Essays In Science Albert Einstein 1934 Pdf Printer

It's All Relative
Around 1950, Hayward Cirker, Founder and President of Dover Publications, wrote to Einstein and asked his approval to proceed with a Dover paperback reprint of the 1923 collection of original papers on relativity by Einstein himself and others (H. A. Lorentz, H. Weyl, and H. Minkowski), which had originally been published in England. Einstein was reluctant, wondering how much interest there could possibly be in this relic of his work from 30 or more years earlier. Cirker persisted, and Einstein finally agreed — the Dover edition of The Theory of Relativity has been in print ever since and has been followed by many other Dover books on relativity.

The papers reprinted in this original collection will always be for the serious student the cornerstone of their Einstein library: Michelson's Interference Experiment (H. A. Lorentz); Electromagnetic Phenomena in a System Moving with any Velocity Less Than That of Light (H.A. Lorentz); On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies (A. Einstein); Does the Inertia of a Body Depend Upon its Energy Content? (A. Einstein); Space and Time (H. Minkowksi with notes by A. Sommerfeld); On the Influence of Gravitation on the Propagation of Light (A. Einstein); and The Foundation of the General Theory of Relativity (A. Einstein) found on pages 109–164 of this text; Hamilton's Principle and The General Theory of Relativity (A. Einstein); Cosmological Considerations on the General Theory of Relativity (A. Einstein); Do Gravitational Fields Play an Essential Part in the Structure of the Elementary Particles of Matter? (A. Einstein); and Gravitation and Electricity (H. Weyl).

In the Author's Own Words:

"How can it be that mathematics, being after all a product of human thought independent of experience, is so admirably adapted to the objects of reality?"

"What nature demands from us is not a quantum theory or a wave theory; rather, nature demands from us a synthesis of these two views which thus far has exceeded the mental powers of physicists."

"Do not be troubled by your difficulties with Mathematics, I can assure you mine are much greater." — Albert Einstein

Critical Acclaim for The Theory of Relativity:

"This book constitutes an indispensable part of a library on relativity." — Nature

Albert Einstein (14 March1879 – 18 April1955) was a theoretical physicist who published the special and general theories of relativity and contributed in other areas of physics. He won the Nobel Prize in physics for his explanation of the photoelectric effect.

See also
Albert Einstein and politics

Quotes[edit]

1890s[edit]

  • Un homme heureux est trop content du présent pour trop se soucier de l'avenir.
    • A happy man is too satisfied with the present to dwell too much on the future.
    • From "Mes Projets d'Avenir", a French essay written at age 17 for a school exam (18 September 1896). The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein Vol. 1 (1987) Doc. 22.

1900s[edit]

  • Autoritätsdusel ist der größte Feind der Wahrheit.
    • Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.
    • Letter to Jost Winteler (1901), quoted in The Private Lives of Albert Einstein by Roger Highfield and Paul Carter (1993), p. 79. Einstein had been annoyed that Paul Drude, editor of Annalen der Physik, had dismissed out of hand some criticisms Einstein made of Drude's electron theory of metals.
  • Lieber Habicht! / Es herrscht ein weihevolles Stillschweigen zwischen uns, so daß es mir fast wie eine sündige Entweihung vorkommt, wenn ich es jetzt durch ein wenig bedeutsames Gepappel unterbreche... / Was machen Sie denn, Sie eingefrorener Walfisch, Sie getrocknetes, eingebüchstes Stück Seele...?
    • Dear Habicht, / Such a solemn air of silence has descended between us that I almost feel as if I am committing a sacrilege when I break it now with some inconsequential babble... / What are you up to, you frozen whale, you smoked, dried, canned piece of soul...?
    • Opening of a letter to his friend Conrad Habicht in which he describes his four revolutionary Annus Mirabilis papers (18 or 25 May 1905) Doc. 27
  • E = mc²
    • The equivalence of mass and energy was originally expressed by the equation m = L/c², which easily translates into the far more well known E = mc² in Does the Inertia of a Body Depend Upon Its Energy Content? published in the Annalen der Physik (27 September 1905) : "If a body gives off the energy L in the form of radiation, its mass diminishes by L/c²."
    • In a later statement explaining the ideas expressed by this equation, Einstein summarized: "It followed from the special theory of relativity that mass and energy are both but different manifestations of the same thing — a somewhat unfamiliar conception for the average mind. Furthermore, the equation E = mc², in which energy is put equal to mass, multiplied by the square of the velocity of light, showed that very small amounts of mass may be converted into a very large amount of energy and vice versa. The mass and energy were in fact equivalent, according to the formula mentioned before. This was demonstrated by Cockcroft and Walton in 1932, experimentally."
  • The mass of a body is a measure of its energy content.
    • Ist die Trägheit eines Körpers von seinem Energieinhalt abhängig? ("Does the inertia of a body depend upon its energy content?")
    • Annalen der Physik 18, 639-641 (1905). Quoted in Concepts of Mass in Classical and Modern Physics by Max Jammer (1961), p. 177
  • We shall therefore assume the complete physical equivalence of a gravitational field and a corresponding acceleration of the reference system.

1910s[edit]

  • Die Natur zeigt uns vom Löwen zwar nur den Schwanz. Aber es ist mir unzweifelhaft, dass der Löwe dazugehört, wenn er sich auch wegen seiner ungeheuren Dimensionen dem Blicke nicht unmittelbar offenbaren kann. Wir sehen ihn nur wie eine Laus, die auf ihm sitzt.
    • 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. We see him only the way a louse sitting upon him would.
    • Letter to Heinrich Zangger (10 March 1914), quoted in The Curious History of Relativity by Jean Eisenstaedt (2006), p. 126.
    • Variant: "Nature shows us only the tail of the lion. But I do not doubt that the lion belongs to it even though he cannot at once reveal himself because of his enormous size." As quoted by Abraham Pais in Subtle is the Lord:The Science and Life of Albert Einstein (1982), p. 235 ISBN 0-192-80672-6
  • Man begreift schwer beim Erleben dieser "großen Zeit", daß man dieser verrückten, verkommenen Spezies angehört, die sich Willensfreiheit zuschreibt. Wenn es doch irgendwo eine Insel der Wohlwollenden und Besonnenen gäbe! Da wollte ich auch glühender Patriot sein.
    • In living through this "great epoch," it is difficult to reconcile oneself to the fact that one belongs to that mad, degenerate species that boasts of its free will. How I wish that somewhere there existed an island for those who are wise and of good will! In such a place even I should be an ardent patriot!
    • Letter to Paul Ehrenfest, early December 1914. Collected Papers of Albert Einstein, Vol. 8, Doc. 39. Quoted in The New Quotable Einstein by Alice Calaprice (2005), p. 3
  • Es ist bequem mit dem Einstein. Jedes Jahr widerruft er, was er das vorige Jahr geschrieben hat.
    • It's convenient with that fellow Einstein, every year he retracts what he wrote the year before.
    • Letter to Paul Ehrenfest, 26 December 1915. Collected Papers of Albert Einstein, Vol. 8, Doc. 173.
  • How does it happen that a properly endowed natural scientist comes to concern himself with epistemology? Is there not some more valuable work to be done in his specialty? That's what I hear many of my colleagues ask, and I sense it from many more. But I cannot share this sentiment. When I think about the ablest students whom I have encountered in my teaching — that is, those who distinguish themselves by their independence of judgment and not just their quick-wittedness — I can affirm that they had a vigorous interest in epistemology. They happily began discussions about the goals and methods of science, and they showed unequivocally, through tenacious defense of their views, that the subject seemed important to them.
    Concepts that have proven useful in ordering things easily achieve such authority over us that we forget their earthly origins and accept them as unalterable givens. [Begriffe, welche sich bei der Ordnung der Dinge als nützlich erwiesen haben, erlangen über uns leicht eine solche Autorität, dass wir ihres irdischen Ursprungs vergessen und sie als unabänderliche Gegebenheiten hinnehmen.] Thus they might come to be stamped as "necessities of thought," "a priori givens," etc. The path of scientific progress is often made impassable for a long time by such errors. [Der Weg des wissenschaftlichen Fortschritts wird durch solche Irrtümer oft für längere Zeit ungangbar gemacht.] Therefore it is by no means an idle game if we become practiced in analysing long-held commonplace concepts and showing the circumstances on which their justification and usefulness depend, and how they have grown up, individually, out of the givens of experience. Thus their excessive authority will be broken. They will be removed if they cannot be properly legitimated, corrected if their correlation with given things be far too superfluous, or replaced if a new system can be established that we prefer for whatever reason.
    • Obituary for physicist and philosopher Ernst Mach (Nachruf auf Ernst Mach), Physikalische Zeitschrift 17 (1916), p. 101
  • Unser ganzer gepriesener Fortschritt der Technik, überhaupt die Civilisation, ist der Axt in der Hand des pathologischen Verbrechers vergleichbar.
    • Our entire much-praised technological progress, and civilization generally, could be compared to an axe in the hand of a pathological criminal.
    • Letter to Heinrich Zangger (1917), as quoted in A Sense of the Mysterious: Science and the Human Spirit by Alan Lightman (2005), p. 110, and in Albert Einstein: A Biography by Albrecht Fölsing (1997), p. 399
    • Sometimes paraphrased as "Technological progress is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal."
  • The most beautiful fate of a physical theory is to point the way to the establishment of a more inclusive theory, in which it lives on as a limiting case.
    • (1917) as quoted by Gerald Holton, The Advancement of Science, and Its Burdens: the Jefferson Lecture and other Essays (1986)
  • Ich habe auch manchen wissenschaftlichen Plan überlegt, während ich Dich im Kinderwagen spazieren schob!
    • I have also considered many scientific plans during my pushing you around in your pram!
    • Letter to his son Hans Albert Einstein (June 1918)
  • Geh recht viel spazieren, dass Du recht gesund wirst und lies nicht gar zu viel sondern spar Dir noch was auf bis Du gross bist.
    • Make a lot of walks to get healthy and don’t read that much but save yourself some until you’re grown up.
    • Letter to his son Eduard Einstein (June 1918)
  • "The physical world is real." That is supposed to be the fundamental hypothesis. What does "hypothesis" mean here? For me, a hypothesis is a statement, whose truth must be assumed for the moment, but whose meaning must be raised above all ambiguity. The above statement appears to me, however, to be, in itself, meaningless, as if one said: "The physical world is cock-a-doodle-do." It appears to me that the "real" is an intrinsically empty, meaningless category (pigeon hole), whose monstrous importance lies only in the fact that I can do certain things in it and not certain others.
    • Letter to Eduard Study, 25 Sept. 1918, in the Einstein Archive, Hebrew U., Jerusalem; translation in D. Howard, Perspectives on Science1, 225 (1993).
  • Liebe Mutter! Heute eine freudige Nachricht. H. A. Lorentz hat mir telegraphiert, dass die englischen Expeditionen die Lichtablenkung an der Sonne wirklich bewiesen haben.
    • Dear mother! Today a joyful notice. H. A. Lorentz has telegraphed me that the English expeditions have really proven the deflection of light at the sun.
    • Postcard to his mother Pauline Einstein (1919)
  • Noch eine Art Anwendung des Relativitätsprinzips zum Ergötzen des Lesers: Heute werde ich in Deutschland als "deutscher Gelehrter", in England als "Schweizer Jude" bezeichnet; sollte ich aber einst in die Lage kommen, als "bète noire" präsentiert zu werden, dann wäre ich umgekehrt für die Deutschen ein „Schweizer Jude“, für die Engländer ein "deutscher Gelehrter".
    • By an application of the theory of relativity to the taste of readers, today in Germany I am called a German man of science, and in England I am represented as a Swiss Jew. If I come to be represented as a bête noire, the descriptions will be reversed, and I shall become a Swiss Jew for the Germans and a German man of science for the English!
    • "Einstein On His Theory", The Times (London), 28 November 1919 , quoted in Herman Bernstein: Celebrities of Our Time. New York 1924. p. 267 (archive.org). Einstein's original German text in The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein. Volume 7. Doc. 25 p. 210, and at germanhistorydocs.ghi-dc.org after Albert Einstein, Mein Weltbild. Amsterdam: Querido Verlag, 1934, pp. 220-28. Manuscript at alberteinstein.info.
    • Variant: If my theory of relativity is proven successful, Germany will claim me as a German and France will declare that I am a citizen of the world. Should my theory prove untrue, France will say that I am a German and Germany will declare that I am a Jew. (Address to the French Philosophical Society at the Sorbonne (6 April 1922); French press clipping (7 April 1922) [Einstein Archive 36-378] and Berliner Tageblatt (8 April 1922) [Einstein Archive 79-535])
    • Variant translation: If my theory of relativity is proven correct, Germany will claim me as a German and France will say I am a man of the world. If it's proven wrong, France will say I am a German and Germany will say I am a Jew.
    • Variant: If relativity is proved right the Germans will call me a German, the Swiss will call me a Swiss citizen, and the French will call me a great scientist. If relativity is proved wrong the French will call me a Swiss, the Swiss will call me a German and the Germans will call me a Jew.

