Albert Einstein: How to Have Deep Thoughts

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Albert Einstein: How to have Deep Thoughts

Albert Einstein had deep thoughts.

What was his secret?

He said that it was because he was able to think continuously on a single problem for a long time.

You probably have a deep thought or two in the catacombs of your mind. You had the thought and you may have buried it. Einstein would have kept that single thought on top of his mental “stack of thoughts” and concentrated on that one thought until he had developed it to the point that he could present it along with all of its ramifications to the world in a coherent fashion.

Even Einstein’s worst thought, at least what he thought was a “blunder,” was the cosmological constant fudge factor he used in his relativity equations. Einstein had assumed a static universe. When Edwin Hubble saw that the universe was actually expanding, Einstein said that the cosmological constant was his “biggest blunder.”

According to Einstein’s mistake was not a mathematical mistake but a philosophical mistake. Today scientists are still considering and estimating the value of the constant because of the early expansion of the universe that gave it its shape. Quantum mechanical considerations are also important. To Einstein, the cosmological constant provided a way of balancing the gravitational contraction caused by matter. I often read articles about the constant.

If you have to have a “blunder,” make it a good one like Einstein’s.

When I was a graduate student I was always amazed by the contributions of Einstein. He contributed in many ways to physics, chemistry, and mathematics. He received the Nobel Prize in Physics for his study of the photoelectric effect which is part of quantum mechanics. He helped develop Bose-Einstein statistics important in solid state physics. He contributed to Brownian motion and viscosity important in surface chemistry. He also contributed to reaction rate theory important to chemistry. Of course his theory of relativity is of tremendous importance to astronomers and cosmologist.

From what Einstein said, he thought about these problems one at a time.

Einstein thought that major contributions to science best come from outside the centers of academia. He advised gifted people to work a regular job and do their science on the side without distraction from anyone else that might lead them astray or confuse your thinking. He was working in a patent office as a clerk when he presented his paper on the photoelectric effect.

How to Concentrate on One Problem at a Time

I personally have always found it very difficult to concentrate on a single problem for an extended time. You may have noticed from the multitude of subjects in my listing at,_Ph.D. that I am a scatter brain. My novels and other books and articles I have written over the years have subjects that are “all over the place.” See

Now that I’m in my mid seventies, I find it very difficult to concentrate on even simple problems. Last night I was solving some problems from a new book I picked up yesterday. I had just learned from the dentist that my bill was almost two grand so I decided to wait a while to buy a new laptop and instead went to Barnes and Noble. The book is The World’s Biggest Puzzle Book by Charles Barry Townsend. Purchase at

Anyway, I was solving a problem using simple algebraic equations from physics and kept muddling them up. I solved the problem after fiddling around for an inordinate amount of time. It’s funny how the brain works; last night I solved the same problem without paper in my mind while I was sleeping.

Keys to Concentration

Go to this site to learn the keys to concentration: The article is short in the form of a PDF file. Go to to get a free download of the Adobe Acrobat Reader you will need to read the file.

I don’t want to plagiarize the article. I will only name the headings and add my own comments. Here they are:

1.Be Single Minded: We must defer other activities until later.

2.Interest in Action: We need to be actively engaged. I’m in a timeless world when writing or painting landscapes. The right side of my brain has taken over. It is the side that solves complex multidimensional problems.

3.Mental Obedience: You must cut out the outside world.

4.Staying Power: We must persist despite of outside distractions (my wife hates this.)

5.Managing TIME: In this case TIME is an acronym. T=Thoughts, I=Interest, M=Moments, E=Emotions. The point by the author is that these are the items we think about when we think about the past, not days, weeks, and years.

Read the whole article. It is short and sweet.

There is another article on concentration at, It may help you to overcome distractions.

There is a tape you can purchase to help you with your concentration. Read about it or order it at

Attention Deficit Disorder: ADD

Some people have ADD. Many children (including one of my grandchildren) are being treated for this disability.

I decided to read up on ADD at Now I’m sure I have ADD. I have some of the symptoms. I just caught it.

Here is a good article by a psychologist who has DDT and how it affects him and his patience: If you think you have a problem, there is help on the Internet. Just put “ADD” into your search box.

The End

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