Albert Einstein? Apocryphal? Anonymous?
Dear Quote Investigator: Did Albert Einstein say the following?
Everyone who is seriously interested in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe – a spirit vastly superior to man, and one in the face of which our modest powers must seem humble.
When I search online for this sentence I get screen after screen of citations from people grinding religious axes, but never a source. I suspect Einstein really did say it, but I should love to be certain and to know the context.
Quote Investigator: In 1936 Albert Einstein sent a letter to a sixth-grade student named Phyllis Wright. The letter was written in Einstein’s native language of German and not in English. His note was complex, multi-layered, and difficult to translate into English. The missive did contain a section that expressed an opinion similar to the one in the text presented by the questioner. Further below QI will present three distinct translations of an excerpt from the letter corresponding to the passage above.
Einstein was replying to a query which was based on a topic of classroom discussion in a Sunday school course. Here is an excerpt from the note of Phyllis [PSAE]:
We will feel greatly honored if you will answer our question: Do scientists pray, and what do they pray for?
Einstein’s note was dated January 24, 1936 and reflected his multifaceted beliefs in the spiritual domain. Here is additional information together with a citation.