Principles of Research (1918)[edit]

Address at the Physical Society, Berlin, for Max Planck's 60th birthday
  • In the temple of science are many mansions, and various indeed are they that dwell therein and the motives that have led them thither. Many take to science out of a joyful sense of superior intellectual power; science is their own special sport to which they look for vivid experience and the satisfaction of ambition; many others are to be found in the temple who have offered the products of their brains on this altar for purely utilitarian purposes. Were an angel of the Lord to come and drive all the people belonging to these two categories out of the temple, the assemblage would be seriously depleted, but there would still be some men, of both present and past times, left inside. Our Planck is one of them, and that is why we love him.
    I am quite aware that we have just now lightheartedly expelled in imagination many excellent men who are largely, perhaps chiefly, responsible for the buildings of the temple of science; and in many cases our angel would find it a pretty ticklish job to decide. But of one thing I feel sure: if the types we have just expelled were the only types there were, the temple would never have come to be, any more than a forest can grow which consists of nothing but creepers. For these people any sphere of human activity will do, if it comes to a point; whether they become engineers, officers, tradesmen, or scientists depends on circumstances.
    Now let us have another look at those who have found favor with the angel. Most of them are somewhat odd, uncommunicative, solitary fellows, really less like each other, in spite of these common characteristics, than the hosts of the rejected. What has brought them to the temple? That is a difficult question and no single answer will cover it.
  • The state of mind which enables a man to do work of this kind is akin to that of the religious worshiper or the lover; the daily effort comes from no deliberate intention or program, but straight from the heart.
  • Man tries to make for himself in the fashion that suits him best a simplified and intelligible picture of the world; he then tries to some extent to substitute this cosmos of his for the world of experience, and thus to overcome it. This is what the painter, the poet, the speculative philosopher, and the natural scientist do, each in his own fashion. Each makes this cosmos and its construction the pivot of his emotional life, in order to find in this way the peace and security which he cannot find in the narrow whirlpool of personal experience.
    • Variant translation: One of the strongest motives that lead men to art and science is escape from everyday life with its painful crudity and hopeless dreariness, from the fetters of one's own ever-shifting desires. A finely tempered nature longs to escape from the personal life into the world of objective perception and thought. With this negative motive goes a positive one. Man seeks to form for himself, in whatever manner is suitable for him, a simplified and lucid image of the world, and so to overcome the world of experience by striving to replace it to some extent by this image. This is what the painter does, and the poet, the speculative philosopher, the natural scientist, each in his own way. Into this image and its formation, he places the center of gravity of his emotional life, in order to attain the peace and serenity that he cannot find within the narrow confines of swirling personal experience.
    • As quoted in The Professor, the Institute, and DNA (1976) by Rene Dubos; also in The Great Influenza (2004) by John M. Barry
  • The supreme task of the physicist is to arrive at those universal elementary laws from which the cosmos can be built up by pure deduction. There is no logical path to these laws; only intuition, resting on sympathetic understanding of experience, can reach them. In this methodological uncertainty, one might suppose that there were any number of possible systems of theoretical physics all equally well justified; and this opinion is no doubt correct, theoretically. But the development of physics has shown that at any given moment, out of all conceivable constructions, a single one has always proved itself decidedly superior to all the rest.
    • Variant, from Preface to Max Planck's Where is Science Going? (1933): The supreme task of the physicist is the discovery of the most general elementary laws from which the world-picture can be deduced logically. But there is no logical way to the discovery of these elemental laws. There is only the way of intuition, which is helped by a feeling for the order lying behind the appearance, and this Einfühlung [literally, empathy or 'feeling one's way in']' is developed by experience.

