Find science on or your birthday

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind.”
more quiz questions >>
Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index T > Category: Test

Test Quotes (46 quotes)

[In refutation of evolution] There is not enough evidence, consistent evidence to make it as fact, and I say that because for theory to become a fact, it needs to consistently have the same results after it goes through a series of tests. The tests that they put—that they use to support evolution do not have consistent results. Now too many people are blindly accepting evolution as fact. But when you get down to the hard evidence, it’s merely a theory.
[In favor of the teaching of creationism alongside evolution in schools.]
From interview by Miles O'Brien on CNN (30 Mar 1996). Reported from transcript, via Nexis, in New York Magazine (15 Sep 2010).
Science quotes on:  |  Acceptance (31)  |  Blind (8)  |  Consistency (14)  |  Evidence (83)  |  Evolution (342)  |  Fact (325)  |  Merely (13)  |  Result (129)  |  Support (26)  |  Theory (353)

A drop of old tuberculin, which is an extract of tubercle bacilli, is put on the skin and then a small superficial scarification is made by turning, with some pressure, a vaccination lancet on the surface of the skin. The next day only those individuals show an inflammatory reaction at the point of vaccination who have already been infected with tuberculosis, whereas the healthy individuals show no reaction at all. Every time we find a positive reaction, we can say with certainty that the child is tuberculous.
'The Relation of Tuberculosis to Infant Mortality', read at the third mid-year meeting of the American Academy of Medicine, New Haven, Conn, (4 Nov 1909). In Bulletin of the American Academy of Medicine (1910), 11, 75.
Science quotes on:  |  Bacillus (6)  |  Certainty (59)  |  Infection (15)  |  Inflammation (3)  |  Positive (8)  |  Reaction (48)  |  Skin (8)  |  Superficial (6)  |  Tuberculosis (8)  |  Vaccination (4)

All interpretations made by a scientist are hypotheses, and all hypotheses are tentative. They must forever be tested and they must be revised if found to be unsatisfactory. Hence, a change of mind in a scientist, and particularly in a great scientist, is not only not a sign of weakness but rather evidence for continuing attention to the respective problem and an ability to test the hypothesis again and again.
The Growth of Biological Thought: Diversity, Evolution and Inheritance (1982), 831.
Science quotes on:  |  Ability (37)  |  Attention (37)  |  Change (133)  |  Evidence (83)  |  Forever (14)  |  Hypothesis (150)  |  Interpretation (38)  |  Mind (272)  |  Problem (180)  |  Repetition (18)  |  Revise (3)  |  Scientist (237)  |  Sign (18)  |  Tentative (5)  |  Thinking (166)  |  Unsatisfactory (3)  |  Weakness (14)

Almost all the world is natural chemicals, so it really makes you re-think everything. A cup of coffee is filled with chemicals. They've identified a thousand chemicals in a cup of coffee. But we only found 22 that have been tested in animal cancer tests out of this thousand. And of those, 17 are carcinogens. There are ten milligrams of known carcinogens in a cup of coffee and thats more carcinogens than youre likely to get from pesticide residues for a year!
Paper to the American Chemical Society, 'Pollution, Pesticides and Cancer Misconceptions.' As cited by Art Drysdale, 'Latest Insider News: Natural vs. Synthetic Chemical Pesticides' (14 Feb 1999), on the mitosyfraudes.org website. Bruce Ames has delivered a similar statistic in various other publications.
Science quotes on:  |  Animal (143)  |  Cancer (25)  |  Chemical (38)  |  Coffee (7)  |  Cup (3)  |  Natural (48)  |  Pesticide (4)  |  Residue (4)  |  Thinking (166)  |  Thousand (32)  |  World (231)  |  Year (69)

Beware of the problem of testing too many hypotheses; the more you torture the data, the more likely they are to confess, but confessions obtained under duress may not be admissible in the court of scientific opinion.
'Testing Hypotheses or fitting Models? Another Look at Mass Extinctions'. In Matthew H. Nitecki and Antoni Hoffman (eds.), Neutral Models in Biology (1987), 148.
Science quotes on:  |  Admissible (2)  |  Beware (5)  |  Confession (4)  |  Court (6)  |  Data (59)  |  Hypothesis (150)  |  Opinion (81)  |  Problem (180)  |  Torture (4)

But when we face the great questions about gravitation Does it require time? Is it polar to the 'outside of the universe' or to anything? Has it any reference to electricity? or does it stand on the very foundation of matter–mass or inertia? then we feel the need of tests, whether they be comets or nebulae or laboratory experiments or bold questions as to the truth of received opinions.
Letter to Michael Faraday, 9 Nov 1857. In P. M. Harman (ed.), The Scientific Letters and Papers of James Clerk Maxwell (1990), Vol. 1, 1846-1862, 551-2.
Science quotes on:  |  Comet (20)  |  Electricity (82)  |  Experiment (369)  |  Gravity (59)  |  Inertia (6)  |  Mass (23)  |  Matter (135)  |  Nebula (13)  |  Question (159)  |  Time (170)  |  Universe (291)

