Quotations by Albert Einstein

"This has been done elegantly by Minkowski; but chalk is cheaper than grey matter, and we will do it as it comes."

(During a lecture) Quoted in J E Littlewood, A Mathematician's Miscellany, 1953

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

Reader's Digest. Oct. 1977

"Imagination is more important than knowledge."

On Science

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

What I Believe

"The bitter and the sweet come from the outside, the hard from within, from one's own efforts."

Out of My Later Years

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

Quoted in E T Bell Mathematics, Queen and Servant of the Sciences. 1952.

"God is subtle, but he is not malicious."

Inscribed in Fine Hall, Princeton University.

"Since the mathematicians have invaded the theory of relativity, I do not understand it myself anymore."

Quoted in P A Schilpp, Albert Einstein, Philosopher-Scientist (Evanston 1949).

"These thoughts did not come in any verbal formulation. I rarely think in words at all. A thought comes, and I may try to express it in words afterward."

Quoted in H Eves Mathematical Circles Adieu (Boston 1977).

"A human being is a part of the whole, called by us "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 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. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security."

Quoted in H Eves Mathematical Circles Adieu (Boston 1977).

"It is nothing short of a miracle that modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiousity of inquiry."

H Eves Return to Mathematical Circles (Boston 1988).

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

H Eves Return to Mathematical Circles (Boston 1988).

"The search for truth is more precious than its possession."

The American Mathematical Monthly 100(3).

"Dear Miss -- I have read about sixteen pages of your manuscript... I suffered exactly the same treatment at the hands of my teachers who disliked me for my independence and passed over me when they wanted assistants... keep your manuscript for your sons and daughters, in order that they may derive consolation from it and not give a damn for what their teachers tell them or think of them... There is too much education altogether."

(To a student) The World as I See It, (New York, 1949), 21-22.

"I have never belonged wholeheartedly to a country, a state, nor to a circle of friends, nor even to my own family. When I was still a rather precocious young man, I already realized most vividly the futility of the hopes and aspirations that most men pursue throughout their lives. 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."

(Written in old age) Quoted in C P Snow, Variety of Men, (Harmondsworth 1969) 77.

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."