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The Most Inspiring Albert Einstein Quotes of All Time
einstein quotes

The Most Inspiring Albert Einstein Quotes of All Time

Albert Einstein is the most influential physicist of the 20th century, and may very well be the most famous scientist who ever lived. He was only 26 years old when, in 1905, he published four papers, electrifying the field of physics and propelling him to global renown. However, his contributions reached beyond science and mathematics. He is also remembered for his wit and his insights into humanity, knowledge and imagination, immortalized in endlessly inspiring Albert Einstein quotes.

Among Einstein's famous works was his groundbreaking special theory of relativity, represented by the equation E = mc², which asserted that matter could be turned into energy. Not since mathematician Isaac Newton had one man so drastically altered our understanding of how the universe works.

Albert Einstein speaking. Photo by Harris & Ewing, courtesy of the Library of Congress.
Photo by Harris & Ewing, courtesy of the Library of Congress

Yet, while Einstein clearly had a knack for science and mathematics from an early age, he didn't excel at everything he put his mind to. He attended elementary and grammar schools in Munich, Germany, where he felt alienated and stifled by the school's rigid pedagogical approach. He was an average pupil who experienced speech challenges, which permanently influenced his view of education and human potential.

In fact, it was largely in his private time that Einstein's passion and inquisitiveness for science and mathematics first flourished. And after finishing his studies in Zurich in 1900, it was again in his leisure time, while working at the Swiss Patent Office, that he developed many of his most influential theories.

Nobel Prize Winner, Great Thinker & Civil Rights Activist

Einstein won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1921, but history soon intervened. The Nazis were on the rise in his native Germany, and the Jewish Einstein was targeted for assassination. He moved in 1933 to the United States, where he worked at Princeton University for the rest of his days. There, he became a central figure in the fight to curtail the use of the atom bomb, and a strong voice against racism and nationalism.

In fact, Einstein used his fame to advocate for social justice. The Harvard Gazette notes the physicist's little-known speech at Lincoln University -- the first degree-granting historically Black college -- in which Einstein called racism "a disease of white people." "I do not intend to be quiet about it," he said.

[Hungry for more Albert Einstein-isms? Shop "The Ultimate Quotable Einstein"]

Einstein's name has become synonymous with genius and creativity. Time magazine named him in 1999 as Person of the Century.

"Even now scientists marvel at the daring of general relativity ('I still can't see how he thought of it,' said the late Richard Feynman, no slouch himself)," the magazine wrote. "But the great physicist was also engagingly simple, trading ties and socks for mothy sweaters and sweatshirts. He tossed off pithy aphorisms ('Science is a wonderful thing if one does not have to earn one's living at it') and playful doggerel as easily as equations."

Indeed, Einstein is a rare icon, whose wisdom extended beyond science to reveal a man with an almost childlike sense of wonder and a profound love of humanity.

Albert Einstein Quotes About Imagination & Curiosity

Albert Einstein photo by Orren Jack Turner, courtesy of the Library of Congress
Photo by Orren Jack Turner, courtesy of the Library of Congress

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

A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be.

I believe in intuitions and inspirations. I sometimes feel that I am right. I do not know that I am.

The important thing is to not stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day.

Albert Einstein figure. Photo by Andrew George on Unsplash
Photo by Andrew George on Unsplash

The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which 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.

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

Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions.

He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.

I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination.

Albert Einstein Knowledge & Learning Quotes

Albert Einstein mural photo by Bakhrom Tursunov on Unsplash
Photo by Bakhrom Tursunov on Unsplash

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.

It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.

If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.

It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry.

Albert Einstein with wife Elsa, courtesy of the Library of Congress
Albert Einstein with his second wife, Elsa, courtesy of the Library of Congress

Let us not forget that human knowledge and skills alone cannot lead humanity to a happy and dignified life.

Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts.

Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.

Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.

Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.

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

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

Albert Einstein Quotes About Humanity & Life

Albert Einstein receives his certificate of U.S. citizenship (New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection, Library of Congress)
Einstein receives his certificate of U.S. citizenship (New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection, Library of Congress)

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.

All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree.

A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.

A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, 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.

Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.

The great moral teachers of humanity were, in a way, artistic geniuses in the art of living.

Einstein6 1024x576
Photo by My Foto Canva on Unsplash

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one

I believe in standardizing automobiles. I do not believe in standardizing human beings.

A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit and a violin; what else does a man need to be happy?

A human being is part of a whole called by us "universe," a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling 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.”

A question that sometimes drives me hazy -- am I or are the others crazy?