Chemistry is one of those branches of human knowledge which has built itself upon methods and instruments by which truth can presumably be determined. It has survived and grown because all its precepts and principles can be re-tested at any time and anywhere. So long as it remained the mysterious alchemy by which a few devotees, by devious and dubious means, presumed to change baser metals into gold, it did not flourish, but when it dealt with the fact that 56 g. of fine iron, when heated with 32 g. of flowers of sulfur, generated extra heat and gave exactly 88 g. of an entirely new substance, then additional steps could be taken by anyone. Scientific research in chemistry, since the birth of the balance and the thermometer, has been a steady growth of test and observation. It has disclosed a finite number of elementary reagents composing an infinite universe, and it is devoted to their inter-reaction for the benefit of mankind.
Address upon receiving the Perkin Medal Award, 'The Big Things in Chemistry', The Journal of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry (Feb 1921), 13, No. 2, 163.
Science quotes on:  |  Alchemy (17)  |  Balance (24)  |  Base (10)  |  Branch (23)  |  Building (34)  |  Change (133)  |  Chemistry (143)  |  Determination (37)  |  Devotee (2)  |  Element (68)  |  Fact (325)  |  Flourishing (4)  |  Gold (19)  |  Heat (48)  |  Human (168)  |  Instrument (40)  |  Iron (33)  |  Knowledge (679)  |  Means (25)  |  Metal (19)  |  Method (73)  |  Mystery (74)  |  Observation (264)  |  Precept (3)  |  Presumption (6)  |  Principle (97)  |  Research (360)  |  Stoichiometry (2)  |  Sulphur (9)  |  Survival (32)  |  Thermometer (3)  |  Truth (450)

Edison was by far the most successful and, probably, the last exponent of the purely empirical method of investigation. Everything he achieved was the result of persistent trials and experiments often performed at random but always attesting extraordinary vigor and resource. Starting from a few known elements, he would make their combinations and permutations, tabulate them and run through the whole list, completing test after test with incredible rapidity until he obtained a clue. His mind was dominated by one idea, to leave no stone unturned, to exhaust every possibility.
As quoted in 'Tesla Says Edison Was an Empiricist', The New York Times (19 Oct 1931), 25.
Science quotes on:  |  Achievement (73)  |  Clue (7)  |  Combination (37)  |  Dominate (4)  |  Thomas Edison (29)  |  Empirical (3)  |  Exhaust (4)  |  Experiment (369)  |  Extraordinary (18)  |  Idea (226)  |  Incredible (7)  |  Investigation (83)  |  Method (73)  |  Mind (272)  |  Persistence (10)  |  Possibility (70)  |  Random (11)  |  Rapidity (14)  |  Resource (15)  |  Success (114)  |  Trial (14)

First follow Nature, and your judgment frame
By her just standard, which is still the same:
Unerring nature, still divinely bright,
One clear, unchanged, and universal light,
Life, force, and beauty must to all impart,
At once the source, and end, and test of art.
#039;Essay On Criticism#039;, Miscellaneous Poems and Translations: by Several Hands (1720), 38.
Science quotes on:  |  Art (80)  |  Beauty (88)  |  Bright (8)  |  Change (133)  |  Clear (9)  |  End (51)  |  Follow (20)  |  Force (75)  |  Frame (9)  |  Impart (2)  |  Judgment (39)  |  Life (460)  |  Light (117)  |  Nature (534)  |  Source (33)  |  Standard (15)  |  Universal (26)

I feel that, in a sense, the writer knows nothing any longer. He has no moral stance. He offers the reader the contents of his own head, a set of options and imaginative alternatives. His role is that of a scientist, whether on safari or in his laboratory, faced with an unknown terrain or subject. All he can do is to devise various hypotheses and test them against the facts.
Crash (1973, 1995), Introduction. In Barry Atkins, More Than A Game: the Computer Game as a Fictional Form (2003), 144.
Science quotes on:  |  Alternative (11)  |  Devise (4)  |  Fact (325)  |  Hypothesis (150)  |  Imagination (130)  |  Knowledge (679)  |  Laboratory (75)  |  Mind (272)  |  Option (3)  |  Reader (9)  |  Science And Art (58)  |  Scientist (237)  |  Writer (14)

I know a good many men of great learning—that is, men born with an extraordinary eagerness and capacity to acquire knowledge. One and all, they tell me that they can't recall learning anything of any value in school. All that schoolmasters managed to accomplish with them was to test and determine the amount of knowledge that they had already acquired independently—and not infrequently the determination was made clumsily and inaccurately.
In Prejudices: third series (1922), 261.
For a longer excerpt, see H. L. Mencken's Recollections of School Algebra.
Science quotes on:  |  Accomplishment (25)  |  Acquisition (21)  |  Already (5)  |  Birth (47)  |  Capacity (15)  |  Clumsiness (2)  |  Determination (37)  |  Eagerness (3)  |  Extraordinary (18)  |  Inaccuracy (3)  |  Independence (19)  |  Infrequently (2)  |  Knowledge (679)  |  Learning (130)  |  School (36)  |  Schoolmaster (2)  |  Teacher (54)  |  Value (63)

I think that we shall have to get accustomed to the idea that we must not look upon science as a 'body of knowledge,' but rather as a system of hypotheses; that is to say, as a system of guesses or anticipations which in principle cannot be justified, but with which we work as long as they stand up to tests, and of which we are never justified in saying that we know they are 'true' or 'more or less certain' or even 'probable.'
The Logic of Scientific Discovery (1959), 317.
Science quotes on:  |  Accustom (4)  |  Anticipation (6)  |  Certainty (59)  |  Guess (14)  |  Hypothesis (150)  |  Idea (226)  |  Justification (20)  |  Knowledge (679)  |  Principle (97)  |  Probability (56)  |  Truth (450)

