In genius studies, Einstein geniuses (LH:1), aka “Einstein’s heroes” (Arianrhod, 2006), refers to who Einstein considered to be a genius or "great man", "greatest creative genius", "smartest and wisest of all time", "most powerful thinker", "marvelous intellects", "well-oiled heads", "mathematical geniuses", etc. The top 20+ people defined by Einstein as great minds and geniuses, based on his collectively stated opinions, photos, busts, and personal library holdings, are ranked below.
While Einstein, overtly, spoke of any ranking of who he considered to be the greatest minds of all time, give or take a top two, e.g. Newton and Galileo (greatest creative geniuses), or top four, e.g. Galileo, Newton, Maxwell, and Lorentz (founders behind relativity), in certain categories, we do note that in 1854, a year before his destating (cessation), when asked: “who were the greatest men, the most powerful thinkers he had known?”, replied “Lorenz”, but added that had he met Gibbs, who he considered the greatest mind in American history, he might of ranked Gibbs alongside Lorenz. Lorenz is seen seated at "right" next to Einstein (Solvay, 1927), below, followed by Curie and Planck:
Moreover, we know that Einstein felt he was "intellectually inferior" to Lorentz, as he told Lorentz in 1912. This, in turn, would auto-categorize Einstein as ranking himself as intellectually inferior to Gibbs, given his latter comments on Gibbs as being equal in intellect to Lorentz.
We also know that Einstein kept three key photos in his workspace, namely: Newton, Maxwell, and Faraday.
Thirdly, we know he kept a bust of Goethe in his study, who he said was "one of the smartest and wisest men of all time"; also, Goethe’s collected works made up the largest part of his personal library at Princeton, including a thirty-six volume edition and another of twelve volumes, plus two volumes on his Optics, the exchange of letters between Goethe and Schiller, and a separate volume of Faust.
1900 to 1909
Einstein first scientific paper in 1901 was on intermolecular forces, followed by two papers in 1902 on thermodynamics of potential differences in metals and of the second law in the context of kinetic theory. Over the next two years, he published two papers: “A Theory of the Foundations of Thermodynamics” (1903) and “On a General Molecular Theory of Heat” (1904)”. The following year he published 25 papers, mostly on thermodynamics, five of which functioned to catapult him into scientific stardom, i.e. the “principle of relativity” (key: clock). In the 1900 to 1909, the name "Planck" is dominate, which connects to key terms: resonator, radiation pressure, kinetic theory, theory of heat, black-body radiation, all connected to "Planck entropy" and the light bulb problem. We also see keys: "absolute temperature", molecules, motion, electron, etc.
Einstein's greatest minds | Rankings
The following, giving the above, and other correlations, as cited, are an estimated rankings of Einstein’s top 20+ genius rankings; each person is shown with their current real IQ and top 2000 rankings position, for comparison:
|(IQ:210|#2)||“In my opinion, the greatest creative geniuses are Galileo and Newton, whom I regard in a certain sense as forming a unity. And in this unity Newton is the one who has achieved the most imposing feat in the realm of science.”
“Newton’s clear and wide-ranging ideas will retain their unique significance for all time as the foundation of our whole modern conceptual structure in the sphere of natural philosophy.”
|(IQ:210|#1)||Goethe as a poet without peer and as one of the smartest and wisest men of all time. I feel in Goethe a certain condescending attitude toward the reader, and miss the humility that is comforting, especially when it comes from great men.”
Kept a bust of Goethe in his study; also, Goethe’s collected works made up the largest part of his personal library at Princeton, including a thirty-six volume edition and another of twelve volumes, plus two volumes on his Optics, the exchange of letters between Goethe and Schiller, and a separate volume of Faust.
|(IQ:195|#10)||“The discovery and use of scientific reasoning by Galileo was one of the most important achievements in the history of human thought, and marks the real beginning of physics.”
“In my opinion, the greatest creative geniuses are Galileo and Newton, whom I regard in a certain sense as forming a unity. And in this unity Newton is the one who has achieved the most imposing feat in the realm of science.”
|(IQ:205|#4)||“The four men who laid the foundations of physics on which I have been able to construct my theory are: Galileo, Newton, Maxwell, and Lorentz.”
One of three photos, along with Newton and Faraday, kept in his study.
|(IQ:180|#109)||“Lorentz is a marvel of intelligence and exquisite tact. A living work of art! In my opinion, he was the most intelligent of the theorist present at the Solvay Congress in Brussels.”
