Celebrating 19 Years on the Web
TODAY IN SCIENCE HISTORY ®
Find science on or your birthday

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “Truth is ever to be found in simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things.”
more quiz questions >>
Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index B > Isaac Barrow Quotes

Thumbnail of Isaac Barrow (source)
Isaac Barrow
(Oct 1630 - 4 May 1677)

English mathematician and theologian who was a Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge (1663-69). His lectures were attended by Isaac Newton, who became the next to be elected as Lucasian Professor.


Science Quotes by Isaac Barrow (7 quotes)

An accomplished mathematician, i.e. a most wretched orator.
[Closing remark in an address, referring to himself.]
— Isaac Barrow
In 'The Prefactory Oration' (address to the University of Cambridge upon being elected Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, 14 Mar 1664). In Mathematical Lectures (1734), Preface, xxxii.
Science quotes on:  |  Himself (461)  |  Mathematician (387)  |  Most (1731)  |  Orator (2)  |  Wretched (8)

It appears … [Descartes] has inverted the order of philosophising, … it seemed good to him not to learn from things, but to impose his own laws on things.… First he collected … truths which he thought suitable …; and then gradually advanced to particulars explicable from principles which … he had framed without consulting Nature.
— Isaac Barrow
As quoted in B.J.T. Dobbs, The Foundations of Newton's Alchemy (1983), 101. Cited as Osmond’s translation in Percy Herbert Osmond, Isaac Barrow, His Life and Times (1944), 30-31.
Science quotes on:  |  Collect (16)  |  Consult (6)  |  Renι Descartes (81)  |  First (1283)  |  Frame (26)  |  Good (889)  |  Gradually (102)  |  Impose (22)  |  Law (894)  |  Learn (629)  |  Nature (1926)  |  Order (632)  |  Philosophy (380)  |  Principle (507)  |  Thing (1915)  |  Thought (953)  |  Truth (1057)

It may be observed of mathematicians that they only meddle with such things as are certain, passing by those that are doubtful and unknown. They profess not to know all things, neither do they affect to speak of all things. What they know to be true, and can make good by invincible arguments, that they publish and insert among their theorems. Of other things they are silent and pass no judgment at all, chusing [choosing] rather to acknowledge their ignorance, than affirm anything rashly. They affirm nothing among their arguments or assertions which is not most manifestly known and examined with utmost rigour, rejecting all probable conjectures and little witticisms. They submit nothing to authority, indulge no affection, detest subterfuges of words, and declare their sentiments, as in a Court of Judicature [Justice], without passion, without apology; knowing that their reasons, as Seneca testifies of them, are not brought to persuade, but to compel.
— Isaac Barrow
Mathematical Lectures (1734), 64.
Science quotes on:  |  Acknowledge (33)  |  Affection (43)  |  Affirm (2)  |  All (4108)  |  Apology (7)  |  Argument (138)  |  Authority (95)  |  Certain (550)  |  Choose (112)  |  Compel (30)  |  Confirm (57)  |  Conjecture (49)  |  Court (33)  |  Declare (45)  |  Detest (5)  |  Do (1908)  |  Doubt (304)  |  Doubtful (29)  |  Good (889)  |  Ignorance (240)  |  Indulge (14)  |  Invincible (6)  |  Judgment (132)  |  Justice (39)  |  Know (1518)  |  Knowing (137)  |  Knowledge (1529)  |  Known (454)  |  Little (707)  |  Manifestly (11)  |  Mathematician (387)  |  Meddle (3)  |  Most (1731)  |  Nature Of Mathematics (80)  |  Nothing (966)  |  Observed (149)  |  Other (2236)  |  Pass (238)  |  Passing (76)  |  Passion (114)  |  Persuade (11)  |  Probable (20)  |  Profess (20)  |  Publish (36)  |  Rashly (2)  |  Reason (744)  |  Reject (63)  |  Rigour (21)  |  Lucius Annaeus Seneca (20)  |  Sentiment (14)  |  Silent (29)  |  Speak (232)  |  Submit (18)  |  Testify (5)  |  Theorem (112)  |  Thing (1915)  |  Truth (1057)  |  Unknown (182)  |  Witticism (2)  |  Word (619)

