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

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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.



Falling in love is not at all the most stupid thing that people do, but gravitation cannot be held responsible for it.
Scribbled by Einstein on a letter received during a visit to England (1933) from a man who suggested that gravity meant that as the world rotated people were sometimes upside down, horizontal, or at 'left angles' and that perhaps, this disorientation explained why people do foolish things like falling in love.
— Albert Einstein
In Helen Dukas and Banesh Hoffmann (editors.), Einstein: The Human Side (1981), 56.
Science quotes on:  |  Gravitation (18)  |  Love (87)  |  Stupidity (17)

I believe in intuition and inspiration. Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution. It is, strictly speaking, a real factor in scientific research.
— Albert Einstein
Cosmic Religion: With Other Opinions and Aphorisms (1931), 97.
Science quotes on:  |  Belief (215)  |  Birth (60)  |  Embrace (14)  |  Evolution (378)  |  Factor (22)  |  Imagination (175)  |  Inspiration (37)  |  Intuition (29)  |  Knowledge (879)  |  Limited (9)  |  Progress (253)  |  Research (400)  |  Stimulation (9)

I believe with Schopenhauer that one 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 personal life into the world of objective perception and thought; this desire may be compared with the townsman’s irresistible longing to escape from his noisy, cramped surroundings into the silence of high mountains, where the eye ranges freely through the still, pure air and fondly traces out the restful contours apparently built for eternity.
— Albert Einstein
Address at The Physical Society, Berlin (1918) for Max Planck’s 60th birthday, 'Principles of Research', collected in Essays in Science (1934) 2.
Science quotes on:  |  Air (108)  |  Apparently (6)  |  Belief (215)  |  Built (6)  |  Compared (7)  |  Contour (2)  |  Crudity (3)  |  Desire (63)  |  Dreariness (3)  |  Escape (21)  |  Eternity (28)  |  Everyday (9)  |  Eye (105)  |  Finely (2)  |  Freely (4)  |  High (21)  |  Hopelessness (4)  |  Irresistible (5)  |  Life (606)  |  Longing (7)  |  Motive (18)  |  Mountain (85)  |  Nature (688)  |  Objective (27)  |  Pain (65)  |  Perception (32)  |  Personal (20)  |  Pure (28)  |  Range (19)  |  Arthur Schopenhauer (13)  |  Science And Art (130)  |  Shifting (2)  |  Silence (18)  |  Strongest (4)  |  Surrounding (9)  |  Tempered (2)  |  Thought (237)  |  Trace (14)  |  World (365)

If my theory of relativity is proven successful, Germany will claim me as a German and France will declare I am a citizen of the world. Should my theory prove untrue, France will say I am a German and Germany will declare I am a Jew.
— Albert Einstein
Quoted in Alice Calaprice, The Quotable Einstein (1996), 8.
Science quotes on:  |  Jew (6)  |  Nationalism (3)  |  Relativity (38)

In my opinion there is no other salvation for civilization and even for the human race than the creation of a world government with security on the basis of law. As long as there are sovereign states with their separate armaments and armament secrets, new world wars cannot be avoided.
— Albert Einstein
Interview comment reported in 'For a World Government: Einstein Says This is Only Way to Save Mankind', New York Times (15 Sep 1945), 11.
Science quotes on:  |  Armament (2)  |  Avoidance (8)  |  Basis (35)  |  Civilization (119)  |  Creation (171)  |  Government (60)  |  Human Race (33)  |  Law (334)  |  New (178)  |  Opinion (104)  |  Salvation (2)  |  Secret (61)  |  Security (18)  |  Sovereign (2)  |  State (50)  |  War (99)  |  World (365)  |  World War II (7)

Man tries to make for himself in the fashion that suits him best a simplified and intelligible picture of the world; he then tries to some extent to substitute this cosmos of his for the world of experience, and thus to overcome it. This is what the painter, the poet, the speculative philosopher, and the natural scientist do, each in his own fashion. Each makes this cosmos and its construction the pivot of his emotional life, in order to find in this way the peace and security which he cannot find in the narrow whirlpool of personal experience.
— Albert Einstein
Address at The Physical Society, Berlin (1918) for Max Planck’s 60th birthday, 'Principles of Research', collected in Essays in Science (1934, 2004) 3.
Science quotes on:  |  Best (73)  |  Construction (54)  |  Cosmos (28)  |  Experience (171)  |  Extent (14)  |  Fashion (17)  |  Intelligible (3)  |  Life (606)  |  Narrow (21)  |  Natural Scientist (2)  |  Overcome (5)  |  Painter (11)  |  Peace (38)  |  Personal (20)  |  Philosopher (92)  |  Picture (35)  |  Poet (45)  |  Science And Art (130)  |  Security (18)  |  Speculative (2)  |  Substitute (14)  |  Suit (3)  |  Try (45)  |  World (365)

