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As you very well know, Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist. He developed the general theory of relativity, one of the two pillars of modern physics.

On Einstein’s 72nd birthday on 14 March, 1951, photographer Arthur Sasse was trying to persuade him to smile for the camera. Having already done so countless times that day, he stuck out his tongue instead. The photo became one of the most popular ever taken of Einstein; he himself enjoyed it and asked for nine copies for personal use. In 2009, the signed original was sold at auction for $74,324.

Years later, I would illustrate this photograph for a science blog of which nobody had ever heard:

Albert Einstein Cartoon

Besides having such a gargantuan impact on scientific progress, Einstein’s work is also known for its influence on the philosophy of science. On that, he had much to say:

“I very rarely think in words at all. A thought comes, and I may try to express in words afterwards.”
Productive Thinking

“As a human being, one has been endowed with just enough intelligence to be able to see clearly how utterly inadequate that intelligence is when confronted with what exists. If such humility could be conveyed to everybody, the world of human activities would be more appealing.”
Letter to Queen Elizabeth of Belgium

“Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.”
The Curious History of Relativity: How Einstein’s Theory of Gravity Was Lost and Found Again

“Nature shows us only the tail of the lion. But there is no doubt in my mind that the lion belongs with it even if he cannot reveal himself to the eye all at once because of his huge dimension.”
Smithsonian Institution

“As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.”
The Yale Book of Quotations

“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.”
The Yale Book of Quotations

“It is true that my parents were worried because I began to speak fairly late, so that they even consulted a doctor. I can’t say how old I was – but surely not less than three.”
The Yale Book of Quotations

“Common sense is nothing more than a deposit of prejudices laid down in the mind before you reach eighteen.”
The Universe and Dr Einstein

“If A is a success in life, then A equals X plus Y plus Z. Work is X; Y is play, and Z is keeping your mouth shut.”
The Yale Book of Quotations

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”
Smithsonian Institution

“Nothing truly valuable arises from ambition or from a mere sense of duty; it stems rather from love and devotion towards men and towards objective things.”
– Letter, July 1947

“My passionate sense of social justice and social responsibility has always contrasted oddly with my pronounced lack of need for direct contact with other human beings and human communities. I am truly a ‘lone traveler’ and have never belonged to my country, my home, my friends, or even my immediate family, with my whole heart; in the face of all these ties, I have never lost a sense of distance and a need for solitude.”
The World As I See It

“The ordinary adult never gives a thought to space-time problems… I, on the contrary, developed so slowly that I did not begin to wonder about space and time until I was an adult. I then delved more deeply into the problem than any other adult or child would have done.”
– Letter to Nobel laureate James Franck

“One thing I have learned in a long life: That all our science, measured against reality, is primitive and childlike – and yet it is the most precious thing we have.”
Albert Einstein: Creator and Rebel

“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. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed.”
The World As I See It

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. 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 every day.”
Life magazine (1955)

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