I was working with a Crookes tube covered by a shield of black cardboard. A piece of barium platino-cyanide paper lay on the bench there. I had been passing a current through the tube, and I noticed a peculiar black line across the paper. ...
The effect was one which could only be produced in ordinary parlance by the passage of light. No light could come from the tube because the shield which covered it was impervious to any light known even that of the electric arc. ...
I did not think I investigated. ...
I assumed that the effect must have come from the tube since its character indicated that it could come from nowhere else. ... It seemed at first a new kind of invisible light. It was clearly something new something unrecorded. ...
There is much to do, and I am busy, very busy. [Describing to a journalist the discovery of X-rays that he had made on 8 Nov 1895.]
In H.J.W. Dam in 'The New Marvel in Photography", McClure's Magazine (Apr 1896), 4:5, 413.
Science quotes on:  |  Arc (3)  |  Busy (6)  |  Current (16)  |  Discovery (360)  |  Experiment (369)  |  Investigation (83)  |  Light (117)  |  Photograph (14)  |  Ray (19)  |  Thinking (166)  |  X-ray (13)

If three simple questions and one well chosen laboratory test lead to an unambiguous diagnosis, why harry the patient with more?
Anonymous
Editorial, 'Clinical decision by numbers'. Lancet (1975) 1, 1077.
Science quotes on:  |  Diagnosis (48)  |  Patient (54)

In the 1920s, there was a dinner at which the physicist Robert W. Wood was asked to respond to a toast ... "To physics and metaphysics." Now by metaphysics was meant something like philosophy—truths that you could get to just by thinking about them. Wood took a second, glanced about him, and answered along these lines: The physicist has an idea, he said. The more he thinks it through, the more sense it makes to him. He goes to the scientific literature, and the more he reads, the more promising the idea seems. Thus prepared, he devises an experiment to test the idea. The experiment is painstaking. Many possibilities are eliminated or taken into account; the accuracy of the measurement is refined. At the end of all this work, the experiment is completed and ... the idea is shown to be worthless. The physicist then discards the idea, frees his mind (as I was saying a moment ago) from the clutter of error, and moves on to something else. The difference between physics and metaphysics, Wood concluded, is that the metaphysicist has no laboratory.
In 'Wonder and Skepticism', Skeptical Enquirer (Jan-Feb 1995), 19, No. 1.
Science quotes on:  |  Account (15)  |  Accuracy (34)  |  Answer (96)  |  Completion (13)  |  Conclusion (74)  |  Devising (5)  |  Difference (135)  |  Dinner (5)  |  Elimination (14)  |  End (51)  |  Error (152)  |  Experiment (369)  |  Freeing (2)  |  Glance (2)  |  Idea (226)  |  Literature (33)  |  Measurement (112)  |  Metaphysics (24)  |  Mind (272)  |  Philosophy (132)  |  Physicist (74)  |  Physics (156)  |  Possibility (70)  |  Preparation (22)  |  Promise (13)  |  Reading (25)  |  Refinement (6)  |  Response (8)  |  Seeming (5)  |  Sense (104)  |  Thinking (166)  |  Toast (5)  |  Truth (450)  |  Robert W. Wood (2)  |  Work (198)  |  Worthless (8)

It is easy to obtain confirmations, or verifications, for nearly every theory—if we look for confirmations. Confirmations should count only if they are the result of risky predictions... A theory which is not refutable by any conceivable event is non-scientific. Irrefutability is not a virtue of a theory (as people often think) but a vice. Every genuine test of a theory is an attempt to falsify it, or refute it.
Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge (1963), 36.
Science quotes on:  |  Attempt (41)  |  Conception (29)  |  Confirmation (8)  |  Ease (20)  |  Event (49)  |  Falsification (7)  |  Genuine (9)  |  Non-Scientific (3)  |  Prediction (48)  |  Refutation (8)  |  Result (129)  |  Risk (13)  |  Theory (353)  |  Verification (16)  |  Vice (4)  |  Virtue (27)

It will be! the mass is working clearer!
Conviction gathers, truer, nearer!
The mystery which for Man in Nature lies
We dare to test, by knowledge led;
And that which she was wont to organize
We crystallize, instead.
As spoken by character Wagner, in Johann Goethe and Bayard Taylr (trans.), Faust: A tragedy by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, translated, in the original metres: The Second Part (1871), Act 2, Scene 2, Laboratory, 119.
Science quotes on:  |  Clearer (3)  |  Conviction (26)  |  Crystallize (3)  |  Dare (5)  |  Gather (7)  |  Knowledge (679)  |  Mass (23)  |  Mystery (74)  |  Nature (534)  |  Nearer (5)  |  Organize (4)  |  Truth (450)  |  Work (198)

It’s becoming clear that in a sense the cosmos provides the only laboratory where sufficiently extreme conditions are ever achieved to test new ideas on particle physics. The energies in the Big Bang were far higher than we can ever achieve on Earth. So by looking at evidence for the Big Bang, and by studying things like neutron stars, we are in effect learning something about fundamental physics.
From editted transcript of BBC Radio 3 interview, collected in Lewis Wolpert and Alison Richards, A Passion For Science (1988), 33.
Science quotes on:  |  Big Bang (24)  |  Condition (68)  |  Cosmos (23)  |  Energy (103)  |  Evidence (83)  |  Extreme (17)  |  Fundamental (59)  |  Idea (226)  |  Laboratory (75)  |  Learning (130)  |  Neutron Star (2)  |  New (107)  |  Particle (45)  |  Physics (156)  |  Study (157)

