Albert Einstein was born in Germany on March 14, 1879. He began teaching himself calculus at age 14. With a doctorate from the University of Zurich, Einstein wrote papers on electromagnetic energy, relativity, and statistical mechanics.
Einstein predicted a ray of light from a distant star would appear to bend as it passed near the sun. When an eclipse confirmed this, the London Times ran the headline, Nov. 7, 1919, “Revolution in science – New theory of the Universe-Newtonian ideas overthrown.”
In 1921, Albert Einstein won the Nobel Prize in Physics. Describing the theory of relativity, Albert Einstein said: “When a man sits with a pretty girl for an hour, it seems like a minute. But let him sit on a hot stove for a minute – and it’s longer than any hour. That’s relativity.”
Einstein’s first visit to the United States was to raise funds for Jerusalem’s Hebrew University. On his third visit, 1932, he took a post at Princeton University. When the National Socialist Workers Party took control of Germany, they barred Jews from holding official positions or teaching at universities.
Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels proclaimed “Jewish intellectualism is dead” and burned Einstein’s works.
Commenting on redistribution of wealth, Albert Eistein stated: “I am absolutely convinced that no wealth in the world can help humanity forward, even in the hands of the most devoted worker in this cause. The example of great and pure individuals is the only thing that can lead us to noble thoughts and deeds. … Can anyone imagine Moses, Jesus, or Gandhi armed with the moneybags of Carnegie?”
Einstein stayed in the United States, becoming a citizen in 1940. Einstein’s theory of relativity, E=MC2, is the basis for applying atomic energy. His warning that Nazis could create the atom bomb led President Franklin D. Roosevelt to set up the Manhattan Project.
Albert Einstein stated: “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”
In November of 1952, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion asked Einstein to be Israel’s second president, but he declined due to age, dying less than three years later. Being “deeply moved” by the offer, Einstein replied: “My relationship with the Jewish people became my strongest human tie.”
The periodic table’s 99th element, discovered shortly after his death in 1955 was named “einsteinium.”
Albert Einstein was quoted in The New York Times, Nov. 9, 1930, saying: “I assert that the cosmic religious experience is the strongest and noblest driving force behind scientific research.”
Albert Einstein stated: “God Almighty does not throw dice.” and “Before God we are all equally wise – equally foolish.”
As recorded by Helen Dukas in “Albert Einstein, The Human Side” (Princeton University Press, 1981, p. 66), Einstein stated: “My religiosity consists in a humble admiration of the infinitely superior spirit that reveals itself in the little that we, with our weak and transitory understanding, can comprehend of reality. Morality is of the highest importance-but for us, not for God.”
Einstein stated in an interview published in G.S. Viereck’s book “Glimpses of the Great,” 1930: “I’m absolutely 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 those 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.”
Walter Isaacson quoted Einstein in the article “Einstein and Faith,” Time 169, April 5, 2007, 47): “The fanatical atheists … are like slaves who are still feeling the weight of their chains which they have thrown off after hard struggle. They are creatures who – in their grudge against the traditional ‘opium of the people’ – cannot bear the ‘music of the spheres.'”
According to Prince Hubertus (Ronald W. Clark, “Einstein: The Life and Times,” New York: World Publishing Company, 1971, p. 425), Einstein said: “In view of such harmony in the cosmos which I, with my limited human mind, am able to recognize, there are yet people who say there is no God. But what really makes me angry is that they quote me for the support of such views.”
Einstein wrote to M. Berkowitz, 1950, (William Hermanns, “Einstein and the Poet. In Search of the Cosmic Man,” Brookline Village MA: Branden Books, 1983, p. 60): “‘God’ is a mystery. But a comprehensible mystery. I have nothing but awe when I observe the laws of nature. There are not laws without a lawgiver, but how does this lawgiver look? Certainly not like a man magnified.”
Though not believing in a personal God, The Saturday Evening Post, Oct. 26, 1929, published George Sylvester Viereck’s interview with Albert Einstein. When asked “To what extent are you influenced by Christianity,” Einstein answered: “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.”
When asked “Have you read Emil Ludwig’s book on Jesus,” Einstein replied: “Emil Ludwig’s Jesus is shallow. Jesus is too colossal for the pen of phrasemongers, however artful. No man can dispose of Christianity with a bon mot! (witty remark)”
When asked “You accept the historical existence of Jesus,” Einstein answered: “Unquestionably! 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.”
Princeton University’s Fine Hall has inscribed Albert Einstein’s words above the fireplace: “Raffiniert ist der Herr Gott, aber Boshaft ist er nicht.” (God is clever, but not dishonest.)
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