1920s[edit]

  • Wie lieb ich diesen edlen Mann
    Mehr als ich mit Worten sagen kann.
    Doch fürcht' ich, dass er bleibt allein
    Mit seinem strahlenden Heiligenschein.
  • We may assume the existence of an aether; only we must give up ascribing a definite state of motion to it, i.e. we must by abstraction take from it the last mechanical characteristic which Lorentz had still left it. … But this ether may not be thought of as endowed with the quality characteristic of ponderable inedia, as consisting of parts which may be tracked through time. The idea of motion may not be applied to it.
    • On the irrelevance of the luminiferous aether hypothesis to physical measurements, in an address at the University of Leiden (5 May 1920)
  • I am neither a German citizen, nor do I believe in anything that can be described as a "Jewish faith." But I am a Jew and glad to belong to the Jewish people, though I do not regard it in any way as chosen.
    • Letter to Central Association of German Citizens of the Jewish Faith, 3 [5] April 1920, as quoted in Alice Calaprice, The Ultimate Quotable Einstein (2010), p. 195; citing Israelitisches Wochenblatt, 42 September 1920, The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein, Vol. 7, Doc. 37, and Vol. 9, Doc 368.
  • Es ist das schönste Los einer physikalischen Theorie, wenn sie selbst zur Aufstellung einer umfassenden Theorie den Weg weist, in welcher sie als Grenzfall weiterlebt.
    • No fairer destiny could be allotted to any physical theory, than that it should of itself point out the way to the introduction of a more comprehensive theory, in which it lives on as a limiting case.
    • Über die spezielle und die allgemeine Relativitätstheorie (1920) Tr. Robert W. Lawson, Relativity: The Special and General Theory (1920) pp. 90-91.
  • Raffiniert ist der Herrgott, aber boshaft ist er nicht.
    • Subtle is the Lord, but malicious He is not.
    • Remark made during Einstein's first visit to Princeton University (April 1921) as quoted in Einstein (1973) by R. W. Clark, Ch. 14. "God is slick, but he ain’t mean" is a variant translation of this (1946) Unsourced variant: "God is subtle but he is not malicious."
    • When asked what he meant by this he replied. "Nature hides her secret because of her essential loftiness, but not by means of ruse." (Die Natur verbirgt ihr Geheimnis durch die Erhabenheit ihres Wesens, aber nicht durch List.) As quoted in Subtle is the Lord — The Science and the Life of Albert Einstein (1982) by Abraham Pais einsteinandreligion.com
      • Originally said to Princeton University mathematics professor Oscar Veblen, May 1921, while Einstein was in Princeton for a series of lectures, upon hearing that an experimental result by Dayton C. Miller of Cleveland, if true, would contradict his theory of gravitation. But the claimed discrepancy was quite small and required special circumstances (hence Einsteins's remark). The result turned out to be false. Some say by this remark Einstein meant that Nature hides her secrets by being subtle, while others say he meant that nature is mischievous but not bent on trickery. [The Yale Book of Quotations, ed. Fred R. Shapiro, 2006]
    • Variant translation: God may be sophisticated, but he's not malicious.
      • As quoted in Cherished Illusions (2005) by Sarah Stern, p. 109
    • I have second thoughts. Maybe God is malicious.
    • Said to Valentine Bargmann, as quoted in Einstein in America (1985) by Jamie Sayen, p. 51, indicating that God leads people to believe they understand things that they actually are far from understanding; also in The Yale Book of Quotations (2006), ed. Fred R. Shapiro
  • When a man after long years of searching chances on a thought which discloses something of the beauty of this mysterious universe, he should not therefore be personally celebrated. He is already sufficiently paid by his experience of seeking and finding. In science, moreover, the work of the individual is so bound up with that of his scientific predecessors and contemporaries that it appears almost as an impersonal product of his generation.
    • From the story "The Progress of Science" in The Scientific Monthly edited by J. McKeen Cattell (June 1921), Vol. XII, No. 6. The story says that the comments were made at the annual meeting of the National Academy of Sciences at the National Museum in Washington on April 25, 26, and 27. Einstein's comments appear on p. 579, though the story may be paraphrasing rather than directly quoting since it says "In reply Professor Einstein in substance said" the quote above.
  • [I do not] carry such information in my mind since it is readily available in books. ...The value of a college education is not the learning of many facts but the training of the mind to think.
    • In response to not knowing the speed of sound as included in the Edison Test: New York Times (18 May 1921); Einstein: His Life and Times (1947) Philipp Frank, p. 185; Einstein, A Life (1996) by Denis Brian, p. 129; "Einstein Due Today" (February 2005) edited by József Illy, Manuscript 25-32 of the Einstein Paper Project; all previous sources as per Einstein His Life and Universe (2007) by Walter Isaacson, p. 299
    • Unsourced variants: "I never commit to memory anything that can easily be looked up in a book" and "Never memorize what you can look up in books." (The second version is found in "Recording the Experience" (10 June 2004) at The Library of Congress, but no citation to Einstein's writings is given).
