By Amber Hensley
Albert Einstein was one of the greatest scientists to ever live. Einstein’s physics theories are still confounding scientists more than half a century after his death. In addition to his grand technical accomplishments, the kindly German doctor was also a philosopher and ethicist of the highest order. More than simply a scientist, Einstein’s legacy provides insight into a number of fields. Here are the ten lessons every student can learn from Albert Einstein, pulled directly from his quotes and sayings.
- "Imagination is more important than knowledge.": Without the ability to dream or imagine Einstein never would have been remembered as a famous scientist. In fact Einstein even used imagination as a scientific tool by developing theories through thought experiments conducted entirely in the mind.
- "Do not worry about your difficulties in Mathematics. I can assure you mine are still greater.": Not all Einstein’s breakthroughs came easily and despite his renowned intellect, he often claimed deficiencies as a mathematician. Though many claim he failed math as kid, this endearing story is not true.
- "The only real valuable thing is intuition.": Einstein understood the value of instinct and intuition when tackling problems. While knowledge and information are necessary, trusting your first reaction is often best.
- "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.": Falling flat on ones face is an essential part of the human experience. Failure allows time and hindsight to explore mistakes and review other courses of action.
- "The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.": Learning is a lifelong process that frequently relies more on interests and passions then official curricula. Students that follow their interests end up successful and fulfilled.
- "I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.": Despite having contributed heavily to the atomic bomb, Einstein deplored its use and lobbied American presidents to limit the weapons’ proliferation.
- "We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.": Finding solutions means finding different routes of failure. Success can only be achieved with focused effort and well thought out solutions.
- "The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.": Questions are good. They shape all academic disciplines and lead to more knowledge. Unfortunately, asking questions is an easy habit to break. Einstein constantly reminded people to indulge their curiosity.
- "Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.": For all his genius and success, Einstein was aware he would never discover all the answers. This humility and down to earth sensibility has made Einstein an icon of human thought for generations.
- "Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.": This sign hung in Einstein’s Princeton University office as a reminder of the truly important things in life: love and happiness.