We have a joke in Russia: Einstein has died and gone to Heaven, where he meets God. And God says to him, “You, Einstein, you have worked hard, you deserve some reward. Ask me any question about anything you like, and I will give you the answer.” So, Einstein thinks a bit, then says, “What is the equation of it all?” Ah, says God, picking up a piece of chalk, “it is like this,” and he writes a long formula on the board. Einstein looks at this very carefully, nodding and appreciating, then suddenly frowns, and points at the formula. “But you’ve made a mistake.”

“I know,” says God.

 As told to Alexander Masters by a Russian mathematician in Montreal

[quoted in Simon – The Genius in my Basement published by Fourth Estate, London.]

The holy curiosity of inquiry stands mainly in need of freedom – Einstein

Let us suppose these things are like the truth – Xenophanes

Great spirits will always encounter opposition from mediocre minds –  Einstein

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar – Freud

That which has been, is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun – Ecclesiastes (1:9)

The largest views are not always the clearest … He that is short-sighted will be obliged to draw the object nearer – Berkeley

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler – Einstein

Chance favours the prepared mind – Pasteur

Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made – Kant

There is no abstract art. You must start with something, then you can remove all traces of reality – Picasso

Millions long for immortality who don’t know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon – Susan Ertz

Awake, arise or be forever fallen – Milton

It is the mark of an educated mind to entertain a thought without accepting it – Aristotle

Fortune-telling and love potions are not of much account, but old women are worth listening to – Ursula Le Guin

In science you want to say something nobody knew before in words everyone can understand. In poetry you are bound to say something that everybody knows already in words that nobody can understand – Paul Dirac