Find science on or your birthday

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “Environmental extremists ... wouldn’t let you build a house unless it looked like a bird’s nest.”
more quiz questions >>
Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index T > Category: Thinking

Thinking Quotes (166 quotes)

Dilbert: Wow! According to my computer simulation, it should be possible to create new life forms from common household chemicals
Dogbert: This raises some thorny issues.
Dilbert: You mean legal, ethical and religious issues?
Dogbert: I was thinking about parking spaces.
Dilbert comic strip (31 May 1989).
Science quotes on:  |  Chemical (38)  |  Common (44)  |  Computer (51)  |  Creation (129)  |  Ethics (23)  |  Household (4)  |  Issue (14)  |  Life (460)  |  Life-Form (4)  |  New (107)  |  Possibility (70)  |  Religion (120)  |  Science And Religion (159)  |  Simulation (4)

Dilbert: I'm obsessed with inventing a perpetual motion machine. Most scientists think it's impossible, but I have something they don't.
Dogbert: A lot of spare time?
Dilbert: Exactly.
Dilbert cartoon strip (8 Aug 1991).
Science quotes on:  |  Impossibility (32)  |  Invention (174)  |  Machine (56)  |  Obsession (5)  |  Perpetual Motion (6)  |  Scientist (237)

Ohne Phosphor, Kein Gedanke.
Without phosphorus there would be no thoughts.
Attributed.
Science quotes on:  |  Phosphorus (9)

Rassemblons des faits pour nous donner des idées.
Let us gather facts in order to get ourselves thinking.
'Histoire des Animaux', Histoire Naturelle, Générale et Particulière, avec la Description du Cabinet du Roi (1749), Vol. 2, 18. Quoted in Jacques Roger, The Life Sciences in Eighteenth- Century French Thought, ed. Keith R. Benson and trans. Robert Ellrich (1997), 440.
Science quotes on:  |  Fact (325)  |  Observation (264)

Ratbert (as lab rat, to scientist): Doc, we have to talk. Every day you feed me over a hundred pounds of macaroni and cheese. At first I thought you were just being a good host. But lately I've been thinking it could be something far more sinister.
Scientist (thinking): Macaroni and cheese causes paranoia.
Dilbert cartoon strip (24 Jul 1990).
Science quotes on:  |  Cheese (5)  |  Experiment (369)  |  Food (77)  |  Host (3)  |  Paranoia (2)  |  Sinister (7)

[Elementary student, laying a cocoon on the teacher's desk:] That is serendipity. The caterpillar thinks it is dying but it is really being born.
Anonymous
As quoted, without citation, by Marcus Bach, 'Serendiptiy in the Business World', in The Rotarian (Oct 1981), 139, No. 4, 40.
Science quotes on:  |  Birth (47)  |  Caterpillar (2)  |  Cocoon (2)  |  Death (183)  |  Desk (5)  |  Elementary (11)  |  Reality (67)  |  Serendipity (10)  |  Student (54)  |  Teacher (54)

[Question: What do you think was the most important physics idea to emerge this year?]
We won't know for a few years.
Interview with Deborah Solomon, 'The Science of Second-Guessing', in New York Times Magazine (12 Dec 2004), 37.
Science quotes on:  |  Emergence (17)  |  Importance (106)  |  Knowledge (679)  |  Physics (156)  |  Year (69)

A designer must always think about the unfortunate production engineer who will have to manufacture what you have designed; try to understand his problems.
On the official Raymond Loewry website.
Science quotes on:  |  Design (37)  |  Designer (6)  |  Engineer (32)  |  Manufacturing (16)  |  Problem (180)  |  Production (72)  |  Understanding (231)  |  Unfortunate (3)

A mathematician’s work is mostly a tangle of guesswork, analogy, wishful thinking and frustration, and proof, far from being the core of discovery, is more often than not a way of making sure that our minds are not playing tricks.
In Rota's 'Introduction' written (1980) to preface Philip J. Davis and Reuben Hersh, The Mathematical Experience (1981, 2012), xxii.
Science quotes on:  |  Analogy (26)  |  Core (5)  |  Discovery (360)  |  Frustration (3)  |  Guesswork (4)  |  Mathematician (110)  |  Mind (272)  |  Play (22)  |  Proof (136)  |  Trick (11)  |  Wishful (2)  |  Work (198)

A multidisciplinary study group ... estimated that it would be 1980 before developments in artificial intelligence make it possible for machines alone to do much thinking or problem solving of military significance. That would leave, say, five years to develop man-computer symbiosis and 15 years to use it. The 15 may be 10 or 500, but those years should be intellectually the most creative and exciting in the history of mankind.
From article 'Man-Computer Symbiosis', in IRE Transactions on Human Factors in Electronics (Mar 1960), Vol. HFE-1, 4-11.
Science quotes on:  |  Artificial Intelligence (6)  |  Computer (51)  |  Creative (8)  |  Development (122)  |  Exciting (5)  |  History (156)  |  Intellectual (13)  |  Mankind (111)  |  Military (6)  |  Problem (180)  |  Significance (30)  |  Solving (3)  |  Symbiosis (2)

A parable: A man was examining the construction of a cathedral. He asked a stone mason what he was doing chipping the stones, and the mason replied, “I am making stones.” He asked a stone carver what he was doing. “I am carving a gargoyle.” And so it went, each person said in detail what they were doing. Finally he came to an old woman who was sweeping the ground. She said. “I am helping build a cathedral.”
...Most of the time each person is immersed in the details of one special part of the whole and does not think of how what they are doing relates to the larger picture.
[For example, in education, a teacher might say in the next class he was going to “explain Young's modulus and how to measure it,” rather than, “I am going to educate the students and prepare them for their future careers.”]
In The Art of Doing Science and Engineering: Learning to Learn (1975, 2005), 195.
Science quotes on:  |  Building (34)  |  Career (29)  |  Cathedral (9)  |  Class (27)  |  Construction (36)  |  Detail (33)  |  Explanation (88)  |  Future (110)  |  Mason (2)  |  Measurement (112)  |  Part (55)  |  Preparation (22)  |  Relation (35)  |  Special (25)  |  Stone (20)  |  Teacher (54)  |  Whole (46)  |  Woman (36)

About 85 per cent of my “thinking” time was spent getting into a position to think, to make a decision, to learn something I needed to know. Much more time went into finding or obtaining information than into digesting it. Hours went into the plotting of graphs... When the graphs were finished, the relations were obvious at once, but the plotting had to be done in order to make them so.
From article 'Man-Computer Symbiosis', in IRE Transactions on Human Factors in Electronics (Mar 1960), Vol. HFE-1, 4-11.
Science quotes on:  |  Decision (30)  |  Digesting (2)  |  Finding (19)  |  Graph (2)  |  Information (56)  |  Know (25)  |  Learn (23)  |  Need (57)  |  Obtaining (4)  |  Obvious (24)  |  Relation (35)  |  Time (170)

Accuracy of observation is the equivalent of accuracy of thinking.
Adagia. In Opus Postumous: Poems, Plays, Prose (1958), 158.
Science quotes on:  |  Accuracy (34)  |  Observation (264)

Across the road from my cabin was a huge clear-cut—hundreds of acres of massive spruce stumps interspersed with tiny Douglas firs—products of what they call “Reforestation,” which I guess makes the spindly firs en masse a “Reforest,” which makes an individual spindly fir a “Refir,” which means you could say that Weyerhauser, who owns the joint, has Refir Madness, since they think that sawing down 200-foot-tall spruces and replacing them with puling 2-foot Refirs is no different from farming beans or corn or alfalfa. They even call the towering spires they wipe from the Earth's face forever a “crop”--as if they'd planted the virgin forest! But I'm just a fisherman and may be missing some deeper significance in their nomenclature and stranger treatment of primordial trees.
In David James Duncan, The River Why (1983), 71.
Science quotes on:  |  Acre (3)  |  Bean (3)  |  Call (11)  |  Corn (4)  |  Crop (10)  |  Deeper (2)  |  Difference (135)  |  Douglas Fir (2)  |  Earth (250)  |  Face (23)  |  Fisherman (2)  |  Forever (14)  |  Hundred (11)  |  Individual (59)  |  Madness (15)  |  Miss (5)  |  Nomenclature (102)  |  Plant (96)  |  Primordial (2)  |  Product (33)  |  Reforestation (2)  |  Replacement (8)  |  Road (18)  |  Significance (30)  |  Spire (3)  |  Stranger (7)  |  Stump (2)  |  Tiny (9)  |  Treatment (61)  |  Tree (88)

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)  |  Test (46)  |  Unsatisfactory (3)  |  Weakness (14)

All the modern higher mathematics is based on a calculus of operations, on laws of thought. All mathematics, from the first, was so in reality; but the evolvers of the modern higher calculus have known that it is so. Therefore elementary teachers who, at the present day, persist in thinking about algebra and arithmetic as dealing with laws of number, and about geometry as dealing with laws of surface and solid content, are doing the best that in them lies to put their pupils on the wrong track for reaching in the future any true understanding of the higher algebras. Algebras deal not with laws of number, but with such laws of the human thinking machinery as have been discovered in the course of investigations on numbers. Plane geometry deals with such laws of thought as were discovered by men intent on finding out how to measure surface; and solid geometry with such additional laws of thought as were discovered when men began to extend geometry into three dimensions.
Lectures on the Logic of Arithmetic (1903), Preface, 18-19.
Science quotes on:  |  Algebra (21)  |  Arithmetic (38)  |  Calculus (14)  |  Dimension (12)  |  Discovery (360)  |  Geometry (68)  |  Investigation (83)  |  Measurement (112)  |  Number (90)  |  Operation (53)  |  Solid (14)  |  Surface (37)  |  Teacher (54)  |  Track (3)  |  Understanding (231)  |  Wrong (50)

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)  |  Test (46)  |  Thousand (32)  |  World (231)  |  Year (69)

Analogy is a wonderful, useful and most important form of thinking, and biology is saturated with it. Nothing is worse than a horrible mass of undigested facts, and facts are indigestible unless there is some rhyme or reason to them. The physicist, with his facts, seeks reason; the biologist seeks something very much like rhyme, and rhyme is a kind of analogy.... This analogizing, this fine sweeping ability to see likenesses in the midst of differences is the great glory of biology, but biologists don't know it.... They have always been so fascinated and overawed by the superior prestige of exact physical science that they feel they have to imitate it.... In its central content, biology is not accurate thinking, but accurate observation and imaginative thinking, with great sweeping generalizations.
In Science is a Sacred Cow (1950), 98-100.
Science quotes on:  |  Accuracy (34)  |  Analogy (26)  |  Awe (9)  |  Biologist (16)  |  Biology (83)  |  Content (17)  |  Difference (135)  |  Exact (16)  |  Fact (325)  |  Fascination (15)  |  Generalization (16)  |  Glory (20)  |  Horrible (4)  |  Imagination (130)  |  Imitation (7)  |  Importance (106)  |  Likeness (4)  |  Observation (264)  |  Physical Science (32)  |  Physicist (74)  |  Prestige (6)  |  Reason (173)  |  Saturation (5)  |  Usefulness (54)  |  Wonder (64)

And as I had my father's kind of mind–which was also his mother's–I learned that the mind is not sex-typed.
Blackberry Winter: My Earlier Years (1973), 54.
Science quotes on:  |  Father (17)  |  Mind (272)  |  Mother (25)  |  Sex (30)  |  Type (15)

And now, as a germination of planetary dimensions, comes the thinking layer which over its full extent develops and intertwines its fibres, not to confuse and neutralise them but to reinforce them in the living unity of a single tissue.
In Teilhard de Chardin and Bernard Wall (trans.), The Phenomenon of Man (1959, 2008), 244. Originally published in French as Le Phénomene Humain (1955).
Science quotes on:  |  Confuse (2)  |  Develop (11)  |  Extent (11)  |  Fibre (5)  |  Full (10)  |  Germination (2)  |  Layer (8)  |  Living (24)  |  Single (26)  |  Tissue (15)  |  Unity (16)

Another argument of hope may be drawn from this–that some of the inventions already known are such as before they were discovered it could hardly have entered any man's head to think of; they would have been simply set aside as impossible. For in conjecturing what may be men set before them the example of what has been, and divine of the new with an imagination preoccupied and colored by the old; which way of forming opinions is very fallacious, for streams that are drawn from the springheads of nature do not always run in the old channels.
Translation of Novum Organum, XCII. In Francis Bacon, James Spedding, The Works of Francis Bacon (1864), Vol. 8, 128.
Science quotes on:  |  Channel (6)  |  Conjecture (15)  |  Discovery (360)  |  Fallacy (9)  |  Impossible (26)  |  Invention (174)  |  Nature (534)  |  Opinion (81)  |  Stream (10)

Another characteristic of mathematical thought is that it can have no success where it cannot generalize.
In Eberhard Zeidler, Applied Functional Analysis: main principles and their applications (1995), 282.
Science quotes on:  |  Characteristic (36)  |  Generalize (5)  |  Mathematics (367)  |  Success (114)

Anyone who thinks science is trying to make human life easier or more pleasant is utterly mistaken.
In 'Quotation Marks', New York Times (11 Oct 1931), XX2.
Science quotes on:  |  Anyone (6)  |  Ease (20)  |  Human (168)  |  Life (460)  |  Mistaken (2)  |  Pleasantness (3)  |  Science (875)  |  Try (34)  |  Utterly (4)

