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  Albert Einstein  
Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein, (born March 14, 1879, Ulm, Württemberg, Germany—died April 18, 1955, Princeton, New Jersey, U.S.), German-born physicist who developed the special and general theories of relativity and won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1921 for his explanation of the photoelectric effect. Einstein is generally considered the most influential physicist of the 20th century.

Childhood and education
Einstein’s parents were secular, middle-class Jews. His father, Hermann Einstein, was originally a featherbed salesman and later ran an electrochemical factory with moderate success. His mother, the former Pauline Koch, ran the family household. He had one sister, Maria (who went by the name Maja), born two years after Albert.

Einstein would write that two “wonders” deeply affected his early years. The first was his encounter with a compass at age five. He was mystified that invisible forces could deflect the needle. This would lead to a lifelong fascination with invisible forces. The second wonder came at age 12 when he discovered a book of geometry, which he devoured, calling it his “sacred little geometry book.”

Einstein became deeply religious at age 12, even composing several songs in praise of God and chanting religious songs on the way to school. This began to change, however, after he read science books that contradicted his religious beliefs. This challenge to established authority left a deep and lasting impression. At the Luitpold Gymnasium, Einstein often felt out of place and victimized by a Prussian-style educational system that seemed to stifle originality and creativity. One teacher even told him that he would never amount to anything.

Einstein at the age of 3 in 1882


Yet another important influence on Einstein was a young medical student, Max Talmud (later Max Talmey), who often had dinner at the Einstein home. Talmud became an informal tutor, introducing Einstein to higher mathematics and philosophy. A pivotal turning point occurred when Einstein was 16. Talmud had earlier introduced him to a children’s science series by Aaron Bernstein, Naturwissenschaftliche Volksbucher (1867–68; Popular Books on Physical Science), in which the author imagined riding alongside electricity that was traveling inside a telegraph wire. Einstein then asked himself the question that would dominate his thinking for the next 10 years: What would a light beam look like if you could run alongside it? If light were a wave, then the light beam should appear stationary, like a frozen wave. Even as a child, though, he knew that stationary light waves had never been seen, so there was a paradox. Einstein also wrote his first “scientific paper” at that time (“The Investigation of the State of Aether in Magnetic Fields”).

Einstein’s education was disrupted by his father’s repeated failures at business. In 1894, after his company failed to get an important contract to electrify the city of Munich, Hermann Einstein moved to Milan to work with a relative. Einstein was left at a boardinghouse in Munich and expected to finish his education. Alone, miserable, and repelled by the looming prospect of military duty when he turned 16, Einstein ran away six months later and landed on the doorstep of his surprised parents. His parents realized the enormous problems that he faced as a school dropout and draft dodger with no employable skills. His prospects did not look promising.

Fortunately, Einstein could apply directly to the Eidgenössische Polytechnische Schule (“Swiss Federal Polytechnic School”; in 1911, following expansion in 1909 to full university status, it was renamed the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule, or “Swiss Federal Institute of Technology”) in Zürich without the equivalent of a high school diploma if he passed its stiff entrance examinations. His marks showed that he excelled in mathematics and physics, but he failed at French, chemistry, and biology. Because of his exceptional math scores, he was allowed into the polytechnic on the condition that he first finish his formal schooling. He went to a special high school run by Jost Winteler in Aarau, Switzerland, and graduated in 1896. He also renounced his German citizenship at that time. (He was stateless until 1901, when he was granted Swiss citizenship.) He became lifelong friends with the Winteler family, with whom he had been boarding. (Winteler’s daughter, Marie, was Einstein’s first love; Einstein’s sister, Maja, would eventually marry Winteler’s son Paul; and his close friend Michele Besso would marry their eldest daughter, Anna.)

Einstein would recall that his years in Zürich were some of the happiest years of his life. He met many students who would become loyal friends, such as Marcel Grossmann, a mathematician, and Besso, with whom he enjoyed lengthy conversations about space and time. He also met his future wife, Mileva Maric, a fellow physics student from Serbia.

Albert Einstein in 1904 (age 25)

From graduation to the “miracle year” of scientific theories
Einstein, Albert [Credit: © The Nobel Foundation, Stockholm]After graduation in 1900, Einstein faced one of the greatest crises in his life. Because he studied advanced subjects on his own, he often cut classes; this earned him the animosity of some professors, especially Heinrich Weber. Unfortunately, Einstein asked Weber for a letter of recommendation. Einstein was subsequently turned down for every academic position that he applied to. He later wrote,

I would have found [a job] long ago if Weber had not played a dishonest game with me.

Meanwhile, Einstein’s relationship with Maric deepened, but his parents vehemently opposed the relationship. His mother especially objected to her Serbian background (Maric’s family was Eastern Orthodox Christian). Einstein defied his parents, however, and in January 1902 he and Maric even had a child, Lieserl, whose fate is unknown. (It is commonly thought that she died of scarlet fever or was given up for adoption.)

In 1902 Einstein reached perhaps the lowest point in his life. He could not marry Maric and support a family without a job, and his father’s business went bankrupt. Desperate and unemployed, Einstein took lowly jobs tutoring children, but he was fired from even these jobs.

The turning point came later that year, when the father of his lifelong friend Marcel Grossmann was able to recommend him for a position as a clerk in the Swiss patent office in Bern. About then, Einstein’s father became seriously ill and, just before he died, gave his blessing for his son to marry Maric. For years, Einstein would experience enormous sadness remembering that his father had died thinking him a failure.

With a small but steady income for the first time, Einstein felt confident enough to marry Maric, which he did on January 6, 1903. Their children, Hans Albert and Eduard, were born in Bern in 1904 and 1910, respectively. In hindsight, Einstein’s job at the patent office was a blessing. He would quickly finish analyzing patent applications, leaving him time to daydream about the vision that had obsessed him since he was 16: What would happen if you raced alongside a light beam? While at the polytechnic school he had studied Maxwell’s equations, which describe the nature of light, and discovered a fact unknown to James Clerk Maxwell himself—namely, that the speed of light remains the same no matter how fast one moves. This violates Newton’s laws of motion, however, because there is no absolute velocity in Isaac Newton’s theory. This insight led Einstein to formulate the principle of relativity: “the speed of light is a constant in any inertial frame (constantly moving frame).”

Einstein during his visit to the United States


During 1905, often called Einstein’s “miracle year,” he published four papers in the Annalen der Physik, each of which would alter the course of modern physics:

1. “Über einen die Erzeugung und Verwandlung des Lichtes betreffenden heuristischen Gesichtspunkt” (“On a Heuristic Viewpoint Concerning the Production and Transformation of Light”), in which Einstein applied the quantum theory to light in order to explain the photoelectric effect. If light occurs in tiny packets (later called photons), then it should knock out electrons in a metal in a precise way.

2. “Über die von der molekularkinetischen Theorie der Wärme geforderte Bewegung von in ruhenden Flüssigkeiten suspendierten Teilchen” (“On the Movement of Small Particles Suspended in Stationary Liquids Required by the Molecular-Kinetic Theory of Heat”), in which Einstein offered the first experimental proof of the existence of atoms. By analyzing the motion of tiny particles suspended in still water, called Brownian motion, he could calculate the size of the jostling atoms and Avogadro’s number (see Avogadro’s law).
3. “Zur Elektrodynamik bewegter Körper” (“On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies”), in which Einstein laid out the mathematical theory of special relativity.
4. “Ist die Trägheit eines Körpers von seinem Energieinhalt abhängig?” (“Does the Inertia of a Body Depend Upon Its Energy Content?”), submitted almost as an afterthought, which showed that relativity theory led to the equation E = mc2. This provided the first mechanism to explain the energy source of the Sun and other stars.
Einstein also submitted a paper in 1905 for his doctorate.

Other scientists, especially Henri Poincaré and Hendrik Lorentz, had pieces of the theory of special relativity, but Einstein was the first to assemble the whole theory together and to realize that it was a universal law of nature, not a curious figment of motion in the ether, as Poincaré and Lorentz had thought. (In one private letter to Mileva, Einstein referred to “our theory,” which has led some to speculate that she was a cofounder of relativity theory. However, Mileva had abandoned physics after twice failing her graduate exams, and there is no record of her involvement in developing relativity. In fact, in his 1905 paper, Einstein only credits his conversations with Besso in developing relativity.)

In the 19th century there were two pillars of physics: Newton’s laws of motion and Maxwell’s theory of light. Einstein was alone in realizing that they were in contradiction and that one of them must fall.

Portrait taken in 1935 in Princeton


General relativity and teaching career
At first Einstein’s 1905 papers were ignored by the physics community. This began to change after he received the attention of just one physicist, perhaps the most influential physicist of his generation, Max Planck, the founder of the quantum theory.

Soon, owing to Planck’s laudatory comments and to experiments that gradually confirmed his theories, Einstein was invited to lecture at international meetings, such as the Solvay Conferences, and he rose rapidly in the academic world. He was offered a series of positions at increasingly prestigious institutions, including the University of Zürich, the University of Prague, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and finally the University of Berlin, where he served as director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics from 1913 to 1933 (although the opening of the institute was delayed until 1917).

Even as his fame spread, Einstein’s marriage was falling apart. He was constantly on the road, speaking at international conferences, and lost in contemplation of relativity. The couple argued frequently about their children and their meager finances. Convinced that his marriage was doomed, Einstein began an affair with a cousin, Elsa Löwenthal, whom he later married. (Elsa was a first cousin on his mother’s side and a second cousin on his father’s side.) When he finally divorced Mileva in 1919, he agreed to give her the money he might receive if he ever won a Nobel Prize.

One of the deep thoughts that consumed Einstein from 1905 to 1915 was a crucial flaw in his own theory: it made no mention of gravitation or acceleration. His friend Paul Ehrenfest had noticed a curious fact. If a disk is spinning, its rim travels faster than its centre, and hence (by special relativity) metre sticks placed on its circumference should shrink. This meant that Euclidean plane geometry must fail for the disk. For the next 10 years, Einstein would be absorbed with formulating a theory of gravity in terms of the curvature of space-time. To Einstein, Newton’s gravitational force was actually a by-product of a deeper reality: the bending of the fabric of space and time.

In November 1915 Einstein finally completed the general theory of relativity, which he considered to be his masterpiece. In the summer of 1915, Einstein had given six two-hour lectures at the University of Göttingen that thoroughly explained an incomplete version of general relativity that lacked a few necessary mathematical details. Much to Einstein’s consternation, the mathematician David Hilbert, who had organized the lectures at his university and had been corresponding with Einstein, then completed these details and submitted a paper in November on general relativity just five days before Einstein, as if the theory were his own. Later they patched up their differences and remained friends. Einstein would write to Hilbert,

I struggled against a resulting sense of bitterness, and I did so with complete success. I once more think of you in unclouded friendship, and would ask you to try to do likewise toward me.

Today physicists refer to the action from which the equations are derived as the Einstein-Hilbert action, but the theory itself is attributed solely to Einstein.

Einstein was convinced that general relativity was correct because of its mathematical beauty and because it accurately predicted the precession of the perihelion of Mercury’s orbit around the Sun (see Mercury: Mercury in tests of relativity). His theory also predicted a measurable deflection of light around the Sun. As a consequence, he even offered to help fund an expedition to measure the deflection of starlight during an eclipse of the Sun.


World renown and Nobel Prize
Einstein’s work was interrupted by World War I. A lifelong pacifist, he was only one of four intellectuals in Germany to sign a manifesto opposing Germany’s entry into war. Disgusted, he called nationalism “the measles of mankind.” He would write, “At such a time as this, one realizes what a sorry species of animal one belongs to.”

