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30 quotes that take you inside Albert Einstein's brilliant mind

30 quotes that take you inside Albert Einstein's brilliant mind
  • In 1999, Time Magazine named Albert Einstein the Person of the Century.
  • Einstein's name has become synonymous with genius over the years.
  • Einstein spoke eloquently on a number of topics beyond physics, from ambition to living a happy life.
  • Here are 30 of Einstein's best quotes. Each will take you inside the mind of the legend.
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Einstein on authority:

Einstein on authority:
Associated Press

"Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth."

Source: "The Curious History of Relativity"

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On scope:

On scope:
Associated Press

"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."

Source: "Einstein in Love: A Scientific Romance"

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On relativity:

On relativity:
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

"When you sit with a nice girl for two hours you think it's only a minute. But when you sit on a hot stove for a minute you think it's two hours. That's relativity."

Source: New York Times

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On his growth:

On his growth:
AP

"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."

Source: "The Yale Book of Quotations"

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On allegiance:

On allegiance:
Albert Einstein and Leo Szilard reenact the signing of their letter to President Roosevelt warning him that Germany may be building an atomic bomb in January 1946. March Of Time/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images

"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."

Source: "The Yale Book of Quotations"

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On curiosity:

On curiosity:
Getty

"The important thing is not to 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."

Source: Nova

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On certainty:

On certainty:
AP

"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."

Source: Oxford Reference

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On humility:

On humility:
AP

"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."

Source: "An Intimate Look at the Night Sky"

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On common sense:

On common sense:
AP

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

Source: Oxford Reference

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On success:

On success:
AP Photo

"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."

Source: "Concise Oxford Dictionary of Quotations"

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On opportunism:

On opportunism:
Getty

"In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity."

Source: Business Insider

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On creativity:

On creativity:
Getty

"Creativity is intelligence having fun."

Source: Business Insider

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On individuality:

On individuality:
Getty Images

"It is important for the common good to foster individuality: for only the individual can produce the new ideas which the community needs for its continuous improvement and requirements — indeed, to avoid sterility and petrifaction."

Source: Nova

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On nationalism:

On nationalism:
Getty Images

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

Source: "Albert Einstein, the Human Side"

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On mystery:

On mystery:
Getty Images

"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."

Source: "The World As I See It"

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On solitude:

On solitude:
Popperfoto via Getty Images

"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."

Source: "The World As I See It"

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On his mental development:

On his mental development:
Einstein as a child. Hulton Archive/Getty Images

"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."

Source: Nova

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On appearance:

On appearance:
AP Photo

"If I were to start taking care of my grooming, I would no longer be my own self; so, the hell with it."

Source: "Einstein's Revolutionary Wisdom"

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On imagination:

On imagination:
Getty

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

Source: Today in Science History

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On motivation:

On motivation:
AP

"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."

Source: "The World As I See It"

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On education:

On education:
AP

"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."

Source: Chemistry Education: Best Practices, Opportunities and Trends

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On ambition:

On ambition:
AP

"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."

Source: Pass It On

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On being an enigma:

On being an enigma:
Getty

"Why is it that nobody understands me, and everybody likes me?"

Source: Nova

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On learning:

On learning:
Bettmann/Getty Images

"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."

Source: Australian Council for Educational Research

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On thinking:

On thinking:
Getty

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

Source: The Psychology of Graphic Images: Seeing, Drawing, Communicating

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On the future:

On the future:
Getty Images

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

Source: "Civilization's Quotations"

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On work ethic:

On work ethic:
Universal Images Group via Getty Images

"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."

Source: Nova

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On living well:

On living well:
Getty

"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning."

Source: Business Insider

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On hustling:

On hustling:
AP

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

Source: "The Ultimate Quotable Einstein"

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On science:

On science:
Getty Images

"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."

Source: American Institute of Physics

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