What do you daydream about when you’re pretending to work at your desk? Where to go for Friday drinks, what your next eBay purchase will be or maybe that cute new brunette in advertising? While working in a patent office, Albert Einstein (1879-1955) would daydream about travelling on a light wave. In 1905, while still working full-time at the patent office, he published his paper on special relativity which totally changed how we view the universe. He was 26. He didn’t do any experiments to deduce this stuff either – he just thought this shit up! Out of thin air! Einstein was one of the greatest thinkers in history, but even he couldn’t figure everything out. He spent much of his later life trying to find a unified field theory, which would reconcile general relativity with quantum mechanics, without success. Goes to show even the smartest people can come up against a brick wall. Nevertheless, he was still named Person of the Century by Time magazine, and rightly so.

UPDATE: Turns out this quote is misattributed to Einstein, hence the removal of his name. Here’s the full history of the quote. Thanks to reader Kate for bringing this to my attention. This was one of my earliest quote adaptations when my fact-checking wasn’t as thorough as it should have been. Apologies.