FACT CHECK: Did Einstein Say, ‘The Difference Between Stupidity And Genius Is That Genius Has Its Limits’?

Brad Sylvester | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Facebook claims that theoretical physicist Albert Einstein once stated, “The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.”

Verdict: False

There is no evidence that Einstein ever said or wrote the statement.

Fact Check:

The internet is replete with sayings ascribed to Einstein, both genuine and apocryphal. The quote attributed to him in the Facebook post appears to fall in the latter category. (RELATED: Did Einstein Say, ‘Certain People Appear Bright Until You Hear Them Speak’?)

A search for the expression in the Einstein Archives Online, which contains around 80,000 documents related to the theoretical physicist, turned up no matches. It appears in the “Probably Not By Einstein” section of Alice Calaprice’s “The Ultimate Quotable Einstein,” a preeminent text on sayings from Einstein.

The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to several experts, none of whom could find the saying in his writings.

“There’s no source for this one, and so it’s probably not by Einstein,” said Andrew Robinson, author of “Einstein: A Hundred Years of Relativity,” in an email to the DCNF.

A precursor to the expression appeared in a late 19th century French encyclopedic dictionary, according to the website Quote Investigator. The work, entitled “Great Universal Dictionary of the Nineteenth Century” in English, includes a saying attributed to writer Alexandre Dumas fils under the entry “Stupidity.”

“One thing that humbles me deeply is to see that human genius has its limits while human stupidity does not,” it reads.

Variations of the saying have been attributed to Einstein since at least 1994, according to Quote Investigator.

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Brad Sylvester

Fact Check Reporter
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