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Einstein Quotes—Happy Birthday, Albert Einstein!

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Einstein was born 135 years ago on March 14, 1879 in Ulm, Germany. His work led to so many applications that impact us beyond measure, for example television, DVDs, lasers. And, of course nuclear weapons and energy. Though a pacifist, Einstein signed a letter to FDR that ultimately led to U.S. nuclear weapons research. “I made one great mistake in my life,” he later told his friend Linus Pauling, “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…”

In our pantheon of sages, he’s the long-haired disheveled one who rode his bike around the Princeton campus. Not long ago, I was struck by how often I ran into Einstein quotes, especially since I find science and math too damned hard! So I’m not seeing Einstein quotes in a physics book. But beyond the science, he did a great deal of writing and speaking on problem solving, peace, imagination, what’s important in life.

As a result, he left behind many nuggets of wisdom. So I decided to see what was on just my own laptop. I did a search for “Einstein,” and all kinds of things popped up. He’s quoted in powerpoints others had sent me for work, in the email signatures of friends, in my own scattered scribblings.

Enjoy this bunch of Einstein Quotes in the order I found them:

  • The mere formulation of a problem is far more essential than its solution, which may be merely a matter of mathematical or experimental skills. To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle requires creative imagination and marks real advances in science.
  • In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.
  • All meaningful and lasting change starts first in your imagination and then works its way out. Imagination is more important than knowledge.
  • We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.
  • An empty stomach is not a good political advisor.
  • Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.
  • Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex… It takes a touch of genius—and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.
  • Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.
  • If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.
  • Only a life lived for others is a life worth living.
  • It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.
  • Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.
  • Time and space are not conditions in which we live, but modes by which we think.
  • The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.

Photo: Oren Jack Turner, Creative Commons. 

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