Everyone knows famous quotes by Einstein that grant a lot of insights into his miraculous mind. And just in case you haven’t had the opportunity to read any of his works, you might want to take a look at the following excerpt:
“We cannot solve the problems with the same mindset we used when we created them.”
“God does not gamble.”
“It is harder to shatter a ready-made opinion than an atom.”
“Fantasy is more important than wisdom as wisdom is limited.”
Albert Einstein (1879–1955) is a master in so many fields, and analyzing his quotes is a beautiful task on its own.
Thus, the world has physicists that also delivered valuable views on the planet. And they either lived long before Einstein or are colleagues in mind.
The following quotes offer you the chance to reflect on your thoughts, and besides, shatter the belief systems of your audience.
#1 Isaac Newton
No great enumeration of physicists can call itself great if I don’t mention Isaac Newton (1642–1726).
And this quote is essential as it gives credit to all the predecessors in a specific field:
“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”
Please keep in mind that Newton’s quote achieves a form of humbleness that, in reality, was not his most prominent quality. Newton used this quote in a letter to Robert Hooke, another expert in the field of optics.
Isaac Newton believes that Hooke was more like a dwarf in the respective science-field.
Newton was intensely jealous and could not have enough attention to all his achievements.
Nevertheless, you can use this quote if you:
- want to highlight the importance of all others contributing to your development, and
- want to take a back seat — especially in a business context.
#2 Alexander von Humboldt
Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859) was a Prussian polymath.
With his work “Kosmos” (German for cosmos=universe), he laid the foundation for a unification of the diverse branches of science and culture. It also contributed to developing a unifying explanation of everything — the universe as one interacting entity.
In his five years of traveling extensively in the Americas, he explored and described them through the eyes of a scientist:
“Every law of nature that shows itself to the viewer only hints towards a new, maybe hidden, and bigger law.”
And this quote has its brilliance as it explains the growth in everyone’s life. Besides, it shows that we should not rest ourselves on past achievements as we:
- don’t know what we will experience in our lives,
- have not idea what the results of our actions will be,
- will have to grow to see the future and to prevail.
#3 Wernher von Braun
Wernher von Braun (1912–1977) might be the most controversial person on this list. He was first the leading engineer for the Nazi Germany rocket program, and afterward a pioneer for space technology in the United States:
“In order to conquer space, two issues had to be solved: gravity and red tape. We could have solved the problem of gravity.”
And this first quote gives kudos to all large projects as it highlights the bureaucracy involved. Sometimes bureaucracy is so overwhelming that the original goal is not visible anymore.
Quite interesting is the next quote, especially considering that Wernher von Braun used it:
“Science has no moral dimension. Science is like a knife. If you give the knife to a surgeon or a murderer, they will use it in their respective ways.”
It is needless to say that von Braun played a significant factor in the space program, but one shall never forget where he started his career. And just like he said: science is like a knife. Let us hope that future scientists remember this quote because massive changes are waiting for humans if you look at virtual reality, crypto-currencies, or alike.
#4 Marie Curie
Marie Curie (1867–1934) is the first female Nobel Prize winner and the only one who won the Nobel Prize in two scientific fields.
She coined the term radioactivity and received her first Nobel Prize (together with her husband) to pioneer this field. She got her second Nobel Prize for the discovery of polonium and radium. The first element might have gained notoriety as it was the poison for Alexander Litvinenko.
And she lived her life like the child in her first quote:
“An expert in its laboratory is not only a technician, the expert is experiencing the laws of nature as a child encounters wonderland.”
Sadly, she died due to aplastic anemia. It is a direct result of her radiation exposure. Even though she did not fear anything as she was a master in almost any field.
Just think about the small terrestrial beings around you. They conquer the world with fresh minds, virgin eyes, and don’t fear anything.
They enjoy the experience itself — something that we should try more often.
#5 Max Planck
Born in 1858, Max Planch is another recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics. He got it for his discovery of energy quanta in 1918.
His main contributions towards theoretical physics are enormous but fall short compared to his role as the originator of quantum theory.
Besides his significant triumphs in the world of physics, he loved quotes almost as much as Einstein did. My favorite does not only cover his territory of physics but the understanding of the world itself:
“Truth never prevails, its enemies simply die.”
As with all lies, the truth will come out one day. And their enemies will not have the chance to hold up the lies. You can find examples for it in history and current developments.
#6 Galileo Galilei
Born in 1564, almost no other ancient person received so many superlatives for his work. Known as the “father of modern physics”, he explored or combined fields that shattered the belief systems at that time.
He even argued with the pope (using his Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems in 1632). He was tried by the Inquisition and spent the rest of his life under house arrest.
If a person is mindful enough and firm in his beliefs, you can expect brilliant quotes. The best one might be the following:
“I don’t feel myself bound to the belief that the same god who granted us senses, reason, and mind, requests us not to use them.”
Before Kant's “Sapere Aude,” — Galilei used this quote to say the same. He reminds us to:
- look deeper into the underlying messages,
- don’t trust what might have been true yesterday,
- be faithful in the strengths the creator of all gave us.
Aristotle (384–322 BC) was a great philosopher and wrote on physics, among other subjects. And set the base for many scientists afterward.
Especially for Western societies, you cannot ignore his influence on knowledge, problems, and inquiries.
And one of my favorite quotes by him is used frequently even today:
“There is no big genius without a slight craziness involved.”
“Stay hungry, stay foolish” is somehow the new interpretation by Steve Jobs that leads in the same direction.
It is great to play around with ideas, and nobody should take this ability (“to be a bit crazy”) away from you — if everyone looks in the same direction, you won’t find new paths.
As with all great literature, the real power lies in the application of the newly obtained wisdom. Some quotes date back more than 2300 years and are still valid today.
Sometimes, it is worth looking deeper into subjects as Einstein was not the only genius on the planet. I wish you great fun in exploring the world without focusing on the prominent parts. The beauty sometimes lies hidden (in history).
And as always — please enjoy the ride!
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