Artificial intelligence is based on the assumption that the mind can be described as some kind of formal system manipulating symbols that stand for things in the world. Thus it doesn't matter what the brain is made of, or what it uses for tokens in the great game of thinking. Using an equivalent set of tokens and rules, we can do thinking with a digital computer, just as we can play chess using cups, salt and pepper shakers, knives, forks, and spoons. Using the right software, one system (the mind) can be mapped onto the other (the computer).
Machinery of the Mind: Inside the New Science of Artificial Intelligence (1986), 250.
Science quotes on:  |  Artificial Intelligence (6)  |  Chess (13)  |  Computer (51)  |  Mind (272)  |  Software (7)  |  Symbol (23)  |  Token (3)

As agonizing a disease as cancer is, I do not think it can be said that our civilization is threatened by it. … But a very plausible case can be made that our civilization is fundamentally threatened by the lack of adequate fertility control. Exponential increases of population will dominate any arithmetic increases, even those brought about by heroic technological initiatives, in the availability of food and resources, as Malthus long ago realized.
From 'In Praise of Science and Technology', in Broca's Brain: Reflections on the Romance of Science (1975, 2011), 43.
Science quotes on:  |  Adequate (6)  |  Arithmetic (38)  |  Availability (9)  |  Cancer (25)  |  Civilization (90)  |  Control (41)  |  Disease (170)  |  Domination (8)  |  Exponential (3)  |  Fertility (8)  |  Food (77)  |  Fundamental (59)  |  Increase (36)  |  Initiative (10)  |  Lack (14)  |  Thomas Robert Malthus (11)  |  Population (41)  |  Realization (22)  |  Resource (15)  |  Technological (2)  |  Threat (9)

As followers of natural science we know nothing of any relation between thoughts and the brain, except as a gross correlation in time and space.
Man on his Nature (1942), 290.
Science quotes on:  |  Brain (106)  |  Knowledge (679)  |  Natural Science (29)  |  Relation (35)  |  Time And Space (4)

As modern physics started with the Newtonian revolution, so modern philosophy starts with what one might call the Cartesian Catastrophe. The catastrophe consisted in the splitting up of the world into the realms of matter and mind, and the identification of 'mind' with conscious thinking. The result of this identification was the shallow rationalism of l' esprit Cartesien, and an impoverishment of psychology which it took three centuries to remedy even in part.
The Act of Creation (1964), 148.
Science quotes on:  |  Matter (135)  |  Mind (272)  |  Philosophy (132)  |  Physics (156)  |  Psychology (69)

Astronomers and physicists, dealing habitually with objects and quantities far beyond the reach of the senses, even with the aid of the most powerful aids that ingenuity has been able to devise, tend almost inevitably to fall into the ways of thinking of men dealing with objects and quantities that do not exist at all, e.g., theologians and metaphysicians. Thus their speculations tend almost inevitably to depart from the field of true science, which is that of precise observation, and to become mere soaring in the empyrean. The process works backward, too. That is to say, their reports of what they pretend actually to see are often very unreliable. It is thus no wonder that, of all men of science, they are the most given to flirting with theology. Nor is it remarkable that, in the popular belief, most astronomers end by losing their minds.
Minority Report: H. L. Mencken's Notebooks (1956), Sample 74, 60.
Science quotes on:  |  Astronomer (28)  |  Exist (13)  |  Habit (42)  |  Ingenuity (16)  |  Loss (44)  |  Metaphysician (4)  |  Mind (272)  |  Observation (264)  |  Physicist (74)  |  Precision (19)  |  Process (97)  |  Quantity (23)  |  Report (15)  |  Sense (104)  |  Speculation (44)  |  Theologian (11)

Behold the mighty dinosaur,
Famous in prehistoric lore,
Not only for his power and strength
But for his intellectual length.
You will observe by these remains
The creature had two sets of brains—
One in his head (the usual place),
The other at his spinal base.
Thus he could reason 'A priori'
As well as 'A posteriori'.
No problem bothered him a bit
He made both head and tail of it.
So wise was he, so wise and solemn,
Each thought filled just a spinal column.
If one brain found the pressure strong
It passed a few ideas along.
If something slipped his forward mind
'Twas rescued by the one behind.
And if in error he was caught
He had a saving afterthought.
As he thought twice before he spoke
He had no judgment to revoke.
Thus he could think without congestion
Upon both sides of every question.
Oh, gaze upon this model beast
Defunct ten million years at least.
'The Dinosaur: A Poem' (1912). In E. H. Colbert (ed.), The Dinosaur Book (1951), 78.
Science quotes on:  |  A Priori (8)  |  Afterthought (3)  |  Bother (2)  |  Brain (106)  |  Congestion (2)  |  Dinosaur (13)  |  Error (152)  |  Gaze (4)  |  Head (20)  |  Idea (226)  |  Intellect (99)  |  Judgment (39)  |  Million (29)  |  Mind (272)  |  Model (31)  |  Problem (180)  |  Question (159)  |  Rescue (2)  |  Solemnity (3)  |  Speaking (30)  |  Spinal Column (2)  |  Spine (2)  |  Tail (4)  |  Thought (170)  |  Twice (3)  |  Wisdom (91)

Bohr’s standpoint, that a space-time description is impossible, I reject a limine. Physics does not consist only of atomic research, science does not consist only of physics, and life does not consist only of science. The aim of atomic research is to fit our empirical knowledge concerning it into our other thinking. All of this other thinking, so far as it concerns the outer world, is active in space and time. If it cannot be fitted into space and time, then it fails in its whole aim and one does not know what purpose it really serves.
Letter to Willy Wien (25 Aug 1926). Quoted in Walter Moore, Schrödinger: Life and Thought (1989), 226.
Science quotes on:  |  Aim (21)  |  Atom (164)  |  Niels Bohr (35)  |  Empiricism (13)  |  Failure (58)  |  Knowledge (679)  |  Life (460)  |  Physics (156)  |  Purpose (66)  |  Research (360)  |  Space And Time (4)

But by far the greatest obstacle to the progress of science and to the undertaking of new tasks and provinces therein is found in this—that men despair and think things impossible.
Translation of Novum Organum, CIX. In Francis Bacon, James Spedding, The Works of Francis Bacon (1864), Vol. 8, 140-141.
Science quotes on:  |  Despair (13)  |  Impossible (26)  |  Obstacle (9)  |  Progress Of Science (2)  |  Task (32)  |  Undertake (5)

But the real glory of science is that we can find a way of thinking such that the law is evident.
The Feynman Lectures on Physics (1965), Vol. 1, 26-3. In Carver A. Mead, Collective Electrodynamics: Quantum Foundations of Electromagnetism (2002), 1.
Science quotes on:  |  Evident (2)  |  Glory (20)  |  Law (273)  |  Science (875)

D'you know how embarrassing it is to mention good and evil in a scientific laboratory? Have you any idea? One of the reasons l became a scientist was not to have to think about that kind of thing.
Spoken by character Dr. Malone in His Dark Materials Omnibus (2012), 370.
Science quotes on:  |  Become (11)  |  Embarrassment (2)  |  Evil (31)  |  Good (81)  |  Laboratory (75)  |  Mention (6)  |  Reason (173)  |  Scientist (237)

Doctors coin money when they do procedures—family practice doesn't have any procedures. A urologist has cystoscopies, a gastroenterologist has gastroscopies, a dermatologist has biopsies. They can do three or four of those and make five or six hundred dollars in a single day. We get nothing for the use of our time to understand the lives of our patients. Technology is rewarded in medicine, it seems to me, and not thinking.
Quoted in John McPhee, 'Heirs of General Practice,' New Yorker (23 Jul 1984), 40-85. In David Barton Smith and Arnold D. Kaluzny, The White Labyrinth (2000), 227.
Science quotes on:  |  Money (87)  |  Physician (172)  |  Procedure (11)  |  Reward (21)  |  Technology (98)

During my eighty-seven years I have witnessed a whole succession of technological revolutions. But none of them has done away with the need for character in the individual or the ability to think.
From My Own Story (1957), 320.
Science quotes on:  |  Character (39)  |  Ethics (23)  |  Technology (98)

During the time that [Karl] Landsteiner gave me an education in the field of imununology, I discovered that he and I were thinking about the serologic problem in very different ways. He would ask, What do these experiments force us to believe about the nature of the world? I would ask, What is the most. simple and general picture of the world that we can formulate that is not ruled by these experiments? I realized that medical and biological investigators were not attacking their problems the same way that theoretical physicists do, the way I had been in the habit of doing.
‘Molecular Disease’, Pfizer Spectrum (1958), 6:9, 234.
Science quotes on:  |  Asking (18)  |  Belief (139)  |  Difference (135)  |  Discovery (360)  |  Education (177)  |  Experiment (369)  |  Field (69)  |  Formulation (14)  |  Generality (14)  |  Habit (42)  |  Immunology (12)  |  Karl Landsteiner (8)  |  Medicine (185)  |  Nature (534)  |  Picture (25)  |  Problem (180)  |  Realization (22)  |  Rule (52)  |  Simplicity (92)  |  Theoretical Physics (11)  |  Way (31)  |  World (231)

Einstein’s 1905 paper came out and suddenly changed people’s thinking about space-time. We’re again [2007] in the middle of something like that. When the dust settles, time—whatever it may be—could turn out to be even stranger and more illusory than even Einstein could imagine.
Quoted by Tim Folger in 'Newsflash: Time May Not Exist', Discover Magazine (Jun 2007).
Science quotes on:  |  Dust (20)  |  Albert Einstein (174)  |  Publication (75)  |  Space-Time (8)  |  Strange (17)

Enzymes are things invented by biologists that explain things which otherwise require harder thinking.
In Geoff Tibballs, The Mammoth Book of Zingers, Quips, and One-Liners (2004), 475, but without citation. If you know a primary print source, please contact Webmaster.
Science quotes on:  |  Biologist (16)  |  Difficulty (76)  |  Enzyme (11)  |  Explanation (88)  |  Invention (174)

Essentially only one thing in life interests us: our psychical constitution, the mechanism of which was and is wrapped in darkness. All human resources, art, religion, literature, philosophy and historical sciences, all of them join in bringing lights in this darkness. But man has still another powerful resource: natural science with its strictly objective methods. This science, as we all know, is making huge progress every day. The facts and considerations which I have placed before you at the end of my lecture are one out of numerous attempts to employ a consistent, purely scientific method of thinking in the study of the mechanism of the highest manifestations of life in the dog, the representative of the animal kingdom that is man's best friend.
'Physiology of Digestion', Nobel Lecture (12 Dec 1904). In Nobel Lectures: Physiology or Medicine 1901-1921 (1967), 134
Science quotes on:  |  Animal Kingdom (4)  |  Art (80)  |  Attempt (41)  |  Consideration (38)  |  Consistency (14)  |  Constitution (12)  |  Darkness (11)  |  Dog (24)  |  Employment (16)  |  Essential (41)  |  Fact (325)  |  History (156)  |  Human (168)  |  Interest (82)  |  Lecture (31)  |  Life (460)  |  Literature (33)  |  Manifestation (21)  |  Mechanism (25)  |  Method (73)  |  Numerous (6)  |  Objective (18)  |  Philosophy (132)  |  Progress (200)  |  Psychology (69)  |  Religion (120)  |  Representative (5)  |  Resource (15)  |  Science (875)  |  Scientific Method (101)  |  Study (157)  |  Wrap (2)

Every Man being conscious to himself, That he thinks, and that which his Mind is employ'd about whilst thinking, being the Ideas, that are there, 'tis past doubt, that Men have in their Minds several Ideas, such as are those expressed by the words, Whiteness, Hardness, Sweetness, Thinking, Motion, Man, Elephant, Army, Drunkenness, and others: It is in the first place then to be inquired, How he comes by them? I know it is a received Doctrine, That Men have native Ideas, and original Characters stamped upon their Minds, in their very first Being.
An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690). Edited by Peter Nidditch (1975), Book 2, Chapter 1, Section 1, 104.
Science quotes on:  |  Consciousness (36)  |  Doctrine (33)  |  Idea (226)  |  Man (258)  |  Mind (272)

For God's sake, stop researching for a while and begin to think.
The Crisis in the University (1949), 183.
Science quotes on:  |  Research (360)

For many of us, water simply flows from a faucet, and we think little about it beyond this point of contact. We have lost a sense of respect for the wild river, for the complex workings of a wetland, for the intricate web of life that water supports.
Last Oasis: Facing Water Scarcity (1997), 184.
Science quotes on:  |  Complexity (51)  |  Contact (12)  |  Little (29)  |  Respect (24)  |  River (34)  |  Sense (104)  |  Support (26)  |  Water (122)  |  Web Of Life (3)  |  Wild (12)  |  Working (11)

For me the most beautiful thing about Meccano is that it teaches you to think.
As quoted in by Hugh Schofield in web article 'Meccano Revives French Production' (23 Dec 2010).
Science quotes on:  |  Beauty (88)  |  Meccano (5)  |  Teaching (64)  |  Toy (8)

For myself, I like a universe that, includes much that is unknown and, at the same time, much that is knowable. A universe in which everything is known would be static and dull, as boring as the heaven of some weak-minded theologians. A universe that is unknowable is no fit place for a thinking being. The ideal universe for us is one very much like the universe we inhabit. And I would guess that this is not really much of a coincidence.
'Can We know the Universe?' in M. Gardner (ed.), The Sacred Beetle and Other Great Essays in Science (1985), 109.
Science quotes on:  |  Being (34)  |  Boredom (4)  |  Coincidence (6)  |  Dullness (4)  |  Heaven (55)  |  Ideal (26)  |  Knowledge (679)  |  Mind (272)  |  Theologian (11)  |  Universe (291)  |  Unknown (40)  |  Weak (10)