In the chaos unleashed after the war, in November 1918, radical students seized control of the University of Berlin and held the rector of the college and several professors hostage. Many feared that calling in the police to release the officials would result in a tragic confrontation. Einstein, because he was respected by both students and faculty, was the logical candidate to mediate this crisis. Together with Max Born, Einstein brokered a compromise that resolved it.

After the war, two expeditions were sent to test Einstein’s prediction of deflected starlight near the Sun. One set sail for the island of Principe, off the coast of West Africa, and the other to Sobral in northern Brazil in order to observe the solar eclipse of May 29, 1919. On November 6 the results were announced in London at a joint meeting of the Royal Society and the Royal Astronomical Society.

Nobel laureate J.J. Thomson, president of the Royal Society, stated:

This result is not an isolated one, it is a whole continent of scientific ideas.…This is the most important result obtained in connection with the theory of gravitation since Newton’s day, and it is fitting that it should be announced at a meeting of the Society so closely connected with him.

The headline of The Times of London read, “Revolution in Science—New Theory of the Universe—Newton’s Ideas Overthrown—Momentous Pronouncement—Space ‘Warped.’” Almost immediately, Einstein became a world-renowned physicist, the successor to Isaac Newton.

Invitations came pouring in for him to speak around the world. In 1921 Einstein began the first of several world tours, visiting the United States, England, Japan, and France. Everywhere he went, the crowds numbered in the thousands. En route from Japan, he received word that he had received the Nobel Prize for Physics, but for the photoelectric effect rather than for his relativity theories. During his acceptance speech, Einstein startled the audience by speaking about relativity instead of the photoelectric effect.

Einstein also launched the new science of cosmology. His equations predicted that the universe is dynamic—expanding or contracting. This contradicted the prevailing view that the universe was static, so he reluctantly introduced a “cosmological term” to stabilize his model of the universe. In 1929 astronomer Edwin Hubble found that the universe was indeed expanding, thereby confirming Einstein’s earlier work. In 1930, in a visit to the Mount Wilson Observatory near Los Angeles, Einstein met with Hubble and declared the cosmological constant to be his “greatest blunder.” Recent satellite data, however, have shown that the cosmological constant is probably not zero but actually dominates the matter-energy content of the entire universe. Einstein’s “blunder” apparently determines the ultimate fate of the universe.

Albert Einstein explaining his theories, 1921.


During that same visit to California, Einstein was asked to appear alongside the comic actor Charlie Chaplin during the Hollywood debut of the film City Lights. When they were mobbed by thousands, Chaplin remarked, “The people applaud me because everybody understands me, and they applaud you because no one understands you.” Einstein asked Chaplin, “What does it all mean?” Chaplin replied, “Nothing.”

Einstein also began correspondences with other influential thinkers during this period. He corresponded with Sigmund Freud (both of them had sons with mental problems) on whether war was intrinsic to humanity. He discussed with the Indian mystic Rabindranath Tagore the question of whether consciousness can affect existence. One journalist remarked,

It was interesting to see them together—Tagore, the poet with the head of a thinker, and Einstein, the thinker with the head of a poet. It seemed to an observer as though two planets were engaged in a chat.

Einstein also clarified his religious views, stating that he believed there was an “old one” who was the ultimate lawgiver. He wrote that he did not believe in a personal God that intervened in human affairs but instead believed in the God of the 17th-century Dutch Jewish philosopher Benedict de Spinoza—the God of harmony and beauty. His task, he believed, was to formulate a master theory that would allow him to “read the mind of God.” He would write,

I’m not an atheist and I don’t think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many different languages.…The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God.

Nazi backlash and coming to America
Inevitably, Einstein’s fame and the great success of his theories created a backlash. The rising Nazi movement found a convenient target in relativity, branding it “Jewish physics” and sponsoring conferences and book burnings to denounce Einstein and his theories. The Nazis enlisted other physicists, including Nobel laureates Philipp Lenard and Johannes Stark, to denounce Einstein. One Hundred Authors Against Einstein was published in 1931. When asked to comment on this denunciation of relativity by so many scientists, Einstein replied that to defeat relativity one did not need the word of 100 scientists, just one fact.

In December 1932 Einstein decided to leave Germany forever (he would never go back). It became obvious to Einstein that his life was in danger. A Nazi organization published a magazine with Einstein’s picture and the caption “Not Yet Hanged” on the cover. There was even a price on his head. So great was the threat that Einstein split with his pacifist friends and said that it was justified to defend yourself with arms against Nazi aggression. To Einstein, pacifism was not an absolute concept but one that had to be re-examined depending on the magnitude of the threat.

Einstein settled at the newly formed Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, New Jersey, which soon became a mecca for physicists from around the world. Newspaper articles declared that the “pope of physics” had left Germany and that Princeton had become the new Vatican.

Einstein in 1947

Personal sorrow, World War II, and the atomic bomb
The 1930s were hard years for Einstein. His son Eduard was diagnosed with schizophrenia and suffered a mental breakdown in 1930. (Eduard would be institutionalized for the rest of his life.) Einstein’s close friend, physicist Paul Ehrenfest, who helped in the development of general relativity, committed suicide in 1933. And Einstein’s beloved wife, Elsa, died in 1936.

To his horror, during the late 1930s, physicists began seriously to consider whether his equation E = mc2 might make an atomic bomb possible. In 1920 Einstein himself had considered but eventually dismissed the possibility. However, he left it open if a method could be found to magnify the power of the atom. Then in 1938–39 Otto Hahn, Fritz Strassmann, Lise Meitner, and Otto Frisch showed that vast amounts of energy could be unleashed by the splitting of the uranium atom. The news electrified the physics community.

In July 1939 physicist Leo Szilard convinced Einstein that he should send a letter to U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt urging him to develop an atomic bomb. With Einstein’s guidance, Szilard drafted a letter on August 2 that Einstein signed, and the document was delivered to Roosevelt by one of his economic advisers, Alexander Sachs, on October 11. Roosevelt wrote back on October 19, informing Einstein that he had organized the Uranium Committee to study the issue.

Einstein was granted permanent residency in the United States in 1935 and became an American citizen in 1940, although he chose to retain his Swiss citizenship. During the war Einstein’s colleagues were asked to journey to the desert town of Los Alamos, New Mexico, to develop the first atomic bomb for the Manhattan Project. Einstein, the man whose equation had set the whole effort into motion, was never asked to participate. Voluminous declassified Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) files, numbering several thousand, reveal the reason: the U.S. government feared Einstein’s lifelong association with peace and socialist organizations. (FBI director J. Edgar Hoover went so far as to recommend that Einstein be kept out of America by the Alien Exclusion Act, but he was overruled by the U.S. State Department.) Instead, during the war Einstein was asked to help the U.S. Navy evaluate designs for future weapons systems. Einstein also helped the war effort by auctioning off priceless personal manuscripts. In particular, a handwritten copy of his 1905 paper on special relativity was sold for $6.5 million. It is now located in the Library of Congress.

Einstein was on vacation when he heard the news that an atomic bomb had been dropped on Japan. Almost immediately he was part of an international effort to try to bring the atomic bomb under control, forming the Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists.

Einstein, Albert: 70th birthday [Credit: Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.]The physics community split on the question of whether to build a hydrogen bomb. J. Robert Oppenheimer, the director of the atomic bomb project, was stripped of his security clearance for having suspected leftist associations. Einstein backed Oppenheimer and opposed the development of the hydrogen bomb, instead calling for international controls on the spread of nuclear technology. Einstein also was increasingly drawn to antiwar activities and to advancing the civil rights of African Americans.

In 1952 David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s premier, offered Einstein the post of president of Israel. Einstein, a prominent figure in the Zionist movement, respectfully declined.


Increasing professional isolation and death
Although Einstein continued to pioneer many key developments in the theory of general relativity—such as wormholes, higher dimensions, the possibility of time travel, the existence of black holes, and the creation of the universe—he was increasingly isolated from the rest of the physics community. Because of the huge strides made by quantum theory in unraveling the secrets of atoms and molecules, the majority of physicists were working on the quantum theory, not relativity. In fact, Einstein would engage in a series of historic private debates with Niels Bohr, originator of the Bohr atomic model. Through a series of sophisticated “thought experiments,” Einstein tried to find logical inconsistencies in the quantum theory, particularly its lack of a deterministic mechanism. Einstein would often say that “God does not play dice with the universe.”

In 1935 Einstein’s most celebrated attack on the quantum theory led to the EPR (Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen) thought experiment. According to quantum theory, under certain circumstances two electrons separated by huge distances would have their properties linked, as if by an umbilical cord. Under these circumstances, if the properties of the first electron were measured, the state of the second electron would be known instantly—faster than the speed of light. This conclusion, Einstein claimed, clearly violated relativity. (Experiments conducted since then have confirmed that the quantum theory, rather than Einstein, was correct about the EPR experiment. In essence, what Einstein had actually shown was that quantum mechanics is nonlocal; i.e., random information can travel faster than light. This does not violate relativity, because the information is random and therefore useless.)

The other reason for Einstein’s increasing detachment from his colleagues was his obsession, beginning in 1925, with discovering a unified field theory—an all-embracing theory that would unify the forces of the universe, and thereby the laws of physics, into one framework. In his later years he stopped opposing the quantum theory and tried to incorporate it, along with light and gravity, into a larger unified field theory. Gradually Einstein became set in his ways. He rarely traveled far and confined himself to long walks around Princeton with close associates, whom he engaged in deep conversations about politics, religion, physics, and his unified field theory. In 1950 he published an article on his theory in Scientific American, but because it neglected the still-mysterious strong force, it was necessarily incomplete. When he died five years later of an aortic aneurysm, it was still unfinished.

In some sense, Einstein, instead of being a relic, may have been too far ahead of his time. The strong force, a major piece of any unified field theory, was still a total mystery in Einstein’s lifetime. Only in the 1970s and ’80s did physicists begin to unravel the secret of the strong force with the quark model. Nevertheless, Einstein’s work continues to win Nobel Prizes for succeeding physicists. In 1993 a Nobel Prize was awarded to the discoverers of gravitation waves, predicted by Einstein. In 1995 a Nobel Prize was awarded to the discoverers of Bose-Einstein condensates (a new form of matter that can occur at extremely low temperatures). Known black holes now number in the thousands. New generations of space satellites have continued to verify the cosmology of Einstein. And many leading physicists are trying to finish Einstein’s ultimate dream of a “theory of everything.”

Einstein wrote the space-time entry for the 13th edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica.

Michio Kaku

Encyclopædia Britannica
Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein (14 March 1879 – 18 April 1955) was a German-born theoretical physicist. He developed the general theory of relativity, one of the two pillars of modern physics (alongside quantum mechanics). Einstein's work is also known for its influence on the philosophy of science. Einstein is best known in popular culture for his mass–energy equivalence formula E = mc2 (which has been dubbed "the world's most famous equation"). He received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics for his "services to theoretical physics", in particular his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect, a pivotal step in the evolution of quantum theory.

Near the beginning of his career, Einstein thought that Newtonian mechanics was no longer enough to reconcile the laws of classical mechanics with the laws of the electromagnetic field. This led to the development of his special theory of relativity. He realized, however, that the principle of relativity could also be extended to gravitational fields, and with his subsequent theory of gravitation in 1916, he published a paper on general relativity. He continued to deal with problems of statistical mechanics and quantum theory, which led to his explanations of particle theory and the motion of molecules. He also investigated the thermal properties of light which laid the foundation of the photon theory of light. In 1917, Einstein applied the general theory of relativity to model the large-scale structure of the universe.

He was visiting the United States when Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933 and, being Jewish, did not go back to Germany, where he had been a professor at the Berlin Academy of Sciences. He settled in the U.S., becoming an American citizen in 1940. On the eve of World War II, he endorsed a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt alerting him to the potential development of "extremely powerful bombs of a new type" and recommending that the U.S. begin similar research. This eventually led to what would become the Manhattan Project. Einstein supported defending the Allied forces, but largely denounced the idea of using the newly discovered nuclear fission as a weapon. Later, with the British philosopher Bertrand Russell, Einstein signed the Russell–Einstein Manifesto, which highlighted the danger of nuclear weapons. Einstein was affiliated with the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, until his death in 1955.

