A very popular quote attributed to Albert Einstein but did he really say it? If so, what is the original document containing the original explanation of it?
The quote "An alleged scientific discovery has no merit unless it can be explained to a barmaid." is popularly attributed to Lord Rutherford of Nelson in as stated in Einstein, the Man and His Achievement By G. J. Whitrow, Dover Press 1973. Einstein is unlikely to have said it since his theory of relativity was very abstract and based on sophisticated mathematics.
The short answer is: probably no he didn't say this quote. There is no citation supporting this claim.
Another unsourced variants:
But if you open page 418 of Einstein: His Life and Times (1972) by Ronald W. Clark, it says that Louis de Broglie did attribute a similar statement to Einstein:
See all misattributed Einstein quotes here: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein#Misattributed.
I do not know if Einstein ever said anything like that. (As Einstein himself once said, "73% of Einstein quotes are misattributed.")
But following @AndrewGrimm's comment, the closest I could find is this second-hand quote by Richard Feynman
Source: The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Special Preface written by David L. Goodstein and Gerry Neugebauer, dated April 1989 (i.e. after Feynman died). (Google Books link to a 2011 book that contains this Special Preface.)
P.S. The above quote, coming from two of his Caltech colleagues, is probably more credible than the following unsourced 1985 People magazine quote:
Nonetheless, even if Feynman did issue both of the above two quotes, they are not inconsistent. One could argue that Feynman believes (a) that "we really don't understand" his Nobel prize-winning work; or (b) that the Caltech freshman is more intelligent than the average person.
protected by Community♦ Nov 4 '12 at 14:24
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