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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index S > Frederick Soddy Quotes

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Frederick Soddy
(2 Sep 1877 - 22 Sep 1956)

English chemist and physicist.


Science Quotes by Frederick Soddy (20 quotes)

Chemistry has been termed by the physicist as the messy part of physics, but that is no reason why the physicists should be permitted to make a mess of chemistry when they invade it.
— Frederick Soddy
Attributed. In Robert L. Weber, More Random Walks in Science: An Anthology (1982), 64, without citation. Contact Webmaster if you know a primary source.
Science quotes on:  |  Chemistry (143)  |  Invasion (5)  |  Mess (3)  |  Permission (3)  |  Physics (156)  |  Reason (173)  |  Term (34)

For a modern ruler the laws of conservation and transformation of energy, when the vivifing stream takes its source, the ways it wends its course in nature, and how, under wisdom and knowledge, it may be intertwined with human destiny, instead of careering headlong to the ocean, are a study at least as pregnant with consequences to life as any lesson taught by the long unscientific history of man.
— Frederick Soddy
Science and Life (1920), 5.
Science quotes on:  |  Energy (103)  |  Energy Conservation (3)

Heat energy of uniform temperature [is] the ultimate fate of all energy. The power of sunlight and coal, electric power, water power, winds and tides do the work of the world, and in the end all unite to hasten the merry molecular dance.
— Frederick Soddy
Matter and Energy (1911), 140.
Science quotes on:  |  Coal (20)  |  Dance (5)  |  Electricity (82)  |  End (51)  |  Energy (103)  |  Entropy (25)  |  Fate (16)  |  Haste (3)  |  Merry (2)  |  Molecule (82)  |  Power (103)  |  Solar Power (7)  |  Sunlight (9)  |  Temperature (23)  |  Thermodynamics (17)  |  Tidal Power (2)  |  Tide (8)  |  Ultimate (27)  |  Uniform (5)  |  Unite (6)  |  Water (122)  |  Water Power (3)  |  Wind Power (6)  |  Work (198)  |  World (231)

In so far as such developments utilise the natural energy running to waste, as in water power, they may be accounted as pure gain. But in so far as they consume the fuel resources of the globe they are very different. The one is like spending the interest on a legacy, and the other is like spending the legacy itself. ... [There is] a still hardly recognised coming energy problem.
— Frederick Soddy
Matter and Energy (1911), 139.
Science quotes on:  |  Account (15)  |  Consumption (6)  |  Development (122)  |  Difference (135)  |  Energy (103)  |  Energy Conservation (3)  |  Fuel (16)  |  Gain (23)  |  Globe (20)  |  Interest (82)  |  Legacy (3)  |  Nature (534)  |  Problem (180)  |  Recognition (38)  |  Resource (15)  |  Running (4)  |  Spending (5)  |  Utilization (2)  |  Waste (31)  |  Water Power (3)

It is probable that all heavy matter possesses—latent and bound up with the structure of the atom—a similar quantity of energy to that possessed by radium. If it could be tapped and controlled, what an agent it would be in shaping the world's destiny! The man who puts his hand on the lever by which a parsimonious nature regulates so jealously the output of this store of energy would possess a weapon by which he could destroy the Earth if he chose.
A prescient remark on atomic energy after the discovery of radioactivity, but decades before the harnessing of nuclear fission in an atomic bomb became a reality.
— Frederick Soddy
Lecture to the Corps of Royal Engineers, Britain (19040. In Rodney P. Carlisle, Scientific American Inventions and Discoveries (2004), 373.
Science quotes on:  |  Atomic Bomb (71)  |  Nuclear Energy (3)  |  Radioactivity (21)  |  Radium (13)  |  Weapon (35)