Einstein published more than 300 scientific papers along with over 150 non-scientific works. On 5 December 2014, universities and archives announced the release of Einstein's papers, comprising more than 30,000 unique documents. Einstein's intellectual achievements and originality have made the word "Einstein" synonymous with "genius".

Albert Einstein in 1893 (age 14)


Albert Einstein was born in Ulm, in the Kingdom of Württemberg in the German Empire on 14 March 1879. His parents were Hermann Einstein, a salesman and engineer, and Pauline Koch. In 1880, the family moved to Munich, where his father and his uncle founded Elektrotechnische Fabrik J. Einstein & Cie, a company that manufactured electrical equipment based on direct current.

The Einsteins were non-observant Ashkenazi Jews, and Albert attended a Catholic elementary school from the age of 5 for three years. At the age of 8, he was transferred to the Luitpold Gymnasium (now known as the Albert Einstein Gymnasium), where he received advanced primary and secondary school education until he left Germany seven years later.

In 1894, his father's company failed: direct current (DC) lost the War of Currents to alternating current (AC). In search of business, the Einstein family moved to Italy, first to Milan and then, a few months later, to Pavia. When the family moved to Pavia, Einstein stayed in Munich to finish his studies at the Luitpold Gymnasium. His father intended for him to pursue electrical engineering, but Einstein clashed with authorities and resented the school's regimen and teaching method. He later wrote that the spirit of learning and creative thought was lost in strict rote learning. At the end of December 1894, he travelled to Italy to join his family in Pavia, convincing the school to let him go by using a doctor's note. It was during his time in Italy that he wrote a short essay with the title "On the Investigation of the State of the Ether in a Magnetic Field.

In 1895, at the age of 16, Einstein sat the entrance examinations for the Swiss Federal Polytechnic in Zürich (later the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule, ETH). He failed to reach the required standard in the general part of the examination, but obtained exceptional grades in physics and mathematics. On the advice of the principal of the Polytechnic, he attended the Argovian cantonal school (gymnasium) in Aarau, Switzerland, in 1895–96 to complete his secondary schooling. While lodging with the family of Professor Jost Winteler, he fell in love with Winteler's daughter, Marie. (Albert's sister Maja later married Wintelers' son Paul.) In January 1896, with his father's approval, he renounced his citizenship in the German Kingdom of Württemberg to avoid military service. In September 1896, he passed the Swiss Matura with mostly good grades, including a top grade of 6 in physics and mathematical subjects, on a scale of 1–6.[25] Though only 17, he enrolled in the four-year mathematics and physics teaching diploma program at the Zürich Polytechnic. Marie Winteler moved to Olsberg, Switzerland, for a teaching post.

Einstein's future wife, Mileva Marić, also enrolled at the Polytechnic that same year. She was the only woman among the six students in the mathematics and physics section of the teaching diploma course. Over the next few years, Einstein and Marić's friendship developed into romance, and they read books together on extra-curricular physics in which Einstein was taking an increasing interest. In 1900, Einstein was awarded the Zürich Polytechnic teaching diploma, but Marić failed the examination with a poor grade in the mathematics component, theory of functions. There have been claims that Marić collaborated with Einstein on his celebrated 1905 papers, but historians of physics who have studied the issue find no evidence that she made any substantive contributions.

Marriages and children

The discovery and publication in 1987 of an early correspondence between Einstein and Marić revealed that they had had a daughter, called "Lieserl" in their letters, born in early 1902 in Novi Sad where Marić was staying with her parents. Marić returned to Switzerland without the child, whose real name and fate are unknown. Einstein probably never saw his daughter. The contents of his letter to Marić in September 1903 suggest that the girl was either adopted or died of scarlet fever in infancy.

Einstein and Marić married in January 1903. In May 1904, the couple's first son, Hans Albert Einstein, was born in Bern, Switzerland. Their second son, Eduard, was born in Zürich in July 1910. In 1914, the couple separated; Einstein moved to Berlin and his wife remained in Zürich with their sons. They divorced on 14 February 1919, having lived apart for five years. Eduard, whom his father called "Tete" (for petit), had a breakdown at about age 20 and was diagnosed with schizophrenia. His mother cared for him and he was also committed to asylums for several periods, including full-time after her death.

The marriage with Marić does not seem to have been very happy. In letters revealed in 2015, Einstein wrote to his early love, Marie Winteler, about his marriage and his still strong feelings for Marie. In 1910 he wrote to her that "I think of you in heartfelt love every spare minute and am so unhappy as only a man can be" while his wife was pregnant with their second child. Einstein spoke about a "misguided love" and a "missed life" regarding his love for Marie.

Einstein married Elsa Löwenthal on 2 June 1919, after having had a relationship with her since 1912. She was a first cousin maternally and a second cousin paternally. In 1933, they emigrated to the United States. In 1935, Elsa Einstein was diagnosed with heart and kidney problems; she died in December 1936.

Einstein with his wife Elsa


Patent office

After graduating, Einstein spent almost two frustrating years searching for a teaching post. He acquired Swiss citizenship in February 1901, but was not conscripted for medical reasons. With the help of Marcel Grossmann's father Einstein secured a job in Bern at the Federal Office for Intellectual Property, the patent office, as an assistant examiner. He evaluated patent applications for a variety of devices including a gravel sorter and an electromechanical typewriter. In 1903, Einstein's position at the Swiss Patent Office became permanent, although he was passed over for promotion until he "fully mastered machine technology".

Much of his work at the patent office related to questions about transmission of electric signals and electrical-mechanical synchronization of time, two technical problems that show up conspicuously in the thought experiments that eventually led Einstein to his radical conclusions about the nature of light and the fundamental connection between space and time.

With a few friends he had met in Bern, Einstein started a small discussion group, self-mockingly named "The Olympia Academy", which met regularly to discuss science and philosophy. Their readings included the works of Henri Poincaré, Ernst Mach, and David Hume, which influenced his scientific and philosophical outlook.

Einstein at his office, University of Berlin, 1920


Academic career

In 1900, his paper "Folgerungen aus den Capillaritätserscheinungen" ("Conclusions from the Capillarity Phenomena") was published in the prestigious Annalen der Physik. On 30 April 1905, Einstein completed his thesis, with Alfred Kleiner, Professor of Experimental Physics, serving as pro-forma advisor. As a result, Einstein was awarded a PhD by the University of Zürich, with his dissertation entitled, "A New Determination of Molecular Dimensions." That same year, which has been called Einstein's annus mirabilis (miracle year), he published four groundbreaking papers, on the photoelectric effect, Brownian motion, special relativity, and the equivalence of mass and energy, which were to bring him to the notice of the academic world.

By 1908, he was recognized as a leading scientist and was appointed lecturer at the University of Bern. The following year, after giving a lecture on electrodynamics and the relativity principle at the University of Zurich, Alfred Kleiner recommended him to the faculty for a newly created professorship in theoretical physics. Einstein was appointed associate professor in 1909.

Einstein became a full professor at the German Charles-Ferdinand University in Prague in April 1911, accepting Austrian citizenship in the Austro-Hungarian empire to do so. During his Prague stay Einstein wrote 11 scientific works, 5 of them on radiation mathematics and on quantum theory of the solids. In July 1912 he returned to his alma mater in Zürich. From 1912 until 1914 he was professor of theoretical physics at the ETH Zurich, where he taught analytical mechanics and thermodynamics. He also studied continuum mechanics, the molecular theory of heat, and the problem of gravitation, on which he worked with mathematician and his friend Marcel Grossmann.

In 1914, he returned to the German Empire after being appointed director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics (1914–1932) and a professor at the Humboldt University of Berlin, but freed from most teaching obligations. He soon became a member of the Prussian Academy of Sciences, and in 1916 was appointed president of the German Physical Society (1916–1918).

Based on calculations Einstein made in 1911, about his new theory of general relativity, light from another star would be bent by the Sun's gravity. In 1919 that prediction was confirmed by Sir Arthur Eddington during the solar eclipse of 29 May 1919. Those observations were published in the international media, making Einstein world famous. On 7 November 1919, the leading British newspaper The Times printed a banner headline that read: "Revolution in Science – New Theory of the Universe – Newtonian Ideas Overthrown".

In 1920, he became Foreign Member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1921, Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his explanation of the photoelectric effect, as relativity was considered still somewhat controversial. Einstein was elected a Foreign Member of the Royal Society (ForMemRS) in 1921. He also received the Copley Medal from the Royal Society in 1925.

Albert Einstein in 1921


1921–1922: Travels abroad

Einstein visited New York City for the first time on 2 April 1921, where he received an official welcome by Mayor John Francis Hylan, followed by three weeks of lectures and receptions. He went on to deliver several lectures at Columbia University and Princeton University, and in Washington he accompanied representatives of the National Academy of Science on a visit to the White House. On his return to Europe he was the guest of the British statesman and philosopher Viscount Haldane in London, where he met several renowned scientific, intellectual and political figures, and delivered a lecture at King's College.

He also published an essay, "My First Impression of the U.S.A.," in July 1921, in which he tried briefly to describe some characteristics of Americans, much as had Alexis de Tocqueville, who published his own impressions in Democracy in America (1835). For some of his observations, Einstein was clearly surprised: "What strikes a visitor is the joyous, positive attitude to life . . . The American is friendly, self-confident, optimistic, and without envy."

In 1922, his travels took him to Asia and later to Palestine, as part of a six-month excursion and speaking tour, as he visited Singapore, Ceylon and Japan, where he gave a series of lectures to thousands of Japanese. After his first public lecture, he met the emperor and empress at the Imperial Palace, where thousands came to watch. In a letter to his sons, Einstein described his impression of the Japanese as being modest, intelligent, considerate, and having a true feel for art.

Because of Einstein's travels to the Far East, he was unable to personally accept the Nobel Prize for Physics at the Stockholm award ceremony in December 1922. In his place, the banquet speech was held by a German diplomat, who praised Einstein not only as a scientist but also as an international peacemaker and activist.

On his return voyage, he visited Palestine for 12 days in what would become his only visit to that region. Einstein was greeted as if he were a head of state, rather than a physicist, which included a cannon salute upon arriving at the home of the British high commissioner, Sir Herbert Samuel. During one reception, the building was stormed by people who wanted to see and hear him. In Einstein's talk to the audience, he expressed happiness that the Jewish people were beginning to be recognized as a force in the world.

Einstein in New York, 1921, his first visit to the United States


1930–1931: Travel to U.S.

In December 1930, Einstein visited America for the second time, originally intended as a two-month working visit as a research fellow at the California Institute of Technology. After the national attention he received during his first trip to the U.S., he and his arrangers aimed to protect his privacy. Although swamped with telegrams and invitations to receive awards or speak publicly, he declined them all.
After arriving in New York City, Einstein was taken to various places and events, including Chinatown, a lunch with the editors of the New York Times, and a performance of Carmen at the Metropolitan Opera, where he was cheered by the audience on his arrival. During the days following, he was given the keys to the city by Mayor Jimmy Walker and met the president of Columbia University, who described Einstein as "the ruling monarch of the mind." Harry Emerson Fosdick, pastor at New York's Riverside Church, gave Einstein a tour of the church and showed him a full-size statue that the church made of Einstein, standing at the entrance. Also during his stay in New York, he joined a crowd of 15,000 people at Madison Square Garden during a Hanukkah celebration.

