A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from December 17, 2012
“It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education”

"It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education” is often credited (without a source) to the physicist Albert Einstein (1879-1955). “It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.  Albert Einstein” was cited in the Internet discussion group rec.humor.funny on August 4, 1989.

The quotation is close to what Einstein actually said. On March 13, 1949, the New York (NY) Times reported:

“EVANSTON, Ill., March 12 (AP)—Albert Einstein, one of the great scholars of all time, has dipped a probing pen into education. Suggesting freedom for students to study things that interest them, he writes: ‘It is nothing short of a miracle that modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry.’”


Wikipedia: Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein (14 March 1879 – 18 April 1955) was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the general theory of relativity, effecting a revolution in physics. For this achievement, Einstein is often regarded as the father of modern physics and the most influential physicist of the 20th century. While best known for his mass–energy equivalence formula E = mc2 (which has been dubbed “the world’s most famous equation"), he received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics “for his services to theoretical physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect”. The latter was pivotal in establishing quantum theory.

Wikiquote: Albert Einstein
Unsourced and dubious/overly modern sources
It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.
. This was simply cited as an anonymous saying in the earliest publication which has been located: How to Give a Damn Good Speech: Even When You Have No Time to Prepare (2000) by Philip R. Theibert, p. 154; the earliest published attribution of this to Einstein yet located is in House-Dreams (2001) by Hugh Howard, p. 45, while it was attributed to Einstein on the internet well before that, the oldest located being this post from 4 August 1989. It has since become attributed to Einstein in several publications, but without citation of an original source.

13 March 1949, New York (NY) Times, “ASSAILS EDUCATION TODAY; Einstein Says ‘It Is Miracle’ Inquiry Is Not ‘Strangled’“:
EVANSTON, Ill., March 12 (AP)—Albert Einstein, one of the great scholars of all time, has dipped a probing pen into education. Suggesting freedom for students to study things that interest them, he writes: “It is nothing short of a miracle that modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry.”

Google Books
Readings in Sociology
By Alfred McClung Lee
New York, NY: Barnes & Noble
1951, 1960
Pg. 1:
When Albert Einstein viewed from the perspective of seventy years his own early struggles to become a productive physical scientist, he observed, “It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for this delicate little plant, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom; without this it goes to wrack and ruin without fail.”

Google Groups: rec.humor.funny
Collection of cute sayings.
Michael J. Irvin, WSU, 509/335-0437
8/4/89
(...)
It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.  Albert Einstein

29 August 1990, Syracuse (NY) Herald-Journal, “In Your Opinion, pg. A12, col. 4:
Our highly interactive, technological society requires genius, creativity and a lifelong pursuit of learning. These qualities are often found in those ho have managed to remain outside the traditional education system. Albert Einstein noted this when he said, “It is, in fact. nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry...”
(...)
MARY M. BADGER
Jordan

Google Groups: sci.physics
Oliver Critchley
3/17/93
(...)
“It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education”
Einstein

Google Groups: comp.lang.c
Michael Grasso
2/8/94
(...)
It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.
-- Albert Einstein

Google Books
The Mid-Atlantic Trailblazer:
A G.P.S. Trail Guide

By David Todeschini and William Maki
Montvale, NJ: Telson Communications
1996
Pg. 59:
“It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education”. - Albert Einstein

Google Books
How to Give a Damn Good Speech:
Even When You Have No Time to Prepare

By Philip R. Theibert
Franklin Lakes, NJ: Career Press
1997
Pg. 154:
It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.
Anonymous

Google Books
Great Quotes to Inspire Great Teachers
By Noah benShea
Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press
2002
Pg. 171:
It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education. The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education. — Albert Einstein

News Wales
Wales kids will learn through playing
Section Education | Published on 2 Sep 2008
(...)
The First Minister commented, “Albert Einstein once said ˜It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.”

Google Books
Tweet This Book:
The 1,400 Greatest Quotes of All Time in 140 Characters Or Less

By Sayre Van Young and Marin Van Young
Berkeley, CA: Ulysses Press: Distributed by Publishers Group West
2011
Pg. 72:
It’s a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.
Albert Einstein

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityEducation/Schools • Monday, December 17, 2012 • Permalink