Furious activity is no substitute for analytical thought.
Quoted in New Scientist (1972), 55, 429.
Science quotes on:  |  Activity (48)  |  Analysis (82)  |  Furious (2)  |  Substitute (10)

Good work is no done by “humble” men. It is one of the first duties of a professor, for example, in any subject, to exaggerate a little both the importance of his subject and his own importance in it. A man who is always asking “Is what I do worth while?” and “Am I the right person to do it?” will always be ineffective himself and a discouragement to others. He must shut his eyes a little and think a little more of his subject and himself than they deserve. This is not too difficult: it is harder not to make his subject and himself ridiculous by shutting his eyes too tightly.
In A Mathematician’s Apology (1940, 1967), 66.
Science quotes on:  |  Asking (18)  |  Deserving (3)  |  Difficulty (76)  |  Discouragement (4)  |  Duty (26)  |  Exaggeration (4)  |  Eye (67)  |  Good (81)  |  Harder (3)  |  Humble (4)  |  Importance (106)  |  Ineffective (2)  |  Person (38)  |  Professor (21)  |  Ridiculous (6)  |  Right (49)  |  Work (198)  |  Worth (30)

Great minds don't think alike. If they did, the Patent Office would only have about fifty inventions.
From Dilbert comic strip (10 Mar 2005).
Science quotes on:  |  Alike (2)  |  Fifty (4)  |  Great (62)  |  Invention (174)  |  Mind (272)  |  Patent Office (2)

How much has happened in these fifty years—a period more remarkable than any, I will venture to say, in the annals of mankind. I am not thinking of the rise and fall of Empires, the change of dynasties, the establishment of Governments. I am thinking of those revolutions of science which have had much more effect than any political causes, which have changed the position and prospects of mankind more than all the conquests and all the codes and all the legislators that ever lived.
Banquet speech, Glasgow. In Nature (27 Nov 1873), 9, 71.
Science quotes on:  |  Annal (2)  |  Cause (122)  |  Change (133)  |  Code (8)  |  Conquest (7)  |  Dynasty (4)  |  Effect (72)  |  Empire (6)  |  Establishment (19)  |  Fall (30)  |  Government (50)  |  Mankind (111)  |  Politics (52)  |  Position (18)  |  Prospect (8)  |  Revolution (34)  |  Rise (14)  |  Science (875)

However, all scientific statements and laws have one characteristic in common: they are “true or false” (adequate or inadequate). Roughly speaking, our reaction to them is “yes” or “no.” The scientific way of thinking has a further characteristic. The concepts which it uses to build up its coherent systems are not expressing emotions. For the scientist, there is only “being,” but no wishing, no valuing, no good, no evil; no goal. As long as we remain within the realm of science proper, we can never meet with a sentence of the type: “Thou shalt not lie.” There is something like a Puritan's restraint in the scientist who seeks truth: he keeps away from everything voluntaristic or emotional.
Essays in Physics (1950), 68.
Science quotes on:  |  Adequate (6)  |  Characteristic (36)  |  Concept (38)  |  Emotion (28)  |  Evil (31)  |  False (29)  |  Goal (36)  |  Good (81)  |  Inadequate (3)  |  Law (273)  |  Lie (23)  |  Puritan (3)  |  Restraint (4)  |  Statement (28)  |  True (29)  |  Truth (450)  |  Value (63)  |  Wish (18)

I am always surprised when a young man tells me he wants to work at cosmology. I think of cosmology as something that happens to one, not something one can choose.
In Presidential Address (8 Feb 1963), Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society (Mar 1963), 4, 185.
Science quotes on:  |  Choice (40)  |  Cosmology (11)  |  Happening (23)  |  Man (258)  |  Something (9)  |  Surprise (19)  |  Telling (16)  |  Want (32)  |  Work (198)  |  Young (20)

I am one of those who think, like Nobel, that humanity will draw more good than evil from new discoveries.
In Pierre Biquard, Frédéric Joliot-Curie: the Man and his Theories (1966), 11.
Science quotes on:  |  Discovery (360)  |  Evil (31)  |  Good (81)  |  Humanity (46)  |  Alfred Bernhard Nobel (8)

I am the thought you are now thinking.
From 'On Self-Referential Sentences' Scientific American (Jan 1981), 244, 28. Collected in Metamagical Themas (1985), 11.
Science quotes on:  |  Thought (170)

I beseech you in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken.
Letter, to General Assembly of the Church of Scotland (1650). In The Parliamentary or Constitutional History of England (1763), Vol. 19, 322.
Science quotes on:  |  Bowel (3)  |  Error (152)  |  Mistake (40)  |  Possibility (70)

I cannot think of a single field in biology or medicine in which we can claim genuine understanding, and it seems to me the more we learn about living creatures, especially ourselves, the stranger life becomes.
In 'On Science and Certainty', Discover Magazine (Oct 1980).
Science quotes on:  |  Becoming (7)  |  Biology (83)  |  Cannot (7)  |  Claim (24)  |  Creature (51)  |  Especially (4)  |  Field (69)  |  Learning (130)  |  Life (460)  |  Medicine (185)  |  More (7)  |  Ourselves (6)  |  Seeming (5)  |  Single (26)  |  Strangeness (9)  |  Understanding (231)

I do not know whether my distrust of men of science is congenital or acquired, but I think I should have transmitted it to descendants.
Samuel Butler, edited by Geoffrey Keynes and Brian Hill, Samuel Butler’s Notebooks (1951), 32.
Science quotes on:  |  Acquisition (21)  |  Descendant (7)  |  Distrust (2)  |  Men Of Science (90)  |  Transmission (18)

I had gone on a walk on a fine Sabbath afternoon. I had entered the Green [of Glasgow] by the gate at the foot of Charlotte Street—had passed the old washing-house. I was thinking upon the engine at the time, and had gone as far as the herd's house, when the idea came into my mind that as steam was an elastic body it would rush into a vacuum, and if a communication were made between the cylinder and an exhausted vessel it would rush into it, and might be there condensed without cooling the cylinder. I then saw that I must get rid of the condensed steam and injection water if I used a jet, as in Newcomen's engine. Two ways of doing this occurred to me. First, the water might be run off by a descending pipe, if an outlet could be got at the depth of 35 or 36 feet, and any air might be extracted by a small pump. The second was to make the pump large enough to extract both water and air. ... I had not walked further than the Golf-house when the whole thing was arranged in my mind.
[In Robert Hart's words, a recollection of the description of Watt's moment of inspiration, in May 1765, for improving Thomas Newcomen's steam engine.]
In Robert Hart, 'Reminiscences of James Watt' (read 2 Nov 1857), Transactions of the Glasgow Archaeological Society (1859), Vol. 1, 1. Note that these are not the verbatim words of James Watt, but are only a recollection of them by Robert Hart, who is quoting as best he can from memory of a conversation he and his brother had with James Watt that took place over 43 years previously. In his Reminiscences, Hart explains, “I have accordingly thrown together the following brief narrative:— As these meetings took place forty-three years since, many observations that were made at the time may have escaped me at present; yet, when the same subjects are touched on, I have as distinct recollection of his treatment of them as if it were yesterday.”
Science quotes on:  |  Communication (37)  |  Condensation (6)  |  Cooling (3)  |  Exhaustion (11)  |  Idea (226)  |  Improvement (36)  |  Invention (174)  |  Steam (15)  |  Steam Engine (21)  |  Vacuum (16)  |  Vessel (9)

I have never thought that you could obtain the extremely clumpy, heterogeneous universe we have today, strongly affected by plasma processes, from the smooth, homogeneous one of the Big Bang, dominated by gravitation.
Quoted in Anthony L. Peratt, 'Dean of the Plasma Dissidents', Washington Times, supplement: The World and I (May 1988),196.
Science quotes on:  |  Big Bang (24)  |  Dominate (4)  |  Gravity (59)  |  Heterogeneous (2)  |  Plasma (6)  |  Smooth (8)  |  Universe (291)

I have tried to read philosophers of all ages and have found many illuminating ideas but no steady progress toward deeper knowledge and understanding. Science, however, gives me the feeling of steady progress: I am convinced that theoretical physics is actual philosophy. It has revolutionized fundamental concepts, e.g., about space and time (relativity), about causality (quantum theory), and about substance and matter (atomistics), and it has taught us new methods of thinking (complementarity) which are applicable far beyond physics.
Max Born
My Life & My Views (1968), 48.
Science quotes on:  |  Knowledge (679)  |  Matter (135)  |  Philosophy (132)  |  Progress (200)  |  Quantum Physics (15)  |  Science (875)  |  Space-Time (8)  |  Theoretical Physics (11)  |  Understanding (231)

I kind of like scientists, in a funny way. … I'm kind of interested in genetics though. I think I would have liked to have met Gregor Mendel. Because he was a monk who just sort of figured this stuff out on his own. That's a higher mind, that’s a mind that's connected. … But I would like to know about Mendel, because I remember going to the Philippines and thinking “this is like Mendel’s garden” because it had been invaded by so many different countries over the years, and you could see the children shared the genetic traits of all their invaders over the years, and it made for this beautiful varietal garden.
Answering question: “If you could go back in time and have a conversation with one person, who would it be and why?” by Anniedog03 during an Internet Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) online session (17 Jan 2014).
Science quotes on:  |  Beautiful (16)  |  Child (90)  |  Country (43)  |  Garden (10)  |  Genetics (79)  |  Interest (82)  |  Invasion (5)  |  Like (14)  |  Meeting (11)  |  Gregor Mendel (18)  |  Mind (272)  |  Monk (2)  |  Scientist (237)  |  Share (11)  |  Trait (10)  |  Variety (29)

I never said a word against eminent men of science. What I complain of is a vague popular philosophy which supposes itself to be scientific when it is really nothing but a sort of new religion and an uncommonly nasty one. When people talked about the fall of man, they knew they were talking about a mystery, a thing they didn’t understand. Now they talk about the survival of the fittest: they think they do understand it, whereas they have not merely no notion, they have an elaborately false notion of what the words mean.
In The Club of Queer Trades (1903, 1905), 241.
Science quotes on:  |   (26)  |  Complaint (7)  |  Elaborate (7)  |  Eminence (8)  |  False (29)  |  Man Of Science (11)  |  Mystery (74)  |  Nasty (4)  |  New (107)  |  Notion (15)  |  Philosophy (132)  |  Popular (10)  |  Religion (120)  |  Scientific (55)  |  Supposition (25)  |  Survival Of The Fittest (29)  |  Talk (21)  |  Uncommon (4)  |  Understanding (231)  |  Vague (4)

I sometimes think about the tower at Pisa as the first particle accelerator, a (nearly) vertical linear accelerator that Galileo used in his studies.
In Leon Lederman and Dick Teresi, The God Particle: If the Universe is the Answer, What is the Question (1993, 2006), 200.
Science quotes on:  |  Galileo Galilei (64)  |  Research (360)  |  Sometimes (7)  |  Study (157)  |  Vertical (2)

I take it that a monograph of this sort belongs to the ephemera literature of science. The studied care which is warranted in the treatment of the more slowly moving branches of science would be out of place here. Rather with the pen of a journalist we must attempt to record a momentary phase of current thought, which may at any instant change with kaleidoscopic abruptness.
Valence and the Structure of Atoms and Molecules (1923), Preface.
Science quotes on:  |  Change (133)  |  Kaleidoscope (2)  |  Publication (75)

I then began to study arithmetical questions without any great apparent result, and without suspecting that they could have the least connexion with my previous researches. Disgusted at my want of success, I went away to spend a few days at the seaside, and thought of entirely different things. One day, as I was walking on the cliff, the idea came to me, again with the same characteristics of conciseness, suddenness, and immediate certainty, that arithmetical transformations of indefinite ternary quadratic forms are identical with those of non-Euclidian geometry.
Science and Method (1908), trans. Francis Maitland (1914), 53-4.
Science quotes on:  |  Arithmetic (38)  |  Beginning (71)  |  Certainty (59)  |  Characteristic (36)  |  Cliff (2)  |  Conciseness (2)  |  Connection (39)  |  Difference (135)  |  Disgust (2)  |  Geometry (68)  |  Idea (226)  |  Identity (7)  |  Immediacy (2)  |  Non-Euclidian (2)  |  Previous (5)  |  Question (159)  |  Research (360)  |  Result (129)  |  Seaside (2)  |  Study (157)  |  Success (114)  |  Suddenness (3)  |  Transformation (27)  |  Walk (24)

I think that I shall never see
A billboard lovely as a tree.
Perhaps, unless the billboards fall
I'll never see a tree at all.
'Song of the Open Road', Happy Days (1933), 66.
Science quotes on:  |  Billboard (2)  |  Lovely (2)  |  Poem (76)  |  See (43)  |  Tree (88)

I think that the formation of [DNA's] structure by Watson and Crick may turn out to be the greatest developments in the field of molecular genetics in recent years.
‘Discussion des rapports de M Pauling’, Rep. Institut International de Chemie Solvay: Conference on Proteins, 6-14 April 1953 (1953), 113.
Science quotes on:  |  Francis Crick (31)  |  Development (122)  |  DNA (50)  |  Formulation (14)  |  Genetics (79)  |  Greatest (23)  |  Molecule (82)  |  Structure (104)  |  James Watson (16)

