8

I was reading wikipedia page of Python, there I saw these lines:

Beautiful is better than ugly.
Explicit is better than implicit.
Simple is better than complex.
Complex is better than complicated.

I was reminded of a quote "Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler." by Albert Einstein.

My question is, did he really say this? Please provide original reference.

3
  • 2
    Seems like most Einstein "quotes" end up not being something he said exactly. Einstein's like an inverse Hitler, in that Einstein is seen as the personification of intelligence rather than all that is bad. Jul 16, 2016 at 22:11
  • 3
    "Most Einstein's quotes are apocryphical" - Shakespeare
    – Evargalo
    Aug 21, 2023 at 8:24
  • 1
    The general sentiment, known as the "principle of parsimony", has been stated by numerous people, tracing back at least to the ancient Greek philosophers. (There's probably a cuneiform tablet somewhere with a similar message, we just haven't found it yet.)
    – Mark
    Aug 30, 2023 at 2:35

1 Answer 1

13

Quoteinvestigator conducted an extensive inquiry into this, and, in short,

Einstein may have crafted this aphorism, but there is no direct evidence in his writings. He did express a similar idea in a lecture but not concisely.

The actual Einstein quote is:

It can scarcely be denied that the supreme goal of all theory is to make the irreducible basic elements as simple and as few as possible without having to surrender the adequate representation of a single datum of experience.

"On the Method of Theoretical Physics" The Herbert Spencer Lecture, delivered at Oxford (10 June 1933)

3
  • 20
    I find it ironic that he did express this idea, but not concisely.
    – user11643
    Jul 16, 2016 at 12:46
  • 12
    The actual Einstein quote: "It can scarcely be denied that the supreme goal of all theory is to make the irreducible basic elements as simple and as few as possible without having to surrender the adequate representation of a single datum of experience."
    – GEdgar
    Jul 16, 2016 at 14:50
  • 1
    @GEdgar: I took the liberty of adding your comment to the answer, hope that's ok.
    – sleske
    Aug 16, 2023 at 9:36

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .