Albert Einstein

This article was originally published on May 19, 2021.

 Albert Einstein/theoretical physicist

Decades after his death, Albert Einstein’s legacy lives on. He is often considered the father of modern physics in light of his revolutionary ideas that shaped it our understanding of the universe.

The prolific scientist’s rise to celebrity status didn’t happen overnight, however. Unlike many others famous scientists of their time, Einstein did not have an impeccable education and was not well connected to the scientific community. He perfectly embodies the stereotype of a lone genius and usually works alone. In 1905, the year he turned 26, Einstein published four groundbreaking papers that laid the foundation for his theory of relativity, E=mc2 and quantum mechanics. But his work largely flew under the radar at the time.

A solar eclipse in 1919 was a turning point in his career when one of his predictions about general relativity was confirmed by the astronomer Sir Arthur Eddington. Einstein went on to won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921 for his explanation of the photoelectric effect – not for relativity, ironically.

Needless to say, Einstein didn’t need much introduction to the American public at the time he immigrated to the US in 1933 as he sought refuge during Hitler’s rise to power. Einstein, who accepted a position at the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study, often used the spotlight to share his views on politics, religion and everything in between. Both German-born and Jewish, Einstein was in a unique position to speak out against Nazi Germany and the persecution of the Jewish people. The scientist too criticizes the racism, discrimination and injustice he observes in America.

Near the end of his life, Einstein was offered the presidency of Israel — a position he turned down, citing a lack of experience and people skills. He died a few years later in 1955 of heart failure. He left behind a lifetime of remarkable scientific contributions and social commentary that lives on today.

Einstein is perhaps the most quoted scientist of all time, with remarks about life, morality and social justice being among Einstein’s most famous quotes – something he didn’t exactly mean. In 1953 he joked: “It never occurred to me in the past that my every casual remark would be seized and recorded. Otherwise, I would have crawled even further into my shell.”

However, the words he left behind may be the best way to get into the legend’s mind. Here’s a collection of Einstein quotes—from the inspirational to the thought-provoking—that offer insight into how he saw the world and his work.

Top 20 Albert Einstein Quotes

1. “The most incomprehensible thing in the world is that it is understandable.”

2. “Where the world ceases to be the scene of our personal hopes and desires, where we face it as free beings, admiring, questioning, observing, there we enter the realm of art and science.”

3. “The human being is a part of the whole, which we call the ‘universe’, a part limited in time and space.”

4. “If I wasn’t a physicist, I’d probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my dreams in music. I see my life in terms of music… I can’t say whether I would do any creative work that is important in music, but I know that I derive the greatest joy in life from my violin.”

5. “The greatest scientists are also artists.”

6. “I had an intuition and music was the driving force behind that intuition. My discovery was the result of musical perception.”

7. “I believe in intuition and inspiration. Sometimes I feel I’m right. I don’t know I am.” 8. “The supreme task of physics is to arrive at those universal elementary laws from which the cosmos can be constructed by pure deduction. There is no logical path to these laws; only intuition resting on a sympathetic understanding of experience can reach them.”

9. “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you have to keep moving.”

10. “I believe in one thing – that only a life lived for others is a life worth living.”

11. “I am artist enough to draw freely on my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination surrounds the world.”

12. “The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the primary emotion that stands in the cradle of true art and true science. dead and his eyes are dim.”

13. “The important thing is to keep asking questions. Curiosity has its own reason for being. One cannot help but feel awe when one contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the wondrous structure of reality. It is enough if one simply trying to figure out a little bit of that mystery every day.” 14. “My interest in science has always been essentially confined to the study of principles … That I have published so little is due to the same circumstance, for the great need to grasp the principles has led me to spend the greater part of your time in fruitless pursuits.”

15. “My passion for social justice has often brought me into conflict with people, as has my aversion to all obligations and dependencies which I did not consider absolutely necessary.”

16. “Although the realms of religion and science are in themselves clearly distinguished from one another, yet there are strong reciprocal connections and dependencies between the two.”

17. “Science is international, but its success rests on institutions which are the property of nations. Therefore, if we wish to promote culture, we must combine and organize institutions with our own powers and means.”

18. “Why does this magnificent applied science, which saves work and makes life easier, bring us so little happiness? The simple answer is: Because we have not yet learned to use it wisely.”

19. “One thing I have learned in my long life: that all our science compared to reality is primitive and childish—and yet it is the most valuable thing we have.”

20. “All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are aimed at ennobling the life of man, raising him from the realm of mere physical existence and leading the individual to freedom.”

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