Man does not limit himself to seeing; he thinks and insists on learning the meaning of phenomena whose existence has been revealed to him by observation. So he reasons, compares facts, puts questions to them, and by the answers which he extracts, tests one by another. This sort of control, by means of reasoning and facts, is what constitutes experiment, properly speaking; and it is the only process that we have for teaching ourselves about the nature of things outside us.
In Claude Bernard and Henry Copley Greene (trans.), An Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine (1927, 1957), 5.
Science quotes on:  |  Another (5)  |  Answer (96)  |  Comparison (33)  |  Control (41)  |  Existence (150)  |  Experiment (369)  |  Extraction (5)  |  Fact (325)  |  Insistence (5)  |  Learning (130)  |  Limit (34)  |  Meaning (52)  |  Nature Of Things (4)  |  Observation (264)  |  Outside (10)  |  Phenomenon (114)  |  Process (97)  |  Question (159)  |  Reasoning (56)  |  Revelation (24)  |  See (43)  |  Teaching (64)  |  Thinking (166)

None of Darwin's particular doctrines will necessarily endure the test of time and trial. Into the melting-pot must they go as often as any man of science deems it fitting. But Darwinism as the touch of nature that makes the whole world kin can hardly pass away.
Anthropology (1912), 11.
Science quotes on:  |  Anthropology (32)  |  Charles Darwin (216)  |  Doctrine (33)  |  Endure (6)  |  Kin (5)  |  Men Of Science (90)  |  Time (170)  |  Trial (14)

On 17th July there came to us at Potsdam the eagerly-awaited news of the trial of the atomic bomb in the [New] Mexican desert. Success beyond all dreams crowded this sombre, magnificent venture of our American allies. The detailed reports ... could leave no doubt in the minds of the very few who were informed, that we were in the presence of a new factor in human affairs, and possessed of powers which were irresistible.
From Churchill's final review of the war and his first major speech as Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons (16 Aug 1945). In Robert Rhodes James, ed., Winston S. Churchill: His Complete Speeches, 1897-1963 (1974), Vol. 1, 7210.
Science quotes on:  |  Affair (10)  |  American (12)  |  Atomic Bomb (71)  |  Detail (33)  |  Doubt (67)  |  Dream (39)  |  Factor (15)  |  Human (168)  |  Information (56)  |  Irresistible (4)  |  Los Alamos (2)  |  Magnificent (8)  |  Mind (272)  |  New (107)  |  Possession (24)  |  Power (103)  |  Presence (10)  |  Report (15)  |  Success (114)  |  Trial (14)  |  Trinity (2)  |  Venture (5)

Professor von Pirquet has come to this country exactly at the right time to aid us. He has shown us how to detect tuberculosis before it has become so developed as to be contagious and has so taken hold of the individual as to be recognized by any other means. In thousands of cases I for my part am unable to detect tuberculosis in infancy or early childhood without the aid of the tuberculin test which Prof. von Pirquet has shown to be the best. He has taught us how by tubercular skin tests, to detect it. ... What Dr. von Pirquet has done already will make his name go down to posterity as one of the great reformers in tuberculin tests and as one who has done an immense amount of good to humanity. The skin test in twenty-four hours will show you whether the case is tubercular.
Discussion on 'The Relation of Tuberculosis to Infant Mortality', read at the third mid-year meeting of the American Academy of Medicine, New Haven, Conn, (4 Nov 1909). In Bulletin of the American Academy of Medicine (1910), 11, 78.
Science quotes on:  |  Childhood (6)  |  Contagion (4)  |  Detection (6)  |  History (156)  |  Humanity (46)  |  Infancy (5)  |  Baron Clemens von Pirquet (3)  |  Recognition (38)  |  Reformer (2)  |  Skin (8)  |  Tuberculosis (8)

Realizing how often ingenious speculation in the complex biological world has led nowhere and how often the real advances in biology as well as in chemistry, physics and astronomy have kept within the bounds of mechanistic interpretation, we geneticists should rejoice, even with our noses on the grindstone (which means both eyes on the objectives), that we have at command an additional means of testing whatever original ideas pop into our heads.
'The Rise of Genetics', Science (1932), 1969, 264.
Science quotes on:  |  Advance (52)  |  Astronomy (105)  |  Biology (83)  |  Chemistry (143)  |  Complexity (51)  |  Geneticist (8)  |  Idea (226)  |  Ingenuity (16)  |  Interpretation (38)  |  Physics (156)  |  Rejoice (5)  |  Speculation (44)

Richard Feynman was fond of giving the following advice on how to be a genius. You have to keep a dozen of your favorite problems constantly present in your mind, although by and large they will lay in a dormant state. Every time you hear or read a new trick or a new result, test it against each of your twelve problems to see whether it helps. Every once in a while there will be a hit, and people will say, “How did he do it? He must be a genius!”
In 'Ten Lessons I Wish I Had Been Taught', Indiscrete Thoughts (2008), 202.
Science quotes on:  |  Advice (22)  |  Constantly (4)  |  Dormant (2)  |  Dozen (3)  |  Favorite (8)  |  Richard P. Feynman (37)  |  Fond (3)  |  Genius (92)  |  Hear (4)  |  Help (18)  |  Hit (3)  |  Keep (9)  |  Mind (272)  |  New (107)  |  People (72)  |  Present (36)  |  Problem (180)  |  Read (32)  |  Result (129)  |  State (43)  |  Trick (11)  |  Twelve (2)

