledge increases, we must give up this advantage in our quest for logical simplicity in the foundations of physical theory...
— Albert Einstein
'On the Generalized Theory of Gravitation', Scientific American (Apr 1950), 13. In David H. Levy (Ed.), The Scientific American Book of the Cosmos (2000), 19.
Science quotes on:  |  Experience (171)  |  Hypothesis (187)  |  Knowledge (879)  |  Proof (162)  |  Theory (446)

Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas. … [By seeking] 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 (125)  |  Deep (29)  |  Discovery (480)  |  Formula (40)  |  Idea (313)  |  Law Of Nature (41)  |  Logic (154)  |  Necessity (104)  |  Penetration (11)  |  Poetry (77)  |  Pure Mathematics (13)  |  Seeking (30)  |  Spirit (72)

Science is the attempt to make the chaotic diversity of our sense-experience correspond to a logically uniform system of thought.
— Albert Einstein
Out of my Later Years (1950, 1995), 98.
Science quotes on:  |  Enquiry (72)  |  Science (1133)

The grand aim of all science is to cover the greatest number of empirical facts by logical deduction from the smallest possible number of hypotheses or axioms.
— Albert Einstein
As quoted in Lincoln Barnett, The Universe and Dr. Einstein (1950), 110.
Science quotes on:  |  Axiom (16)  |  Deduction (41)  |  Fact (414)  |  Hypothesis (187)  |  Science (1133)

The importance of C.F. Gauss for the development of modern physical theory and especially for the mathematical fundament of the theory of relativity is overwhelming indeed; also his achievement of the system of absolute measurement in the field of electromagnetism. In my opinion it is impossible to achieve a coherent objective picture of the world on the basis of concepts which are taken more or less from inner psychological experience.
— Albert Einstein
Quoted in G. Waldo Dunnington, Carl Friedrich Gauss: Titan of Science (2004), 350.
Science quotes on:  |  Electromagnetism (17)  |  Carl Friedrich Gauss (53)  |  Relativity (38)

The supreme task of the physicist is to arrive at those universal elementary laws from which the cosmos can be built up by pure deduction. There is no logical path to these laws; only intuition, resting on sympathetic understanding of experience, can reach them.
— Albert Einstein
Address (1918) for Max Planck's 60th birthday, at Physical Society, Berlin, 'Principles of Research' in Essays in Science (1934), 4.
Science quotes on:  |  Cosmos (28)  |  Deduction (41)  |  Elementary (18)  |  Experience (171)  |  Intuition (29)  |  Law (334)  |  Logic (154)  |  Path (35)  |  Physicist (88)  |  Supreme (9)  |  Task (44)  |  Understanding (297)

The theoretical idea … does not arise apart from and independent of experience; nor can it be derived from experience by a purely logical procedure. It is produced by a creative act. Once a theoretical idea has been acquired, one does well to hold fast to it until it leads to an untenable conclusion.
— Albert Einstein
'On the Generalized Theory of Gravitation', Scientific American (Apr 1950). Collected in David H. Levy (ed.), The Scientific American Book of the Cosmos (2000), 14.
Science quotes on:  |  Conclusion (91)  |  Creativity (57)  |  Experience (171)  |  Hold (29)  |  Theory (446)  |  Untenable (2)

We reverence ancient Greece as the cradle of western science. Here for the first time the world witnessed the miracle of a logical system which proceeded from step to step with such precision that every single one of its propositions was absolutely indubitable—I refer to Euclid’s geometry. This admirable triumph of reasoning gave the human intellect the necessary confidence in itself for its subsequent achievements. If Euclid failed to kindle your youthful enthusiasm, then you were not born to be a scientific thinker.
— Albert Einstein
From 'On the Method of Theoretical Physics', in Essays in Science (1934, 2004), 13.
Science quotes on:  |  Absolutely (7)  |  Achievement (96)  |  Admirable (8)  |  Ancient (41)  |  Born (10)  |  Confidence (21)  |  Cradle (4)  |  Enthusiasm (24)  |  Euclid (27)  |  Failed (2)  |  First (71)  |  Geometry (87)  |  Greece (6)  |  Intellect (128)  |  Logic (154)  |  Miracle (32)  |  Necessary (44)  |  Precision (27)  |  Proposition (39)  |  Reasoning (70)  |  Reverence (18)  |  Science (1133)  |  Scientific (95)  |  Single (36)  |  Step (39)  |  Subsequent (8)  |  System (90)  |  Thinker (10)  |  Time (252)  |  Triumph (26)  |  Western (7)  |  World (365)

What I'm really interested in is whether God could have made the world in a different way; that is, whether the necessity of logical simplicity leaves any freedom at all.
Told to Ernst Straus.
— Albert Einstein
Quoted in Gerald Holton, The Scientific Imagination: Case Studies (1978), xii.
Science quotes on:  |  God (271)  |  Logic (154)

[Kepler] had to realize clearly that logical-mathematical theoretizing, no matter how lucid, could not guarantee truth by itself; that the most beautiful logical theory means nothing in natural science without comparison with the exactest experience. Without this philosophic attitude, his work would not have been possible.
— Albert Einstein
From Introduction that Einstein wrote for Carola Baumgardt and Jamie Callan, Johannes Kepler Life and Letters (1953), 13.
Science quotes on:  |  Attitude (24)  |  Beautiful (28)  |  Clearly (5)  |  Comparison (43)  |  Experience (171)  |  Guarantee (11)  |  Johannes Kepler (53)  |  Logic (154)  |  Mathematics (471)  |  Matter (176)  |  Natural Science (39)  |  Philosophy (164)  |  Possible (35)  |  Realize (12)  |  Theory (446)  |  Truth (573)  |  Work (283)


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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