Einstein next traveled to California where he met Caltech president and Nobel laureate, Robert A. Millikan. His friendship with Millikan was "awkward", as Millikan "had a penchant for patriotic militarism," where Einstein was a pronounced pacifist. During an address to Caltech's students, Einstein noted that science was often inclined to do more harm than good.

This aversion to war also led Einstein to befriend author Upton Sinclair and film star Charlie Chaplin, both noted for their pacifism. Carl Laemmle, head of Universal Studios, gave Einstein a tour of his studio and introduced him to Chaplin. They had an instant rapport, with Chaplin inviting Einstein and his wife, Elsa, to his home for dinner. Chaplin said Einstein's outward persona, calm and gentle, seemed to conceal a "highly emotional temperament," from which came his "extraordinary intellectual energy."

Chaplin also remembers Elsa telling him about the time Einstein conceived his theory of relativity. During breakfast one morning, he seemed lost in thought and ignored his food. She asked him if something was bothering him. He sat down at his piano and started playing. He continued playing and writing notes for half an hour, then went upstairs to his study, where he remained for two weeks, with Elsa bringing up his food. At the end of the two weeks he came downstairs with two sheets of paper bearing his theory.

Chaplin's film, City Lights, was to premier a few days later in Hollywood, and Chaplin invited Einstein and Elsa to join him as his special guests. Walter Isaacson, Einstein's biographer, described this as "one of the most memorable scenes in the new era of celebrity." Einstein and Chaplin arrived together, in black tie, with Elsa joining them, "beaming." The audience applauded as they entered the theater. Chaplin visited Einstein at his home on a later trip to Berlin, and recalled his "modest little flat" and the piano at which he had begun writing his theory. Chaplin speculated that it was "possibly used as kindling wood by the Nazis."

Charlie Chaplin and Einstein at the Hollywood premier of City Lights, January 1931


1933: Emigration to the U.S.

In February 1933 while on a visit to the United States, Einstein knew he could not return to Germany with the rise to power of the Nazis under Germany's new chancellor, Adolf Hitler.

While at American universities in early 1933, he undertook his third two-month visiting professorship at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. He and his wife Elsa returned to Belgium by ship in March, and during the trip they learned that their cottage was raided by the Nazis and his personal sailboat confiscated. Upon landing in Antwerp on 28 March, he immediately went to the German consulate and turned in his passport, formally renouncing his German citizenship. A few years later, the Nazis sold his boat and turned his cottage into an Aryan youth camp.

Refugee status

In April 1933, he also discovered that the new German government had passed laws barring Jews from holding any official positions, including teaching at universities. Historian Gerald Holton describes how, with "virtually no audible protest being raised by their colleagues," thousands of Jewish scientists were suddenly forced to give up their university positions and their names were removed from the rolls of institutions where they were employed.

A month later, Einstein's works were among those targeted by Nazi book burnings, with Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels proclaiming, "Jewish intellectualism is dead." One German magazine included him in a list of enemies of the German regime with the phrase, "not yet hanged", offering a $5,000 bounty on his head. In a subsequent letter to physicist and friend Max Born, who had already emigrated from Germany to England, Einstein wrote, "... I must confess that the degree of their brutality and cowardice came as something of a surprise." After moving to the U.S., he described the book burnings as a "spontaneous emotional outburst" by those who "shun popular enlightenment," and "more than anything else in the world, fear the influence of men of intellectual independence."

Einstein was now without a permanent home, unsure where he would live and work, and equally worried about the fate of countless other scientists still in Germany. He rented a house in De Haan, Belgium, where he lived for a few months. In late July 1933, he went to England for about six weeks at the personal invitation of British naval officer Commander Oliver Locker-Lampson, who had become friends with Einstein in the preceding years. To protect Einstein, Locker-Lampson secretly had two assistants watch over him at his secluded cottage outside London, with the press publishing a photo of them guarding Einstein.

Locker-Lampson took Einstein to meet Winston Churchill at his home, and later, Austen Chamberlain and former Prime Minister Lloyd George. Einstein asked them to help bring Jewish scientists out of Germany. British historian Martin Gilbert notes that Churchill responded immediately, and sent his friend, physicist Frederick Lindemann to Germany to seek out Jewish scientists and place them in British universities. Churchill later observed that as a result of Germany having driven the Jews out, they had lowered their "technical standards" and put the Allies' technology ahead of theirs.

Einstein later contacted leaders of other nations, including Turkey's Prime Minister, İsmet İnönü, to whom he wrote in September 1933 requesting placement of unemployed German-Jewish scientists. As a result of Einstein's letter, Jewish invitees to Turkey eventually totaled over "1,000 saved individuals."

Locker-Lampson also submitted a bill to parliament to extend British citizenship to Einstein, during which period Einstein made a number of public appearances describing the crisis brewing in Europe. The bill failed to become law, however, and Einstein then accepted an earlier offer from the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study, in the U.S., to become a resident scholar.

Albert Einstein with his wife Elsa Einstein and Zionist leaders, including future President of Israel Chaim Weizmann, his wife Vera Weizmann, Menahem Ussishkin, and Ben-Zion Mossinson on arrival in New York City in 1921


Resident scholar at the Institute for Advanced Study

In October 1933 Einstein returned to the U.S. and took up a position at the Institute for Advanced Study (in Princeton, New Jersey), noted for having become a refuge for scientists fleeing Nazi Germany. At the time, most American universities, including Harvard, Princeton and Yale, had minimal or no Jewish faculty or students, as a result of their Jewish quota which lasted until the late 1940s.

Einstein was still undecided on his future. He had offers from several European universities, including Oxford where he stayed for three short periods between May 1931 and June 1933, but in 1935 he arrived at the decision to remain permanently in the United States and apply for citizenship.

Einstein's affiliation with the Institute for Advanced Study would last until his death in 1955. He was one of the four first selected (two of the others being John von Neumann and Kurt Gödel) at the new Institute, where he soon developed a close friendship with Gödel. The two would take long walks together discussing their work. Bruria Kaufman, his assistant, later became a physicist. During this period, Einstein tried to develop a unified field theory and to refute the accepted interpretation of quantum physics, both unsuccessfully.

World War II and the Manhattan Project

In 1939, a group of Hungarian scientists that included émigré physicist Leó Szilárd attempted to alert Washington of ongoing Nazi atomic bomb research. The group's warnings were discounted. Einstein and Szilárd, along with other refugees such as Edward Teller and Eugene Wigner, "regarded it as their responsibility to alert Americans to the possibility that German scientists might win the race to build an atomic bomb, and to warn that Hitler would be more than willing to resort to such a weapon."

To make certain the U.S. was aware of the danger, in July 1939, a few months before the beginning of World War II in Europe, Szilárd and Wigner visited Einstein to explain the possibility of atomic bombs, which Einstein, a pacifist, said he had never considered. He was asked to lend his support by writing a letter, with Szilárd, to President Roosevelt, recommending the U.S. pay attention and engage in its own nuclear weapons research. A secret German facility, apparently the largest of the Third Reich, covering 75 acres in an underground complex, was being re-excavated in Austria in December 2014 and may have been planned for use in nuclear research and development.

The letter is believed to be "arguably the key stimulus for the U.S. adoption of serious investigations into nuclear weapons on the eve of the U.S. entry into World War II". In addition to the letter, Einstein used his connections with the Belgian Royal Family and the Belgian queen mother to get access with a personal envoy to the White House's Oval Office. President Roosevelt could not take the risk of allowing Hitler to possess atomic bombs first. As a result of Einstein's letter and his meetings with Roosevelt, the U.S. entered the "race" to develop the bomb, drawing on its "immense material, financial, and scientific resources" to initiate the Manhattan Project. It became the only country to successfully develop an atomic bomb during World War II.

For Einstein, "war was a disease ... [and] he called for resistance to war." By signing the letter to Roosevelt he went against his pacifist principles. In 1954, a year before his death, Einstein said to his old friend, Linus Pauling, "I made one great mistake in my life—when I signed the letter to President Roosevelt recommending that atom bombs be made; but there was some justification—the danger that the Germans would make them ..."

Einstein and Niels Bohr, 1925


U.S. citizenship

Einstein became an American citizen in 1940. Not long after settling into his career at the Institute for Advanced Study (in Princeton, New Jersey), he expressed his appreciation of the meritocracy in American culture when compared to Europe. He recognized the "right of individuals to say and think what they pleased", without social barriers, and as a result, individuals were encouraged, he said, to be more creative, a trait he valued from his own early education.

Personal life

Supporter of civil rights

Einstein was a passionate, committed antiracist and joined National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in Princeton, where he campaigned for the civil rights of African Americans. He considered racism America's "worst disease," seeing it as "handed down from one generation to the next." As part of his involvement, he corresponded with civil rights activist W. E. B. Du Bois and was prepared to testify on his behalf during his trial in 1951. When Einstein offered to be a character witness for Du Bois, the judge decided to drop the case.

In 1946 Einstein visited Lincoln University in Pennsylvania where he was awarded an honorary degree. Lincoln was the first university in the United States to grant college degrees to blacks, including Langston Hughes and Thurgood Marshall. To its students, Einstein gave a speech about racism in America, adding, "I do not intend to be quiet about it." A resident of Princeton recalls that Einstein had once paid the college tuition for a black student, and black physicist Sylvester James Gates states that Einstein had been one of his early science heroes, later finding out about Einstein's support for civil rights.

Assisting Zionist causes

Einstein was a figurehead leader in helping establish the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, which opened in 1925, and was among its first Board of Governors. Earlier, in 1921, he was asked by the biochemist and president of the World Zionist Organization, Chaim Weizmann, to help raise funds for the planned university. He also submitted various suggestions as to its initial programs.

Among those, he advised first creating an Institute of Agriculture in order to settle the undeveloped land. That should be followed, he suggested, by a Chemical Institute and an Institute of Microbiology, to fight the various ongoing epidemics such as malaria, which he called an "evil" that was undermining a third of the country's development. Establishing an Oriental Studies Institute, to include language courses given in both Hebrew and Arabic, for scientific exploration of the country and its historical monuments, was also important.

Chaim Weizmann later became Israel's first president. Upon his death while in office in November 1952 and at the urging of Ezriel Carlebach, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion offered Einstein the position of President of Israel, a mostly ceremonial post. The offer was presented by Israel's ambassador in Washington, Abba Eban, who explained that the offer "embodies the deepest respect which the Jewish people can repose in any of its sons". Einstein declined, and wrote in his response that he was "deeply moved", and "at once saddened and ashamed" that he could not accept it.

Albert Einstein playing violin


Love of music

Einstein developed an appreciation of music at an early age. His mother played the piano reasonably well and wanted her son to learn the violin, not only to instill in him a love of music but also to help him assimilate into German culture. According to conductor Leon Botstein, Einstein is said to have begun playing when he was 5, although he did not enjoy it at that age.
When he turned 13 he discovered the violin sonatas of Mozart, whereupon "Einstein fell in love" with Mozart's music and studied music more willingly. He taught himself to play without "ever practicing systematically", he said, deciding that "love is a better teacher than a sense of duty." At age 17, he was heard by a school examiner in Aarau as he played Beethoven's violin sonatas, the examiner stating afterward that his playing was "remarkable and revealing of 'great insight'." What struck the examiner, writes Botstein, was that Einstein "displayed a deep love of the music, a quality that was and remains in short supply. Music possessed an unusual meaning for this student."

Music took on a pivotal and permanent role in Einstein's life from that period on. Although the idea of becoming a professional himself was not on his mind at any time, among those with whom Einstein played chamber music were a few professionals, and he performed for private audiences and friends. Chamber music had also become a regular part of his social life while living in Bern, Zürich, and Berlin, where he played with Max Planck and his son, among others. He is sometimes erroneously credited as the editor of the 1937 edition of the Köchel catalogue of Mozart's work; that edition was actually prepared by Alfred Einstein.

