Nagging Question--was: Hot new Einstein quote

Paul Frank paulfrank at POST.HARVARD.EDU
Thu Nov 1 08:20:53 UTC 2012

On Wed, Oct 31, 2012 at 8:30 PM, Hunter, Lynne R CIV
SPAWARSYSCEN-PACIFIC, 71700 <lynne.hunter at> wrote:
> I've tried to keep quiet about this, but it just keeps nagging me: How
> do we know that Albert Einstein was "even smarter than Mark Twain"? Do
> we just accept that as a given? Is it because Einstein was a genius in
> math and science and Mark Twain was _only_ a genius in literature? Would
> we automatically say that Sir Isaac Newton was smarter than Shakespeare,
> or that any person highly accomplished in the sciences is _smarter_ than
> a person accomplished in other disciplines? Does math and science trump
> other fields even among this company (as it does among the general
> population, evidently contributing to the reverence for technology and
> its consequences)? Does anybody else feel uneasy about making these
> comparisons?
> Lynne Hunter

Yesterday's Times answered your question with a W.H. Auden quote:
"When I find myself in the company of scientists, I feel like a shabby
curate who has strayed by mistake into a drawing room full of dukes."


Paul Frank
German, French, Chinese => English
Neuch√Ętel, Switzerland
paulfrank at

The American Dialect Society -

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