Einstein geniuses

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Einstein kept a bust of Goethe in his study, along with photos of Faraday, Newton, and Maxwell. When asked, in his last year of existence (1954), who thought were the greatest and most powerful minds he had ever met, replied: Lorentz, and, if he had met him: Gibbs. This gives a general picture of who Einstein, himself, considered to be "geniuses". His top 20 are listed below.

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.

Overview

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.[1] Lorenz is seen seated at "right" next to Einstein (Solvay, 1927), below, followed by Curie and Planck:[2]

Planck, Curie, Lorentz, Einstein (Solvay, 1927).png

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.[3]

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.[4]

1900 to 1909

Fifth, Einstein’s mind, according to the key words of his "1879 to 1902"[5] and "1900 to 1909"[6] collected letters and documents, shows us the following picture:

Einstein letters (key words).png

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:

# Person IQR
Isaac Newton 75.png Isaac Newton
(312-228 BE)
(1643-1727 ACM)
(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.”
— Albert Einstein (1920), “Conversation with [add]”[7]

“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.”

— Albert Einstein (1953), “What is the Theory of Relativity”, The Times, Nov 28[8]

One of three photos, along with Maxwell and Faraday, kept in his study.

Goethe 75.jpg Johann Goethe
(206-123 BE)
(1749-1832 ACM)
(IQ:210|#1)
“I admire 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.”
— Einstein (c.1935) to Leopold Casper[9]

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.[4]

Galileo 75.png Galileo
(319-313 BE)
(1564-1642 ACM)
(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.”
— Albert Einstein (1938), Evolution of Physics (co-author: Leopold Infeld) (pg. 6)[10]

“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.”

— Albert Einstein (1920), “Conversation with [add]”[7]
James Maxwell
(124-76 BE)
(1831-1879 ACM)
(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.”
— Albert Einstein (1921), “Article”, New York Times, Aug 4

One of three photos, along with Newton and Faraday, kept in his study.

Lorentz 75.png Hendrik Lorentz
(102-27 BE)
(1853-1928 ACM)
(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.”
— Albert Einstein (1911), “To Heinrich Zangger”[8]

“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.”

— Albert Einstein (1912), “To Lorentz”, Feb 18[8]

“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.”

— Albert Einstein (1954), response to question, a year before his death, about “who were the greatest men, the most powerful thinkers he had known?”[1]
Gibbs 75.png Willard Gibbs
(116-52 BE)
(1839-1903 ACM)
(IQ:205|#5) “Gibbs book is a masterpiece, even though it is hard to read and the main points are found between the lines.”
— Albert Einstein (1918), Publication [E54]

“Gibbs is the greatest mind in American history.”

— Albert Einstein (c.1925), Source[11]

“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.”

— Albert Einstein (c.1930), comment on his 1902 to 1904 work[12]
Euclid 75.png Euclid
(2295-2135 BE)
(c.340-280 BCM)
(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”.
Benedict Spinoza
(323-278 BE)
(1632-1677 ACM)
(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.”
— Albert Einstein (1929), “Interview with G.S. Viereck”, Oct 26[8]

Whenever asked about god, he deflected the question stating that he believed in Spinoza's god.[13]

Kepler 75.png Johannes Kepler
(384-325 BE)
(1571-1630 ACM)
(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.”
— Albert Einstein (1951), “Introduction” to Carola Baumgardt’s Johannes Kepler: Life and Letters (pgs. 12-13)[8]
Schopenhauer 75.png Arthur Schopenhauer
(167-95 BE)
(1788-1860 ACM)
(IQ:185|#60) Whenever asked about causation and "free will"[14], he referred to Schopenhauer.[15]
Faraday 75.png Michael Faraday
(164-88 BE)
(1791-1867 ACM)
(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.”
— Albert Einstein (1952), “Letter to Gertrude Warschauer”, Dec 27[8]

One of three photos, along with Newton and Maxwell, kept in his study.

Clausius 75.png Rudolf Clausius
(133-67 BE)
(1822-1888 ACM)
(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.[6] Einstein, in sense, was a layer back, so to say; the ranking shown here is intuited to how Einstein might have ranked him.
Tolstoy 75.png Leo Tolstoy
(127-45 BE)
(1828-1910 ACM)
(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.”
— Albert Einstein (1935), “Interview”, Aug[8]
Mach 75.png Ernst Mach
(117-39 BE)
(1838-1916 ACM)
(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.”
— Albert Einstein (1920), “To Moritz Schlick”, Jun 30

“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.”