“My feeling of intellectual inferiority with regard to you cannot spoil the great delight of our conversation, especially because the fatherly kindness you show to all people does not allow any feeling of despondency to arise.”
“Lorentz is the greatest and most powerful thinker I have ever known. I never met Willard Gibbs; perhaps, had I done so, I might have placed him beside Lorentz.”
|(IQ:205|#5)||“Gibbs book is a masterpiece, even though it is hard to read and the main points are found between the lines.”
“Gibbs is the greatest mind in American history.”
“I only wish to add that the road taken by Gibbs in his Elementary Principles in Statistical Mechanics, which consists in one’s starting directly from the canonical ensemble, is in my opinion preferable to the road I took. Had I been familiar with Gibbs’ book at that time, I would not have published all those papers at all, but would have limited myself to the discussion of just a few points.”
|(IQ:185|#56)||Einstein, at age 12, was given a text on Euclidean geometry, after which came to refer to it as the “holy geometry book”.|
|(IQ:185|#51)||“I am fascinated by Spinoza's pantheism. I admire even more his contribution to modern thought, because he is the first philosopher who deals with the ‘soul’ and the ‘body’ as one, not as two separate things.”
|(IQ:180|#90)||“Kepler belonged to those few who cannot do otherwise than openly acknowledge their convictions on every subject. His life work was possible only when he succeeded in freeing himself to a large extent from the spiritual tradition in which he was born. He does not speak about this, but the inner struggle is reflected in his letters.”
|(IQ:185|#60)||Whenever asked about causation and "free will", he referred to Schopenhauer.|
|(IQ:180|#96)||“Faraday loved mysterious nature as a lover loves his distant beloved. In his day, there did not yet exist the dull specialization that, though horn-rimmed glasses and arrogance, destroys the poetry.”
One of three photos, along with Newton and Maxwell, kept in his study.
|(IQ:200|#7)||Most of his 1901 to 1904 papers were on thermodynamics and kinetic theory of gases, all initiated by Clausius; Einstein, of note, does not focus on Clausius directly, give a take a few mention, but in the years 1900 to 1909, the half dozen articles he wrote on entropy, where what others, e.g. Boltzmann (1880s), Planck (1890s), Gibbs (1902), Albert Fliegner (1903), William Urr (1905), wrote about Clausius and the second law. Einstein, in sense, was a layer back, so to say; the ranking shown here is intuited to how Einstein might have ranked him.|
|(IQ:180|#104)||“I doubt if there has been a true moral leader of worldwide influence since Tolstoy he remains in many ways the foremost Prophet of our time period there is no one today with Tolstoy’s deep insight and moral force.”
|(IQ:175|#280)||“It was highly honorable of his logical conscience that Newton decided to create ‘absolute space’. He could just as well have called the absolute space the ‘rigid ether’. He needed such a reality in order to give objective meaning to acceleration. Later attempts do without this absolute space in mechanics were, with the exception of marks, only a game of hide-and-seek.”
“In Mach, the immediate pleasure gained in seeing and comprehending — Spinoza’s amor dei intellectualis — was so strong that he looked at the world with the curious eyes of a child until well into old age, so that he could find joy and contentment in understanding how everything is connected.”
Mach's criticism of Newton, helped pave the way for Einstein's relativity theory.
|(IQ:180|#20)||“Planck was one of the finest people I have ever known, but he really did not understand physics, because during the eclipse of 1919 he stayed up all night to see if it would confirm the bending of light by the gravitational field. if he had really understood the general theory of relativity, he would have gone to bed the way I did.”
Biggest key word "name" mentioned in his 1901 to 1909 letters of correspondence.
|(IQ:185|#75)||“If Kant had known what is known to us today of the natural order, I am certain that he would have fundamentally revised his philosophical conclusions. Kant build his structure upon the foundations of the world outlook of Kepler and Newton period now that the foundation has been undermined, the structure no longer stands.”
|(IQ:190|#29)||Most of Einstein's work on kinetic theory of heat, was a compromise between what Gibbs and Planck had to say on Boltzmann, who in term built on Clausius and Maxwell.|
(53 BE-29 AE)
|(IQ:190|#40)||In the 1930s, Dirac’s The Principles of Quantum Mechanics (1930), was considered a “bible” of sorts by Einstein, in respect to the way he used to walk around saying “where’s my Dirac?”|
|(IQ:175|#316)||“My admiration for Michelson's experiment is for the ingenious method to compare the location of the inference pattern with the location of the image of the light source. In this way, he overcame that difficulty that we are not able to change the direction of the earth’s rotation.”