Science deals with judgments on which it is possible to obtain universal agreement. These judgments do not concern individual facts and events, but the invariable association of facts and events known as the laws of science. Agreement is secured by observation and experiment—impartial courts of appeal to which all men must submit if they wish to survive. The laws are grouped and explained by theories of ever increasing generality. The theories at first are ex post facto—merely plausible interpretations of existing bodies of data. However, they frequently lead to predictions that can be tested by experiments and observations in new fields, and, if the interpretations are verified, the theories are accepted as working hypotheses until they prove untenable. The essential requirements are agreement on the subject matter and the verification of predictions. These features insure a body of positive knowledge that can be transmitted from person to person, and that accumulates from generation to generation.
From manuscript on English Science in the Renaissance (1937), Edwin Hubble collection, Box 2, Huntington Library, San Marino, California. As cited by Norriss S. Hetherington in 'Philosophical Values and Observation in Edwin Hubble's Choice of a Model of the Universe', Historical Studies in the Physical Sciences (1982), 13, No. 1, 41. (Hetherington comments parenthetically that the references to court, judgment and appeal may be attributable to his prior experiences as a Rhodes Scholar reading Roman law at Oxford, and to a year's practice as an attorney in Louisville, Kentucky.)
Science quotes on:  |  Accumulation (16)  |  Agreement (18)  |  Appeal (8)  |  Association (8)  |  Court (6)  |  Data (59)  |  Event (49)  |  Experiment (369)  |  Fact (325)  |  Generality (14)  |  Generation (56)  |  Impartiality (2)  |  Interpretation (38)  |  Judgment (39)  |  Knowledge (679)  |  Obervation (3)  |  Prediction (48)  |  Science (875)  |  Scientific Method (101)  |  Survival (32)  |  Theory (353)  |  Transmission (18)  |  Verification (16)

Science is a mechanism, a way of trying to improve your knowledge of nature. It's a system for testing your thoughts against the universe, and seeing whether they match.
'Isaac Asimov Speaks' with Bill Moyers in The Humanist (Jan/Feb 1989), 49. Reprinted in Carl Howard Freedman (ed.), Conversations with Isaac Asimov (2005), 143.
Science quotes on:  |  Improve (9)  |  Knowledge (679)  |  Match (7)  |  Mechanism (25)  |  Nature (534)  |  Science (875)  |  Thinking (166)  |  Try (34)  |  Universe (291)

The Big Idea that had been developed in the seventeenth century ... is now known as the scientific method. It says that the way to proceed when investigating how the world works is to first carry out experiments and/or make observations of the natural world. Then, develop hypotheses to explain these observations, and (crucially) use the hypothesis to make predictions about the future outcome of future experiments and/or observations. After comparing the results of those new observations with the predictions of the hypotheses, discard those hypotheses which make false predictions, and retain (at least, for the time being) any hypothesis that makes accurate predictions, elevating it to the status of a theory. Note that a theory can never be proved right. The best that can be said is that it has passed all the tests applied so far.
In The Fellowship: the Story of a Revolution (2005), 275.
Science quotes on:  |  Apply (4)  |  Compare (6)  |  Develop (11)  |  Discard (11)  |  Experiment (369)  |  Explanation (88)  |  False (29)  |  Future (110)  |  Hypothesis (150)  |  Idea (226)  |  Investigation (83)  |  Observation (264)  |  Prediction (48)  |  Proceed (7)  |  Proof (136)  |  Result (129)  |  Retain (4)  |  Right (49)  |  Scientific Method (101)  |  Theory (353)  |  Work (198)  |  World (231)

The comforting, if spurious, precision of laboratory results has the same appeal as the lifebelt to the weak swimmer.
Anonymous
Lancet (1981) 1, 539-40 (1981)
Science quotes on:  |  Diagnosis (48)

The fact that Science walks forward on two feet, namely theory and experiment, is nowhere better illustrated than in the two fields for slight contributions to which you have done me the great honour of awarding the the Nobel Prize in Physics for the year 1923. Sometimes it is one foot that is put forward first, sometimes the other, but continuous progress is only made by the use of both—by theorizing and then testing, or by finding new relations in the process of experimenting and then bringing the theoretical foot up and pushing it on beyond, and so on in unending alterations.
'The Electron and the Light-quant from the Experimental Point of View', Nobel Lecture (23 May 1924). In Nobel Lectures: Physics 1922-1941 (1998), 54.
Science quotes on:  |  Alteration (15)  |  Beyond (19)  |  Continuous (7)  |  Experiment (369)  |  Honour (20)  |  Nobel Prize (17)  |  Physics (156)  |  Process (97)  |  Progress (200)  |  Relation (35)  |  Science (875)  |  Theory (353)  |  Unending (2)

The mathematical framework of quantum theory has passed countless successful tests and is now universally accepted as a consistent and accurate description of all atomic phenomena. The verbal interpretation, on the other hand – i.e., the metaphysics of quantum theory – is on far less solid ground. In fact, in more than forty years physicists have not been able to provide a clear metaphysical model.
In The Tao of Physics (1975), 132.
Science quotes on:  |  Acceptance (31)  |  Atom (164)  |  Consistency (14)  |  Countless (4)  |  Description (40)  |  Framework (8)  |  Interpretation (38)  |  Mathematics (367)  |  Metaphysics (24)  |  Model (31)  |  Pass (20)  |  Phenomenon (114)  |  Quantum Theory (36)  |  Success (114)  |  Universal (26)

The method of science depends on our attempts to describe the world with simple theories: theories that are complex may become untestable, even if they happen to be true. Science may be described as the art of systematic over-simplification—the art of discerning what we may with advantage omit.
Karl Raimund Popper and William Warren Bartley (ed.), The Open Universe: an Argument for Indeterminism (1991), 44. by Karl Raimund Popper, William Warren Bartley - Science - 1991
Science quotes on:  |  Complexity (51)  |  Description (40)  |  Discern (2)  |  Omit (3)  |  Scientific Method (101)  |  Simplicity (92)  |  Theory (353)  |  Truth (450)

