The twentieth century’s greatest rock star scientist said a lot of memorable things; he’s so venerated that when people want to make a point, they call on Einstein for backup. If they can’t find an apt quote they make one up; or they use someone else’s words and claim Einstein said it.
So here are some things Einstein never actually said, but people have claimed he said.
You’ll find these quotes crop up repeatedly in internet forums, in social media, in self-help gurus’ advice, etc.
Misattributed Einstein Quotes
Mind & Knowledge
“If you can’t explain something to a six-year-old, you really don’t understand it yourself.”
“A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. So is a lot.”
“If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.”
“The mind that opens to a new idea never comes back to its original size.”
“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind then what are we to think of an empty desk?”
“Education is that which remains, if one has forgotten everything he learned in school.”
Regarding the final quote, Einstein wrote that a ‘wit’ had once said this.
Science & Technology
If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live. No more bees, no more pollination… no more men!
Nuclear power is a hell of a way to boil water.
Computers are incredibly fast, accurate, and stupid. On the other hand, a well-trained operator as compared with a computer is incredibly slow, inaccurate and brilliant.
Time is nature’s way of keeping everything from happening at once.
The wireless telegraph is not difficult to understand. The ordinary telegraph is like a very long cat. You pull the tail in New York, and it meows in Los Angles. The wireless is the same, only without the cat.
And a quote from a reader’s comment on our article about the 10 greatest physicists:
Please, someone ask me about who is smartest, so that I may heap praise upon Nikola Tesla. I believe that someday he will be worshipped as a philosopher-king genius, despite any real evidence to support that view. A properly attributed quote from me will surely set this right.
Philosophy & General
Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.
Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.
Evil is the absence of God.
The most important decision we can make is whether this is a friendly or hostile universe. From that one decision all others spring.
Astrology is a science in itself and contains an illuminating body of knowledge. It taught me many things, and I am greatly indebted to it. Geophysical evidence reveals the power of the stars and the planets in relation to the terrestrial. In turn, astrology reinforces this power to some extent. This is why astrology is like a life-giving elixir to mankind.
The search for truth is more precious than its possession.
Actually first said by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing.
Example is not the main thing. It is the only thing.
Actually first said by Albert Schweitzer.
We’ll end with something Einstein actually did say:
I came across this website while researching this piece, and you can pursue most of the above misquotes in greater depth there.
Author of this page: The Doc
Images of scientists digitally enhanced and colorized by this website.
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