It is sometimes said that Einstein didn't accept quantum mechanics. Some stronger claims are that he viewed it as wrong altogether, considering it not a viable description of nature.

Well, I want to know the historical truth about this. Did Einstein really despise quantum mechanics to the point of dequalifying it as a correct theory of nature?

Or he simply didn't agree to the interpretations people gave to it? Or even he just considered it to be "right, but not the end", so that he believed one day something more fundamental could be found giving a better explanation to it?

I might be wrong, but I think Einstein didn't really totally viewed quantum mechanics as wrong, after all if I'm not mistaken (and I can certainly be), he was one of the first to work with something related to entanglment (the so-called EPR paradox).

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Entire books have been written on this, e.g. A. D. Stone’s recent Einstein and the Quantum. $\endgroup$ May 20, 2018 at 3:08
  • $\begingroup$ My personal take on this is that he didn't agree with the loss of determinism and locality; this was the key principle that he was investigating with the EPR paradox. $\endgroup$ May 20, 2018 at 13:45
  • $\begingroup$ See e.g. Bohr–Einstein debates. $\endgroup$ May 20, 2018 at 14:58

2 Answers 2


Einstein's objections to QM are best understood by his famous EPR paper written in 1936. Einstein proposed a thought experiment to determine whether QM was local and real. The locality part is that no signal of information can travel faster than the speed of light. The "Reality" part is that nature (let's say an assemblage of particles) is real even when it is not being observed.

Einstein's proposition is that the current QM theories could not be both real and local unless other hidden variables were added to the theory. So, this was then known as the issue of QM Completeness -- that is, QM is not complete.

The reality requirement of Einstein was directed primarily against the Copenhagen Interpretation where Bohr claims that momentum (for example) does not exist as a measurable quantity if it is not being observed. Or observation causes momentum of a particle to exist.

I admit that in the above I am glossing over the more subtle arguments in the issue. However, an excellent book on this very topic that covers all of the sides of Einstein's angst and arguments is What is Real? The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics.


I don't think Einstein completely rejected quantum Mechanics, but he did disagree with other people's interpretations and opinions. He said "God does not play dice with the universe." At the subatomic and quark scales of size, God DOES play dice with the Universe. Let's not get diverted into whether God exists or not.

I'd have to look up if he said anything about about or Heisenberg about the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, basically that just by observing and trying to measure something you disturb t and change the system assuming the system is a closed system,. LOTS of people disagree about whether the Universe is completely "closed" system or no, Often that is based in their own ignorance.

Einstein was just one of many people who shattered the classical Newtonian "model" of a clockwork Universe. Disagreement and peer review is part of of the scientific method, which basically is a logical objective guessing game with flashes of serendipity and inspiration. it took me about 15 to 20 minutes for my master's thesis to admit that and to agree that usually most scientists will NOT admit to that because peer pressure and the risk of damaging their won credibility with the general public, and he may have been thinking their students. i was his last graduate student. and retirement and becoming an Emeritus professor was less than 3 years in the future for him. of course this conversation was late Friday afternoon conversation as well that went on past 5 pm.

Objective, logical, analytical, critical and unbiased thinking is NOT "normal" Way to think for anyone, Including people who think deductively rather inductively. We each have our own unique perspective of the universe. We each live in out own subjective universes. "Truth" is subjective is too. What may be 'true' for you, may be fatal for me.. Survival of the fittest is what it is all about.

I don't think Einstein rejected all of quantum mechanics. He wasn't that closed minded completely stuck in the paradigm that he had shattered along with other people. As someone else has already said, entire books have been written about this.


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.