Told Michelson, over dinner in 1931 at Caltech, that his ether experiment “led the physicists into new paths and through experimental work paved the way for the development of the theory of relativity”.
|(IQ:180|#189)||“Thus speaks the Voltaire of our day.”
|(IQ:180|#121)||“Madame Curie is very intelligent but short on emotion, meaning that she is deficient in feelings of joy and pain. Almost the only way she expresses her feelings is to rail against things she doesn’t like. And she has a daughter who is even worse—like a grenadier. This daughter is also very gifted.”
(55 BE-3 AE)
In 1919, Pauli worked with Einstein, pictured adjacent, to write and article on relativity.
|(IQ:170|#529)||“In the judgment of the most competent living mathematicians, Fraulein Noether was the most significant creative mathematical genius thus far produced since the higher education of women began.”
|(IQ:160|#714)||“Gandhi’s development resulted from extraordinary intellectual and moral forces in combination with political ingenuity and a unique situation. I think Gandhi would have been Gandhi even without Thoreau or Tolstoy.“
- Pais, Abraham. (1982). Subtle is the Lord: the Science and Life of Albert Einstein (pg. 73). Oxford.
- Solvay 1927 photo (color and large) – Reddit.
- Arianrhod, Robyn. (2006). Einstein’s Heroes: Imagining the World Though the Language of Mathematics. Oxford.
- Galison, Peter; Holton, Gerald; Schweber, Silvan; (2008). Einstein for the 21st Century: His Legacy in Science, Art, and Modern Culture (§1: Who Was Einstein? Why is He Still so Alive?, pgs 3-15; quote: pg. 10). Princeton.
- Einstein, Albert. (1987). The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein: The Early Years, 1879-1902, Volume 1. Translator: Anna Beck, Compiler: Peter Havas. Princeton University Press.
- Einstein, Albert. (1989). The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein: The Swiss Years, Writings, 1900-1909, Volume 2. Translator: Anna Beck, Compiler: Peter Havas. Princeton University Press.
- (a) Moszkowski, Alexander. (1971). Conversations with Einstein (pg. 40). Publisher.
(b) Einstein, Albert. (2010). The Ultimate Quotable Einstein (editor: Alice Calaprice; contributor: Freeman Dyson) (pg. 141). Princeton University Press.
- Einstein, Albert. (2010). The Ultimate Quotable Einstein (editor: Alice Calaprice; contributor: Freeman Dyson) (Curie, pgs. 117-18; Faraday, pg. 120; Gandhi, pg. 125; Goethe, pg. 125; Kepler, pg. 131; Lorentz, pg. 137; Mach, pg. 138; Michelson, pg. 140; Newton, pg. 140; Pauli, pg. 144; Noether, pg. 144; Planck, pg. 146; Shaw, pg. 151; Spinoza, pg. 152; Tolstoy, pgs. 154-55). Princeton University Press.
- (a) Einstein, Albert. (1932). “To Leopold Casper”, Apr 9, Einstein Archives, 49-380.
(b) Einstein, Albert. (2010). The Ultimate Quotable Einstein (editor: Alice Calaprice; contributor: Freeman Dyson) (pg. 125). Princeton University Press.
- Einstein, Albert; Infeld, Leopold. (1938). Evolution of Physics (pg. 6). Publisher.
- Phelps, William. (1939). Autobiography: with Letters” (pg. 425). Oxford.
- Weinhold, Frank. (2009). Classical and Geometrical Theory of Chemical and Phase Thermodynamics (pg. 151). Wiley-Interscience.
- Spinoza’s god – Hmolpedia 2020.
- Einstein on free will – Hmolpedia 2020.
- Einstein-Murphy dialogue – Hmolpedia 2020.
- Bowman, Tom. (1995). “The Man Who Inspired Einstein” (Ѻ), The Baltimore Sun, Feb 8.
- Einstein and Pauli (1919) – Library.ETHZ.ch.
- Landau genius scale – Hmolpedia 2020.