Mankind has always drawn from outside sources of energy. This island was the first to harness coal and steam. But our present sources stand in the ratio of a million to one, compared with any previous sources. The release of atomic energy will change the whole structure of society.
— Frederick Soddy
Address to New Europe Group meeting on the third anniversary of the Hiroshima bomb. Quoted in New Europe Group, In Commemoration of Professor Frederick Soddy (1956), 7.
Science quotes on:  |  Atomic Energy (13)  |  Change (133)  |  Coal (20)  |  Energy (103)  |  Harnessing (3)  |  Island (8)  |  Mankind (111)  |  Outside (10)  |  Ratio (9)  |  Release (8)  |  Society (84)  |  Source (33)  |  Steam (15)  |  Structure (104)

Physical science enjoys the distinction of being the most fundamental of the experimental sciences, and its laws are obeyed universally, so far as is known, not merely by inanimate things, but also by living organisms, in their minutest parts, as single individuals, and also as whole communities. It results from this that, however complicated a series of phenomena may be and however many other sciences may enter into its complete presentation, the purely physical aspect, or the application of the known laws of matter and energy, can always be legitimately separated from the other aspects.
— Frederick Soddy
In Matter and Energy (1912), 9-10.
Science quotes on:  |  Application (72)  |  Aspect (16)  |  Community (27)  |  Complete (13)  |  Complication (16)  |  Distinction (19)  |  Energy (103)  |  Enjoyment (14)  |  Inanimate (8)  |  Individual (59)  |  Knowledge (679)  |  Law (273)  |  Legitimacy (2)  |  Life (460)  |  Matter (135)  |  Organism (70)  |  Phenomenon (114)  |  Physical (28)  |  Physical Science (32)  |  Presentation (9)  |  Result (129)  |  Science (875)  |  Separation (23)

The dropping of the Atomic Bomb is a very deep problem... Instead of commemorating Hiroshima we should celebrate... man's triumph over the problem [of transmutation], and not its first misuse by politicians and military authorities.
— Frederick Soddy
Address to New Europe Group meeting on the third anniversary of the Hiroshima bomb. Quoted in New Europe Group, In Commemoration of Professor Frederick Soddy (1956), 6-7.
Science quotes on:  |  Atomic Bomb (71)  |  Authority (24)  |  Celebration (3)  |  Deep (17)  |  Hiroshima (9)  |  Mankind (111)  |  Military (6)  |  Misuse (6)  |  Politician (12)  |  Problem (180)  |  Transmutation (10)  |  Triumph (21)

The energy available for each individual man is his income, and the philosophy which can teach him to be content with penury should be capable of teaching him also the uses of wealth.
— Frederick Soddy
Science and Life: Aberdeen Addresses (1920), 6.
Science quotes on:  |  Availability (9)  |  Capability (27)  |  Contentment (8)  |  Energy (103)  |  Income (4)  |  Individual (59)  |  Mankind (111)  |  Philosophy (132)  |  Teaching (64)  |  Wealth (29)

The fact remains that, if the supply of energy failed, modern civilization would come to an end as abruptly as does the music of an organ deprived of wind.
— Frederick Soddy
Matter and Energy (1911), 251.
Science quotes on:  |  Abrupt (2)  |  Civilization (90)  |  Deprivation (4)  |  End (51)  |  Energy (103)  |  Energy Conservation (3)  |  Failure (58)  |  Future (110)  |  Modern (44)  |  Music (26)  |  Organ (40)  |  Problem (180)  |  Supply (15)  |  Wind (28)

The history of man is dominated by, and reflects, the amount of available energy
— Frederick Soddy
Science and Life (1920), 7.
Science quotes on:  |  Energy (103)

The laws expressing the relations between energy and matter are, however, not solely of importance in pure science. They necessarily come first in order ... in the whole record of human experience, and they control, in the last resort, the rise or fall of political systems, the freedom or bondage of nations, the movements of commerce and industry, the origin of wealth and poverty, and the general physical welfare of the race.
— Frederick Soddy
In Matter and Energy (1912), 10-11.
Science quotes on:  |  Commerce (9)  |  Control (41)  |  Energy (103)  |  Experience (132)  |  Expression (44)  |  First (42)  |  Freedom (41)  |  General (26)  |  Human (168)  |  Importance (106)  |  Industry (49)  |  Law (273)  |  Matter (135)  |  Movement (31)  |  Nation (47)  |  Necessity (78)  |  Order (60)  |  Origin (36)  |  Physical (28)  |  Physical Science (32)  |  Politics (52)  |  Poverty (21)  |  Pure Science (7)  |  Race (36)  |  Record (22)  |  Relation (35)  |  Solely (2)  |  System (66)  |  Wealth (29)  |  Welfare (9)  |  Whole (46)