  • Insofern sich die Sätze der Mathematik auf die Wirklichkeit beziehen, sind sie nicht sicher, und insofern sie sicher sind, beziehen sie sich nicht auf die Wirklichkeit.
  • In so far as theories of mathematics speak about reality, they are not certain, and in so far as they are certain, they do not speak about reality.
    • Geometrie and Erfahrung (1921) pp. 3-4 link.springer.com as cited by Karl Popper, The Two Fundamental Problems of the Theory of Knowledge (2014) Tr. Andreas Pickel, Ed. Troels Eggers Hansen.
  • I was sitting in a chair in the patent office at Bern when all of sudden a thought occurred to me: If a person falls freely he will not feel his own weight. I was startled. This simple thought made a deep impression on me. It impelled me toward a theory of gravitation.
    • Einstein in his Kyoto address (14 December 1922), talking about the events of "probably the 2nd or 3rd weeks" of October 1907, quoted in Why Did Einstein Put So Much Emphasis on the Equivalence Principle? by Dr. Robert J. Heaston in Equivalence Principle – April 2008 (15th NPA Conference) who cites A. Einstein. “How I Constructed the Theory of Relativity,” Translated by Masahiro Morikawa from the text recorded in Japanese by Jun Ishiwara, Association of Asia Pacific Physical Societies (AAPPS) Bulletin, Vol. 15, No. 2, pp. 17-19 (April 2005)
  • May they not forget to keep pure the great heritage that puts them ahead of the West: the artistic configuration of life, the simplicity and modesty of personal needs, and the purity and serenity of the Japanese soul.
    • Comment made after a six-week trip to Japan in November-December 1922, published in Kaizo 5, no. 1 (January 1923), 339. Einstein Archive 36-477.1. Appears in The New Quotable Einstein by Alice Calaprice (2005), p. 269
  • Die Quantenmechanik ist sehr achtung-gebietend. Aber eine innere Stimme sagt mir, daß das doch nicht der wahre Jakob ist. Die Theorie liefert viel, aber dem Geheimnis des Alten bringt sie uns kaum näher. Jedenfalls bin ich überzeugt, daß der nicht würfelt.
    • Quantum mechanics is certainly imposing. But an inner voice tells me that it is not yet the real thing. The theory says a lot, but does not really bring us any closer to the secret of the "old one." I, at any rate, am convinced that He does not throw dice.
    • Letter to Max Born (4 December 1926); The Born-Einstein Letters (translated by Irene Born) (Walker and Company, New York, 1971) ISBN 0-8027-0326-7.
    • Einstein himself used variants of this quote at other times. For example, in a 1943 conversation with William Hermanns recorded in Hermanns' book Einstein and the Poet, Einstein said: "As I have said so many times, God doesn't play dice with the world." (p. 58)
  • Whether you can observe a thing or not depends on the theory which you use. It is the theory which decides what can be observed.
    • Objecting to the placing of observables at the heart of the new quantum mechanics, during Heisenberg's 1926 lecture at Berlin; related by Heisenberg, quoted in Unification of Fundamental Forces (1990) by Abdus Salam ISBN 0521371406
  • Try and penetrate with our limited means the secrets of nature and you will find that, behind all the discernible concatenations, there remains something subtle, intangible and inexplicable. Veneration for this force beyond anything that we can comprehend is my religion. To that extent I am, in point of fact, religious.
    • p. 157 London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson
    • Response to atheist Alfred Kerr in the winter of 1927, who after deriding ideas of God and religion at a dinner party in the home of the publisher Samuel Fischer, had queried him "I hear that you are supposed to be deeply religious" as quoted in The Diary of a Cosmopolitan (1971) by H. G. Kessler
  • Ich glaube an Spinozas Gott, der sich in der gesetzlichen Harmonie des Seienden offenbart, nicht an einen Gott, der sich mit Schicksalen und Handlungen der Menschen abgibt.
    • I believe in Spinoza's God, Who reveals Himself in the lawful harmony of the world, not in a God Who concerns Himself with the fate and the doings of mankind.
    • 24 April 1929 in response to the telegrammed question of New York's Rabbi Herbert S. Goldstein: "Do you believe in God? Stop. Answer paid 50 words." Einstein replied in only 27 (German) words. The New York Times 25 April 1929
    • Similarly, in a letter to Maurice Solovine, he wrote: "I can understand your aversion to the use of the term 'religion' to describe an emotional and psychological attitude which shows itself most clearly in Spinoza... I have not found a better expression than 'religious' for the trust in the rational nature of reality that is, at least to a certain extent, accessible to human reason."
  • If A is success in life, then A = x + y + z. Work is x, play is y and z is keeping your mouth shut.
    • Said to Samuel J Woolf, Berlin, Summer 1929. Cited with additional notes in The Ultimate Quotable Einstein by Alice Calaprice and Freeman Dyson, Princeton UP (2010) p 230
  • Science is international but its success is based on institutions, which are owned by nations. If therefore, we wish to promote culture we have to combine and to organize institutions with our own power and means.
    • When asked the question, “Why a ‘Jewish’ University?” when Einstein was assisting Chaim Weizmann in fundraising for The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
      • As quoted in [Albert Einstein, Letter “Einstein in Singapore.” Manchester Guardian, October 12, 1929]

