Albert Einstein

Imagination is more important than knowledge.

It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.

Imagination is more important than knowledge...

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.

If my theory of relativity proves to be correct, Germany will claim me a German, and France will claim me a citizen of the world. However, if it proves wrong, France will say I’m a German, and Germany will say that I’m a jew.

Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom.

Ethical axioms are found and tested not very differently from the axioms of science. Truth is what stands the test of experience.

If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?

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

I never came upon any of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking.

Heroism on command, senseless violence, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism -- how passionately I hate them!

The conscientious objector is a revoultionary. On deciding to disobey the law he sacrifices his personal interests to the most important cause of working for the betterment of society.

There are two ways of resisting war: the legal way and the revolutionary way. The legal way involves the offer of alternatinve service not as a privilege for a few but as a right for all. The revolutionary view involves an uncompromising resistance, with a view to breaking the power of militarism in time of peace or the resources of the state in time of war.

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

After a certain high level of technical skill is achieved, science and art tend to coalesce in esthetics, plasticity, and form. The greatest sceintists are always artists as well.

Nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced. It is an open secret that the dangerous increase of crime in this counrty is closely related with this.

Anger dwells only in the bosom of fools.

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.

Isn't it strange that I who have written only unpopular books should be such a popular fellow?

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.

The point is to develop the childlike inclination for play and the childlike desire for recognition and to guide the child over to important fields for society. Such a school demands from the teacher that he be a kind of artist in his province.

The grand aim of all science is to cover the greatest number of empirical facts by logical deduction from the smallest number of hypotheses or axioms.

My religion consists of a humble admiration of the unlimitable superior who reveals Himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble minds. That deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God

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

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.

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.

Let us not forget that knowledge and skills alone cannot lead humanity to a happy and dignified life. ... I claim credit for nothing. Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end, forces over which we have no control. It is determined for the insects as well as for the stars, Human beings, vegetables or cosmic dust, we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible piper.

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

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.

The ideals which have always shone before me and filled me with the joy of living are goodness, beauty, and truth. To make a goal of comfort or happiness has never appealed to me; a system of ethics built on this basis would be sufficient only for a herd of cattle.

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.

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

The release of atomic energy has not created a new problem. It has merely made more urgent the necessity of solving an existing one.

The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is at all comprehensible.

If I had only known, I would have been a locksmith.

Before God we are all equally wise - and equally foolish.

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.

The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax.

I never think of the future - it comes soon enough.

You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war.

Reading, after a certain age, 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.

I never think of the future. It comes soon enough.

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.

It is the theory that decides what we can observe.

Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind.

Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love.

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

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is.

If you are out to describe the truth, leave elegance to the tailor.

To my mind to kill in war is not a whit better than to commit ordinary murder.

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

When all think alike, no one thinks very much.

It is the duty of every citizen according to his best capacities to give validity to his convictions in political affairs.

The important thing is not to stop questioning.

In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.

When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than any talent for abstract, positive thinking.

The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking.

Truth is what stands the test of experience.

One should guard against preaching to young people success in the customary form as the main aim in life. The most important motive for work in school and in life is pleasure in work, pleasure in its result, and the knowledge of the value of the result to the community.

Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character.

We still do not know one-thousandth of one percent of what nature has revealed to us.

All of us who are concerned for peace and triumph of reason and justice must be keenly aware how small an influence reason and honest good will exert upon events in the political field.

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not one bit simpler.

He who cherishes the values of culture cannot fail to be a pacifist.

Science is a wonderful thing if one does not have to earn one's living at it.

We should take care not to make the intellect our god; it has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality.

If there is any religion that could cope with modern scientific needs, it would be Buddhism.

To my mind, to kill in war is not a whit better than to commit ordinary murder.

To punish me for my contempt for authority, fate made me an authority myself.

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

The pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, an almost fanatical love of justice, and the desire for personal independence - these are the features of Jewish tradition that make me thank my stars that I belong to it.

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.

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.

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

Only a life lived for others is a life worth while.

Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.

When you look at yourself from a universal standpoint, something inside always reminds or informs you that there are bigger and better things to worry about.

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

No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.

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

My sense of God is my sense of wonder about the Universe.

Let every man be respected as an individual and no man idolized.

The tragedy of life is what dies in the hearts and souls of people while they live.

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

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.

Computers are incredibly fast, accurate, and stupid. Human beings are incredibly slow, inaccurate, and brilliant. Together they are powerful beyond imagination.

The individual must not merely wait and criticize, he must defend the cause the best he can. The fate of the world will be such as the world deserves.

Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every man present his views without penalty there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.

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.

I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.

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.

Every kind of peaceful cooperation among men is primarily based on mutual trust and only secondarily on institutions such as courts of justice and police.

We believe that an informed citizenry will act for life and not for death.

True art is characterized by an irresistible urge in the creative artist

If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts.

Never underestimate your own ignorance.

It is only to the individual that a soul is given.

People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.

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.

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

Wisdom is not a product of schooling, but of the life- long attempt to acquire it.

So long as there are men there will be wars.

He who joyfully marches 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.

The value of a man resides in what he gives and not in what he is capable of receiving.

Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.

That a man can take pleasure in marching in formation to the strains of a band is enough to make me despise him. He has only been given his big brain by mistake; a backbone was all he needed.

No one but a theorist believes his theory; everyone puts faith in a laboratory result but the experimenter himself.

I think and think for months and years. Ninety-nine times the conclusion is false. The hundredth time I am right.

Do you remember how electrical currents and 'unseen waves' were laughed at? The knowledge about man is still in its infancy.

Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the Gods.

Teaching should be such that what is offered is perceived as a valuable gift and not as a hard duty.

God reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists.

It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.

Once you can accept the universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something, wearing stripes with plaid comes easy.

It is mathematics that offers the exact natural sciences a certain measure of security which, without mathematics, they could not attain.

The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious.

The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.

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.

I have deep faith that the principle of the universe will be beautiful and simple.

I never teach my pupils. I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.

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

It is characteristic of the military mentality that nonhuman factors (atom bombs, strategic bases, weapons of all sorts, the possession of raw materials, etc) are held essential, while the human being, his desires, and thoughts - in short, the psychological factors - are considered as unimportant and secondary...The individual is "human materiel".

I believe that whoever tries to think things through honestly will soon recognize how unworthy and even fatal is the traditional bias against Negroes. What can the man of good will do to combat this deeply rooted prejudice? He must have the courage to set an example by words and deed, and must watch lest his children become influenced by racial bias.

It is in fact nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curious of inquiry. It is a very grave mistake to think that the enjoyment of seeing and searching can be promoted by means of coercion and a sense of duty.

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

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. Never lose a holy curiosity.

The human mind is not capable of grasping the Universe. We are like a little child entering a huge library. The walls are covered to the ceilings with books in many different tongues. The child knows that someone must have written these books. It does not know who or how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. But the child notes a definite plan in the arrangement of the books - a mysterious order which it does not comprehend, but only dimly suspects.

The aim (of education) must be the training of independently acting and thinking individuals who, however, can see in the service to the community their highest life achievement.

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 and fulfills the duty to express the results of his thought in clear form.

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.

The ideals which have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Kindness, Beauty, and Truth. The trite subjects of human efforts, possessions, outward success, luxury have always seemed to me contemptible.

Never regard study as a duty, but as the enviable opportunity to learn to know the liberating influence of beauty in the realm of the spirit for your own personal joy and to the profit of the community to which your later work belongs.

A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.

A human being is part of a whole, called by us the 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 us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.