In 1931, while engaged in research at the California Institute of Technology, he visited the Zoellner family conservatory in Los Angeles, where he played some of Beethoven and Mozart's works with members of the Zoellner Quartet. Near the end of his life, when the young Juilliard Quartet visited him in Princeton, he played his violin with them, and the quartet was "impressed by Einstein's level of coordination and intonation."

First Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru with Einstein at his house in Princeton, 1949


Political and religious views

Einstein's political view was in favor of socialism and critical of capitalism, which he detailed in his essays such as "Why Socialism?". Einstein offered and was called on to give judgments and opinions on matters often unrelated to theoretical physics or mathematics. He strongly advocated the idea of a democratic global government that would check the power of nation-states in the framework of a world federation.

Einstein's views about religious belief have been collected from interviews and original writings. He called himself an agnostic, while disassociating himself from the label atheist. He said he believed in the "pantheistic" God of Baruch Spinoza, but not in a personal god, a belief he criticized. Einstein once wrote: "I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but expressed it clearly".


On 17 April 1955, Albert Einstein experienced internal bleeding caused by the rupture of an abdominal aortic aneurysm, which had previously been reinforced surgically by Rudolph Nissen in 1948. He took the draft of a speech he was preparing for a television appearance commemorating the State of Israel's seventh anniversary with him to the hospital, but he did not live long enough to complete it.

Einstein refused surgery, saying: "I want to go when I want. It is tasteless to prolong life artificially. I have done my share, it is time to go. I will do it elegantly." He died in Princeton Hospital early the next morning at the age of 76, having continued to work until near the end.

During the autopsy, the pathologist of Princeton Hospital, Thomas Stoltz Harvey, removed Einstein's brain for preservation without the permission of his family, in the hope that the neuroscience of the future would be able to discover what made Einstein so intelligent. Einstein's remains were cremated and his ashes were scattered at an undisclosed location.

In his lecture at Einstein's memorial, nuclear physicist Robert Oppenheimer summarized his impression of him as a person: "He was almost wholly without sophistication and wholly without worldliness ... There was always with him a wonderful purity at once childlike and profoundly stubborn."

Scientific career

Throughout his life, Einstein published hundreds of books and articles. He published more than 300 scientific papers and 150 non-scientific ones. On 5 December 2014, universities and archives announced the release of Einstein's papers, comprising more than 30,000 unique documents. Einstein's intellectual achievements and originality have made the word "Einstein" synonymous with "genius". In addition to the work he did by himself he also collaborated with other scientists on additional projects including the Bose–Einstein statistics, the Einstein refrigerator and others.


1905 – Annus Mirabilis papers

The Annus Mirabilis papers are four articles pertaining to the photoelectric effect (which gave rise to quantum theory), Brownian motion, the special theory of relativity, and E = mc2 that Albert Einstein published in the Annalen der Physik scientific journal in 1905. These four works contributed substantially to the foundation of modern physics and changed views on space, time, and matter. The four papers are:

Thermodynamic fluctuations and statistical physics

Albert Einstein's first paper submitted in 1900 to Annalen der Physik was on capillary attraction. It was published in 1901 with the title "Folgerungen aus den Capillaritätserscheinungen", which translates as "Conclusions from the capillarity phenomena". Two papers he published in 1902–1903 (thermodynamics) attempted to interpret atomic phenomena from a statistical point of view. These papers were the foundation for the 1905 paper on Brownian motion, which showed that Brownian movement can be construed as firm evidence that molecules exist. His research in 1903 and 1904 was mainly concerned with the effect of finite atomic size on diffusion phenomena.

General principles
He articulated the principle of relativity. This was understood by Hermann Minkowski to be a generalization of rotational invariance from space to space-time. Other principles postulated by Einstein and later vindicated are the principle of equivalence and the principle of adiabatic invariance of the quantum number.

Theory of relativity and E = mc²

Einstein's "Zur Elektrodynamik bewegter Körper" ("On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies") was received on 30 June 1905 and published 26 September of that same year. It reconciles Maxwell's equations for electricity and magnetism with the laws of mechanics, by introducing major changes to mechanics close to the speed of light. This later became known as Einstein's special theory of relativity.

Consequences of this include the time-space frame of a moving body appearing to slow down and contract (in the direction of motion) when measured in the frame of the observer. This paper also argued that the idea of a luminiferous aether—one of the leading theoretical entities in physics at the time—was superfluous.

In his paper on mass–energy equivalence, Einstein produced E = mc2 from his special relativity equations. Einstein's 1905 work on relativity remained controversial for many years, but was accepted by leading physicists, starting with Max Planck.


Photons and energy quanta

In a 1905 paper, Einstein postulated that light itself consists of localized particles (quanta). Einstein's light quanta were nearly universally rejected by all physicists, including Max Planck and Niels Bohr. This idea only became universally accepted in 1919, with Robert Millikan's detailed experiments on the photoelectric effect, and with the measurement of Compton scattering.

Einstein concluded that each wave of frequency f is associated with a collection of photons with energy hf each, where h is Planck's constant. He does not say much more, because he is not sure how the particles are related to the wave. But he does suggest that this idea would explain certain experimental results, notably the photoelectric effect.

Quantized atomic vibrations

In 1907, Einstein proposed a model of matter where each atom in a lattice structure is an independent harmonic oscillator. In the Einstein model, each atom oscillates independently—a series of equally spaced quantized states for each oscillator. Einstein was aware that getting the frequency of the actual oscillations would be different, but he nevertheless proposed this theory because it was a particularly clear demonstration that quantum mechanics could solve the specific heat problem in classical mechanics. Peter Debye refined this model.

Adiabatic principle and action-angle variables

Throughout the 1910s, quantum mechanics expanded in scope to cover many different systems. After Ernest Rutherford discovered the nucleus and proposed that electrons orbit like planets, Niels Bohr was able to show that the same quantum mechanical postulates introduced by Planck and developed by Einstein would explain the discrete motion of electrons in atoms, and the periodic table of the elements.

Einstein contributed to these developments by linking them with the 1898 arguments Wilhelm Wien had made. Wien had shown that the hypothesis of adiabatic invariance of a thermal equilibrium state allows all the blackbody curves at different temperature to be derived from one another by a simple shifting process. Einstein noted in 1911 that the same adiabatic principle shows that the quantity which is quantized in any mechanical motion must be an adiabatic invariant. Arnold Sommerfeld identified this adiabatic invariant as the action variable of classical mechanics.

Einstein with writer and musician and Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, 1930


Wave–particle duality

Although the patent office promoted Einstein to Technical Examiner Second Class in 1906, he had not given up on academia. In 1908, he became a Privatdozent at the University of Bern. In "über die Entwicklung unserer Anschauungen über das Wesen und die Konstitution der Strahlung" ("The Development of our Views on the Composition and Essence of Radiation"), on the quantization of light, and in an earlier 1909 paper, Einstein showed that Max Planck's energy quanta must have well-defined momenta and act in some respects as independent, point-like particles. This paper introduced the photon concept (although the name photon was introduced later by Gilbert N. Lewis in 1926) and inspired the notion of wave–particle duality in quantum mechanics. Einstein saw this wave-particle duality in radiation as concrete evidence for his conviction that physics needed a new, unified foundation.

Theory of critical opalescence

Einstein returned to the problem of thermodynamic fluctuations, giving a treatment of the density variations in a fluid at its critical point. Ordinarily the density fluctuations are controlled by the second derivative of the free energy with respect to the density. At the critical point, this derivative is zero, leading to large fluctuations. The effect of density fluctuations is that light of all wavelengths is scattered, making the fluid look milky white. Einstein relates this to Rayleigh scattering, which is what happens when the fluctuation size is much smaller than the wavelength, and which explains why the sky is blue. Einstein quantitatively derived critical opalescence from a treatment of density fluctuations, and demonstrated how both the effect and Rayleigh scattering originate from the atomistic constitution of matter.

Zero-point energy

In a series of works completed from 1911 to 1913, Planck reformulated his 1900 quantum theory and introduced the idea of zero-point energy in his "second quantum theory." Soon, this idea attracted the attention of Albert Einstein and his assistant Otto Stern. Assuming the energy of rotating diatomic molecules contains zero-point energy, they then compared the theoretical specific heat of hydrogen gas with the experimental data. The numbers matched nicely. However, after publishing the findings, they promptly withdrew their support, because they no longer had confidence in the correctness of the idea of zero-point energy.

General relativity and the equivalence principle

General relativity (GR) is a theory of gravitation that was developed by Albert Einstein between 1907 and 1915. According to general relativity, the observed gravitational attraction between masses results from the warping of space and time by those masses. General relativity has developed into an essential tool in modern astrophysics. It provides the foundation for the current understanding of black holes, regions of space where gravitational attraction is so strong that not even light can escape.

As Albert Einstein later said, the reason for the development of general relativity was that the preference of inertial motions within special relativity was unsatisfactory, while a theory which from the outset prefers no state of motion (even accelerated ones) should appear more satisfactory. Consequently, in 1907 he published an article on acceleration under special relativity. In that article titled "On the Relativity Principle and the Conclusions Drawn from It", he argued that free fall is really inertial motion, and that for a free-falling observer the rules of special relativity must apply. This argument is called the equivalence principle. In the same article, Einstein also predicted the phenomena of gravitational time dilation, gravitational red shift and deflection of light.

In 1911, Einstein published another article "On the Influence of Gravitation on the Propagation of Light" expanding on the 1907 article, in which he estimated the amount of deflection of light by massive bodies. Thus, the theoretical prediction of general relativity can for the first time be tested experimentally.

Hole argument and Entwurf theory

While developing general relativity, Einstein became confused about the gauge invariance in the theory. He formulated an argument that led him to conclude that a general relativistic field theory is impossible. He gave up looking for fully generally covariant tensor equations, and searched for equations that would be invariant under general linear transformations only.

In June 1913, the Entwurf ("draft") theory was the result of these investigations. As its name suggests, it was a sketch of a theory, less elegant and more difficult than general relativity, with the equations of motion supplemented by additional gauge fixing conditions. After more than two years of intensive work, Einstein realized that the hole argument was mistaken and abandoned the theory in November 1915.

Einstein accepting U.S. citizenship certificate from judge Phillip Forman



In 1917, Einstein applied the general theory of relativity to the structure of the universe as a whole. He discovered that the general field equations predicted a universe that was dynamic, either contracting or expanding. As observational evidence for a dynamic universe was not known at the time, Einstein introduced a new term, the cosmological constant, to the field equations, in order to allow the theory to predict a static universe. The modified field equations predicted a static universe of closed curvature, in accordance with Einstein's understanding of Mach's principle in these years.

Following the discovery of the recession of the nebulae by Edwin Hubble in 1929, Einstein abandoned his static model of the universe, and proposed two dynamic models of the cosmos, the Friedman-Einstein model of 1931 and the Einstein-deSitter model of 1932. In each of these models, Einstein discarded the cosmological constant, claiming that it was "in any case theoretically unsatisfactory".

In many Einstein biographies, it is claimed that Einstein referred to the cosmological constant in later years as his "biggest blunder". The astrophysicist Mario Livio has recently cast doubt on this claim, suggesting that it may be exaggerated.

In late 2013, a team led by the Irish physicist Cormac O'Raifeartaigh discovered evidence that, shortly after learning of Hubble's observations of the recession of the nebulae, Einstein considered a steady-state model of the universe. In a hitherto overlooked manuscript, apparently written in early 1931, Einstein explored a model of the expanding universe in which the density of matter remains constant due to a continuous creation of matter, a process he associated with the cosmological constant. As he stated in the paper, "In what follows, I would like to draw attention to a solution to equation (1) that can account for Hubbel's [sic] facts, and in which the density is constant over time"..."If one considers a physically bounded volume, particles of matter will be continually leaving it. For the density to remain constant, new particles of matter must be continually formed in the volume from space."