I think the next [21st] century will be the century of complexity. We have already discovered the basic laws that govern matter and understand all the normal situations. We don’t know how the laws fit together, and what happens under extreme conditions. But I expect we will find a complete unified theory sometime this century. The is no limit to the complexity that we can build using those basic laws.
[Answer to question: Some say that while the twentieth century was the century of physics, we are now entering the century of biology. What do you think of this?]
'"Unified Theory" Is Getting Closer, Hawking Predicts', interview in San Jose Mercury News (23 Jan 2000), 29A. Answer quoted in Ashok Sengupta, Chaos, Nonlinearity, Complexity: The Dynamical Paradigm of Nature (2006), vii. Question included in Hans-Joachim Schellnhuber, Nicholas Stern and Mario Molina , Global Sustainability: a Nobel Cause (2010), 13. Cite from Brent Davis and Dennis J. Sumara, Complexity and Education: Inquiries Into Learning, Teaching, and Research (2006), 171.
Science quotes on:  |  20th Century (11)  |  21st Century (3)  |  Basic (18)  |  Biology (83)  |  Build (23)  |  Complete (13)  |  Complexity (51)  |  Condition (68)  |  Discovery (360)  |  Expectation (26)  |  Fit (12)  |  Governing (3)  |  Happening (23)  |  Knowledge (679)  |  Law (273)  |  Limit (34)  |  Matter (135)  |  Normal (11)  |  Physics (156)  |  Situation (21)  |  Together (15)  |  Understanding (231)  |  Unified Theory (3)

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)  |  Test (46)  |  X-ray (13)

I'd like the [Cosmos] series to be so visually stimulating that somebody who isn't even interested in the concepts will just watch for the effects. And I'd like people who are prepared to do some thinking to be really stimulated.
Quoted by Dennis Meredith, in 'Carl Sagan's Cosmic Connection and Extraterrestrial Life-Wish', Science Digest (Jun 1979), 85, 38. Reproduced in Carl Sagan and Tom Head, Conversations With Sagan (2006), 55.
Science quotes on:  |  Concept (38)  |  Cosmos (23)  |  Effect (72)  |  Interest (82)  |  Person (38)  |  Series (18)  |  Stimulation (7)  |  Visualize (2)

I'm convinced that a controlled disrespect for authority is essential to a scientist. All the good experimental physicists I have known have had an intense curiosity that no Keep Out sign could mute. Physicists do, of course, show a healthy respect for High Voltage, Radiation, and Liquid Hydrogen signs. They are not reckless. I can think of only six who have been killed on the job.
Adventures of a Physicist (1987), 14.
Science quotes on:  |  Authority (24)  |  Control (41)  |  Convince (7)  |  Curiosity (52)  |  Death (183)  |  Essential (41)  |  Experiment (369)  |  Healthy (2)  |  Intensity (15)  |  Job (13)  |  Killing (9)  |  Mute (4)  |  Physicist (74)  |  Radiation (13)  |  Scientist (237)  |  Sign (18)  |  Six (2)

I've never owned a telescope, but it's something I'm thinking of looking into.
Brain Droppings (1998), 72.
Science quotes on:  |  Looking (15)  |  Telescope (44)

I've been very involved in science literacy because it's critically important in our world today. ... As a public, we're asked to vote on issues, we're asked to accept explanations, we're asked to figure out what to do with our own health care, and you can't do that unless you have some level of science literacy. Science literacy isn't about figuring out how to solve equations like E=MC². Rather, it's about being able to read an article in the newspaper about the environment, about health care and figuring out how to vote on it. It's about being able to prepare nutritious meals. It's about being able to think your way through the day.
As quoted in 'Then & Now: Dr. Mae Jemison' (19 Jun 2005) on CNN web site.
Science quotes on:  |  Article (7)  |  Citizenship (4)  |  Environment (75)  |  Equation (46)  |  Health Care (3)  |  Literacy (4)  |  Meal (9)  |  Newspaper (18)  |  Nutrition (11)  |  Read (32)  |  Vote (7)

If you ask ... the man in the street ... the human significance of mathematics, the answer of the world will be, that mathematics has given mankind a metrical and computatory art essential to the effective conduct of daily life, that mathematics admits of countless applications in engineering and the natural sciences, and finally that mathematics is a most excellent instrumentality for giving mental discipline... [A mathematician will add] that mathematics is the exact science, the science of exact thought or of rigorous thinking.
Address (28 Mar 1912), Michigan School Masters' Club, Ann Arbor, 'The Humanization of the Teaching of Mathematics. Printed in Science (26 Apr 1912). Collected in The Human Worth of Rigorous Thinking: Essays and Addresses (1916), 65-66.
Science quotes on:  |  Application (72)  |  Computation (7)  |  Conduct (8)  |  Daily Life (3)  |  Definition (86)  |  Discipline (15)  |  Effective (9)  |  Engineering (60)  |  Essential (41)  |  Exact (16)  |  Mankind (111)  |  Mathematics (367)  |  Mental (16)  |  Metrical (2)  |  Natural Science (29)  |  Rigorous (4)  |  Significance (30)  |  Thought (170)

If, then, there must be something eternal, let us see what sort of Being it must be. And to that it is very obvious to Reason, that it must necessarily be a cogitative Being. For it is as impossible to conceive that ever bare incogitative Matter should produce a thinking intelligent Being, as that nothing should of itself produce Matter...
In Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690, 1801), Book 4, Chap. 10, Sec. 10, 114.
Science quotes on:  |  Bare (4)  |  Conceive (3)  |  Eternal (14)  |  Impossible (26)  |  Intelligent (5)  |  Matter (135)  |  Necessarily (2)  |  Nothing (89)  |  Obvious (24)  |  Produce (6)  |  Reason (173)

In some respects, science has far surpassed religion in delivering awe. How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, “This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant. God must be even greater than we dreamed”? Instead they say, 'No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way.'
Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space (1994), 52.
Science quotes on:  |  Awe (9)  |  Dream (39)  |  Elegance (13)  |  Religion (120)  |  Size (21)  |  Subtlety (6)  |  Universe (291)

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)  |  Test (46)  |  Toast (5)  |  Truth (450)  |  Robert W. Wood (2)  |  Work (198)  |  Worthless (8)

In the modern world, science and society often interact in a perverse way. We live in a technological society, and technology causes political problems. The politicians and the public expect science to provide answers to the problems. Scientific experts are paid and encouraged to provide answers. The public does not have much use for a scientist who says, “Sorry, but we don’t know.” The public prefers to listen to scientists who give confident answers to questions and make confident predictions of what will happen as a result of human activities. So it happens that the experts who talk publicly about politically contentious questions tend to speak more clearly than they think. They make confident predictions about the future, and end up believing their own predictions. Their predictions become dogmas which they do not question. The public is led to believe that the fashionable scientific dogmas are true, and it may sometimes happen that they are wrong. That is why heretics who question the dogmas are needed.
Frederick S. Pardee Distinguished Lecture (Oct 2005), Boston University. Collected in 'Heretical Thoughts About Science and Society', A Many-Colored Glass: Reflections on the Place of Life in the Universe (2007), 43-44.
Science quotes on:  |  Answer (96)  |  Belief (139)  |  Cause (122)  |  Clarity (24)  |  Confidence (16)  |  Dogma (13)  |  Expert (17)  |  Fashion (9)  |  Heretic (2)  |  Interaction (11)  |  Need (57)  |  Perversity (2)  |  Politics (52)  |  Prediction (48)  |  Problem (180)  |  Public (35)  |  Question (159)  |  Science And Society (12)  |  Speaking (30)  |  Technology (98)  |  Tend (2)  |  Truth (450)  |  Wrong (50)

Innovations, free thinking is blowing like a storm; those that stand in front of it, ignorant scholars like you, false scientists, perverse conservatives, obstinate goats, resisting mules are being crushed under the weight of these innovations. You are nothing but ants standing in front of the giants; nothing but chicks trying to challenge roaring volcanoes!
From the play Galileo Galilei (2001) .
Science quotes on:  |  Ant (10)  |  Chicken (2)  |  Conservative (3)  |  False (29)  |  Giant (15)  |  Goat (2)  |  Ignorance (110)  |  Innovation (28)  |  Obstinate (2)  |  Scholar (19)  |  Scientist (237)  |  Storm (13)  |  Volcano (24)

It is structure that we look for whenever we try to understand anything. All science is built upon this search; we investigate how the cell is built of reticular material, cytoplasm, chromosomes; how crystals aggregate; how atoms are fastened together; how electrons constitute a chemical bond between atoms. We like to understand, and to explain, observed facts in terms of structure. A chemist who understands why a diamond has certain properties, or why nylon or hemoglobin have other properties, because of the different ways their atoms are arranged, may ask questions that a geologist would not think of' formulating, unless he had been similarly trained in this way of thinking about the world.
‘The Place of Chemistry In the Integration of the Sciences’, Main Currents in Modern Thought (1950), 7, 110.
Science quotes on:  |  Aggregation (4)  |  Arrangement (25)  |  Atom (164)  |  Building (34)  |  Cell (90)  |  Chemical Bond (5)  |  Chemist (49)  |  Cytoplasm (3)  |  Diamond (7)  |  Electron (43)  |  Explanation (88)  |  Fact (325)  |  Formulation (14)  |  Geologist (26)  |  Haemoglobin (3)  |  Investigation (83)  |  Material (60)  |  Observation (264)  |  Property (46)  |  Question (159)  |  Search (40)  |  Structure (104)  |  Training (21)  |  Understanding (231)

It is terrifying to think how much research is needed to determine the truth of even the most unimportant fact.
Attributed.
Science quotes on:  |  Determination (37)  |  Fact (325)  |  Need (57)  |  Research (360)  |  Terrify (3)  |  Truth (450)

It is true that physics gives a wonderful training in precise, logical thinking-about physics. It really does depend upon accurate reproducible experiments, and upon framing hypotheses with the greatest possible freedom from dogmatic prejudice. And if these were the really important things in life, physics would be an essential study for everybody.
In Science is a Sacred Cow (1950), 90-91.
Science quotes on:  |  Dependence (21)  |  Dogmatism (5)  |  Essential (41)  |  Experiment (369)  |  Freedom (41)  |  Hypothesis (150)  |  Importance (106)  |  Life (460)  |  Logic (132)  |  Physics (156)  |  Precision (19)  |  Prejudice (31)  |  Reproducibility (2)  |  Study (157)  |  Training (21)

It seems reasonable to envision, for a time 10 or 15 years hence, a “thinking center” that will incorporate the functions of present-day libraries together with anticipated advances in information storage and retrieval and ... a network of such centers, connected to one another by wide-band communication lines and to individual users by leased-wire services.
From article 'Man-Computer Symbiosis', in IRE Transactions on Human Factors in Electronics (Mar 1960), Vol. HFE-1, 4-11.
Science quotes on:  |  Center (7)  |  Communication (37)  |  Connected (2)  |  Envision (2)  |  Function (41)  |  Individual (59)  |  Information (56)  |  Library (22)  |  Network (5)  |  Service (27)  |  Storage (3)  |  User (2)  |  Wire (10)

It sometimes seems necessary to suspend one's normal critical faculties not to find the problems of fusion overwhelming.
Science (1976). In Ervan G. Garrison, A History of Engineering and Technology
Science quotes on:  |  Fusion (7)  |  Overwhelming (10)  |  Problem (180)

Jim and I hit it off immediately, partly because our interests were astonishingly similar and partly, I suspect, because a certain youthful arrogance, a ruthlessness, an impatience with sloppy thinking can naturally to both of us.
What Mad Pursuit (1990), 66.
Science quotes on:  |  Arrogance (6)  |  Autobiography (48)  |  Impatience (4)  |  Ruthlessness (3)  |  James Watson (16)  |  Youth (32)

Just remember - when you think all is lost, the future remains.
Attributed. Found as a quote in several books, but without citation. For example, in William O. Morris, Dental Litigation (1977), 112. If you know a primary source, please contact Webmaster.
Science quotes on:  |  Future (110)  |  Loss (44)  |  Remaining (8)  |  Remember (19)

Know then thyself, presume not God to scan;
The proper study of Mankind is Man.
Plac'd on this isthmus of a middle state,
A being darkly wise, and rudely great:
With too much knowledge for the Sceptic side,
With too much weakness for the Stoic's pride,
He hangs between; in doubt to act, or rest;
In doubt to deem himself a God, or Beast;
In doubt his Mind or Body to prefer,
Born but to die, and reas'ning but to err;
Alike in ignorance, his reason such,
Whether he thinks too little, or too much:
Chaos of Thought and Passion, all confus'd;
Still by himself abus'd, or disabus'd;
Created half to rise, and half to fall;
Great lord of all things, yet a prey to all;
Sole judge of Truth, in endless Error hurl'd:
The glory, jest, and riddle of the world!
... Superior beings, when of late they saw
A mortal Man unfold all Nature's law,
Admir'd such wisdom in an earthly shape,
And shew'd a NEWTON as we shew an Ape.
'An Essay on Man' (1733-4), Epistle II. In John Butt (ed.), The Poems of Alexander Pope (1965), 516-7.
Science quotes on:  |  Abuse (3)  |  Admiration (23)  |  Ape (26)  |  Beast (14)  |  Being (34)  |  Birth (47)  |  Body (88)  |  Chaos (33)  |  Confusion (22)  |  Creation (129)  |  Death (183)  |  Error (152)  |  Fall (30)  |  Glory (20)  |  God (234)  |  Ignorance (110)  |  Isthmus (2)  |  Jest (3)  |  Judge (14)  |  Knowledge (679)  |  Law (273)  |  Lord (4)  |  Man (258)  |  Mankind (111)  |  Mind (272)  |  Mortal (6)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (176)  |  Passion (24)  |  Preference (15)  |  Prey (6)  |  Pride (21)  |  Reason (173)  |  Riddle (8)  |  Rise (14)  |  Sceptic (3)  |  Shape (20)  |  Show (13)  |  Study (157)  |  Superiority (6)  |  Thought (170)  |  Truth (450)  |  Weakness (14)  |  Wisdom (91)  |  World (231)