The power of man to do work—one man-power—is, in its purely physical sense, now an insignificant accomplishment, and could only again justify his existence if other sources of power failed. ... Curious persons in cloisteral seclusion are experimenting with new sources of energy, which, if ever harnessed, would make coal and oil as useless as oars and sails. If they fail in their quest, or are too late, so that coal and oil, everywhere sought for, are no longer found, and the only hope of men lay in their time-honoured traps to catch the sunlight, who doubts that galley-slaves and helots would reappear in the world once more?
— Frederick Soddy
Science and Life (1920), 6.
Science quotes on:  |  Coal (20)  |  Energy (103)  |  Oil (19)  |  Solar Energy (13)

The progress of synthesis, or the building up of natural materials from their constituent elements, proceeds apace. Even some of the simpler albuminoids, a class of substances of great importance in the life process, have recently been artificially prepared. ... Innumerable entirely new compounds have been produced in the last century. The artificial dye-stuffs, prepared from materials occurring in coal-tar, make the natural colours blush. Saccharin, which is hundreds of times sweeter than sugar, is a purely artificial substance. New explosives, drugs, alloys, photographic substances, essences, scents, solvents, and detergents are being poured out in a continuous stream.
— Frederick Soddy
In Matter and Energy (1912), 45-46.
Science quotes on:  |  Artificial (13)  |  Blush (3)  |  Building (34)  |  Century (38)  |  Chemistry (143)  |  Class (27)  |  Coal Tar (2)  |  Colour (32)  |  Compound (35)  |  Constituent (8)  |  Continuous (7)  |  Drug (31)  |  Element (68)  |  Entirely (6)  |  Essence (19)  |  Explosive (7)  |  Great (62)  |  Hundred (11)  |  Importance (106)  |  Innumerable (10)  |  Last (13)  |  Life (460)  |  Material (60)  |  Natural (48)  |  New (107)  |  Occurrence (21)  |  Photograph (14)  |  Pour (4)  |  Preparation (22)  |  Proceeding (10)  |  Process (97)  |  Production (72)  |  Progress (200)  |  Purely (4)  |  Recent (14)  |  Saccharin (2)  |  Scent (3)  |  Simplicity (92)  |  Solvent (3)  |  Stream (10)  |  Substance (39)  |  Sugar (8)  |  Synthesis (23)

The real value of science is in the getting, and those who have tasted the pleasure of discovery alone know what science is. A problem solved is dead. A world without problems to be solved would be devoid of science.
— Frederick Soddy
In Matter and Energy (1912), 18.
Science quotes on:  |  Alone (13)  |  Devoid (3)  |  Discovery (360)  |  Knowledge (679)  |  Pleasure (52)  |  Problem (180)  |  Reality (67)  |  Science (875)  |  Solution (109)  |  Taste (16)  |  Without (11)  |  World (231)

The same algebraic sum of positive and negative charges in the nucleus, when the arithmetical sum is different, gives what I call “isotopes” or “isotopic elements,” because they occupy the same place in the periodic table. They are chemically identical, and save only as regards the relatively few physical properties which depend upon atomic mass directly, physically identical also. Unit changes of this nuclear charge, so reckoned algebraically, give the successive places in the periodic table. For any one “place” or any one nuclear charge, more than one number of electrons in the outer-ring system may exist, and in such a case the element exhibits variable valency. But such changes of number, or of valency, concern only the ring and its external environment. There is no in- and out-going of electrons between ring and nucleus.
— Frederick Soddy
Concluding paragraph of 'Intra-atomic Charge', Nature (1913), 92, 400. Collected in Alfred Romer, Radiochemistry and the Discovery of Isotopes (1970), 251-252.
Science quotes on:  |  Algebra (21)  |  Arithmetic (38)  |  Charge (13)  |  Difference (135)  |  Element (68)  |  Identical (9)  |  Isotope (3)  |  Negative (10)  |  Nomenclature (102)  |  Nucleus (21)  |  Occupy (6)  |  Periodic Table (10)  |  Place (32)  |  Positive (8)  |  Sum (18)

