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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index A > Francis William Aston Quotes

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Francis William Aston
(1 Sep 1877 - 20 Nov 1945)

English chemist, physicist and chemist.


Science Quotes by Francis William Aston (5 quotes)

If the atoms in [a] decimetre cube of lead were all put into a chain side by side the same distance apart as they are in the normal lead, the strings of atoms so formed would reach over six million million miles.
— Francis William 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), 99.
Science quotes on:  |  Atom (251)  |  Atomic Size (2)  |  Chain (38)  |  Cube (9)  |  Distance (54)  |  Lead (101)  |  Mile (24)  |  Million (89)  |  Reach (68)  |  Side (36)  |  String (17)

Perhaps the most impressive illustration of all is to suppose that you could label the molecules in a tumbler of water. ... threw it anywhere you please on the earth, and went away from the earth for a few million years while all the water on the earth, the oceans, rivers, lakes and clouds had had time to mix up perfectly. Now supposing that perfect mixing had taken place, you come back to earth and draw a similar tumbler of water from the nearest tap, how many of those marked molecules would you expect to find in it? Well, the answer is 2000. There are 2000 times more molecules in a tumbler of water than there are tumblers of water in the whole earth.
— Francis William 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), 99-100.
Science quotes on:  |  Cloud (44)  |  Illustration (24)  |  Impressive (11)  |  Lake (12)  |  Marked (2)  |  Million (89)  |  Mix (13)  |  Molecule (125)  |  Ocean (115)  |  Perfect (46)  |  River (68)  |  Thousand (106)  |  Time (439)  |  Water (244)  |  Year (214)

Personally I think there is no doubt that sub-atomic energy is available all around us, and that one day man will release and control its almost infinite power. We cannot prevent him from doing so and can only hope that he will not use it exclusively in blowing up his next door neighbour. (1936)
— Francis William Aston
Concluding remark 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), 114.
Science quotes on:  |  Around (6)  |  Atomic Bomb (101)  |  Atomic Energy (21)  |  Control (93)  |  Doubt (121)  |  Energy (185)  |  Exclusively (8)  |  Hope (129)  |  Infinite (88)  |  Neighbour (3)  |  Power (273)  |  Prevent (27)  |  Release (15)  |  Subatomic (6)

Should the research worker of the future discover some means of releasing this [atomic] energy in a form which could be employed, the human race will have at its command powers beyond the dream of scientific fiction, but the remotest possibility must always be considered that the energy once liberated will be completely uncontrollable and by its intense violence detonate all neighbouring substances. In this event, the whole of the hydrogen on earth might be transformed at once and the success of the experiment published at large to the universe as a new star.
— Francis William Aston
'Mass Spectra and Isotopes', Nobel Lecture, 12 December 1922. In Nobel Lectures, Chemistry, 1922-1941 (1966), 20.
Science quotes on:  |  Atomic Energy (21)  |  Hydrogen (37)  |  Star (251)

[S]uppose you make a hole in an ordinary evacuated electric light bulb and allow the air molecules to pass in at the rate of 1,000,000 a second, the bulb will become full of air in approximately 100,000,000 years.
— Francis William 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), 99.
Science quotes on:  |  Air (151)  |  Approximate (3)  |  Atomic Size (2)  |  Bulb (3)  |  Full (38)  |  Hole (11)  |  Light (246)  |  Million (89)  |  Molecule (125)  |  Ordinary (44)  |  Pass (60)  |  Rate (22)  |  Second (33)  |  Suppose (29)  |  Year (214)


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  • 1 Sep - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Aston's birth.

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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