— Albert Einstein (1916), “Eulogy of Mach”, Physikalische Zeitschrift, Apr 1[8]

Mach's criticism of Newton, helped pave the way for Einstein's relativity theory.

Planck 75.png Max Planck
(97-8 BE)
(1858-1947 ACM)
(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.”
— Albert Einstein (c.1948), Source[8]

Biggest key word "name" mentioned in his 1901 to 1909 letters of correspondence.

Kant 75.png Immanuel Kant
(231-151 BE)
(1724-1804 ACM)
(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.”
— Albert Einstein (c.1930), “Interview with Chaim Tchernowitz”, The Sentinel
Boltzmann 75.png Ludwig Boltzmann
(111-49 BE)
(1844-1906 ACM)
(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.
Voltaire 75.png Voltaire
(261-177 BE)
(1694-1778 ACM)
(IQ:190|#17)


“Shaw is the Voltaire of our day.”

— Albert Einstein (1928), “Recalled by Hedwig Fischer”[8]
Dirac 75.png Paul Dirac
(53 BE-29 AE)
(1902-1984 ACM)
(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?”
Albert Michelson 75.png Albert Michelson
(103-24 BE)
(1852-1931 ACM)
(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.”
— Albert Einstein (1953), “To Robert Shankland”, Sep 17[8]

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”.[16]

Shaw 75.png Bernard Shaw
(99-5 BE)
(1856-1950 ACM)
(IQ:180|#189) “Thus speaks the Voltaire of our day.”
— Albert Einstein (1928), “Recalled by Hedwig Fischer”[8]
Curie 75.png Marie Curie
(88-21 BE)
(1867-1934 ACM)
(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.”
— Albert Einstein (1912), “To Elsa Lowenthal”, Aug 11[8]
Pauli 75.png Wolfgang Pauli
(55 BE-3 AE)
(1900-1958 ACM)

(IQ:175|#249)

Einstein and Pauli.jpg
“This Pauli is a well-oiled head.”
— Albert Einstein (1933), “To sister”, Aug[8]

In 1919, Pauli worked with Einstein, pictured adjacent, to write and article on relativity.[17]

Henry Thoreau
(13893 BE)
(1817-1862 ACM)
(IQ:160|#759)


“Gandhi would have been Gandhi even without Thoreau or Tolstoy.“

— Albert Einstein (1953), “To Walter Harding”, Aug 19[8]
Emmy Noether
(73-20 BE)
(1882-1935 ACM)
(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.”
— Albert Einstein (1935), “Obituary of Emmy Noether”, May 4[8]
Gandhi 75.png Gandhi
(86-7 BE)
(1869-1948 ACM)
(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.“
— Albert Einstein (1953), “To Walter Harding”, Aug 19[8]

End matter

See also

   

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Pais, Abraham. (1982). Subtle is the Lord: the Science and Life of Albert Einstein (pg. 73). Oxford.
  2. Solvay 1927 photo (color and large) – Reddit.
  3. Arianrhod, Robyn. (2006). Einstein’s Heroes: Imagining the World Though the Language of Mathematics. Oxford.
  4. 4.0 4.1 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 6.0 6.1 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.
  7. 7.0 7.1 (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.
  8. 8.00 8.01 8.02 8.03 8.04 8.05 8.06 8.07 8.08 8.09 8.10 8.11 8.12 8.13 8.14 8.15 8.16 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.
  9. (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.
  10. Einstein, Albert; Infeld, Leopold. (1938). Evolution of Physics (pg. 6). Publisher.
  11. Phelps, William. (1939). Autobiography: with Letters” (pg. 425). Oxford.
  12. Weinhold, Frank. (2009). Classical and Geometrical Theory of Chemical and Phase Thermodynamics (pg. 151). Wiley-Interscience.
  13. Spinoza’s god – Hmolpedia 2020.
  14. Einstein on free will – Hmolpedia 2020.
  15. Einstein-Murphy dialogue – Hmolpedia 2020.
  16. Bowman, Tom. (1995). “The Man Who Inspired Einstein” (Ѻ), The Baltimore Sun, Feb 8.
  17. Einstein and Pauli (1919) – Library.ETHZ.ch.
  18. Landau genius scale – Hmolpedia 2020.
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