Tag Archives: Columbia University

Did Albert Einstein Really Say That?


By T.V. Antony Raj




With the advent of the internet, we are now able to interact freely with people living anywhere around the world, but, the ability to speak face-to-face with ease has declined and, in fact, is dysfunctional.  Now, with mobiles, people have replaced lively phone calls by texting mnemonic-like nonsensical internet slang words with little substance. This indeed is an alarming trend.

I came across the following two humorous images on Facebook that illustrate the fact that in the 1980s and before there was a free and cordial interaction between people, but now, they are ignoring one another by texting the whole day long oblivious to their surroundings.


Einstein's fake quote - 2 (Source


Einstein's fake quote


The caption for these images assert that Albert Einstein said:

I fear the day technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.

The above quote also appears often on social media in the following form:

It has become appallingly clear that our technology has surpassed our humanity.

Often I find predictions such as these passed around on the internet unabashedly that are often misleading, out of context, or sometimes completely fabricated.

People love to put words into the mouth of William Shakespeare, Adolf Hitler, Napoleon Bonaparte, Louis Pasteur, Albert Einstein, and many others. They presume that by attributing fabricated quotes to these famous people, their fabricated sayings will automatically become infallible. Our patriotic Indians, the proud Tamilians in particular, use late Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, former president of India as their scapegoat to dole out fabricated quotes.

Some who come across such quotes on the social media copy them and post them without verifying whether they were in fact said by such personalities.

In this instance, someone credited Albert Einstein with these concocted quotes without any compunction whatsoever and others have copied them blindly. Even brainyquote.com is guilty of propagating this fake quote.

Brian C. Rosenberg, the 16th president of Macalester College, the institution that proudly boasts Kofi Annan amongst its alumni, inadvertently uses this fabricated quote whenever he talks about the scourge of the social media.

The Quote Investigator points out that there is no absolute evidence to prove that Albert Einstein ever said this.

The quote(s) in question was in fact derived from the 1995 movie “Powder“.  Near the end of the film, there is a dialogue between Powder played by Sean Patrick Flanery and a character named Donald Ripley, a physics teacher, played by Jeff Goldblum.

Donald Ripley: It has become appallingly clear that our technology has surpassed our humanity.

Powder: Albert Einstein.

Donald Ripley: When I look at you, I have hope that maybe one day our humanity will surpass our technology.

So here we have it. Movies are a compelling source for apocryphal quotations.

It is true that Albert Einstein’s concern about the fate of the world and its people in the face of nuclear weapons was genuine. In 1946, he cautioned about the dangers of the new nuclear age. He, in fact, made a famous statement that was thematically analogous with the words expressed in the movie.

On May 25, 1946, The New York Times reported that Einstein “issued a personal appeal yesterday by telegram to several hundred prominent Americans”. Here is an excerpt:

Our world faces a crisis as yet unperceived by those possessing power to make great decisions for good or evil. The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking and we thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.



Thomas Sowell: A Man Who Always Says Something of Substance.


Myself By T.V. Antony Raj


Thomas Sowell
Thomas Sowell an American economist, social theorist, political philosopher, author, and a National Humanities Medal winner, endorses laissez-faire economics, and writes from a conservative and libertarian viewpoint. At present, he is the Rose and Milton Friedman Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institute at Stanford University, California.

Born in North Carolina, Thomas Sowell grew up in Harlem. Like many others in his neighborhood, he did not finish high school and left home early. After enduring a few difficult years, he joined the Marine Corps and during the Korean War became a photographer. On leaving the service, while working as a part-time photographer, he entered Harvard University, to study economics.

After graduating magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1958, Thomas Sowell acquired his masters in economics from Columbia University in 1959.  He also received a doctorate in economics from the University of Chicago in 1968.

In the early ’60s, Thomas Sowell worked as an economist at the Department of Labor, and at AT&T. However, his real interest was in teaching. In 1965, Sowell began his first professorship at Cornell University. In the early ’70s and from 1984 to 1989, he taught at Rutgers University, Amherst College, Brandeis University, and at the University of California at Los Angeles.

With much of his writing considered groundbreaking, Thomas Sowell has to his credit a dozen books and many articles and essays, covering a range of topics: classic economic theory to judicial activism; civil rights to choosing the right college.

Though Thomas Sowell began his career as a newspaper columnist in 1984, he had regularly contributed to newspapers in the late ’70s and early ’80s. He proved that anyone could say something of substance in a short space of 750 words.

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