[edit]

Sidelights on Relativity (1922), translation by GB Jeffrey and W Perrett of "Äther und Relativitätstheorie" (Aether and Relativity Theory), a talk given on 5 May 1920 at the University of Leiden, and "Geometrie und Erfahrung" (Geometry and Experience), a lecture given at the Prussian Academy published in Sitzungsberichte der Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1921 (pt. 1), pp. 123–130
  • How can it be that mathematics, being after all a product of human thought which is independent of experience, is so admirably appropriate to the objects of reality? Is human reason, then, without experience, merely by taking thought, able to fathom the properties of real things?
  • One reason why mathematics enjoys special esteem, above all other sciences, is that its laws are absolutely certain and indisputable, while those of other sciences are to some extent debatable and in constant danger of being overthrown by newly discovered facts.
  • Insofern sich die Sätze der Mathematik auf die Wirklichkeit beziehen, sind sie nicht sicher, und insofern sie sicher sind, beziehen sie sich nicht auf die Wirklichkeit.[1][2]
    • Translation: 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.

Viereck interview (1929)[edit]

"What Life Means to Einstein: An Interview by George Sylvester Viereck" The Saturday Evening Post (26 October 1929), p. 17. A scan of the article is available online here.
  • The meaning of relativity has been widely misunderstood. Philosophers play with the word, like a child with a doll. Relativity, as I see it, merely denotes that certain physical and mechanical facts, which have been regarded as positive and permanent, are relative with regard to certain other facts in the sphere of physics and mechanics. It does not mean that everything in life is relative and that we have the right to turn the whole world mischievously topsy-turvy.
  • No man can visualize four dimensions, except mathematically … I think in four dimensions, but only abstractly. The human mind can picture these dimensions no more than it can envisage electricity. Nevertheless, they are no less real than electro-magnetism, the force which controls our universe, within, and by which we have our being.
  • Sometimes one pays most for the things one gets for nothing.
    • Quoted in The Ultimate Quotable Einstein by Alice Calaprice (2010), p. 230
  • I refuse to make money out of my science. My laurel is not for sale like so many bales of cotton.
  • 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. … I cannot tell if I would have done any creative work of importance in music, but I do know that I get most joy in life out of my violin.
  • 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, just as the man who spends too much time in the theater is tempted to be content with living vicariously instead of living his own life.
  • Our time is Gothic in its spirit. Unlike the Renaissance, it is not dominated by a few outstanding personalities. The twentieth century has established the democracy of the intellect. In the republic of art and science there are many men who take an equally important part in the intellectual movements of our age. It is the epoch rather than the individual that is important. There is no one dominant personality like Galileo or Newton. Even in the nineteenth century there were still a few giants who outtopped all others. Today the general level is much higher than ever before in the history of the world, but there are few men whose stature immediately sets them apart from all others.
  • In America, more than anywhere else, the individual is lost in the achievements of the many. America is beginning to be the world leader in scientific investigation. American scholarship is both patient and inspiring. The Americans show an unselfish devotion to science, which is the very opposite of the conventional European view of your countrymen. 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. It is not true that the dollar is an American fetish. The American student is not interested in dollars, not even in success as such, but in his task, the object of the search. It is his painstaking application to the study of the infinitely little and the infinitely large which accounts for his success in astronomy.
  • We are inclined to overemphasize the material influences in history. The Russians especially make this mistake. Intellectual values and ethnic influences, tradition and emotional factors are equally important. If this were not the case, Europe would today be a federated state, not a madhouse of nationalism.
  • I am a determinist. As such, I do not believe in free will. The Jews believe in free will. They believe that man shapes his own life. I reject that doctrine philosophically. In that respect I am not a Jew.
  • I believe with Schopenhauer: We can do what we wish, but we can only wish what we must. Practically, I am, nevertheless, compelled to act as if freedom of the will existed. If I wish to live in a civilized community, I must act as if man is a responsible being. I know that philosophically a murderer is not responsible for his crime; nevertheless, I must protect myself from unpleasant contacts. I may consider him guiltless, but I prefer not to take tea with him.
  • My own career was undoubtedly determined, not by my own will but by various factors over which I have no control—primarily those mysterious glands in which Nature prepares the very essence of life, our internal secretions.
  • Whereas materialistic historians and philosophers neglect psychic realities, Freud is inclined to overstress their importance. I am not a psychologist, but it seems to me fairly evident that physiological factors, especially our endocrines, control our destiny … I am not able to venture a judgment on so important a phase of modern thought. However, it seems to me that psychoanalysis is not always salutary. It may not always be helpful to delve into the subconscious. The machinery of our legs is controlled by a hundred different muscles. Do you think it would help us to walk if we analyzed our legs and knew exactly which one of the little muscles must be employed in locomotion and the order in which they work? … I am not prepared to accept all his [Freud's] conclusions, but I consider his work an immensely valuable contribution to the science of human behavior. I think he is even greater as a writer than as a psychologist. Freud's brilliant style is unsurpassed by anyone since Schopenhauer.
  • The only progress I can see is progress in organization. The ordinary human being does not live long enough to draw any substantial benefit from his own experience. And no one, it seems, can benefit by the experiences of others. Being both a father and teacher, I know we can teach our children nothing. We can transmit to them neither our knowledge of life nor of mathematics. Each must learn its lesson anew.
  • I believe in intuitions and inspirations. I sometimes feel that I am right. I do not know that I am. When two expeditions of scientists, financed by the Royal Academy, went forth to test my theory of relativity, I was convinced that their conclusions would tally with my hypothesis. I was not surprised when the eclipse of May 29, 1919, confirmed my intuitions. I would have been surprised if I had been wrong.
  • 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.
  • As a child, I received instruction both in the Bible and in the Talmud. I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene.
  • Jesus is too colossal for the pen of phrasemongers, however artful. No man can dispose of Christianity with a bon mot.
  • No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life.
    • As reported in Einstein — A Life (1996) by Denis Brian, when asked about a clipping from a magazine article reporting his comments on Christianity as taken down by Viereck, Einstein carefully read the clipping and replied, "That is what I believe." .
  • It is quite possible to be both. I look upon myself as a man. Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind.
    • When asked by Viereck if he considered himself to be a German or a Jew. A version with slightly different wording is quoted in Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson (2007), p. 386
  • We Jews have been too adaptable. We have been too eager to sacrifice our idiosyncrasies for the sake of social conformity. … Even in modern civilization, the Jew is most happy if he remains a Jew.
  • I do not think that religion is the most important element. We are held together rather by a body of tradition, handed down from father to son, which the child imbibes with his mother's milk. The atmosphere of our infancy predetermines our idiosyncrasies and predilections.
    • In response to a question about whether religion is the tie holding the Jews together.
  • But to return to the Jewish question. Other groups and nations cultivate their individual traditions. There is no reason why we should sacrifice ours. Standardization robs life of its spice. To deprive every ethnic group of its special traditions is to convert the world into a huge Ford plant. I believe in standardizing automobiles. I do not believe in standardizing human beings. Standardization is a great peril which threatens American culture.
  • I am happy because I want nothing from anyone. I do not care for money. Decorations, titles or distinctions mean nothing to me. I do not crave praise. The only thing that gives me pleasure, apart from my work, my violin and my sailboat, is the appreciation of my fellow workers.
  • I claim credit for nothing. Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end, by forces over which we have no control. It is determined for the insect as well as for the star. Human beings, vegetables or cosmic dust, we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible player.
  • I am not an Atheist. I do not know if I can define myself as a Pantheist. The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds. May I not reply with a parable? The human mind, no matter how highly trained, cannot grasp the universe. We are in the position of a little child, entering a huge library whose walls are covered to the ceiling with books in many different tongues. The child knows that someone must have written those books. It does not know who or how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child notes a definite plan in the arrangement of the books, a mysterious order, which it does not comprehend, but only dimly suspects. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of the human mind, even the greatest and most cultured, toward God. We see a universe marvelously arranged, obeying certain laws, but we understand the laws only dimly. Our limited minds cannot grasp the mysterious force that sways the constellations. I am fascinated by Spinoza's Pantheism. I admire even more his contributions to modern thought. Spinoza is the greatest of modern philosophers, because he is the first philosopher who deals with the soul and the body as one, not as two separate things.
    • Did not appear in Saturday Evening Post story, but in Glimpses of the Great (1930) by G. S. Viereck. There have been disputes on the accuracy of this quotation.
    • Sometimes misquoted as, "I don't think I can call myself a pantheist".
    • Variant, from Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson, p. 386: I'm not an atheist. The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written these books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn't know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God. We see the universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly understand these laws.
  • I am fascinated by Spinoza's pantheism, but I admire even more his contribution to modern thought because he is the first philosopher to deal with the soul and body as one, and not two separate things.
    • Did not appear in Saturday Evening Post story, but quoted in Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson, p. 387, in the section discussing Viereck's interview.