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

Einstein3 1024x576
Photo by Jorge Alejandro on Unsplash

I love to travel, but I hate to arrive.

All that is valuable in human society depends upon the opportunity for development accorded the individual.

Although I am a typical loner in daily life, my consciousness of belonging to the invisible community of those who strive for truth, beauty, and justice has preserved me from feeling isolated.

The years of anxious searching in the dark, with their intense longing, their alternations of confidence and exhaustion, and final emergence into light — only those who have experienced it can understand that.

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

I speak to everyone in the same way, whether he is the garbage man or the president of the university.

Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hopes of reward after death.

Einstein Quotes About Science & Mathematics

Albert Einstein photo from Bain News Service, courtesy of the Library of Congress
Photo from Bain News Service, courtesy of the Library of Congress

Concern for man and his fate must always form the chief interest of all technical endeavors. Never forget this in the midst of your diagrams and equations.

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

The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.

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

Invention is not the product of logical thought, even though the final product is tied to a logical structure.

Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.

Einstein10 1024x576
Photo by Schloss, courtesy of the Library of Congress

Do not worry about your difficulties in mathematics. I can assure you mine are still greater.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.

Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love. How on earth can you explain in terms of chemistry and physics so important a biological phenomenon as first love? Put your hand on a stove for a minute and it seems like an hour. Sit with that special girl for an hour and it seems like a minute. That's relativity.

God does not care about our mathematical difficulties. He integrates empirically.

When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder a second seems like an hour. That's relativity.

Science can flourish only in an atmosphere of free speech.

Mathematics are well and good, but nature keeps dragging us around by the nose.

Photo by Maks Key on Unsplash
Photo by Maks Key on Unsplash

If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.

The truth of a theory can never be proven, for one never knows if future experience will contradict its conclusions.

Out yonder there was this huge world, which exists independently of us human beings and which stands before us like a great, eternal riddle, at least partially accessible to our inspection and thinking. The contemplation of this world beckoned like a liberation...

All of science is nothing more than the refinement of everyday thinking.

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.

Albert Einstein Quotes About War & Peace

Photo by Doris Ulmann, courtesy of the Library of Congress
Photo by Doris Ulmann, courtesy of the Library of Congress

Hail to the man who went through life always helping others, knowing no fear, and to whom aggressiveness and resentment are alien.

The world is in greater peril from those who tolerate or encourage evil than from those who actually commit it.

I would teach peace rather than war. I would inculcate love rather than hate.

I am not only a pacifist but a militant pacifist. I am willing to fight for peace. Nothing will end war unless the people themselves refuse to go to war.

He who cherishes the value of cultures cannot fail to be a pacifist.

I do not know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.

Photo by Taton Mo\u00efse on Unsplash
Photo by Taton Moïse on Unsplash

Older men start wars, but younger men fight them.

Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.

He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would suffice.

You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war.

Force always attracts men of low morality.

The pioneers of a warless world are the young men (and women) who refuse military service.

Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted in important affairs.

What Einstein Had to Say About Failure

Photo by Harris & Ewing, courtesy of the Library of Congress
Photo by Harris & Ewing, courtesy of the Library of Congress

Show me a satisfied man, and I'll show you a failure.

A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.

I do not believe that a moral philosophy can ever be founded on a scientific basis. … The valuation of life and all its nobler expressions can only come out of the soul’s yearning toward its own destiny. Every attempt to reduce ethics to scientific formulas must fail. Of that I am perfectly convinced.

You never fail until you stop trying.

Failing isn't bad when you learn what not to do.

The stakes are immense, the task colossal, the time is short. But we may hope - we must hope - that man's own creation, man's own genius, will not destroy him.

Failure is success in progress.

I have tried 99 times and have failed, but on the 100th time came success.

Albert Einstein Ambition Quotes

Einstein statue 1024x576
Einstein statue at the National Research Council. Photo by Carol Highsmith, courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Try not to become a man of success, but a man of value. Look around at how people want to get more out of life than they put in. A man of value will give more than he receives. Be creative, but make sure that what you create is not a curse for mankind.

Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character.

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.

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.

Ever since childhood I have scorned the commonplace limits so often set upon human ambition. Possessions, outward success, publicity, luxury -- to me these have always been contemptible. I believe that a simple and unassuming manner of life is best for everyone; best both for the body and the mind.

I feel that you are justified in looking into the future with true assurance, because you have a mode of living in which we find the joy of life and the joy of work harmoniously combined. Added to this is the spirit of ambition which pervades your very being, and seems to make the day's work like a happy child at play.

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