The most striking impression was that of an overwhelming bright light. I had seen under similar conditions the explosion of a large amount—100 tons—of normal explosives in the April test, and I was flabbergasted by the new spectacle. We saw the whole sky flash with unbelievable brightness in spite of the very dark glasses we wore. Our eyes were accommodated to darkness, and thus even if the sudden light had been only normal daylight it would have appeared to us much brighter than usual, but we know from measurements that the flash of the bomb was many times brighter than the sun. In a fraction of a second, at our distance, one received enough light to produce a sunburn. I was near Fermi at the time of the explosion, but I do not remember what we said, if anything. I believe that for a moment I thought the explosion might set fire to the atmosphere and thus finish the earth, even though I knew that this was not possible.
Enrico Fermi: Physicist (1970), 147.
Science quotes on:  |  Accommodation (4)  |  Amount (11)  |  April (3)  |  Atmosphere (42)  |  Atomic Bomb (71)  |  Brightness (5)  |  Condition (68)  |  Darkness (11)  |  Daylight (5)  |  Earth (250)  |  Explosion (10)  |  Explosive (7)  |  Enrico Fermi (11)  |  Finish (11)  |  Fire (59)  |  Flash (8)  |  Fraction (4)  |  Impression (32)  |  Light (117)  |  Measurement (112)  |  Overwhelming (10)  |  Possibility (70)  |  Second (8)  |  Sky (32)  |  Spectacle (4)

The test of a theory is its ability to cope with all the relevant phenomena, not its a priori 'reasonableness'. The latter would have proved a poor guide in the development of science, which often makes progress by its encounter with the totally unexpected and initially extremely puzzling.
'From DAMTP [Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics] to Westcott House', Cambridge Review (1981), 103, 61.
Science quotes on:  |  A Priori (8)  |  Ability (37)  |  Coping (3)  |  Development (122)  |  Encounter (7)  |  Extreme (17)  |  Guide (17)  |  Latter (2)  |  Phenomenon (114)  |  Poor (18)  |  Progress (200)  |  Proof (136)  |  Puzzle (16)  |  Reasonableness (3)  |  Relevance (9)  |  Science (875)  |  Theory (353)  |  Total (13)  |  Unexpected (13)

The ultimate test of man's conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard.
Former governor of Wisconsin, Founder of Earth Day.
Science quotes on:  |  Conscience (16)  |  Future (110)  |  Generation (56)  |  Hearing (19)  |  Sacrifice (12)  |  Thanks (4)  |  Ultimate (27)  |  Willingness (5)  |  Word (97)

There can be no ultimate statements science: there can be no statements in science which can not be tested, and therefore none which cannot in principle be refuted, by falsifying some of the conclusions which can be deduced from them.
The Logic of Scientific Discovery (1959), 47.
Science quotes on:  |  Conclusion (74)  |  Deduction (39)  |  Falsification (7)  |  Principle (97)  |  Refutation (8)  |  Statement (28)  |  Ultimate (27)

There is another approach to the extraterrestrial hypothesis of UFO origins. This assessment depends on a large number of factors about which we know little, and a few about which we know literally nothing. I want to make some crude numerical estimate of the probability that we are frequently visited by extraterrestrial beings.
Now, there is a range of hypotheses that can be examined in such a way. Let me give a simple example: Consider the Santa Claus hypothesis, which maintains that, in a period of eight hours or so on December 24-25 of each year, an outsized elf visits one hundred million homes in the United States. This is an interesting and widely discussed hypothesis. Some strong emotions ride on it, and it is argued that at least it does no harm.
We can do some calculations. Suppose that the elf in question spends one second per house. This isn't quite the usual picture—“Ho, Ho, Ho,” and so on—but imagine that he is terribly efficient and very speedy; that would explain why nobody ever sees him very much-only one second per house, after all. With a hundred million houses he has to spend three years just filling stockings. I have assumed he spends no time at all in going from house to house. Even with relativistic reindeer, the time spent in a hundred million houses is three years and not eight hours. This is an example of hypothesis-testing independent of reindeer propulsion mechanisms or debates on the origins of elves. We examine the hypothesis itself, making very straightforward assumptions, and derive a result inconsistent with the hypothesis by many orders of magnitude. We would then suggest that the hypothesis is untenable.
We can make a similar examination, but with greater uncertainty, of the extraterrestrial hypothesis that holds that a wide range of UFOs viewed on the planet Earth are space vehicles from planets of other stars.
The Cosmic Connection: An Extraterrestrial Perspective (1973), 200.
Science quotes on:  |  Emotion (28)  |  Extraterrestrial Life (16)  |  Hypothesis (150)  |  Plane (5)  |  Propulsion (2)  |  Relativity (33)  |  Star (132)  |  UFO (2)  |  Uncertainty (25)  |  Vehicle (3)