Langmuir is a regular thinking machine. Put in facts, and you get out a theory.
Quoted in C. Guy Suits (ed.), The Collected Works of Irving Langmuir (1962), Vol. 12, 6.
Science quotes on:  |  Fact (325)  |  Irving Langmuir (7)  |  Theory (353)

Language is a guide to 'social reality.' Though language is not ordinarily thought of as essential interest to the students of social science, it powerfully conditions all our thinking about social problems and processes. Human beings do not live in the objective world alone, nor alone in the world of social activity as ordinarily understood, but are very much at the mercy of the particular language which has become the medium of expression for their society. It is quite an illusion to imagine that one adjusts to reality essentially without the use of language and that language is merely an incidental means of solving specific problems of communication or reflection. The fact of the matter is that the 'real world' is to a large extent unconsciously built up on the language habits of the group. No two languages are ever sufficiently similar to be considered as representing the same social reality. The worlds in which different societies live are distinct worlds, not merely the same world with different labels attached.
'The Status of Linguistics as a Science', Language (1929), 5, 207-14. In David Mandelbaum (ed.), Selected Writings of Edward Sapir in Language, Culture, and Personality (1949), 162.
Science quotes on:  |  Condition (68)  |  Difference (135)  |  Essential (41)  |  Habit (42)  |  Human (168)  |  Illusion (14)  |  Imagination (130)  |  Incidental (2)  |  Label (4)  |  Language (71)  |  Objective (18)  |  Problem (180)  |  Reality (67)  |  Social Science (17)  |  Society (84)  |  Solution (109)

Let us then suppose the Mind to be, as we say, white Paper, void of all Characters, without any Ideas; How comes it to be furnished? Whence comes it by that vast store, which the busy and boundless Fancy of Man has painted on it, with an almost endless variety? Whence has it all the materials of Reason and Knowledge? To this I answer, in one word, from Experience: In that, all our Knowledge is founded; and from that it ultimately derives it self. Our Observation employ'd either about external, sensible Objects; or about the internal Operations of our Minds, perceived and reflected on by our selves, is that, which supplies our Understandings with all the materials of thinking.
An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690). Edited by Peter Nidditch (1975), Book 2, Chapter 1, Section 2, 104.
Science quotes on:  |  Experience (132)  |  Idea (226)  |  Knowledge (679)  |  Mind (272)  |  Object (47)  |  Observation (264)  |  Paper (25)  |  Reason (173)

Liebig was not a teacher in the ordinary sense of the word. Scientifically productive himself in an unusual degree, and rich in chemical ideas, he imparted the latter to his advanced pupils, to be put by them to experimental proof; he thus brought his pupils gradually to think for themselves, besides showing and explaining to them the methods by which chemical problems might be solved experimentally.
As quoted in G. H. Getman, The Life of Ira Remsen (1980), 18-19.
Science quotes on:  |  Experiment (369)  |  Justus von Liebig (36)  |  Problem (180)  |  Proof (136)  |  Student (54)  |  Teacher (54)

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)  |  Test (46)

Man is but a reed, the weakest thing in nature; but a thinking reed.
Pensées (1670), Section 1, aphorism 160. In H. F. Stewart (ed.), Pascal's Pensées (1950), 83.
Science quotes on:  |  Man (258)  |  Reed (2)  |  Weakness (14)

Most classifications, whether of inanimate objects or of organisms, are hierarchical. There are 'higher' and 'lower' categories, there are higher and lower ranks. What is usually overlooked is that the use of the term 'hierarchy' is ambiguous, and that two fundamentally different kinds of arrangements have been designated as hierarchical. A hierarchy can be either exclusive or inclusive. Military ranks from private, corporal, sergeant, lieutenant, captain, up to general are a typical example of an exclusive hierarchy. A lower rank is not a subdivision of a higher rank; thus, lieutenants are not a subdivision of captains. The scala naturae, which so strongly dominated thinking from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century, is another good illustration of an exclusive hierarchy. Each level of perfection was considered an advance (or degradation) from the next lower (or higher) level in the hierarchy, but did not include it.
The Growth of Biological Thought: Diversity, Evolution and Inheritance (1982), 205-6.
Science quotes on:  |  Advance (52)  |  Ambiguity (6)  |  Arrangement (25)  |  Classification (56)  |  Degradation (6)  |  Different (15)  |  Exclusive (5)  |  Fundamental (59)  |  Hierarchy (6)  |  Inanimate (8)  |  Level (16)  |  Military (6)  |  Object (47)  |  Organism (70)  |  Perfection (43)  |  Rank (13)

My belief (is) that one should take a minimum of care and preparation over first experiments. If they are unsuccessful one is not then discouraged since many possible reasons for failure can be thought of, and improvements can be made. Much can often be learned by the repetition under different conditions, even if the desired result is not obtained. If every conceivable precaution is taken at first, one is often too discouraged to proceed at all.
Nobel Lectures in Chemistry (1999), Vol. 3, 364.
Science quotes on:  |  Belief (139)  |  Care (37)  |  Condition (68)  |  Desire (46)  |  Different (15)  |  Experiment (369)  |  Failure (58)  |  First (42)  |  Improvement (36)  |  Learning (130)  |  Minimum (7)  |  Obtain (14)  |  Possible (19)  |  Precaution (2)  |  Preparation (22)  |  Proceed (7)  |  Reason (173)  |  Repetition (18)  |  Result (129)

My Opinion is this—that deep Thinking is attainable only by a man of deep Feeling, and that all Truth is a species of Revelation. The more I understand of Sir Isaac Newton's works, the more boldly I dare utter to my own mind ... that I believe the Souls of 500 Sir Isaac Newtons would go to the making up of a Shakspere [sic] or a Milton... Mind in his system is always passive—a lazy Looker-on on an external World. If the mind be not passive, if it be indeed made in God's Image, & that too in the sublimest sense—the image of the Creator—there is ground for suspicion, that any system built on the passiveness of the mind must be false, as a system.
Letter to Thomas Poole, 23 March 1801. In Earl Leslie Griggs (ed.), The Collected Letters of Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1956), Vol. 2, 709.
Science quotes on:  |  Sir Isaac Newton (176)  |  William Shakespeare (63)  |  Truth (450)

My “"thinking”" time was devoted mainly to activities that were essentially clerical or mechanical: searching, calculating, plotting, transforming, determining the logical or dynamic consequences of a set of assumptions or hypotheses, preparing the way for a decision or an insight. Moreover ... the operations that fill most of the time allegedly devoted to technical thinking are operations that can be performed more effectively by machines than by men.
From article 'Man-Computer Symbiosis', in IRE Transactions on Human Factors in Electronics (Mar 1960), Vol. HFE-1, 4-11.
Science quotes on:  |  Activity (48)  |  Assumption (27)  |  Consequence (44)  |  Decision (30)  |  Dynamic (6)  |  Hypothesis (150)  |  Insight (28)  |  Logical (3)  |  Machine (56)  |  Mechanical (11)  |  Operation (53)  |  Perform (7)  |  Plotting (2)  |  Preparing (2)  |  Technical (6)

Nature never makes excellent things, for mean or no uses: and it is hardly to be conceived, that our infinitely wise Creator, should make so admirable a Faculty, as the power of Thinking, that Faculty which comes nearest the Excellency of his own incomprehensible Being, to be so idlely and uselesly employ'd, at least 1/4 part of its time here, as to think constantly, without remembering any of those Thoughts, without doing any good to it self or others, or being anyway useful to any other part of Creation.
An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690). Edited by Peter Nidditch (1975), Book 2, Chapter 1, Section 15, 113.
Science quotes on:  |  Creator (15)  |  Excellence (18)  |  Faculty (21)  |  Incomprehensible (2)  |  Means (25)  |  Nature (534)  |  Understanding (231)  |  Use (54)

No-one really thought of fission before its discovery.
Oral History Interview with Thomas S. Kuhn where Otto Robert Frisch was also present (12 May 1963), Archive for the History of Quantum Physics, 18-20. Ruth Sime, Lise Meitner: A Life in Physics (1996), 371.
Science quotes on:  |  Discovery (360)  |  Fission (6)

Our advanced and fashionable thinkers are, naturally, out on a wide swing of the pendulum, away from the previous swing of the pendulum.... They seem to have an un-argue-out-able position, as is the manner of sophists, but this is no guarantee that they are right.
In Science is a Sacred Cow (1950), 177-78.
Science quotes on:  |  Advance (52)  |  Fashion (9)  |  Guarantee (7)  |  Pendulum (10)  |  Swing (5)

Our natural way of thinking about these coarser emotions is that the mental perception of some fact excites the mental affection called the emotion, and that this latter state of mind gives rise to the bodily expression. My theory, on the contrary, is that the bodily changes follow directly the perception of the exciting fact, and that our feeling of the same changes as they occur IS the emotion. Common-sense says, we lose our fortune, are sorry and weep; we meet a bear, are frightened and run; we are insulted by a rival, are angry and strike. The hypothesis here to be defended says that this order of sequence is incorrect, that the one mental state is not immediately induced by the other, that the bodily manifestations must first be interposed between, and that the more rational statement is that we feel sorry because we cry, angry because we strike, afraid because we tremble, and not that we cry, strike, or tremble, because we are sorry, angry, or fearful, as the case may be. Without the bodily states following on the perception, the latter would be purely cognitive in form, pale, colorless, destitute of emotional warmth. We might then see the bear, and judge it best to run, receive the insult and deem it right to strike, but we should not actually feel afraid or angry.
The Principles or Psychology (1890), Vol. 2, 449-50.
Science quotes on:  |  Emotion (28)  |  Fact (325)  |  Hypothesis (150)  |  Mind (272)  |  Perception (21)  |  Theory (353)

Owing to his lack of knowledge, the ordinary man cannot attempt to resolve conflicting theories of conflicting advice into a single organized structure. He is likely to assume the information available to him is on the order of what we might think of as a few pieces of an enormous jigsaw puzzle. If a given piece fails to fit, it is not because it is fraudulent; more likely the contradictions and inconsistencies within his information are due to his lack of understanding and to the fact that he possesses only a few pieces of the puzzle. Differing statements about the nature of things, differing medical philosophies, different diagnoses and treatments—all of these are to be collected eagerly and be made a part of the individual's collection of puzzle pieces. Ultimately, after many lifetimes, the pieces will fit together and the individual will attain clear and certain knowledge.
'Strategies of Resort to Curers in South India', contributed in Charles M. Leslie (ed.), Asian Medical Systems: A Comparative Study (1976), 185.
Science quotes on:  |  Advice (22)  |  Assumption (27)  |  Attempt (41)  |  Availability (9)  |  Certainty (59)  |  Clarity (24)  |  Collection (26)  |  Conflict (27)  |  Contradiction (22)  |  Difference (135)  |  Eagerness (3)  |  Fact (325)  |  Failure (58)  |  Few (7)  |  Fit (12)  |  Inconsistency (3)  |  Individual (59)  |  Information (56)  |  Jigsaw (2)  |  Knowledge (679)  |  Lack (14)  |  Lifetime (10)  |  Man (258)  |  Medicine (185)  |  Nature Of Things (4)  |  Ordinary (19)  |  Organization (51)  |  Philosophy (132)  |  Piece (13)  |  Possession (24)  |  Puzzle (16)  |  Resolution (10)  |  Single (26)  |  Statement (28)  |  Structure (104)  |  Theory (353)  |  Treatment (61)  |  Ultimate (27)

Pauling was shocked by the freedom with which the X-ray crystallographers of the time, including particularly Astbury, played with the intimate chemical structure of their models. They seemed to think that if the atoms were arranged in the right order and about the right distance apart, that was all that mattered, that no further restrictions need to be put on them.
Quoted by John Law in 'The Case of X-ray Protein Crystallography', collected in Gerard Lemaine (ed.), Perspectives on the Emergence of Scientific Disciplines, 1976, 140.
Science quotes on:  |  Arrangement (25)  |  William Thomas Astbury (4)  |  Atom (164)  |  Chemical (38)  |  Crystallographer (3)  |  Distance (26)  |  Freedom (41)  |  Intimate (4)  |  Model (31)  |  Order (60)  |  Linus Pauling (34)  |  Play (22)  |  Restriction (3)  |  Right (49)  |  Shock (7)  |  Structure (104)  |  X-ray Crystallography (8)