It thus appears that Einstein considered a Steady State model of the expanding universe many years before Hoyle, Bondi and Gold. However, Einstein's steady-state model contained a fundamental flaw and he quickly abandoned the idea.

Modern quantum theory

Einstein was displeased with quantum theory and quantum mechanics (the very theory he helped create), despite its acceptance by other physicists, stating that God "is not playing at dice." Einstein continued to maintain his disbelief in the theory, and attempted unsuccessfully to disprove it until he died at the age of 76. In 1917, at the height of his work on relativity, Einstein published an article in Physikalische Zeitschrift that proposed the possibility of stimulated emission, the physical process that makes possible the maser and the laser. This article showed that the statistics of absorption and emission of light would only be consistent with Planck's distribution law if the emission of light into a mode with n photons would be enhanced statistically compared to the emission of light into an empty mode. This paper was enormously influential in the later development of quantum mechanics, because it was the first paper to show that the statistics of atomic transitions had simple laws. Einstein discovered Louis de Broglie's work, and supported his ideas, which were received skeptically at first. In another major paper from this era, Einstein gave a wave equation for de Broglie waves, which Einstein suggested was the Hamilton–Jacobi equation of mechanics. This paper would inspire Schrödinger's work of 1926.

Bose–Einstein statistics

In 1924, Einstein received a description of a statistical model from Indian physicist Satyendra Nath Bose, based on a counting method that assumed that light could be understood as a gas of indistinguishable particles. Einstein noted that Bose's statistics applied to some atoms as well as to the proposed light particles, and submitted his translation of Bose's paper to the Zeitschrift für Physik. Einstein also published his own articles describing the model and its implications, among them the Bose–Einstein condensate phenomenon that some particulates should appear at very low temperatures. It was not until 1995 that the first such condensate was produced experimentally by Eric Allin Cornell and Carl Wieman using ultra-cooling equipment built at the NIST–JILA laboratory at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Bose–Einstein statistics are now used to describe the behaviors of any assembly of bosons. Einstein's sketches for this project may be seen in the Einstein Archive in the library of the Leiden University.

Energy momentum pseudotensor

General relativity includes a dynamical spacetime, so it is difficult to see how to identify the conserved energy and momentum. Noether's theorem allows these quantities to be determined from a Lagrangian with translation invariance, but general covariance makes translation invariance into something of a gauge symmetry. The energy and momentum derived within general relativity by Noether's presecriptions do not make a real tensor for this reason.

Einstein argued that this is true for fundamental reasons, because the gravitational field could be made to vanish by a choice of coordinates. He maintained that the non-covariant energy momentum pseudotensor was in fact the best description of the energy momentum distribution in a gravitational field. This approach has been echoed by Lev Landau and Evgeny Lifshitz, and others, and has become standard.

The use of non-covariant objects like pseudotensors was heavily criticized in 1917 by Erwin Schrödinger and others.

Unified field theory

Following his research on general relativity, Einstein entered into a series of attempts to generalize his geometric theory of gravitation to include electromagnetism as another aspect of a single entity. In 1950, he described his "unified field theory" in a Scientific American article entitled "On the Generalized Theory of Gravitation". Although he continued to be lauded for his work, Einstein became increasingly isolated in his research, and his efforts were ultimately unsuccessful. In his pursuit of a unification of the fundamental forces, Einstein ignored some mainstream developments in physics, most notably the strong and weak nuclear forces, which were not well understood until many years after his death. Mainstream physics, in turn, largely ignored Einstein's approaches to unification. Einstein's dream of unifying other laws of physics with gravity motivates modern quests for a theory of everything and in particular string theory, where geometrical fields emerge in a unified quantum-mechanical setting.


Einstein collaborated with others to produce a model of a wormhole. His motivation was to model elementary particles with charge as a solution of gravitational field equations, in line with the program outlined in the paper "Do Gravitational Fields play an Important Role in the Constitution of the Elementary Particles?". These solutions cut and pasted Schwarzschild black holes to make a bridge between two patches.

If one end of a wormhole was positively charged, the other end would be negatively charged. These properties led Einstein to believe that pairs of particles and antiparticles could be described in this way.

Einstein–Cartan theory

In order to incorporate spinning point particles into general relativity, the affine connection needed to be generalized to include an antisymmetric part, called the torsion. This modification was made by Einstein and Cartan in the 1920s.

Equations of motion

The theory of general relativity has a fundamental law—the Einstein equations which describe how space curves, the geodesic equation which describes how particles move may be derived from the Einstein equations.

Since the equations of general relativity are non-linear, a lump of energy made out of pure gravitational fields, like a black hole, would move on a trajectory which is determined by the Einstein equations themselves, not by a new law. So Einstein proposed that the path of a singular solution, like a black hole, would be determined to be a geodesic from general relativity itself.

This was established by Einstein, Infeld, and Hoffmann for pointlike objects without angular momentum, and by Roy Kerr for spinning objects.

Other investigations

Einstein conducted other investigations that were unsuccessful and abandoned. These pertain to force, superconductivity, gravitational waves, and other research.

Collaboration with other scientists

In addition to longtime collaborators Leopold Infeld, Nathan Rosen, Peter Bergmann and others, Einstein also had some one-shot collaborations with various scientists.


Einstein–de Haas experiment

Einstein and De Haas demonstrated that magnetization is due to the motion of electrons, nowadays known to be the spin. In order to show this, they reversed the magnetization in an iron bar suspended on a torsion pendulum. They confirmed that this leads the bar to rotate, because the electron's angular momentum changes as the magnetization changes. This experiment needed to be sensitive, because the angular momentum associated with electrons is small, but it definitively established that electron motion of some kind is responsible for magnetization.

Schrödinger gas model

Einstein suggested to Erwin Schrödinger that he might be able to reproduce the statistics of a Bose–Einstein gas by considering a box. Then to each possible quantum motion of a particle in a box associate an independent harmonic oscillator. Quantizing these oscillators, each level will have an integer occupation number, which will be the number of particles in it.

This formulation is a form of second quantization, but it predates modern quantum mechanics. Erwin Schrödinger applied this to derive the thermodynamic properties of a semiclassical ideal gas. Schrödinger urged Einstein to add his name as co-author, although Einstein declined the invitation.

Einstein refrigerator

In 1926, Einstein and his former student Leó Szilárd co-invented (and in 1930, patented) the Einstein refrigerator. This absorption refrigerator was then revolutionary for having no moving parts and using only heat as an input. On 11 November 1930, U.S. Patent 1,781,541 was awarded to Albert Einstein and Leó Szilárd for the refrigerator. Their invention was not immediately put into commercial production, and the most promising of their patents were acquired by the Swedish company Electrolux.

Bohr versus Einstein

The Bohr–Einstein debates were a series of public disputes about quantum mechanics between Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr who were two of its founders. Their debates are remembered because of their importance to the philosophy of science.

Einstein–Podolsky–Rosen paradox

In 1935, Einstein returned to the question of quantum mechanics. He considered how a measurement on one of two entangled particles would affect the other. He noted, along with his collaborators, that by performing different measurements on the distant particle, either of position or momentum, different properties of the entangled partner could be discovered without disturbing it in any way.

He then used a hypothesis of local realism to conclude that the other particle had these properties already determined. The principle he proposed is that if it is possible to determine what the answer to a position or momentum measurement would be, without in any way disturbing the particle, then the particle actually has values of position or momentum.

This principle distilled the essence of Einstein's objection to quantum mechanics. As a physical principle, it was shown to be incorrect when the Aspect experiment of 1982 confirmed Bell's theorem, which had been promulgated in 1964.

Non-scientific legacy

While traveling, Einstein wrote daily to his wife Elsa and adopted stepdaughters Margot and Ilse. The letters were included in the papers bequeathed to The Hebrew University. Margot Einstein permitted the personal letters to be made available to the public, but requested that it not be done until twenty years after her death (she died in 1986). Barbara Wolff, of The Hebrew University's Albert Einstein Archives, told the BBC that there are about 3,500 pages of private correspondence written between 1912 and 1955.

Corbis, successor to The Roger Richman Agency, licenses the use of his name and associated imagery, as agent for the university.


In popular culture

In the period before World War II, The New Yorker published a vignette in their "The Talk of the Town" feature saying that Einstein was so well known in America that he would be stopped on the street by people wanting him to explain "that theory". He finally figured out a way to handle the incessant inquiries. He told his inquirers "Pardon me, sorry! Always I am mistaken for Professor Einstein."

Einstein has been the subject of or inspiration for many novels, films, plays, and works of music. He is a favorite model for depictions of mad scientists and absent-minded professors; his expressive face and distinctive hairstyle have been widely copied and exaggerated. Time magazine's Frederic Golden wrote that Einstein was "a cartoonist's dream come true".

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Quotations by Albert Einstein

A happy man is too satisfied with the present to think too much about the future.

Written at age seventeen (September 18, 1896) for a school French essay entitled "My Future Plans." CPAE, Vol. 1, Doc. 22

* Strenuous intellectual work and the study of God's Nature are the angels that will lead me through all the troubles of this life with consolation, strength, and uncompromising rigor.

To Pauline Winteler, mother of Einstein's girlfriend Marie, ca. May 1897. CPAE, Vol. 1, Doc. 34

I decided the following about our future: I will look for a position immediately, no matter how humble it is. My scientific goals and my personal vanity will not prevent me from accepting even the most subordinate position.

To future wife Mileva Maric, July 7, 1901, while having difficulty finding his first job. CPAE, Vol. 1, Doc. 114

I have come to know the mutability of all human relationships and have learned to insulate myself against both heat and cold so that a temperature balance is fairly well assured.

To Heinrich Zangger, March 10, 1917. CPAE, Vol. 8, Doc. 309

* I am by heritage a Jew, by citizenship a Swiss, and by makeup a human being, and only a human being, without any special attachment to any state or national entity whatsoever.

To Alfred Kneser, June 7, 1918. CPAE, Vol. 8, Doc. 560

* I was originally supposed to become an engineer, but the thought of having to expend my creative energy on things that make practical everyday life even more refined, with a loathsome capital gain as the goal, was unbearable to me.

To Heinrich Zangger, ca. August 11, 1918. CPAE, Vol. 8, Doc. 597

Here is yet another application of the principle of relativity ...: today I am described in Germany as a "German savant" and in England as a "Swiss Jew." Should it ever be my fate to be represented as a bête noire, I should, on the contrary, become a "Swiss Jew" for the Germans and a "German savant" for the English.

To The Times (London), 1919. Quoted in Hoffmann, Albert Einstein: Creator and Rebel, 139; also quoted in Frank, Einstein: His Life and Times, 144

* I have not yet eaten enough of the Tree of Knowledge, though in my profession I am obliged to feed on it regularly.

To Max Born, November 9, 1919. In Born, Born-Einstein Letters, 16

With fame I become more and more stupid, which of course is a very common phenomenon.

To Heinrich Zangger, December 1919. Einstein Archive 39-726; also quoted in Dukas and Hoffmann, Albert Einstein, the Human Side, 8

* My father's ashes lie in Milan. I buried my mother here [Berlin] only a few days ago. My children are in Switzerland.... I myself have journeyed everywhere continuously-a stranger everywhere.... A person like me is at home anywhere with those near and dear to him.

To Max Born, March 3, 1920. In Born, Born-Einstein Letters, 26

Let me tell you what I look like: pale face, long hair, and a tiny start of a paunch. In addition, an awkward gait, and a cigar in the mouth ... and a pen in pocket or hand. But crooked legs and warts he does not have, and so is quite handsome-also there's no hair on his hands, as is so often the case with ugly men. So it really is a pity that you didn't see me.