Now [Michele Besso] has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That signifies nothing. For us believing in physicists, the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.
— Albert Einstein
Letter of condolence to Michele Besso's family (21 Mar 1955). In Tabatha Yeatts, Albert Einstein (2007), 116. (Besso died on 15 Mar 1955. Einstein died 18 Apr 1955.)
Science quotes on:  |  Physicist (88)

One may say “the eternal mystery of the world is its comprehensibility” … The fact that it is comprehensible is a miracle.
— Albert Einstein
‘Physics and Reality’, Franklin Institute Journal (Mar 1936). Collected in Out of My Later Years (1950), 60.
Science quotes on:  |  Eternal (26)  |  Fact (414)  |  Miracle (32)  |  Mystery (87)  |  World (365)

Physical concepts are free creations of the human mind, and are not, however it may seem, uniquely determined by the external world. In our endeavour to understand reality we are somewhat like a man trying to understand the mechanism of a closed watch. He sees the face and the moving hands, even hears its ticking, but he has no way of opening the case. If he is ingenious he may form some picture of a mechanism which could be responsible for all the things he observes, but he may never be quite sure his picture is the only one which could explain his observations. He will never be able to compare his picture with the real mechanism and he cannot even imagine the possibility or the meaning of such a comparison. But he certainly believes that, as his knowledge increases, his picture of reality will become simpler and simpler and will explain a wider and wider range of his sensuous impressions. He may also believe in the existence of the ideal limit of knowledge and that it is approached by the human mind. He may call this ideal limit the objective truth.
— Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein and Leopold Infeld, The Evolution of Physics (1938), 33.
Science quotes on:  |  Enquiry (72)

Scientific research can reduce superstition by encouraging people to think and survey things in terms of cause and effect. Certain it is that a conviction, akin to religious feeling, of the rationality or intelligibility of the world lies behind all scientific work of a higher order.
— Albert Einstein
From 'Scientific Truth' in Essays in Science (1934, 2004), 11.
Science quotes on:  |  Cause And Effect (5)  |  Certain (28)  |  Conviction (33)  |  Encouraging (2)  |  Feeling (62)  |  Higher (23)  |  Order (90)  |  Person (75)  |  Rationality (6)  |  Reduce (14)  |  Religious (11)  |  Research (400)  |  Science And Religion (196)  |  Scientific (95)  |  Superstition (40)  |  Survey (11)  |  Think (31)  |  Work (283)  |  World (365)

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 most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible.
— Albert Einstein
In Banesh Hoffmann and Helen Dukas, Albert Einstein: Creator and Rebel (1972, 1973), 18.
Science quotes on:  |  Understanding (297)

The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.
— Albert Einstein
Widely quoted, but without citation, for example in Eve Herold, George Daley, Stem Cell Wars (2007), 79. If you know a primary source, please contact Webmaster.
Science quotes on:  |  Dangerous (18)  |  Do (20)  |  Evil (44)  |  Nothing (136)  |  World (365)

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.
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What a deep faith in the rationality of the structure of the world and what a longing to understand even a small glimpse of the reason revealed in the world there must have been in Kepler and Newton to enable them to unravel the mechanism of the heavens in long years of lonely work!
— Albert Einstein
'Religion and Science', The New York Times (9 Nov 1930), Sunday Magazine, 1.
Science quotes on:  |  Johannes Kepler (53)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (213)  |  Science And Religion (196)  |  Universe (347)

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)

You believe in the God who plays dice, and I in complete law and order in a world that objectively exists, and which I, in a wildly speculative way, am trying to capture. … Even the great initial success of the quantum theory does not make me believe in the fundamental dice-game, although I am well aware that our younger colleagues interpret this as a consequence of senility. No doubt the day will come when we will see whose instinctive attitude was the correct one.
— Albert Einstein
Letter to Max Born (7 Sep 1944). In Born-Einstein Letters, 146. Einstein Archives 8-207. In Albert Einstein, Alice Calaprice, Freeman Dyson, The Ultimate Quotable Einstein (2011), 393.
Science quotes on:  |  Belief (215)  |  Completion (14)  |  Dice (8)  |  Existence (180)  |  God (271)  |  Law (334)  |  Objective (27)  |  Order (90)  |  World (365)


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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