Perhaps the problem is the seeming need that people have of making black-and-white cutoffs when it comes to certain mysterious phenomena, such as life and consciousness. People seem to want there to be an absolute threshold between the living and the nonliving, and between the thinking and the “merely mechanical,” ... But the onward march of science seems to force us ever more clearly into accepting intermediate levels of such properties.
‘Shades of Gray Along the Consciousness Continuum’, Fluid Concepts & Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought (1995), 310.
Science quotes on:  |  Absolute (32)  |  Acceptance (31)  |  Certain (14)  |  Clarity (24)  |  Consciousness (36)  |  Force (75)  |  Intermediate (10)  |  Level (16)  |  Life (460)  |  Make (10)  |  March (4)  |  Mechanical (11)  |  Mystery (74)  |  Need (57)  |  Nonliving (2)  |  People (72)  |  Phenomenon (114)  |  Problem (180)  |  Property (46)  |  Science (875)  |  Seem (12)  |  Threshold (3)

Primates stand at a turning point in the course of evolution. Primates are to the biologist what viruses are to the biochemist. They can be analysed and partly understood according to the rules of a simpler discipline, but they also present another level of complexity: viruses are living chemicals, and primates are animals who love and hate and think.
'The Evolution of Primate Behavior: A survey of the primate order traces the progressive development of intelligence as a way of life', American Scientist (1985), 73, 288.
Science quotes on:  |  Complex (20)  |  Evolution (342)  |  Love (64)  |  Primate (4)  |  Virus (16)

Propose theories which can be criticized. Think about possible decisive falsifying experiments—crucial experiments. But do not give up your theories too easily—not, at any rate, before you have critically examined your criticism.
'The Problem of Demarcation' (1974). Collected in David Miller (ed.) Popper Selections (1985), 126-127.
Science quotes on:  |  Criticism (34)  |  Decisive (3)  |  Ease (20)  |  Examination (47)  |  Experiment (369)  |  Falsification (7)  |  Proposition (28)  |  Theory (353)

Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge, it is thinking makes what we read ours.
On the Conduct Of Understanding (written 1697, published posthumously 1706), collected in Works (5th Ed. 1751), Vol. 3, 387.
Science quotes on:  |  Knowledge (679)  |  Material (60)  |  Mind (272)  |  Reading (25)  |  Understanding (231)

Research is four things: brains with which to think, eyes with which to see, machines with which to measure, and fourth, money.
Quoted in obituary, 'Albert Szent-Gyorgyi Dead; Research Isolated Vitamin C''. Walter Sullivan, New York Times (25 Oct 1986), 9.
Science quotes on:  |  Brain (106)  |  Eye (67)  |  Machine (56)  |  Measurement (112)  |  Money (87)  |  Research (360)  |  See (43)

Research is to see what everybody has seen and think what nobody has thought.
Bioenergetics (1957), 57.
Science quotes on:  |  Everybody (4)  |  Nobody (14)  |  Research (360)  |  Seeing (29)  |  Thought (170)

Romantics might like to think of themselves as being composed of stardust. Cynics might prefer to think of themselves as nuclear waste.
In Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe (2005), 389.
Science quotes on:  |  Composition (30)  |  Preference (15)  |  Romantic (2)  |  Stardust (2)  |  Themselves (5)

Science cannot stop while ethics catches up ... and nobody should expect scientists to do all the thinking for the country.
To the 116th meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, New York City (26-31 Dec 1949), as quoted in Life magazine (9 Jan 1950), 28, No. 2, 17.
Science quotes on:  |  Country (43)  |  Ethics (23)  |  Expect (3)  |  Nobody (14)  |  Science (875)  |  Scientist (237)  |  Stop (25)

Science has taught us to think the unthinkable. Because when nature is the guide—rather than a priori prejudices, hopes, fears or desires—we are forced out of our comfort zone. One by one, pillars of classical logic have fallen by the wayside as science progressed in the 20th century, from Einstein's realization that measurements of space and time were not absolute but observer-dependent, to quantum mechanics, which not only put fundamental limits on what we can empirically know but also demonstrated that elementary particles and the atoms they form are doing a million seemingly impossible things at once.
In op-ed, 'A Universe Without Purpose', Los Angeles Times (1 Apr 2012).
Science quotes on:  |  20th Century (11)  |  A Priori (8)  |  Absolute (32)  |  Atom (164)  |  Classical (7)  |  Dependence (21)  |  Desire (46)  |  Albert Einstein (174)  |  Falling (3)  |  Fear (53)  |  Guide (17)  |  Hope (50)  |  Impossibility (32)  |  Logic (132)  |  Measurement (112)  |  Nature (534)  |  Observer (10)  |  Pillar (2)  |  Prejudice (31)  |  Progress (200)  |  Quantum Mechanics (15)  |  Realization (22)  |  Science (875)  |  Space And Time (4)  |  Teaching (64)  |  Unthinkable (2)  |  Wayside (2)

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)  |  Test (46)  |  Try (34)  |  Universe (291)

Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge.
Broca's Brain (1986), 15.
Science quotes on:  |  Knowledge (679)  |  Science (875)

Science is uncertain. Theories are subject to revision; observations are open to a variety of interpretations, and scientists quarrel amongst themselves. This is disillusioning for those untrained in the scientific method, who thus turn to the rigid certainty of the Bible instead. There is something comfortable about a view that allows for no deviation and that spares you the painful necessity of having to think.
The 'Threat' of Creationism. In Ashley Montagu (ed.), Science and Creationism (1984), 192.
Science quotes on:  |  Bible (43)  |  Comfort (18)  |  Creationist (10)  |  Deviation (8)  |  Quarrel (6)  |  Religion (120)  |  Revision (2)  |  Science (875)  |  Scientific Method (101)  |  Theory (353)  |  Uncertainty (25)

Scientific method is not just a method which it has been found profitable to pursue in this or that abstruse subject for purely technical reasons. It represents the only method of thinking that has proved fruitful in any subject—that is what we mean when we call it scientific. It is not a peculiar development of thinking for highly specialized ends; it is thinking, so far as thought has become conscious of its proper ends and of the equipment indispensable for success in their pursuit ... When our schools truly become laboratories of knowledge-making, not mills fitted out with information-hoppers, there will no longer be need to discuss the place of science in education.
Address to Section L, Education, of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, at Boston (1909), 'Science as Subject-Matter and as Method'. Published in Science (28 Jan 1910), N.S. Vol. 31, No. 787, 127.
Science quotes on:  |  Development (122)  |  Fruitful (9)  |  Information (56)  |  Knowledge (679)  |  Mill (3)  |  Science Education (10)  |  Scientific Method (101)  |  Success (114)

Scientists are the easiest to fool. ... They think in straight, predictable, directable, and therefore misdirectable, lines. The only world they know is the one where everything has a logical explanation and things are what they appear to be. Children and conjurors—they terrify me. Scientists are no problem; against them I feel quite confident.
Code of the Lifemaker (1983, 2000),Chapter 1.
Science quotes on:  |  Appearance (47)  |  Child (90)  |  Confidence (16)  |  Explanation (88)  |  Fool (32)  |  Logic (132)  |  Predictability (5)  |  Scientist (237)  |  Terrify (3)

Some persons have contended that mathematics ought to be taught by making the illustrations obvious to the senses. Nothing can be more absurd or injurious: it ought to be our never-ceasing effort to make people think, not feel.
Seven Lectures on Shakespeare and Milton (1856) 24.
Science quotes on:  |  Absurd (8)  |  Contend (2)  |  Effort (40)  |  Feel (12)  |  Illustration (17)  |  Mathematics (367)  |  Obvious (24)  |  Person (38)  |  Sense (104)  |  Teach (19)

Surely the mitochondrion that first entered another cell was not thinking about the future benefits of cooperation and integration; it was merely trying to make its own living in a tough Darwinian world
Wonderful Life: the Burgess Shale and the Nature of History (1990), 310.
Science quotes on:  |  Benefit (21)  |  Cell (90)  |  Cooperation (15)  |  Darwinian (2)  |  Future (110)  |  Integration (11)  |  Living (24)  |  Tough (3)  |  Try (34)

Teach him to think for himself? Oh, my God, teach him rather to think like other people!
[Concern for her son's education.]
In Matthew Arnold, Essays in Criticism, Second Series (1888).
Science quotes on:  |  Education (177)

That there is no such thing as the scientific method, one might easily discover by asking several scientists to define it. One would find, I am sure, that no two of them would exactly agree. Indeed, no two scientists work and think in just the same ways.
In Science in the Making (1957), 8-9.
Science quotes on:  |  Agreement (18)  |  Ask (23)  |  Definition (86)  |  Scientific Method (101)  |  Scientist (237)  |  Work (198)

The advance of science is not comparable to the changes of a city, where old edifices are pitilessly torn down to give place to new, but to the continuous evolution of zoologic types which develop ceaselessly and end by becoming unrecognisable to the common sight, but where an expert eye finds always traces of the prior work of the centuries past. One must not think then that the old-fashioned theories have been sterile and vain.
The Value of Science (1905), in The Foundations of Science: Science and Hypothesis, The Value of Science, Science and Method(1946), trans. by George Bruce Halsted, 208.
Science quotes on:  |  Advance (52)  |  Century (38)  |  Change (133)  |  City (12)  |  Common (44)  |  Comparison (33)  |  Continuity (17)  |  Demolition (4)  |  Development (122)  |  Edifice (8)  |  End (51)  |  Evolution (342)  |  Expert (17)  |  New (107)  |  Old-Fashioned (3)  |  Past (42)  |  Pity (2)  |  Prior (2)  |  Replacement (8)  |  Science (875)  |  Sight (12)  |  Theory (353)  |  Trace (10)  |  Type (15)  |  Vanity (8)  |  Work (198)  |  Zoology (12)

The assumptions of population thinking are diametrically opposed to those of the typologist. The populationist stresses the uniqueness of everything in the organic world. What is true for the human species,–that no two individuals are alike, is equally true for all other species of animals and plants ... All organisms and organic phenomena are composed of unique features and can be described collectively only in statistical terms. Individuals, or any kind of organic entities, form populations of which we can determine the arithmetic mean and the statistics of variation. Averages are merely statistical abstractions, only the individuals of which the populations are composed have reality. The ultimate conclusions of the population thinker and of the typologist are precisely the opposite. For the typologist, the type (eidos) is real and the variation. an illusion, while for the populationist the type (average) is an abstraction and only the variation is real. No two ways of looking at nature could be more different.
Darwin and the Evolutionary Theory in Biology (1959), 2.
Science quotes on:  |  Abstraction (10)  |  Animal (143)  |  Assumption (27)  |  Characteristic (36)  |  Description (40)  |  Difference (135)  |  Human Species (2)  |  Illusion (14)  |  Individual (59)  |  Likeness (4)  |  Nature (534)  |  Opposition (22)  |  Organism (70)  |  Plant (96)  |  Population (41)  |  Reality (67)  |  Species (96)  |  Type (15)  |  Unique (9)  |  Variation (34)

The contemplation of celestial things will make a man both speak and think more sublimely and magnificently when he descends to human affairs.
In Louis Klopsch, Many Thoughts of Many Minds (1896), 18.
Science quotes on:  |  Affair (10)  |  Astronomy (105)  |  Celestial (5)  |  Contemplation (17)  |  Magnificent (8)  |  Speak (13)

The difference between myth and science is the difference between divine inspiration of 'unaided reason' (as Bertrand Russell put it) on the one hand and theories developed in observational contact with the real world on the other. It is the difference between the belief in prophets and critical thinking, between Credo quia absurdum (I believe because it is absurd–Tertullian) and De omnibus est dubitandum (Everything should be questioned–Descartes). To try to write a grand cosmical drama leads necessarily to myth. To try to let knowledge substitute ignorance in increasingly large regions of space and time is science.
In 'Cosmology: Myth or Science?'. Journal of Astrophysics and Astronomy (1984), 5, 79-98.
Science quotes on:  |  Belief (139)  |  Contact (12)  |  Cosmology (11)  |  René Descartes (32)  |  Difference (135)  |  Divine (17)  |  Drama (4)  |  Ignorance (110)  |  Inspiration (30)  |  Knowledge (679)  |  Myth (24)  |  Observation (264)  |  Prophet (3)  |  Question (159)  |  Real (28)  |  Reason (173)  |  Bertrand Russell (84)  |  Science (875)  |  Space And Time (4)  |  Substitute (10)  |  Theory (353)  |  World (231)  |  Write (21)

The discovery of an interaction among the four hemes made it obvious that they must be touching, but in science what is obvious is not necessarily true. When the structure of hemoglobin was finally solved, the hemes were found to lie in isolated pockets on the surface of the subunits. Without contact between them how could one of them sense whether the others had combined with oxygen? And how could as heterogeneous a collection of chemical agents as protons, chloride ions, carbon dioxide, and diphosphoglycerate influence the oxygen equilibrium curve in a similar way? It did not seem plausible that any of them could bind directly to the hemes or that all of them could bind at any other common site, although there again it turned out we were wrong. To add to the mystery, none of these agents affected the oxygen equilibrium of myoglobin or of isolated subunits of hemoglobin. We now know that all the cooperative effects disappear if the hemoglobin molecule is merely split in half, but this vital clue was missed. Like Agatha Christie, Nature kept it to the last to make the story more exciting. There are two ways out of an impasse in science: to experiment or to think. By temperament, perhaps, I experimented, whereas Jacques Monod thought.
From essay 'The Second Secret of Life', collected in I Wish I'd Made You Angry Earlier (1998), 263-5.
Science quotes on:  |  Agent (13)  |  Binding (6)  |  Carbon Dioxide (14)  |  Chemical (38)  |  Agatha Christie (4)  |  Clue (7)  |  Collection (26)  |  Combination (37)  |  Common (44)  |  Contact (12)  |  Cooperation (15)  |  Curve (9)  |  Discovery (360)  |  Effect (72)  |  Equilibrium (12)  |  Excitement (20)  |  Experiment (369)  |  Half (9)  |  Heterogeneity (3)  |  Interaction (11)  |  Ion (5)  |  Isolation (16)  |  Molecule (82)  |  Jacques Monod (20)  |  Mystery (74)  |  Nature (534)  |  Necessity (78)  |  Obvious (24)  |  Oxygen (34)  |  Pocket (4)  |  Proton (7)  |  Science (875)  |  Sense (104)  |  Site (5)  |  Solution (109)  |  Split (4)  |  Story (16)  |  Structure (104)  |  Surface (37)  |  Temperament (3)  |  Thought (170)  |  Touch (19)  |  Truth (450)  |  Vital (10)  |  Wrong (50)