There has been no discovery like it in the history of man. It puts into man's hands the key to using the fundamental energy of the universe.
— Frederick Soddy
Address to New Europe Group meeting on the third anniversary of the Hiroshima bomb. Quoted in New Europe Group, In Commemoration of Professor Frederick Soddy (1956), 7.
Science quotes on:  |  Discovery (360)  |  Energy (103)  |  Fundamental (59)  |  History (156)  |  Key (18)  |  Mankind (111)  |  Universe (291)

[The blame for the future 'plight of civilization] must rest on scientific men, equally with others, for being incapable of accepting the responsibility for the profound social upheavals which their own work primarily has brought about in human relationships.
— Frederick Soddy
Quoted in Thaddeus Trenn, 'The Central Role of Energy in Soddy's Holistic and Critical Approach to Nuclear Science, Economics, and Social Responsibility', British Journal for the History of Science (1979), 42, 261.
Science quotes on:  |  Acceptance (31)  |  Blame (4)  |  Civilization (90)  |  Equality (7)  |  Human (168)  |  Incapable (4)  |  Profound (23)  |  Relationship (37)  |  Responsibility (24)  |  Rest (28)  |  Scientist (237)  |  Social (16)  |  Upheaval (2)  |  Work (198)

[The human control of atomic energy could] virtually provide anyone who wanted it with a private sun of his own.
— Frederick Soddy
'Advances in the Study of Radio-active Bodies', Two lectures delivered at the Royal Institution on 15 and 18 May 1915. Quoted in Thaddeus Trenn, 'The Central Role of Energy in Soddy's Holistic and Critical Approach to Nuclear Science, Economics, and Social Responsibility', British Journal for the History of Science (1979), 42, 261.
Science quotes on:  |  Atomic Energy (13)  |  Control (41)  |  Private (7)  |  Provide (13)  |  Sun (115)  |  Want (32)

[This] may prove to be the beginning of some embracing generalization, which will throw light, not only on radioactive processes, but on elements in general and the Periodic Law.... Chemical homogeneity is no longer a guarantee that any supposed element is not a mixture of several of different atomic weights, or that any atomic weight is not merely a mean number.
— Frederick Soddy
From Chemical Society's Annual Reports (1910), Vol. 7, 285. As quoted in Francis Aston in Lecture (1936) on 'Forty Years of Atomic Theory', collected in Needham and Pagel (eds.) in Background to Modern Science: Ten Lectures at Cambridge Arranged by the History of Science Committee, (1938), 100. Cited in Alfred Walter Stewart, Recent Advances in Physical and Inorganic Chemistry (1920), 198.
Science quotes on:  |  Atomic Weight (5)  |  Chemical (38)  |  Different (15)  |  Discovery (360)  |  Element (68)  |  Guarantee (7)  |  Homogeneity (3)  |  Isotope (3)  |  Mean (7)  |  Merely (13)  |  Mixture (11)  |  Number (90)  |  Periodic Table (10)  |  Process (97)  |  Radioactive (2)


See also:
  • todayinsci icon 2 Sep - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Soddy's birth.
  • book icon The World Made New: Frederick Soddy, Science, Politics, and Environment, by Linda Merricks. - book suggestion.

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
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- 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
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Nikola Tesla
Rachel Carson
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Henry Adams
Richard Dawkins
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Alfred Wegener
John Dalton
- 40 -
Pierre Fermat
Edward Wilson
Johannes Kepler
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Giordano Bruno
JJ Thomson
Thomas Kuhn
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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
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