Postcard to eight-year-old cousin Elisabeth Ney, September 1920. Einstein Archive 36-525; also quoted in Dukas and Hoffmann, Albert Einstein, the Human Side, 44

Just as with the man in the fairy tale who turned whatever he touched into gold, with me everything is turned into newspaper clamor.

To Max Born, September 9, 1920. Einstein Archive 8-151

Personally, I experience the greatest degree of pleasure in having contact with works of art. They furnish me with happy feelings of an intensity that I cannot derive from other sources.

1920. In Moszkowski, Conversations with Einstein, 184

It strikes me as unfair, and even in bad taste, to select a few individuals for boundless admiration, attributing superhuman powers of mind and character to them. This has been my fate, and the contrast between the popular assessment of my powers and achievements and the reality is simply grotesque.

From an interview, Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant, 1921; reprinted in Ideas and Opinions, 3-7

If my theory of relativity is proven successful, Germany will claim me as a German and France will declare that I am a citizen of the world. Should my theory prove untrue, France will say that I am a German and Germany will declare that I am a Jew.

From an address to the French Philosophical Society at the Sorbonne, April 6, 1922. See also French press clipping, April 7, 1922, Einstein Archive 36-378; and Berliner Tageblatt, April 8, 1922, Einstein Archive 79-535

* When a blind beetle crawls over the surface of a curved branch, it doesn't notice that the track it has covered is indeed curved. I was lucky enough to notice what the beetle didn't notice.

In answer to his son Eduard's question about why he is so famous, 1922. Quoted in Max Flückiger, Albert Einstein in Bern (Bern: Haupt, 1961); also quoted in Grüning, Ein Haus für Albert Einstein, 498

* Now I am sitting peacefully in Holland after being told that certain people in Germany have it in for me as a "Jewish saint." In Stuttgart there was even a poster in which I appeared in first place among the richest Jews.

To sons Hans Albert and Eduard, November 24, 1923

* [I] must seek in the stars that which was denied [to me] on earth.

To his secretary Bette Neumann, ca. 1923-1924, with whom he had fallen in love, upon ending his relationship with her. See Pais, Subtle Is the Lord, 320, and Fölsing, Albert Einstein, 548

* Of all the communities available to us, there is not one I would want to devote myself to except for the society of the true seekers, which has very few living members at any one time.

To Max and Hedwig Born, April 29, 1924. In Born, Born-Einstein Letters, 82

* Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.

Originally in "What Life Means to Einstein," Saturday Evening Post, October 26, 1929; reprinted in "On Science," in Cosmic Religion, 97.

To punish me for my contempt of authority, Fate has made me an authority myself.

Aphorism for a friend, September 18, 1930. Einstein Archive 36-598; also quoted in Hoffmann,Albert Einstein: Creator and Rebel, 24

I am an artist's model.

To a fellow train passenger, October 31, 1930, who asked him his occupation, reflecting Einstein's feeling that he was constantly posing for sculptures and paintings. Einstein Archive 21-006; also quoted in ibid., 4

I have never looked upon ease and happiness as ends in themselves-such an ethical basis I call the ideal of a pigsty.... The ideals which have guided my way, and time after time have given me the energy to face life, have been Kindness, Beauty, and Truth.

From "What I Believe," Forum and Century 84 (1930), 193-194; reprinted in Ideas and Opinions, 8-11

I am truly a "lone traveler" and have never belonged to my country, my home, my friends, or even my immediate family, with my whole heart. In the face of all this, I have never lost a sense of distance and the need for solitude.

Ibid. Sometimes translated as "I am a lone wolf" and "I am a horse for a single harness."

A hundred times a day I remind myself that my inner and outer lives are based on the labors of other people, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.


It is an irony of fate that I myself have been the recipient of excessive admiration and reverence from my fellow-beings, through no fault or merit of my own.


Professor Einstein begs you to treat your publications for the time being as if he were already dead.

Written on Einstein's behalf by his secretary, Helen Dukas, March 1931, after he was besieged by one manuscript too many. Einstein Archive 46-487

Although I am a typical loner in my daily life, my awareness of belonging to the invisible community of those who strive for truth, beauty, and justice has prevented me from feelings of isolation.

From "My Credo," for the German League for Human Rights, 1932. Quoted in Leach, Living Philosophies, 3

Although I try to be universal in thought, I am European by instinct and inclination.

Daily Express (London), September 11, 1933. Quoted in Holton, Advancement of Science, 126

People flatter me so long as I don't get in their way. [At other times] they immediately turn to abuse and calumny in defense of their interests.

To a pacifist friend. Published in Mein Weltbild (1934), 54; reprinted in Ideas and Opinions, 110

* To be called to account publicly for what others have said in your name, when you cannot defend yourself, is a sad situation indeed.

From "Interviewers," in ibid., 40 and 15, respectively

* My life is a simple thing that would interest no one. It is a known fact that I was born, and that is all that is necessary.

To Princeton High School reporter Henry Russo. In The Tower, April 13, 1935

* As a boy of twelve years making my acquaintance with elementary mathematics, I was thrilled in seeing that it was possible to find out truth by reasoning alone, without the help of any outside experience.... I became more and more convinced that even nature could be understood as a relatively simple mathematical structure.


I have acclimated extremely well here, live like a bear in its cave, and feel more at home than ever before in my eventful life. This bearlike quality has increased even more because of the death of my mate, who was more attached to other people than I am.

To Max Born, ca. early 1937, after the death of Einstein's wife, Elsa. In Born, Born-Einstein Letters, 128

I wouldn't want to live if I did not have my work.... In any case, it's good that I'm already old and personally don't have to count on a prolonged future.

To close friend Michele Besso, October 10, 1938, reflecting on Hitler's rise to power. Einstein Archive 7-376

* I firmly believe that love [of a subject or hobby] is a better teacher than a sense of duty-at least for me.

Draft of a letter to Philipp Frank, 1940

Why is it that nobody understands me, yet everybody likes me?

From an interview, New York Times, March 12, 1944

* I do not like to state an opinion on a matter unless I know the precise facts.

From an interview with Richard J. Lewis, New York Times, August 12, 1945, 29:3, on declining to comment on Germany's progress on the atom bomb

I never worry about the future. It comes soon enough.

Aphorism, 1945-46. Einstein Archive 36-570

I have to apologize to you that I am still among the living. There will be a remedy for this, however.

To a child, Tyffany Williams, in South Africa, August 25, 1946, after she expressed surprise in a letter that Einstein was still alive. Einstein Archive 42-612

* What is essential in the life of a man of my kind is what he thinks and how he thinks, and not what he does or suffers.

Written in 1946 for "Autobiographical Notes," in Schilpp, Albert Einstein: Philosopher-Scientist, 33

There have already been published by the bucketsful such brazen lies and utter fictions about me that I would long since have gone to my grave if I had allowed myself to pay attention to them.

To the writer Max Brod, February 22, 1949. Einstein Archive 34-066

My scientific work is motivated by an irresistible longing to understand the secrets of nature and by no other feelings. My love for justice and the striving to contribute toward the improvement of human conditions are quite independent from my scientific interests.

To F. Lentz, August 20, 1949, in answer to a letter asking Einstein about his scientific motivation. Einstein Archive 58-418

* I'm doing just fine, considering that I have triumphantly survived Nazism and two wives.

To Jakob Ehrat, May 12, 1952

It is a strange thing to be so widely known, yet to be so lonely. But it is a fact that this kind of popularity ... is forcing its victim into a defensive position that leads to isolation.

To E. Marangoni, October 1, 1952. Einstein Archive 60-406

I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.

To Carl Seelig, his biographer, March 11, 1952. Einstein Archive 39-013. A similar sentiment was expressed in a letter to Hans Muehsam, March 4, 1953, Einstein Archive 38-424

All my life I have dealt with objective matters; hence I lack both the natural aptitude and the experience to deal properly with people and to carry out official functions.

Statement to Abba Eban, Israeli ambassador to the United States, November 18, 1952, turning down the presidency of Israel after Chaim Weizmann's death. Einstein Archive 28-943

In the past it never occurred to me that every casual remark of mine would be snatched up and recorded. Otherwise I would have crept further into my shell.

To Carl Seelig, October 25, 1953. Einstein Archive 39-053

All manner of fable is being attached to my personality, and there is no end to the number of ingeniously devised tales. All the more do I appreciate and respect what is truly sincere.

To Queen Elizabeth of Belgium, March 28, 1954. Einstein Archive 32-410

I'm not the kind of snob or exhibitionist that you take me to be and furthermore have nothing of value to say of immediate concern, as you seem to assume.

In reply to a letter, May 1954, asking Einstein to send a message to a new museum in Chile, to be. . . .
Quotations by Albert Einstein
(During a lecture)
This has been done elegantly by Minkowski; but chalk is cheaper than grey matter, and we will do it as it comes.
[Attributed by Pólya.]
Quoted in J E Littlewood, A Mathematician's Miscellany, 1953.

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.
Reader's Digest. Oct. 1977.

I don't believe in mathematics.
Quoted in Carl Seelig. Albert Einstein.

Imagination is more important than knowledge.
On Science.

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.
What I Believe.

The bitter and the sweet come from the outside, the hard from within, from one's own efforts.
Out of My Later Years.

Gott würfelt nicht.

Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen. 
Quoted in E T Bell Mathematics, Queen and Servant of the Sciences. 1952.

God does not care about our mathematical difficulties. He integrates empirically. 
Quoted in L Infeld Quest, 1942.

How can it be that mathematics, being after all a product of human thought independent of experience, is so admirably adapted to the objects of reality?

(About Newton)
Nature to him was an open book, whose letters he could read without effort.
Quoted in G Simmons Calculus Gems (New York 1992).

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. 
Quoted in J R Newman, The World of Mathematics (New York 1956).

What is this frog and mouse battle among the mathematicians? 
[i.e. Brouwer vs. Hilbert]
Quoted in H Eves Mathematical Circles Squared (Boston 1972).


Raffiniert ist der Herr Gott, aber boshaft ist er nicht.
God is subtle, but he is not malicious. 
Inscribed in Fine Hall, Princeton University.

Nature hides her secrets because of her essential loftiness, but not by means of ruse.

The human mind has first to construct forms, independently, before we can find them in things.

Since the mathematicians have invaded the theory of relativity, I do not understand it myself anymore.
Quoted in P A Schilpp, Albert Einstein, Philosopher-Scientist (Evanston 1949).

Do not worry about your difficulties in mathematics, I assure you that mine are greater.

The truth of a theory is in your mind, not in your eyes.
Quoted in H Eves Mathematical Circles Squared (Boston 1972).

These thoughts did not come in any verbal formulation. I rarely think in words at all. A thought comes, and I may try to express it in words afterward.
Quoted in H Eves Mathematical Circles Adieu (Boston 1977).

A human being is a part of the whole, called by us "Universe," a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the resta kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security.
Quoted in H Eves Mathematical Circles Adieu (Boston 1977).

The world needs heroes and it's better they be harmless men like me than villains like Hitler. 
Quoted in H Eves Return to Mathematical Circles (Boston 1988).

It is nothing short of a miracle that modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiousity of inquiry.
Quoted in H Eves Return to Mathematical Circles (Boston 1988).

Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom.
Quoted in H Eves Return to Mathematical Circles (Boston 1988).

The search for truth is more precious than its possession. 
The American Mathematical Monthly 100 (3).

If my theory of relativity is proven successful, Germany will claim me as a German and France will declare that I am a citizen of the world. Should my theory prove untrue, France will say that I am a German and Germany will declare that I am a Jew.
Address at the Sorbonne, Paris.

We come now to the question: what is a priori certain or necessary, respectively in geometry (doctrine of space) or its foundations? Formerly we thought everything; nowadays we think nothing. Already the distance-concept is logically arbitrary; there need be no things that correspond to it, even approximately.
"Space-Time." Encyclopaedia Britannica, 14th ed.