1930s[edit]

  • Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.
    • Letter to his son Eduard (5 February 1930), as quoted in Walter Isaacson, Einstein: His Life and Universe (2007), p. 367
  • I believe that whatever we do or live for has its causality; it is good, however, that we cannot see through to it.
    • Interview with Rabindranath Tagore (14 April 1930), published in The Religion of Man (1930) by Rabindranath Tagore, p. 222, and in The Tagore Reader (1971) edited by Amiya Chakravarty
  • The really good music, whether of the East or of the West, cannot be analyzed.
    • Interview with Rabindranath Tagore (14 April 1930), published in The Religion of Man (1930) by Rabindranath Tagore, p. 222, and in The Tagore Reader (1971) edited by Amiya Chakravarty
  • I never think of the future. It comes soon enough.
    • Attributed in The Encarta Book of Quotations to an interview on the Belgenland (December 1930), which was the ship on which he arrived in New York that month. According to The Ultimate Quotable Einstein by Alice Calaprice (2010), p. 18, the quote also appears as "Aphorism, 1945-1946" in the Einstein Archives 36-570. Calaprice speculates that "perhaps it was recalled later and inserted into the archives under the later date." According to a snippet on Google Books, the phrase '"I never think of the future," he said. "It comes soon enough."' appears in The Literary Digest: Volume 107 on p. 29, in an article titled "We May Not 'Get' Relativity, But We Like Einstein" from 27 December 1930. The snippet also discusses the "welcome to Professor Einstein on the Belgenland" in New York
  • Besides agreeing with the aims of vegetarianism for aesthetic and moral reasons, it is my view that a vegetarian manner of living by its purely physical effect on the human temperament would most beneficially influence the lot of mankind.
    • From a letter to Hermann Huth, Vice-President of the German Vegetarian Federation, 27 December 1930. Supposedly published in German magazine Vegetarische Warte, which existed from 1882 to 1935. Einstein Archive 46-756. Quoted in The Ultimate Quotable Einstein by Alice Calaprice (2011), p. 453. ISBN 978-0-691-13817-6
  • Die Diktatur bringt den Maulkorb und dieser die Stumpfheit. Wissenschaft kann nur gedeihen in einer Atmosphäre des freien Wortes.
    • A dictatorship means muzzles all round and consequently stultification. Science can flourish only in an atmosphere of free speech.
      • "Science and Dictatorship," in Dictatorship on Its Trial, by Eminent Leaders of Modern Thought (1930) - later as Dictatorship on Trial (1931), Otto Forst de Battaglia (1889-1965), ed., Huntley Paterson, trans., introduction by Winston Churchill, George G. Harrap & Co., (Reprinted 1977, Beaufort Books Inc., ISBN 0836916077ISBN 9780836916072 p. 107. [3][4][5][6]Original text of this "nineteen word essay" appears under the German title, "Wissenschaft und Diktatur" in Prozess der Diktatur (1930), Otto Forst de Battaglia (1889-1965), ed., Amalthea-Verlag, p.108. [7]
  • Der Glaube an eine vom wahrnehmenden Subjekt unabhängige Außenwelt liegt aller Naturwissenschaft zugrunde.
    • First sentence of "Maxwells Einfluss auf die Entwicklung der Auffassung des Physikalisch-Realen". Manuscript at the Hebrew University Jerusalem alberteinstein.info
    • The belief in an external world independent of the perceiving subject is the basis of all natural science.
    • From "Maxwell's Influence on the Evolution of the Idea of Physical Reality," 1931. Available in Einstein Archives: 65-382
  • The scientific organization and comprehensive exposition in accessible form of the Talmud has a twofold importance for us Jews. It is important in the first place that the high cultural values of the Talmud should not be lost to modern minds among the Jewish people nor to science, but should operate further as a living force. In the second place, The Talmud must be made an open book to the world, in order to cut the ground from under certain malevolent attacks, of anti-Semitic origin, which borrow countenance from the obscurity and inaccessibility of certain passages in the Talmud. To support this cultural work would thus mean an important achievement for the Jewish people.
    • From a letter by Albert Einstein to Professor Chaim Tchernowitz (31 December 1930) of the Jewish Institute of Religion in New York (Hebrew Union College). Jewish Telegraphic Agency (Jewish Daily Bulletin)
  • Why does this magnificent applied science which saves work and makes life easier bring us so little happiness? The simple answer runs: Because we have not yet learned to make sensible use of it. In war it serves that we may poison and mutilate each other. In peace it has made our lives hurried and uncertain. Instead of freeing us in great measure from spiritually exhausting labor, it has made men into slaves of machinery, who for the most part complete their monotonous long day's work with disgust and must continually tremble for their poor rations. … It is not enough that you should understand about applied science in order that your work may increase man's blessings. Concern for the man himself and his fate must always form the chief interest of all technical endeavours; concern for the great unsolved problems of the organization of labor and the distribution of goods in order that the creations of our mind shall be a blessing and not a curse to mankind. Never forget this in the midst of your diagrams and equations.
  • I believe in intuition and inspiration.… At times I feel certain I am right while not knowing the reason. When the eclipse of 1919 confirmed my intuition, I was not in the least surprised. In fact I would have been astonished had it turned out otherwise. Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution. It is, strictly speaking, a real factor in scientific research.
    • Cosmic Religion : With Other Opinions and Aphorisms (1931) by Albert Einstein, p. 97; also in Transformation : Arts, Communication, Environment (1950) by Harry Holtzman, p. 138. This may be an edited version of some nearly identical quotes from the 1929 Viereck interview below.
  • Everyone sits in the prison of his own ideas; he must burst it open, and that in his youth, and so try to test his ideas on reality.
  • I see a clock, but I cannot envision the clockmaker. The human mind is unable to conceive of the four dimensions, so how can it conceive of a God, before whom a thousand years and a thousand dimensions are as one?
    • From Cosmic Religion: with Other Opinions and Aphorisms (1931), Albert Einstein, pub. Covici-Friede. Quoted in The Expanded Quotable Einstein, Princeton University Press; 2nd edition (May 30, 2000); Page 208, ISBN 0691070210
  • As an eminent pioneer in the realm of high frequency currents... I congratulate you on the great successes of your life's work.
  • 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.
    • Albert Einstein, in "My Credo", a speech to the German League of Human Rights, Berlin (Autumn 1932), as published in Einstein: A Life in Science (1994) by Michael White and John Gribbin, p. 262.
  • Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.
    • In answer to a question asked by the editors of Youth, a journal of Young Israel of Williamsburg, NY. Quoted in the New York Times, June 20, 1932, pg. 17
    • Unsourced variant: Only a life in the service of others is worth living.
  • Our experience hitherto justifies us in trusting that nature is the realization of the simplest that is mathematically conceivable. I am convinced that purely mathematical construction enables us to find those concepts and those lawlike connections between them that provide the key to the understanding of natural phenomena. Useful mathematical concepts may well be suggested by experience, but in no way can they be derived from it. Experience naturally remains the sole criterion of the usefulness of a mathematical construction for physics. But the actual creative principle lies in mathematics. Thus, in a certain sense, I take it to be true that pure thought can grasp the real, as the ancients had dreamed.
    • from On the Method of Theoretical Physics
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.
Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions that differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even incapable of forming such opinions.
The majority of the stupid is invincible and guaranteed for all time. The terror of their tyranny, however, is alleviated by their lack of consistency.
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.
It is by no means an idle game if we become practiced in analyzing long-held commonplace concepts and showing the circumstances on which their justification and usefulness depend...
In the temple of science are many mansions, and various indeed are they that dwell therein and the motives that have led them thither.
The state of mind which enables a man to do work of this kind is akin to that of the religiousworshiper or the lover; the daily effort comes from no deliberate intention or program, but straight from the heart.
I am a Jew and glad to belong to the Jewish people, though I do not regard it in any way as chosen..
Subtle is the Lord, but malicious He is not.
The theory says a lot, but does not really bring us any closer to the secret of the "old one." I, at any rate, am convinced that He does not throw dice.
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.
No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life.
It can scarcely be denied that the supreme goal of all theory is to make the irreducible basic elements as simple and as few as possible without having to surrender the adequate representation of a single datum of experience.
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