There is no art so difficult as the art of observation: it requires a skillful, sober spirit and a well-trained experience, which can only be acquired by practice; for he is not an observer who only sees the thing before him with his eyes, but he who sees of what parts the thing consists, and in what connexion the parts stand to the whole. One person overlooks half from inattention; another relates more than he sees while he confounds it with that which he figures to himself; another sees the parts of the whole, but he throws things together that ought to be separated. ... When the observer has ascertained the foundation of a phenomenon, and he is able to associate its conditions, he then proves while he endeavours to produce the phenomena at his will, the correctness of his observations by experiment. To make a series of experiments is often to decompose an opinion into its individual parts, and to prove it by a sensible phenomenon. The naturalist makes experiments in order to exhibit a phenomenon in all its different parts. When he is able to show of a series of phenomena, that they are all operations of the same cause, he arrives at a simple expression of their significance, which, in this case, is called a Law of Nature. We speak of a simple property as a Law of Nature when it serves for the explanation of one or more natural phenomena.
'The Study of the Natural Sciences: An Introductory Lecture to the Course of Experimental Chemistry in the University of Munich, for the Winter Session of 1852-53,' as translated and republished in The Medical Times and Gazette (22 Jan 1853), N.S. Vol. 6, 82.
Science quotes on:  |  Art (80)  |  Ascertain (5)  |  Associate (4)  |  Carelessness (3)  |  Cause (122)  |  Component (6)  |  Condition (68)  |  Confuse (2)  |  Correctness (9)  |  Demonstrate (8)  |  Difficulty (76)  |  Endeavour (23)  |  Experience (132)  |  Experiment (369)  |  Explanation (88)  |  Expression (44)  |  Eye (67)  |  Foundation (31)  |  Imagine (10)  |  Inattention (3)  |  Law Of Nature (30)  |  Naturalist (27)  |  Observation (264)  |  Observer (10)  |  Opinion (81)  |  Overlook (6)  |  Part (55)  |  Phenomenon (114)  |  Practice (26)  |  Produce (6)  |  Proof (136)  |  Property (46)  |  Relationship (37)  |  Report (15)  |  Result (129)  |  See (43)  |  Sensible (11)  |  Separate (9)  |  Simple (25)  |  Sober (5)  |  Spirit (52)  |  Together (15)  |  Training (21)  |  Truth (450)  |  Understanding (231)  |  Validity (11)  |  Verify (5)  |  Whole (46)

To test a perfect theory with imperfect instruments did not impress the Greek philosophers as a valid way to gain knowledge.
The New Intelligent Man's Guide to Science (1965), Vol. 1, 12.
Science quotes on:  |  Gain (23)  |  Greek (17)  |  Imperfect (6)  |  Impress (5)  |  Instrument (40)  |  Knowledge (679)  |  Perfect (14)  |  Philosopher (67)  |  Theory (353)

Too much openness and you accept every notion, idea, and hypothesis—which is tantamount to knowing nothing. Too much skepticism—especially rejection of new ideas before they are adequately tested—and you're not only unpleasantly grumpy, but also closed to the advance of science. A judicious mix is what we need.
In 'Wonder and Skepticism', Skeptical Enquirer (Jan-Feb 1995), 19, No. 1.
Science quotes on:  |  Acceptance (31)  |  Adequacy (4)  |  Advancement (26)  |  Especially (4)  |  Hypothesis (150)  |  Idea (226)  |  Knowledge (679)  |  Mix (5)  |  Need (57)  |  New (107)  |  Nothing (89)  |  Notion (15)  |  Openness (2)  |  Rejection (16)  |  Science (875)  |  Skepticism (9)

Traditional scientific method has always been at the very best, 20-20 hindsight. It's good for seeing where you've been. It's good for testing the truth of what you think you know, but it can't tell you where you ought to go.
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (1974), 251.
Science quotes on:  |  Knowledge (679)  |  Scientific Method (101)  |  Tradition (17)  |  Truth (450)

We may discover resources on the moon or Mars that will boggle the imagination, that will test our limits to dream. And the fascination generated by further exploration will inspire our young people to study math, and science, and engineering and create a new generation of innovators and pioneers.
Speech, NASA Headquarters (14 Jan 2004). In Office of the Federal Register (U.S.) Staff (eds.), Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, George W. Bush (2007), 58-59.
Science quotes on:  |  Create (15)  |  Discover (16)  |  Dream (39)  |  Engineering (60)  |  Exploration (48)  |  Fascination (15)  |  Generation (56)  |  Imagination (130)  |  Inspire (4)  |  Limit (34)  |  Mars (14)  |  Mathematics (367)  |  Moon (78)  |  New (107)  |  Pioneer (8)  |  Resource (15)  |  Science (875)  |  Study (157)  |  Young (20)

We must trust to nothing but facts: These are presented to us by Nature, and cannot deceive. We ought, in every instance, to submit our reasoning to the test of experiment, and never to search for truth but by the natural road of experiment and observation.
Elements of Chemistry (1790), trans. R. Kerr, Preface, xviii.
Science quotes on:  |  Deception (2)  |  Experiment (369)  |  Fact (325)  |  Nature (534)  |  Observation (264)  |  Reasoning (56)  |  Trust (13)  |  Truth (450)

When we understand how animals are resistant to chemicals, the mechanisms are all independent of whether its natural or synthetic. And in fact, when you look at natural chemicals, half of those tested come out positive.
Paper to the American Chemical Society, 'Pollution, Pesticides and Cancer Misconceptions.' As cited by Art Drysdale, 'Latest Insider News: Natural vs. Synthetic Chemical Pesticides' (14 Feb 1999), on the mitosyfraudes.org website. Bruce Ames has written a similar sentiment in various other publications.
Science quotes on:  |  Animal (143)  |  Chemical (38)  |  Independent (16)  |  Mechanism (25)  |  Natural (48)  |  Positive (8)  |  Resistance (14)  |  Synthetic (5)  |  Understanding (231)

Whether statistics be an art or a science... or a scientific art, we concern ourselves little. It is the basis of social and political dynamics, and affords the only secure ground on which the truth or falsehood of the theories and hypotheses of that complicated science can be brought to the test.
Letters on the Theory of Probabilities (1846), trans. O. G. Downes (1849).
Science quotes on:  |  Art (80)  |  Dynamics (3)  |  Falsehood (12)  |  Hypothesis (150)  |  Politics (52)  |  Science (875)  |  Security (14)  |  Society (84)  |  Statistics (82)  |  Theory (353)  |  Truth (450)

