Science, Art, Litt, Science based Art & Science Communication

Another story: Difference between an artist and a scientist

People say there is no difference in thinking between artists and scientists. But recently I read an interesting story that confirms the different  thinking ways between a scientist and  an artist ... It is about Einstein and his wife who was a poet...

Frau Einstein was Albert Einstein’s wife. She was a poet, and Albert Einstein was perhaps one of the greatest scientific thinker of all the ages. Naturally Frau Einstein wanted her husband to know about her poetry. Einstein tried to avoid the subject as much as he could, but finally one night, the full moon in the sky, Frau Einstein could not resist the temptation. She had composed a beautiful poem about the full moon, and she recited the poem.

Albert Einstein looked at her with great surprise, almost shocked. She could not understand, “Why is he looking at me in this weird manner? At the most he can say that the poetry is not great, but he is looking at me as if I am insane!” After the recital of the poem she asked Albert Einstein, “What do you think?”

He said, “I had never thought that you are so crazy. You talk about the moon as beautiful, you talk about the moon reminding you of your beloved. It is sheer nonsense! The moon is too big, it cannot be substituted for your beloved. And the moon is not at all beautiful! It is just as ordinary as the earth, even more ordinary because there is no greenery, no water, just barren land. And the light that you see reflected from the moon is not its own. That light is borrowed from the sun, it is not coming from the moon. The sunlight falls on the moon and the rays are reflected back, and those reflected rays are coming to your eyes; the moon is not the source of them. I had always thought that you are well educated, but you don't know even the ABC of physics!”

Now was the chance for Frau Einstein to look at him as if he is insane, because for centuries poets have sung songs about the moon – its beauty, its tremendous magnetic force, its cool light. It has a certain hypnotic spell on the heart…and it is now also proved by facts that it has a certain hypnotic spell.

But a physicist, a mathematician will not be able to understand it – and Frau Einstein never again mentioned poetry to Albert Einstein in her whole life. Although she went on composing, she was not publishing them. It was decided on the first recital that that kind of dialogue was not possible with her husband – but it is not any exceptional case.

She said: He listened to my poems as if he were a stone statue and not a human being. There were no emotions at all. He dealt with reason and I with emotions. There is lot of difference in our dealings. So I decided I would never recite my poems again to him in my life ( Ref. 1).


Although the story says something about the thinking ways of artists and scientists, it may not be wholly true, because Einstein loved poems, he had all volumes of Goethe’s comprehensive work in his study room, and he liked to write little poems himself all his life!

But as scientists really differ in their thinking and cannot relate themselves very well to fiction, metaphors and dreaming, they prefer to deal with facts.

Here are a  few poems attributed to Einstein (Ref. 2):

Relativity and the "Physics" of Love

Sit next to a pretty girl for an hour, 
it seems like a minute. 
Sit on a red-hot stove for a minute, 
it seems like an hour. 
That's relativity!

Oh, it should be possible 
to explain the laws of physics 
to a barmaid! . . .
but how could she ever,
in a million years,
explain love to an Einstein?

All these primary impulses, 
not easily described in words, 
are the springboards 
of man's actions—because
any man who can drive safely 
while kissing a pretty girl 
is simply not giving the kiss 
the attention it deserves!


I used to go away for weeks in a state of confusion.
Now I think and think for months and years. 
Ninety-nine times, the conclusion is false. 
The hundredth time I am right.
But I never think of the future—
that comes soon enough.

Learn from yesterday,
live for today,
hope for tomorrow.
The important thing is never
to stop questioning.
Never lose a holy curiosity.

It is a miracle that curiosity
survives formal education
and yet it is the supreme art
of the teacher to awaken joy
in creative expression 
and knowledge.

Still, it sometimes seems
that "education" is what remains
after one has forgotten
everything he learned in school,
and the only thing that interferes 
with my learning is my education.

But always remember that all that is valuable in human society 
depends upon the opportunity for development accorded the individual!

If you are out to describe the truth, 
leave elegance to the tailor . . .
and yet
if you can't explain it simply, 
you don't understand it.
Still, if we knew what it was we were doing, 
it wouldn't be called "research,"
would it?

New Math

Concern for man and his fate 
must always form the chief interest 
of all technical endeavors. 
Never forget this 
in the midst of your diagrams 
and equations.
Yet never over-worry 
about your difficulties 
in Mathematics. 
I can assure you mine are still greater!


Solitude is painful 
when one is young, 
but delightful 
when one is more mature.
I live in that solitude 
which was painful in my youth, 
but seems delicious now,
in the years of my maturity.

Now it gives me great pleasure, indeed,
to see the stubbornness 
of an incorrigible nonconformist 
so warmly acclaimed . . .
and yet it seems vastly strange 
to be known so universally 
and yet be so lonely.


Still, as far as I'm concerned, 
I prefer silent vice 
to ostentatious virtue:
I don't know, 
I don't care, 
and it doesn't make any difference!

Against Hubris

Science without religion is lame,
religion without science is blind,
and whoever undertakes to establish himself
as the judge of Truth and Knowledge 
is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.

War and Peace

But heroism on command, 
senseless violence, 
and all the loathsome nonsense 
that goes by the name of patriotism:
how passionately I hate them!
Perfection of means 
and confusion of ends 
seem to characterize our age
and it has become appallingly obvious 
that our technology 
has exceeded our humanity,
that technological progress 
is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal,
and that the attempt to combine wisdom and power 
has only rarely been successful 
and then only for a short while.

It is my conviction 
that killing under the cloak of war 
is nothing but an act of murder.
(I do not know what weapons 
World War III will be fought with, 
but World War IV will be fought 
with sticks and stones.)

Oh, how I wish that somewhere 
there existed an island 
for those who are wise 
and of goodwill! . . .

In such a place even I 
would be an ardent patriot,
for I am not only a pacifist,
but a militant pacifist. 
I am willing to fight for peace,
for nothing will end war 
unless the people themselves 
refuse to go to war.

Our task must be to free ourselves 
by widening our circle of compassion 
to embrace all living creatures 
and the whole of nature and its beauty.
And peace cannot be kept by force; 
it can only be achieved by understanding.


There are two ways to live your life—
one is as though nothing is a miracle, 
the other is as though everything is a miracle.
The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious: 
it is the source of all true art and all science.
He to whom this emotion is a stranger, 
who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, 
is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.


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. 
Never lose a holy curiosity.

People do not grow old no matter how long we live. 
We never cease to stand like curious children 
before the great Mystery into which we were born.


Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from weak minds
because anger dwells only in the bosom of fools
and weakness of attitude soon becomes weakness of character.
Only two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity (and I'm not sure about the former);
furthermore, we can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.
The world is a dangerous place: not just because of the people who are evil, 
but also because of the good people who don't do anything about it.
He who joyfully marches to music rank and file has already earned my contempt:
he has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.




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Comment by Dr. Krishna Kumari Challa on November 1, 2016 at 9:23am


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