Happy Birthday Albert Einstein: Quotes From Physicist Who Would be 140 Today

Albert Einstein
Picture dated 1931 of German-born physicist Albert Einstein (1879-1955), author of theory of relativity, awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1921, playing the violin. AFP/Getty Images

March 14 is the birthday of Albert Einstein, one of the most influential and prominent scientists in human history.

Born in Ulm, Germany, in 1879, Einstein is well-known for developing the groundbreaking theory of relativity. He received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics for his services to the field.

Aside from his exemplary scientific accomplishments, Einstein was also notable for his philosophical musings. So to celebrate his 140th birthday, we've put together a collection of some of his best quotes:

  • "I am by heritage a Jew, by citizenship a Swiss, and by makeup a human being, and only a human being, without any special attachment to any state or national entity whatsoever."
  • "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."
  • "The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science."
  • "Possessions, outward success, publicity, luxury—to me these have always been contemptible. I believe that a simple and unassuming manner of life is best for everyone, best for both the body and the mind."
  • "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 piper."
  • "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."
  • "Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."
  • "Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value."
  • "Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth."
  • "The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence. 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 each day.
  • "Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts."
  • "Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving."
  • "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe."
  • "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."
  • "If you can't explain it to a six-year-old, you don't understand it yourself."
  • "I speak to everyone in the same way, whether he is the garbage man or the president of the university."
  • "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 feeling 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."
  • "The measure of intelligence is the ability to change."