Monday, May 02, 2005

Science Quotes

The whole history of physics proves that a new discovery is quite likely lurking at the next decimal place.  ~F.K. Richtmeyer The task of asking nonliving matter to speak and the responsibility for interpreting its reply is that of physics.  ~J.T. Fraser, Time, the Familiar Stronger, 1987 The quantum is that embarrassing little piece of thread that always hangs from the sweater of space-time.  Pull it and the whole thing unravels.  ~Fred Alan Wolfe, Star Wave: Mind Consciousness of Quantum Physics, 1984 In physics, you don't have to go around making trouble for yourself - nature does it for you.  ~Frank Wilczek There were two kinds of physicists in Berlin:  on the one hand there was Einstein, and on the other all the rest.  ~Rudolph Ladenburg Science without conscience is the soul's perdition.  ~François Rabelais, Pantagruel, 1572 Even if the open windows of science at first make us shiver after the cozy indoor warmth of traditional humanizing myths, in the end the fresh air brings vigor, and the great spaces have a splendor of their own.  ~Bertrand Russell, What I Believe, 1925 In a manner which matches the fortuity, if not the consequence, of Archimedes' bath and Newton's apple, the [3.6 million year old] fossil footprints were eventually noticed one evening in September 1976 by the paleontologist Andrew Hill, who fell while avoiding a ball of elephant dung hurled at him by the ecologist David Western.  ~John Reader, Missing Links: The Hunt for Earliest Man Amoebas at the start Were not complex; They tore themselves apart And started Sex. ~Arthur Guiterman Physics is geometric proof on steroids.  ~S. Sachs Science is all those things which are confirmed to such a degree that it would be unreasonable to withhold one's provisional consent.  ~Stephen Jay Gould Science is a first-rate piece of furniture for a man's upper chamber, if he has common sense on the ground floor.  ~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., The Poet at the Breakfast-Table, 1872 The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking.  ~Albert Einstein Research is the process of going up alleys to see if they are blind.  ~Marston Bates But the great tragedy of Science - the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact - which is so constantly being enacted under the eyes of philosophers... ~T.H. Huxley, "Biogenesis and Abiogenesis," The Royal Society President's Address to the Meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science at Liverpool, Critiques and Addresses, 1870, Collected Essays VIII How index-learning turns no student pale, Yet holds the eel of science by the tail! ~Alexander Pope, Dunciad DNA was the first three-dimensional Xerox machine.  ~Kenneth Boulding, "Energy and the Environment," Beasts, Ballads, and Bouldingisms, 1976 If it's green or wriggles, it's biology. If it stinks, it's chemistry. If it doesn't work, it's physics. ~Handy Guide to Science It would be a poor thing to be an atom in a universe without physicists, and physicists are made of atoms.  A physicist is an atom's way of knowing about atoms.  ~George Wald In all science, error precedes the truth, and it is better it should go first than last.  ~Hugh Walpole Scientific principles and laws do not lie on the surface of nature.  They are hidden, and must be wrested from nature by an active and elaborate technique of inquiry.  ~John Dewey, Reconstruction in Philosophy, 1920 I have had my results for a long time:  but I do not yet know how I am to arrive at them.  ~Karl Friedrich Gauss The way to do research is to attack the facts at the point of greatest astonishment.  ~Celia Green, The Decline and Fall of Science, 1972 Every science begins as philosophy and ends as art.  ~Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, 1926 Science, in the very act of solving problems, creates more of them.  ~Abraham Flexner, Universities, 1930 Science... never solves a problem without creating ten more.  ~George Bernard Shaw There is no national science just as there is no national multiplication table; what is national is no longer science.  ~Anton Chekhov Science, at bottom, is really anti-intellectual.  It always distrusts pure reason, and demands the production of objective fact.  ~H.L. Mencken, Minority Report: H.L. Mencken's Notebook, 1956 It is the man of science, eager to have his every opinion regenerated, his every idea rationalized, by drinking at the fountain of fact, and devoting all the energies of his life to the cult of truth, not as he understands it, but as he does not yet understand it, that ought properly to be called a philosopher.  ~Charles Peirce The most remarkable discovery made by scientists is science itself.  ~Gerard Piel An experiment is a question which science poses to Nature, and a measurement is the recording of Nature's answer.  ~Max Planck, Scientific Autobiography and Other Papers, 1949 My mother made me a scientist without ever intending to.  Every other Jewish mother in Brooklyn would ask her child after school, "So?  Did you learn anything today?"  But not my mother.  "Izzy," she would say, "did you ask a good question today?"  That difference - asking good questions - made me become a scientist.  ~Isidor Isaac Rabi Science is built up of facts, as a house is built of stones; but an accumulation of facts is no more a science than a heap of stones is a house.  ~Henri Poincaré, Science and Hypothesis, 1905 The effort to reconcile science and religion is almost always made, not by theologians, but by scientists unable to shake off altogether the piety absorbed with their mother's milk.  ~H.L. Mencken, Minority Report: H.L. Mencken's Notebook, 1956 Scientists, therefore, are responsible for their research, not only intellectually but also morally.  This responsibility has become an important issue in many of today's sciences, but especially so in physics, in which the results of quantum mechanics and relativity theory have opened up two very different paths for physicists to pursue.  They may lead us - to put it in extreme terms - to the Buddha or to the Bomb, and it is up to each of us to decide which path to take.  ~Fritjof Capra, The Turning Point, 1982 Not fact-finding, but attainment to philosophy is the aim of science.  ~Martin H. Fischer There is no gravity.  The earth sucks.  ~Graffito The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.  ~Isaac Asimov, Isaac Asimov's Book of Science and Nature Quotations, 1988 In every department of physical science there is only so much science, properly so-called, as there is


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