[A scientist] naturally and inevitably … mulls over the data and guesses at a solution. [He proceeds to] testing of the guess by new data—predicting the consequences of the guess and then dispassionately inquiring whether or not the predictions are verified.
From manuscript on Francis Bacon as a scientist (1942), Edwin Hubble collection, Box 2, Huntington Library, San Marino, California. As cited by Norriss S. Hetherington in 'Philosophical Values and Observation in Edwin Hubble's Choice of a Model of the Universe', Historical Studies in the Physical Sciences (1982), 13, No. 1, 42.
Science quotes on:  |  Consequence (44)  |  Data (59)  |  Guess (14)  |  Inevitability (7)  |  Inquiry (14)  |  New (107)  |  Prediction (48)  |  Scientific Method (101)  |  Scientist (237)  |  Solution (109)  |  Verification (16)

[Regarding evolution believers:] Their business is not with the possible, but the actual—not with a world which might be, but with a world that is. This they explore with a courage not unmixed with reverence, and according to methods which, like the quality of a tree, are tested by their fruits. They have but one desire—to know the truth. They have but one fear—to believe a lie.
'Scientific Use of the Imagination', Discourse Delivered Before the British Association at Liverpool, (16 Sep 1870). Fragments of Science for Unscientific People: A Series of Detached Essays, Lectures, and Reviews (1892), Vol. 2, 134.
Science quotes on:  |  Accord (7)  |  Actuality (3)  |  Business (27)  |  Courage (16)  |  Desire (46)  |  Evolution (342)  |  Exploration (48)  |  Fear (53)  |  Fruit (31)  |  Lie (23)  |  Method (73)  |  Mixture (11)  |  Possibility (70)  |  Quality (29)  |  Reverence (14)  |  Tree (88)  |  Truth (450)  |  World (231)


Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
Quotations by:Albert EinsteinIsaac NewtonLord KelvinCharles DarwinSrinivasa RamanujanCarl SaganFlorence NightingaleThomas EdisonAristotleMarie CurieBenjamin FranklinWinston ChurchillGalileo GalileiSigmund FreudRobert BunsenLouis PasteurTheodore RooseveltAbraham LincolnRonald ReaganLeonardo DaVinciMichio KakuKarl PopperJohann GoetheRobert OppenheimerCharles Kettering  ... (more people)

Quotations about:Atomic  BombBiologyChemistryDeforestationEngineeringAnatomyAstronomyBacteriaBiochemistryBotanyConservationDinosaurEnvironmentFractalGeneticsGeologyHistory of ScienceInventionJupiterKnowledgeLoveMathematicsMeasurementMedicineNatural ResourceOrganic ChemistryPhysicsPhysicianQuantum TheoryResearchScience and ArtTeacherTechnologyUniverseVolcanoVirusWind PowerWomen ScientistsX-RaysYouthZoology  ... (more topics)
Sitewide search within all Today In Science History pages:
Custom Quotations Search - custom search within only our quotations pages:
Visit our Science and Scientist Quotations index for more Science Quotes from archaeologists, biologists, chemists, geologists, inventors and inventions, mathematicians, physicists, pioneers in medicine, science events and technology.

Names index: | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |

Categories index: | 1 | 2 | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |
Author Icon
who invites your feedback

Today in Science History

Most Popular

Thank you for sharing.
Today in Science History
Sign up for Newsletter
with quiz, quotes and more.
- 100 -
Sophie Germain
Gertrude Elion
Ernest Rutherford
James Chadwick
Marcel Proust
William Harvey
Johann Goethe
John Keynes
Carl Gauss
Paul Feyerabend
- 90 -
Antoine Lavoisier
Lise Meitner
Charles Babbage
Ibn Khaldun
Euclid
Ralph Emerson
Robert Bunsen
Frederick Banting
Andre Ampere
Winston Churchill
- 80 -
John Locke
Bronislaw Malinowski
Bible
Thomas Huxley
Alessandro Volta
Erwin Schrodinger
Wilhelm Roentgen
Louis Pasteur
Bertrand Russell
Jean Lamarck
- 70 -
Samuel Morse
John Wheeler
Nicolaus Copernicus
Robert Fulton
Pierre Laplace
Humphry Davy
Thomas Edison
Lord Kelvin
Theodore Roosevelt
Carolus Linnaeus
- 60 -
Francis Galton
Linus Pauling
Immanuel Kant
Martin Fischer
Robert Boyle
Karl Popper
Paul Dirac
Avicenna
James Watson
William Shakespeare
- 50 -
Stephen Hawking
Niels Bohr
Nikola Tesla
Rachel Carson
Max Planck
Henry Adams
Richard Dawkins
Werner Heisenberg
Alfred Wegener
John Dalton
- 40 -
Pierre Fermat
Edward Wilson
Johannes Kepler
Gustave Eiffel
Giordano Bruno
JJ Thomson
Thomas Kuhn
Leonardo DaVinci
Archimedes
David Hume
- 30 -
Andreas Vesalius
Rudolf Virchow
Richard Feynman
James Hutton
Alexander Fleming
Emile Durkheim
Benjamin Franklin
Robert Oppenheimer
Robert Hooke
Charles Kettering
- 20 -
Carl Sagan
James Maxwell
Marie Curie
Rene Descartes
Francis Crick
Hippocrates
Michael Faraday
Srinivasa Ramanujan
Francis Bacon
Galileo Galilei
- 10 -
Aristotle
John Watson
Rosalind Franklin
Michio Kaku
Isaac Asimov
Charles Darwin
Sigmund Freud
Albert Einstein
Florence Nightingale
Isaac Newton