The fact that XY thinks slowly is not serious, but that he publishes faster than he thinks is inexcusable.
Quoted in R. Desper, The Human Side of Scientists (1975), 154.
Science quotes on:  |  Fast (11)  |  Publishing (2)  |  Seriousness (7)  |  Slow (7)

The fundamental hypothesis of genetic epistemology is that there is a parallelism between the progress made in the logical and rational organization of knowledge and the corresponding formative psychological processes. With that hypothesis, the most fruitful, most obvious field of study would be the reconstituting of human history—the history of human thinking in prehistoric man. Unfortunately, we are not very well informed in the psychology of primitive man, but there are children all around us, and it is in studying children that we have the best chance of studying the development of logical knowledge, physical knowledge, and so forth.
'Genetic Epistemology', Columbia Forum (1969), 12, 4.
Science quotes on:  |  Chance (77)  |  Child (90)  |  Correspondence (6)  |  Development (122)  |  Epistemology (4)  |  Field (69)  |  Formation (34)  |  Fruitful (9)  |  Fundamental (59)  |  Genetics (79)  |  History (156)  |  Human (168)  |  Hypothesis (150)  |  Information (56)  |  Knowledge (679)  |  Logic (132)  |  Obvious (24)  |  Organization (51)  |  Parallelism (2)  |  Prehistoric (2)  |  Process (97)  |  Progress (200)  |  Psychology (69)  |  Rational (18)  |  Study (157)  |  Unfortunately (5)

The generality of men are so accustomed to judge of things by their senses that, because the air is indivisible, they ascribe but little to it, and think it but one remove from nothing.
In Mary Elvira Weeks, The Discovery of the Elements (1934), 29, citing Boyle, 'Memoirs for a General History of the Air', in Shaw's Abridgment of Boyle's works (1725), Vol. 3, 61, and Ramsay, The Gases of the Atmosphere (1915), 10.
Science quotes on:  |  Accustomed (2)  |  Air (84)  |  Ascribe (6)  |  Generality (14)  |  Indivisible (5)  |  Judge (14)  |  Little (29)  |  Men (12)  |  Nothing (89)  |  Remove (6)  |  Sense (104)

The great testimony of history shows how often in fact the development of science has emerged in response to technological and even economic needs, and how in the economy of social effort, science, even of the most abstract and recondite kind, pays for itself again and again in providing the basis for radically new technological developments. In fact, most people—when they think of science as a good thing, when they think of it as worthy of encouragement, when they are willing to see their governments spend substance upon it, when they greatly do honor to men who in science have attained some eminence-have in mind that the conditions of their life have been altered just by such technology, of which they may be reluctant to be deprived.
The Open Mind (1955), 89-90.
Science quotes on:  |  Abstract (19)  |  Alteration (15)  |  Attainment (23)  |  Basis (25)  |  Condition (68)  |  Deprivation (4)  |  Development (122)  |  Effort (40)  |  Emergence (17)  |  Eminence (8)  |  Encouragement (9)  |  Government (50)  |  History (156)  |  Honour (20)  |  Life (460)  |  Men Of Science (90)  |  Pay (8)  |  People (72)  |  Providing (3)  |  Radical (9)  |  Reluctance (2)  |  Response (8)  |  Science (875)  |  Social (16)  |  Substance (39)  |  Technology (98)  |  Testimony (5)  |  Willing (2)  |  Worthy (4)

The Greeks made Space the subject-matter of a science of supreme simplicity and certainty. Out of it grew, in the mind of classical antiquity, the idea of pure science. Geometry became one of the most powerful expressions of that sovereignty of the intellect that inspired the thought of those times. At a later epoch, when the intellectual despotism of the Church, which had been maintained through the Middle Ages, had crumbled, and a wave of scepticism threatened to sweep away all that had seemed most fixed, those who believed in Truth clung to Geometry as to a rock, and it was the highest ideal of every scientist to carry on his science 'more geometrico.'
In Space,Time, Matter, translated by Henry Leopold Brose (1952), 1
Science quotes on:  |  Antiquity (5)  |  Belief (139)  |  Certainty (59)  |  Church (16)  |  Epoch (2)  |  Expression (44)  |  Fixed (6)  |  Geometry (68)  |  Greek (17)  |  Grow (4)  |  Ideal (26)  |  Intellect (99)  |  Later (4)  |  Maintain (10)  |  Middle Ages (3)  |  Powerful (14)  |  Pure Science (7)  |  Rock (54)  |  Science (875)  |  Seem (12)  |  Simplicity (92)  |  Skepticism (9)  |  Sovereignty (2)  |  Space (68)  |  Subject (51)  |  Supreme (8)  |  Sweep (3)  |  Truth (450)  |  Wave (32)

The invention of the scientific method and science is, I'm sure we'll all agree, the most powerful intellectual idea, the most powerful framework for thinking and investigating and understanding and challenging the world around us that there is, and it rests on the premise that any idea is there to be attacked. If it withstands the attack then it lives to fight another day and if it doesn't withstand the attack then down it goes. Religion doesn't seem to work like that.
From impromptu speech at a Cambridge conference (1998). Quoted in Richard Dawkins, A Devil's Chaplain: Reflections on Hope, Lies, Science, and Love (2004), 168. In Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time (2002), 141.
Science quotes on:  |  Attack (13)  |  Challenge (15)  |  Fight (8)  |  Framework (8)  |  Idea (226)  |  Intellectual (13)  |  Invention (174)  |  Investigation (83)  |  Life (460)  |  Premise (7)  |  Religion (120)  |  Science And Religion (159)  |  Scientific Method (101)  |  Understanding (231)  |  Work (198)  |  World (231)

The more experiences and experiments accumulate in the exploration of nature, the more precarious the theories become. But it is not always good to discard them immediately on this account. For every hypothesis which once was sound was useful for thinking of previous phenomena in the proper interrelations and for keeping them in context. We ought to set down contradictory experiences separately, until enough have accumulated to make building a new structure worthwhile.
Lichtenberg: Aphorisms & Letters (1969), 61.
Science quotes on:  |  Accumulation (16)  |  Context (7)  |  Contradiction (22)  |  Discard (11)  |  Experience (132)  |  Experiment (369)  |  Exploration (48)  |  Hypothesis (150)  |  Interrelation (2)  |  Nature (534)  |  Phenomenon (114)  |  Precarious (4)  |  Structure (104)  |  Theory (353)  |  Usefulness (54)

The more I think of it, I find this conclusion more impressed upon me—that the greatest thing a human soul ever does in this world is to see something, and tell what it saw in a plain way.
Modern Painters: pt. 4. Of Many Things (1850), 268. books.google.com John Ruskin - 1850
Science quotes on:  |  Conclusion (74)  |  Doing (26)  |  Greatest (23)  |  Human (168)  |  Impression (32)  |  Plain (11)  |  Seeing (29)  |  Something (9)  |  Soul (54)  |  Telling (16)  |  Thing (27)  |  Way (31)  |  World (231)

The mystery of life is certainly the most persistent problem ever placed before the thought of man. There is no doubt that from the time humanity began to think it has occupied itself with the problem of its origin and its future which undoubtedly is the problem of life. The inability of science to solve it is absolute. This would be truly frightening were it not for faith.
Address (10 Sep 1934) to the International Congress of Electro-Radio Biology, Venice. In Associated Press, 'Life a Closed Book, Declares Marconi', New York Times (11 Sep 1934), 15.
Science quotes on:  |  Absolute (32)  |  Certainty (59)  |  Doubt (67)  |  Faith (73)  |  Future (110)  |  Humanity (46)  |  Inability (3)  |  Life (460)  |  Mankind (111)  |  Mystery (74)  |  Occupation (28)  |  Origin (36)  |  Origin Of Life (11)  |  Persistence (10)  |  Problem (180)  |  Science (875)  |  Science And Religion (159)  |  Solution (109)

The need for a quick, satisfactory copying machine that could be used right in the office seemed very apparent to me—there seemed such a crying need for it—such a desirable thing if it could be obtained. So I set out to think of how one could be made.
In interview with Dumond (1947) quoted in David owen, Copies in Seconds: How a Lone Inventor and an Unknown Company Created the Biggest Communications Breakthrough Since Gutenberg (2008), 70.
Science quotes on:  |  Apparent (9)  |  Copy (6)  |  Invention (174)  |  Machine (56)  |  Need (57)  |  Office (8)  |  Quick (3)  |  Satisfactory (5)

The operational approach demands that we make our reports and do our thinking in the freshest terms of which we are capable, in which we strip off the sophistications of millenia of culture and report as directly as we can on what happens.
'Rejoinders and Second Thoughts'. In a Symposium on Operationism, Psychological Review, 1945, 52, 283.

The presence of those seeking the truth is infinitely to be preferred to the presence of those who think they've found it.
In Monstrous Regiment (2004), 211.
Science quotes on:  |  Finding (19)  |  Infinity (44)  |  Preference (15)  |  Presence (10)  |  Seeking (17)  |  Truth (450)

The real question is not whether machines think but whether men do.
Contingencies of Reinforcement (1969), 288.
Science quotes on:  |  Computer (51)  |  Machine (56)  |  Question (159)

The scientist, if he is to be more than a plodding gatherer of bits of information, needs to exercise an active imagination. The scientists of the past whom we now recognize as great are those who were gifted with transcendental imaginative powers, and the part played by the imaginative faculty of his daily life is as least as important for the scientist as it is for the worker in any other field—much more important than for most. A good scientist thinks logically and accurately when conditions call for logical and accurate thinking—but so does any other good worker when he has a sufficient number of well-founded facts to serve as the basis for the accurate, logical induction of generalizations and the subsequent deduction of consequences.
‘Imagination in Science’, Tomorrow (Dec 1943), 38-9. Quoted In Barbara Marinacci (ed.), Linus Pauling In His Own Words: Selected Writings, Speeches, and Interviews (1995), 82.
Science quotes on:  |  Accuracy (34)  |  Active (6)  |  Basis (25)  |  Condition (68)  |  Consequence (44)  |  Daily (5)  |  Deduction (39)  |  Exercise (26)  |  Fact (325)  |  Faculty (21)  |  Field (69)  |  Generalization (16)  |  Gift (26)  |  Greatness (24)  |  Imagination (130)  |  Importance (106)  |  Induction (22)  |  Information (56)  |  Life (460)  |  Logic (132)  |  Past (42)  |  Recognition (38)  |  Scientist (237)  |  Sufficiency (13)  |  Transcendental (2)  |  Worker (11)

The spectacular thing about Johnny [von Neumann] was not his power as a mathematician, which was great, or his insight and his clarity, but his rapidity; he was very, very fast. And like the modern computer, which no longer bothers to retrieve the logarithm of 11 from its memory (but, instead, computes the logarithm of 11 each time it is needed), Johnny didn't bother to remember things. He computed them. You asked him a question, and if he didn't know the answer, he thought for three seconds and would produce and answer.
From interview with Donald J. Albers. In John H. Ewing and Frederick W. Gehring, Paul Halmos Celebrating 50 Years of Mathematics (1991), 9.
Science quotes on:  |  Answer (96)  |  Computer (51)  |  Logarithm (3)  |  Mathematician (110)  |  Memory (42)  |  Question (159)  |  Remember (19)  |  John von Neumann (7)

The stimulus of competition, when applied at an early age to real thought processes, is injurious both to nerve-power and to scientific insight.
In The Preparation of the Child for Science (1904), 44.
Science quotes on:  |  Child (90)  |  Competition (18)  |  Education (177)  |  Injury (9)  |  Insight (28)  |  Nerve (53)  |  Process (97)  |  Science (875)  |  Stimulus (6)

The study of science teaches young men to think, while study of the classics teaches them to express thought.
In Tryon Edwards. A Dictionary of Thoughts (1908), 506.
Science quotes on:  |  Science (875)

The two fulcra of medicine are reason and observation. Observation is the clue to guide the physician in his thinking.
Praxi Medica (1696), Introduction.
Science quotes on:  |  Medicine (185)  |  Observation (264)  |  Reason (173)

The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking.
‘Physics and Reality’, Franklin Institute Journal (Mar 1936). Collected in Out of My Later Years (1950), 59.
Science quotes on:  |  Everyday (5)  |  Refinement (6)  |  Science (875)

There are science teachers who actually claim that they teach “a healthy skepticism.” They do not. They teach a profound gullibility, and their dupes, trained not to think for themselves, will swallow any egregious rot, provided it is dressed up with long words and an affectation of objectivity to make it sound scientific.
In Science is a Sacred Cow (1950), 189.
Science quotes on:  |  Affectation (3)  |  Dupe (2)  |  Objectivity (8)  |  Rot (4)  |  Skepticism (9)  |  Swallow (5)  |  Teacher (54)  |  Word (97)

