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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index A > François Arago Quotes

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François Arago
(26 Feb 1786 - 2 Oct 1853)

French physicist and astronomer whose accomplishments include discovering the chromosphere of the sun, and the laws of light polarization. He later entered French politics.


Science Quotes by François Arago (8 quotes)

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François Arago
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Connaître, découvrir, communiquer—telle est, au fond, notre honorable destinée.
To get to know, to discover, to publish—this is the destiny of a scientist.
— François Arago
From 'De L’Utiliteé des Pensions', Œuvres complètes de François Arago (1855), Vol. 3, 621. Translation as given in Alan L. MacKay in A Harvest of a Quiet Eye (1977), 10.
Science quotes on:  |  Destiny (26)  |  Discovery (591)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Publication (83)  |  Scientist (447)

Tel est le privilége du génie: il aperçoit, il saisit des rapports, là où des yeux vulgaires lie voient que des faits isolés.
Such is the privilege of genius; it perceives, it seizes relations where vulgar eyes see only isolated facts.
— François Arago
In François Arago, trans. by William Henry Smyth, Baden Powell and Robert Grant, 'Fourier', Biographies of Distinguished Scientific Men (1859), Vol. 1, 412.
Science quotes on:  |  Eye (159)  |  Fact (609)  |  Genius (186)  |  Isolation (26)  |  Perception (53)  |  Privilege (16)  |  Relationship (59)  |  See (197)  |  Vulgar (11)

I was often humiliated to see men disputing for a piece of bread, just as animals might have done. My feelings on this subject have very much altered since I have been personally exposed to the tortures of hunger. I have discovered, in fact, that a man, whatever may have been his origin, his education, and his habits, is governed, under certain circumstances, much more by his stomach than by his intelligence and his heart.
— François Arago
In François Arago, trans. by William Henry Smyth, Baden Powell and Robert Grant, 'The History of My Youth: An Autobiography of Francis Arago', Biographies of Distinguished Scientific Men (1859), Vol. 1, 55.
Science quotes on:  |  Animal (309)  |  Biography (227)  |  Bread (19)  |  Circumstance (48)  |  Dispute (15)  |  Education (280)  |  Feeling (79)  |  Governed (3)  |  Habit (78)  |  Heart (110)  |  Humiliation (3)  |  Hunger (13)  |  Intelligence (138)  |  Origin (77)  |  Stomach (18)  |  Torture (13)

In the experimental sciences, the epochs of the most brilliant progress are almost always separated by long intervals of almost absolute repose.
— François Arago
In François Arago, trans. by William Henry Smyth, Baden Powell and Robert Grant, 'Fourier', Biographies of Distinguished Scientific Men (1859), Vol. 1, 411.
Science quotes on:  |  Absolute (65)  |  Brilliant (14)  |  Epoch (12)  |  Experiment (543)  |  Interval (8)  |  Long (95)  |  Progress (317)  |  Repose (5)  |  Science (1699)  |  Separation (32)

Let us award a just, a brilliant homage to those rare men whom nature has endowed with the precious privilege of arranging a thousand isolated facts, of making seductive theories spring from them; but let us not forget to state, that the scythe of the reaper had cut the stalks before one had thought of uniting them into sheaves!
— François Arago
In François Arago, trans. by William Henry Smyth, Baden Powell and Robert Grant, 'Fourier', Biographies of Distinguished Scientific Men (1859), Vol. 1, 409.
Science quotes on:  |  Arranging (3)  |  Cut (36)  |  Endowment (7)  |  Fact (609)  |  Homage (3)  |  Isolated (12)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Precious (22)  |  Privilege (16)  |  Rare (31)  |  Reaper (2)  |  Seductive (4)  |  Sheaf (2)  |  Spring (47)  |  Stalk (4)  |  Theory (582)  |  Thought (374)  |  Thousand (106)  |  Uniting (4)

On certain occasions, the eyes of the mind can supply the want of the most powerful telescopes, and lead to astronomical discoveries of the highest importance.
— François Arago
In François Arago, trans. by William Henry Smyth, Baden Powell and Robert Grant, 'Laplace', Biographies of Distinguished Scientific Men (1859), Vol. 1, 347. This comment refers to the ability of a mathematician to describe a circumstance before an actual observation confirms it.
Science quotes on:  |  Astronomy (175)  |  Discovery (591)  |  Eye (159)  |  Importance (183)  |  Mind (544)  |  Occasion (12)  |  Powerful (51)  |  Supply (31)  |  Telescope (74)  |  Want (120)

The ancients had a taste, let us say rather a passion, for the marvellous, which caused … grouping together the lofty deeds of a great number of heroes, whose names they have not even deigned to preserve, and investing the single personage of Hercules with them. … In our own time the public delight in blending fable with history. In every career of life, in the pursuit of science especially, they enjoy a pleasure in creating Herculeses.
— François Arago
In François Arago, trans. by William Henry Smyth, Baden Powell and Robert Grant, 'Fourier', Biographies of Distinguished Scientific Men (1859), Vol. 1, 408. This comment indicates that a single scientist or inventor may be held as the exemplar, such as James Watt and the steam-engine, although groundwork was laid by predecessors.
Science quotes on:  |  Ancient (68)  |  Career (54)  |  Creation (211)  |  Deed (17)  |  Delight (51)  |  Enjoy (23)  |  Fable (5)  |  Hercules (2)  |  Hero (29)  |  History (302)  |  Life (917)  |  Lofty (7)  |  Marvellous (5)  |  Name (118)  |  Passion (54)  |  Pleasure (98)  |  Preserve (38)  |  Public (82)  |  Science (1699)  |  Single (72)

The calculus of probabilities, when confined within just limits, ought to interest, in an equal degree, the mathematician, the experimentalist, and the statesman.
— François Arago
In François Arago, trans. by William Henry Smyth, Baden Powell and Robert Grant, 'Laplace', Biographies of Distinguished Scientific Men (1859), Vol. 1, 364. This comment introduces how the calculus of probabilities, being used in preparing tables of, for example, population and mortality, can give information for use by government and businesses deciding reserves for pensions, or premiums for life insurance.
Science quotes on:  |  Calculus (23)  |  Experimenter (18)  |  Interest (170)  |  Mathematician (177)  |  Statesman (10)


See also:
  • 26 Feb - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Arago's birth.
  • François Arago - context of quote “Destiny of a scientist” - Medium image (500 x 250 px)
  • François Arago - context of quote “Destiny of a scientist” - Large image (800 x 400 px)

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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