Most of the fundamental ideas of science are essentially simple, and may, as a rule, be expressed in a language comprehensible to everyone.
The Evolution of Physics.

Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind.
Reader's Digest, Nov. 1973.

(To a student) 
Dear Miss -- 
I have read about sixteen pages of your manuscript ... I suffered exactly the same treatment at the hands of my teachers who disliked me for my independence and passed over me when they wanted assistants ... keep your manuscript for your sons and daughters, in order that they may derive consolation from it and not give a damn for what their teachers tell them or think of them. ... There is too much education altogether.
The World as I See It, (New York, 1949), 21-22.

(Written in old age)
I have never belonged wholeheartedly to a country, a state, nor to a circle of friends, nor even to my own family. 
When I was still a rather precocious young man, I already realized most vividly the futility of the hopes and aspirations that most men pursue throughout their lives. 
Well-being and happiness never appeared to me as an absolute aim. I am even inclined to compare such moral aims to the ambitions of a pig. 
Quoted in C P Snow, Variety of Men, (Harmondsworth 1969) 77.

The relativity principle in connection with the basic Maxwellian equations demands that the mass should be a direct measure of the energy contained in a body; light transfers mass. With radium there should be a noticeable diminution of mass. The idea is amusing and enticing; but whether the Almighty is laughing at it and is leading me up the garden path -- that I cannot know.

When I am judging a theory, I ask myself whether, if I were God, I would have arranged the world in such a way.

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.

.. common sense is nothing more than a deposit of prejudices laid down in the mind before you reach eighteen.
Quoted in E T Bell, 
Mathematics: Queen and Servant of Science

Thus the partial differential equation entered theoretical physics as a handmaid, but has gradually become mistress.
The World as I See It

But the creative principle resides in mathematics. In a certain sense, therefore, I hold true that pure thought can grasp reality, as the ancients dreamed.
Quoted in H R Pagels, 
The Cosmic Code

But there is another reason for the high repute of mathematics: it is mathematics that offers the exact natural sciences a certain measure of security which, withut mathematics, they could not attain.
Quoted in E T Bell 
Men of Mathematics

One reason why mathematics enjoys special esteem, above all other sciences, is that its laws are absolutely certain and indisputable, while those of other sciences are to some extent debatable and in constant danger of being overthrown by newly discovered facts.
Sidelights on Relativity

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.
Sidelights on Relativity

How can it be that mathematics, being after all a product of human thought which is independent of experience, is so admirably appropriate to the objects of reality? Is human reason, then, without experience, merely by taking thought, able to fathom the properties of real things?
Sidelights on Relativity

Mathematics are well and good but nature keeps dragging us around by the nose.
Quoted in A P French, 
Einstein: a Centenary Volume

Education is that which remains when one has forgotten everything learned in school.
Ideas and opinions (New York, 1954).

A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depend on the labours of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received.
Quoted in Des MacHale, Wisdom (London, 2002).

Before God we are all equally wise - equally foolish.
Quoted in Des MacHale, Wisdom (London, 2002).

Each of us visits that Earth involuntarily and without an invitation. For me, it is enough to wonder at its secrets.
Quoted in Des MacHale, Wisdom (London, 2002).

If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.
Quoted in Des MacHale, Wisdom (London, 2002).

It is my contention that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.
Quoted in Des MacHale, Wisdom (London, 2002).

My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slightest details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble minds.
Quoted in Des MacHale, Wisdom (London, 2002).

Reading after a certain time diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking. 
Quoted in Des MacHale, Wisdom (London, 2002). 
[EFR: For a modern view replace reading by watching television.]

Sometimes one pays most for things one gets for nothing.
Quoted in Des MacHale, Wisdom (London, 2002).

The most incomprehensible fact about the universe is that it is comprehensible.
Quoted in Des MacHale, Wisdom (London, 2002).

The world we have made, as a result of the level of thinking we have done thus far, creates problems we cannot solve at the same level of thinking at which we created them.
Quoted in Des MacHale, Wisdom (London, 2002).

There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.
Quoted in Des MacHale, Wisdom (London, 2002).

Quotations by Albert Einstein
  • "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction."
  • "Imagination is more important than knowledge."
  • "Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love."
  • "I want to know God's thoughts; the rest are details."
  • "The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax."
  • "Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one."
  • "The only real valuable thing is intuition."
  • "A person starts to live when he can live outside himself."
  • "I am convinced that He (God) does not play dice."
  • "God is subtle but he is not malicious."
  • "Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character."
  • "I never think of the future. It comes soon enough."
  • "The eternal mystery of the world is its comprehensibility."
  • "Sometimes one pays most for the things one gets for nothing."
  • "Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind."
  • "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."
  • "Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from weak minds."
  • "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."
  • "Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen."
  • "Science is a wonderful thing if one does not have to earn one's living at it."
  • "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."
  • "The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education."
  • "God does not care about our mathematical difficulties. He integrates empirically."
  • "The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking."
  • "Technological progress is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal."
  • "Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding."
  • "The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible."
  • "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."
  • "Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school."
  • "The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing."
  • "Do not worry about your difficulties in Mathematics. I can assure you mine are still greater."
  • "Equations are more important to me, because politics is for the present, but an equation is something for eternity."
  • "If A is a success in life, then A equals x plus y plus z. Work is x; y is play; and z is keeping your mouth shut."
  • "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the the universe."
  • "As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality."
  • "Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods."
  • "I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones."
  • "In order to form an immaculate member of a flock of sheep one must, above all, be a sheep."
  • "The fear of death is the most unjustified of all fears, for there's no risk of accident for someone who's dead."
  • "Too many of us look upon Americans as dollar chasers. This is a cruel libel, even if it is reiterated thoughtlessly by the Americans themselves."
  • "Heroism on command, senseless violence, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism -- how passionately I hate them!"
  • "No, this trick won't work...How on earth are you ever going to explain in terms of chemistry and physics so important a biological phenomenon as first love?"
  • "My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind."
  • "Yes, we have to divide up our time like that, between our politics and our equations. But to me our equations are far more important, for politics are only a matter of present concern. A mathematical equation stands forever."
  • "The release of atom power has changed everything except our way of thinking...the solution to this problem lies in the heart of mankind. If only I had known, I should have become a watchmaker."
  • "Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence."
  • "The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed."
  • "A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeeded be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death."
  • "The further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge."
  • "Now he has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion."
  • "You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat."
  • "One had to cram all this stuff into one's mind for the examinations, whether one liked it or not. This coercion had such a deterring effect on me that, after I had passed the final examination, I found the consideration of any scientific problems distasteful to me for an entire year."
  • "...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 the personal life into the world of objective perception and thought."
  • "He who joyfully marches to music rank and file, has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice. This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, how violently I hate all this, how despicable and ignoble war is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be a part of so base an action. It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder."
  • "A human being is a part of a whole, called by us _universe_, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest... a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."
  • "Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts." (Sign hanging in Einstein's office at Princeton)
Quotations by Albert Einstein
"Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth."

["The Curious History of Relativity"]

"Nature shows us only the tail of the lion. But there is no doubt in my mind that the lion belongs with it even if he cannot reveal himself to the eye all at once because of his huge dimension."

[Smithsonian, February 1979]

"I am by heritage a Jew, by citizenship a Swiss, and by makeup a human being, and only a human being, without any special attachment to any state or national entity whatsoever."

["The Yale Book of Quotations"]

"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."

[Address to Prussian Academy of Science, January 1921]

"As a human being, one has been endowed with just enough intelligence to be able to see clearly how utterly inadequate that intelligence is when confronted with what exists."

[Letter to Queen Elisabeth of Belgium, September 1932]

"When a man sits with a pretty girl for an hour, it seems like a minute. But let him sit on a hot stove for a minute — and it's longer than any hour. That's relativity."

["The Yale Book of Quotations"]

"It is true that my parents were worried because I began to speak fairly late, so that they even consulted a doctor. I can't say how old I was — but surely not less than three."

[Letter, 1954]

"Common sense is nothing more than a deposit of prejudices laid down in the mind before you reach eighteen."

["The Universe and Dr. Einstein"]

"If A is a success in life, then A equals X plus Y plus Z. Work is X; Y is play, and Z is keeping your mouth shut."

["The Yale Book of Quotations"]

"Nationalism is an infantile sickness. It is the measles of the human race."

["Albert Einstein, the Human Side"]

"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed."

["The World As I See It," 1930]

"My passionate sense of social justice and social responsibility has always contrasted oddly with my pronounced lack of need for direct contact with other human beings and human communities. I am truly a 'lone traveler' and have never belonged to my country, my home, my friends, or even my immediate family, with my whole heart; in the face of all these ties, I have never lost a sense of distance and a need for solitude."

["The World As I See It," 1930]

"If I were to start taking care of my grooming, I would no longer be my own self."

[Letter, December 1913]

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."

[Smithsonian, February 1979]

"The ideals that have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Kindness, Beauty, and Truth. Without the sense of kinship with men of like mind, without the occupation with the objective world, the eternally unattainable in the field of art and scientific endeavors, life would have seemed empty to me. The trite objects of human efforts — possessions, outward success, luxury — have always seemed to me contemptible."

["The World As I See It," 1930]

"The aim [of education] must be the training of independently acting and thinking individuals who, however, see in the service to the community their highest life problem."

[Address, October 1936]

"Nothing truly valuable arises from ambition or from a mere sense of duty; it stems rather from love and devotion towards men and towards objective things."

[Letter, July 1947]

"Most teachers waste their time by asking questions that are intended to discover what a pupil does not know, whereas the true art of questioning is to discover what the pupil does know or is capable of knowing."

["Conversations with Albert Einstein," 1920]

"I very rarely think in words at all. A thought comes, and I may try to express in words afterwards."

["Productive Thinking," 1959]

"A happy man is too satisfied with the present to dwell too much on the future."

[Smithsonian, February 1979]

"The important thing is to not stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing."


"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."

[Speech, 1918]

"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."

[Letter, 1956]

"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."

["Albert Einstein: Creator and Rebel," 1972]

"The only way to escape the corruptible effect of praise is to go on working."

[Smithsonian, February 1979]


Quotations by Albert Einstein
1. “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution."

2. “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly."

3. “Human knowledge and skills alone cannot lead humanity to a happy and dignified life. Humanity has every reason to place the proclaimers of high moral standards and values above the discoverers of objective truth."

4. “Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even incapable of forming such opinions."

5. “I, at any rate, am convinced that He (God) does not throw dice."

6. “The important thing is not to stop questioning; curiosity has its own reason for existing."

7. “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."

8. “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe."

9. “Falling in love is not at all the most stupid thing that people do— but gravitation cannot be held responsible for it."

10. “The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science."

11. “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."

12. “Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value"

13. “The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."

14. “The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits."

15. “Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character."

16. “Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas."

17. “Nature shows us only the tail of the lion. But I do not doubt that the lion belongs to it even though he cannot at once reveal himself because of his enormous size."

18. “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile."

19. “It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer."

20. “My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind."

21. “Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding."

22. “I never think of the future. It comes soon enough."

23. “Do not worry about your difficulties in mathematics, I can assure you that mine are all greater"

24. “In order to form an immaculate member of a flock of sheep one must, above all, be a sheep."

25. “The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible."

26. “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one."

27. “Truth is what stands the test of experience."

28. “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving"

29. “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

30. “Common sense is nothing more than a deposit of prejudices laid down by the mind before you reach eighteen."



r to form an immaculate member of a flock of sheep one must, above all, be a sheep."

25. “The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible."

26. “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one."

27. “Truth is what stands the test of experience."

28. “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving"

29. “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

30. “Common sense is nothing more than a deposit of prejudices laid down by the mind before you reach eighteen."