There are some modern practitioners, who declaim against medical theory in general, not considering that to think is to theorize; and that no one can direct a method of cure to a person labouring under disease, without thinking, that is, without theorizing; and happy therefore is the patient, whose physician possesses the best theory.
Zoonomia, or, The Laws Of Organic Life (1801), Vol. 2, ix.
Science quotes on:  |  Diagnosis (48)  |  Disease (170)  |  Happiness (58)  |  Patient (54)  |  Physician (172)  |  Theory (353)  |  Treatment (61)

There are two ways to slide easily through life; to believe everything or to doubt everything. Both ways save us from thinking.
Manhood of Humanity (1921), 4. Sometimes seen misquoted as 'slice through life.'
Science quotes on:  |  Believe (14)  |  Doubt (67)  |  Everything (38)  |  Life (460)  |  Save (13)  |  Slide (3)

There is another ground of hope that must not be omitted. Let men but think over their infinite expenditure of understanding, time, and means on matters and pursuits of far less use and value; whereof, if but a small part were directed to sound and solid studies, there is no difficulty that might not be overcome.
Translation of Novum Organum, CXI. In Francis Bacon, James Spedding, The Works of Francis Bacon (1864), Vol. 8, 144.
Science quotes on:  |  Difficulty (76)  |  Expenditure (2)  |  Hope (50)  |  Infinite (39)  |  Omit (3)  |  Overcome (2)  |  Pursuit (34)  |  Study (157)  |  Time (170)  |  Understanding (231)  |  Value (63)

Thinkers perish; thoughts don't.
In Ted Goodman, The Forbes Book of Business Quotations (2007), 595.
Science quotes on:  |  Perish (11)

Thinking consists in envisaging, realizing structural features and structural requirements; proceeding in accordance with, and determined by, these requirements; thereby changing the situation in the direction of structural improvements.
In Productive Thinking (1959), 235.
Science quotes on:  |  Change (133)  |  Consist (8)  |  Direction (27)  |  Feature (14)  |  Improvement (36)  |  Realize (5)  |  Requirement (27)  |  Situation (21)  |  Structural (4)

Thinking is the activity I love best, and writing to me is simply thinking through my fingers. I can write up to 18 hours a day. Typing 90 words a minute, I've done better than 50 pages a day. Nothing interferes with my concentration. You could put an orgy in my office and I wouldn't look up—well, maybe once.
In Joseph Barbato, Writing for a Good Cause (2000), 151. Attribution uncertain. If you know an original print citation, please contact Webmaster.
Science quotes on:  |  Activity (48)  |  Concentration (6)  |  Finger (14)  |  Interfere (4)  |  Look (32)  |  Love (64)  |  Office (8)  |  Word (97)  |  Writing (50)

To be and to think are one and the same for us.
'De la Nature de l'Homme', Histoire Naturelle, Générale et Particulière, Avec la Description du Cabinet du Roi (1749), Vol. 2, 432. Quoted in Jacques Roger, The Life Sciences in Eighteenth- Century French Thought, ed. Keith R. Benson and trans. Robert Ellrich (1997), 434.

To conclude, therefore, let no man out of a weak conceit of sobriety, or an ill-apply'd moderation, think or maintain, that a man can search too far or be too well studied in the book of God’s word, or in the book of God’s works; divinity or philosophy; but rather let men endeavour an endless progress or proficience in both.
In Of Proficience and Advancement of Learning Divine and Human (1605), collected in The Works of Francis Bacon (1711), Vol. 2, 417. Charles Darwin placed this quote on the title page of his On the Origin of Species.
Science quotes on:  |  Book (100)  |  Both (5)  |  Conceit (5)  |  Conclusion (74)  |  Divinity (6)  |  Endeavour (23)  |  Endless (12)  |  God (234)  |  Maintain (10)  |  Moderation (2)  |  Philosophy (132)  |  Progress (200)  |  Search (40)  |  Sobriety (2)  |  Study (157)  |  Weak (10)  |  Word (97)  |  Work (198)

To halt the decline of an ecosystem, it is necessary to think like an ecosystem.
EPA Journal (SepOct 1990)
Science quotes on:  |  Ecosystem (10)  |  Halt (5)  |  Necessity (78)

We are many small puppets moved by fate and fortune through strings unseen by us; therefore, if it is so as I think, one has to prepare oneself with a good heart and indifference to accept things coming towards us, because they cannot be avoided, and to oppose them requires a violence that tears our souls too deeply, and it seems that both fortune and men are always busy in affairs for our dislike because the former is blind and the latter only think of their interest.
'Letter to Bellini' (17 Oct 1689), in H. B. Adelmann (ed.), The Correspondence of Marcello Malpighi (1975), Vol. 4, 1534.
Science quotes on:  |  Affair (10)  |  Avoidance (6)  |  Blindness (5)  |  Dislike (9)  |  Fate (16)  |  Fortune (15)  |  Indifference (7)  |  Interest (82)  |  Opposition (22)  |  Preparation (22)  |  Soul (54)  |  String (11)  |  Tear (11)

We have reason not to be afraid of the machine, for there is always constructive change, the enemy of machines, making them change to fit new conditions.
We suffer not from overproduction but from undercirculation. You have heard of technocracy. I wish I had those fellows for my competitors. I'd like to take the automobile it is said they predicted could be made now that would last fifty years. Even if never used, this automobile would not be worth anything except to a junkman in ten years, because of the changes in men's tastes and ideas. This desire for change is an inherent quality in human nature, so that the present generation must not try to crystallize the needs of the future ones.
We have been measuring too much in terms of the dollar. What we should do is think in terms of useful materials—things that will be of value to us in our daily life.
In 'Quotation Marks: Against Technocracy', New York Times (1 Han 1933), E4.
Science quotes on:  |  Afraid (7)  |  Automobile (11)  |  Change (133)  |  Circulation (12)  |  Competitor (2)  |  Condition (68)  |  Construction (36)  |  Daily Life (3)  |  Desire (46)  |  Doing (26)  |  Dollar (11)  |  Enemy (26)  |  Fifty (4)  |  Future (110)  |  Generation (56)  |  Human Nature (34)  |  Idea (226)  |  Inherent (17)  |  Junk (2)  |  Machine (56)  |  Measurement (112)  |  Need (57)  |  New (107)  |  Prediction (48)  |  Present (36)  |  Production (72)  |  Quality (29)  |  Reason (173)  |  Suffering (20)  |  Taste (16)  |  Ten (3)  |  Term (34)  |  Use (54)  |  Usefulness (54)  |  Value (63)  |  Wish (18)  |  Worth (30)  |  Year (69)

We haven't the money, so we've got to think.
Quoted by R. V. Jones, Bulletin of the Institute of Physics (1962), 13, No.4, 102.
Science quotes on:  |  Money (87)

What does one have to do to be called a scientist? I decided that anyone who spent on science more than 10% of his waking, thinking time for a period of more than a year would be called a scientist, at least for that year.
Quoted in 'The Way it Was', Annual Review of Physical Chemistry (1982), 33, 1-2.
Science quotes on:  |  Nomenclature (102)  |  Scientist (237)  |  Year (69)

Without writing, the literate mind would not and could not think as it does, not only when engaged in writing but normally even when it is composing its thoughts in oral form. More than any other single invention writing has transformed human consciousness.
Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word (1982), 78.
Science quotes on:  |  Composition (30)  |  Consciousness (36)  |  Engagement (4)  |  Invention (174)  |  Literacy (4)  |  Mind (272)  |  Oral (2)  |  Thought (170)  |  Transformation (27)  |  Writing (50)

You can't possibly be a scientist if you mind people thinking that you're a fool.
Character Wonko the Sane in So Long And Thanks For All The Fish (1985), collected in The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2002), 587.
Science quotes on:  |  Fool (32)  |  Mind (272)  |  People (72)  |  Possibility (70)  |  Scientist (237)

You can't really discover the most interesting conflicts and problems in a subject until you've tried to write about them. At that point, one discovers discontinuities in the data, perhaps, or in one's own thinking; then the act of writing forces you to work harder to resolve these contradictions.
From Robert S. Grumet, 'An Interview with Anthony F. C. Wallace', Ethnohistory (Winter 1998), 45, No. 1, 109.
Science quotes on:  |  Conflict (27)  |  Contradiction (22)  |  Data (59)  |  Discontinuity (3)  |  Discover (16)  |  Harder (3)  |  Interesting (20)  |  Problem (180)  |  Resolve (7)  |  Subject (51)  |  Try (34)  |  Work (198)  |  Write (21)

You don't need a science degree to understand about science. You just need to think about it.
Quoted in Max Davidson, 'Bill Bryson: Have faith, science can solve our problems', Daily Telegraph (26 Sep 2010)
Science quotes on:  |  Science Degree (2)  |  Understanding (231)

[Consider] a fence or gate erected across a road] The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don't see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don't see the use of it, I certainly won't let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.”
In The Thing (1929). Excerpt in Gilbert Keith Chesterton and Alvaro De Silva (ed.), Brave New Family: G.K. Chesterton on Men and Women, Children, Sex, Divorce (1990), 53. Note: This passage may be the source which John F. Kennedy had in mind when he wrote in his personal notebook, “Don't ever take a fence down until you know the reason why it was put up.” (see John F. Kennedy quotes on this site). The words in that terse paraphrase are those of Kennedy, and are neither those of Chesterton, or, as often attributed, Robert Frost (q.v.).
Science quotes on:  |  Allow (5)  |  Answer (96)  |  Clear (9)  |  Destroy (15)  |  Fence (6)  |  Gate (4)  |  Intelligence (76)  |  Modern (44)  |  Reason (173)  |  Reformer (2)  |  Telling (16)  |  Use (54)

[I attach] little importance to physical size. I don't feel the least humble before the vastness of the heavens. The stars may be large, but they cannot think or love; and these are qualities which impress me far more than size does.
From a paper read to the Apostles, a Cambridge discussion society (1925). In 'The Foundations of Mathematics' (1925), collected in Frank Plumpton Ramsey and D. H. Mellor (ed.), Philosophical Papers (1990), Epilogue, 249. Citation to the paper, in Nils-Eric Sahlin, The Philosophy of F.P. Ramsey (1990), 225.
Science quotes on:  |  Credit (10)  |  Friend (22)  |  Impression (32)  |  Love (64)  |  Quality (29)  |  Size (21)  |  Weight (41)

[It] is not the nature of things for any one man to make a sudden, violent discovery; science goes step by step and every man depends on the work of his predecessors. When you hear of a sudden unexpected discovery—a bolt from the blue—you can always be sure that it has grown up by the influence of one man or another, and it is the mutual influence which makes the enormous possibility of scientific advance. Scientists are not dependent on the ideas of a single man, but on the combined wisdom of thousands of men, all thinking of the same problem and each doing his little bit to add to the great structure of knowledge which is gradually being erected.
Concluding remark in Lecture ii (1936) on 'Forty Years of Physics', revised and prepared for publication by J.A. Ratcliffe, collected in Needham and Pagel (eds.), Background to Modern Science: Ten Lectures at Cambridge Arranged by the History of Science Committee, (1938), 73-74. Note that the words as prepared for publication may not be verbatim as spoken in the original lecture by the then late Lord Rutherford.
Science quotes on:  |  Add (4)  |  Advance (52)  |  Bit (2)  |  Blue (9)  |  Bolt (3)  |  Bolt From The Blue (2)  |  Depend (9)  |  Dependent (2)  |  Discovery (360)  |  Doing (26)  |  Enormous (16)  |  Gradual (9)  |  Great (62)  |  Hear (4)  |  Idea (226)  |  Influence (47)  |  Knowledge (679)  |  Little (29)  |  Make (10)  |  Mutual (12)  |  Nature (534)  |  Possibility (70)  |  Predecessor (13)  |  Problem (180)  |  Science (875)  |  Scientific (55)  |  Scientist (237)  |  Single (26)  |  Step By Step (7)  |  Structure (104)  |  Sudden (6)  |  Thousand (32)  |  Unexpected (13)  |  Violent (2)  |  Wisdom (91)  |  Work (198)

[There] are cases where there is no dishonesty involved but where people are tricked into false results by a lack of understanding about what human beings can do to themselves in the way of being led astray by subjective effects, wishful thinking or threshold interactions. These are examples of pathological science. These are things that attracted a great deal of attention. Usually hundreds of papers have been published upon them. Sometimes they have lasted for fifteen or twenty years and then they gradually die away.
[Coining the term “pathological science” for the self-deceiving application of science to a phenomenon that doesn't exist.]
From a Colloquium at The Knolls Research Laboratory (18 Dec 1953). Transcribed and edited by R. N. Hall. In General Electric Laboratories, Report No. 68-C-035 (April 1968).
Science quotes on:  |  Dishonesty (5)  |  Effect (72)  |  False (29)  |  Lack (14)  |  Research (360)  |  Result (129)  |  Self-Deception (2)  |  Subjective (4)  |  Trick (11)  |  Understanding (231)  |  Wishful (2)

[When thinking about the new relativity and quantum theories] I have felt a homesickness for the paths of physical science where there are ore or less discernible handrails to keep us from the worst morasses of foolishness.
The Nature Of The Physical World (1928), 343.
Science quotes on:  |  Foolishness (3)  |  Path (21)  |  Physical Science (32)  |  Quantum Theory (36)  |  Relativity (33)


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