The Mathematics, I say, which effectually exercises, not vainly deludes or vexatiously torments studious Minds with obscure Subtilties, perplexed Difficulties, or contentious Disquisitions; which overcomes without Opposition, triumphs without Pomp, compels without Force, and rules absolutely without Loss of Liberty; which does not privately over-reach a weak Faith, but openly assaults an armed Reason, obtains a total Victory, and puts on inevitable Chains; whose Words are so many Oracles, and Works as many Miracles; which blabs out nothing rashly, nor designs anything from the Purpose, but plainly demonstrates and readily performs all Things within its Verge; which obtrudes no false Shadow of Science, but the very Science itself, the Mind firmly adhering to it, as soon as possessed of it, and can never after desert it of its own Accord, or be deprived of it by any Force of others: Lastly the Mathematics, which depends upon Principles clear to the Mind, and agreeable to Experience; which draws certain Conclusions, instructs by profitable Rules, unfolds pleasant Questions; and produces wonderful Effects; which is the fruitful Parent of, I had almost said all, Arts, the unshaken Foundation of Sciences, and the plentiful Fountain of Advantage to human Affairs.
— Isaac Barrow
Address to the University of Cambridge upon being elected Lucasian Professor of Mathematics (14 Mar 1664). In Mathematical Lectures (1734), xxviii.
Science quotes on:  |  Advantage (134)  |  Agreeable (18)  |  All (4108)  |  Arm (81)  |  Art (657)  |  Certain (550)  |  Chain (50)  |  Compel (30)  |  Conclusion (254)  |  Delude (3)  |  Demonstrate (76)  |  Depend (228)  |  Desert (56)  |  Design (195)  |  Difficulty (196)  |  Draw (137)  |  Effect (393)  |  Estimates of Mathematics (30)  |  Exercise (110)  |  Experience (467)  |  Faith (203)  |  False (100)  |  Force (487)  |  Foundation (171)  |  Fountain (16)  |  Fruitful (58)  |  Human (1468)  |  Inevitable (49)  |  Instruction (91)  |  Liberty (25)  |  Loss (110)  |  Mathematics (1328)  |  Mind (1338)  |  Miracle (83)  |  Never (1087)  |  Nothing (966)  |  Obscure (62)  |  Obtain (163)  |  Opposition (48)  |  Oracle (4)  |  Other (2236)  |  Overcome (39)  |  Parent (76)  |  Perform (121)  |  Pomp (2)  |  Possess (156)  |  Principle (507)  |  Profitable (28)  |  Purpose (317)  |  Question (621)  |  Rashly (2)  |  Reach (281)  |  Reason (744)  |  Rule (294)  |  Say (984)  |  Science (3879)  |  Science And Art (184)  |  Shadow (72)  |  Soon (186)  |  Studious (5)  |  Thing (1915)  |  Torment (18)  |  Total (94)  |  Triumph (73)  |  Verge (10)  |  Victory (39)  |  Weak (71)  |  Wonderful (149)  |  Word (619)  |  Work (1351)

These Disciplines [mathematics] serve to inure and corroborate the Mind to a constant Diligence in Study; to undergo the Trouble of an attentive Meditation, and cheerfully contend with such Difficulties as lie in the Way. They wholly deliver us from a credulous Simplicity, most strongly fortify us against the Vanity of Scepticism, effectually restrain from a rash Presumption, most easily incline us to a due Assent, perfectly subject us to the Government of right Reason, and inspire us with Resolution to wrestle against the unjust Tyranny of false Prejudices. If the Fancy be unstable and fluctuating, it is to be poized by this Ballast, and steadied by this Anchor, if the Wit be blunt it is sharpened upon this Whetstone; if luxuriant it is pared by this Knife; if headstrong it is restrained by this Bridle; and if dull it is rouzed by this Spur. The Steps are guided by no Lamp more clearly through the dark Mazes of Nature, by no Thread more surely through the intricate Labyrinths of Philosophy, nor lastly is the Bottom of Truth sounded more happily by any other Line. I will not mention how plentiful a Stock of Knowledge the Mind is furnished from these, with what wholesome Food it is nourished, and what sincere Pleasure it enjoys. But if I speak farther, I shall neither be the only Person, nor the first, who affirms it; that while the Mind is abstracted and elevated from sensible Matter, distinctly views pure Forms, conceives the Beauty of Ideas, and investigates the Harmony of Proportions; the Manners themselves are sensibly corrected and improved, the Affections composed and rectified, the Fancy calmed and settled, and the Understanding raised and excited to more divine Contemplations. All which I might defend by Authority, and confirm by the Suffrages of the greatest Philosophers.
— Isaac Barrow
Prefatory Oration in Mathematical Lectures (1734), xxxi.
Science quotes on:  |  Abstract (124)  |  Affection (43)  |  Against (332)  |  All (4108)  |  Anchor (10)  |  Assent (12)  |  Attentive (14)  |  Authority (95)  |  Ballast (2)  |  Beauty (299)  |  Calm (31)  |  Conceive (98)  |  Confirm (57)  |  Constant (144)  |  Contemplation (73)  |  Credulous (9)  |  Dark (140)  |  Deliver (29)  |  Difficulty (196)  |  Diligence (20)  |  Discipline (77)  |  Divine (112)  |  Due (141)  |  Dull (54)  |  Fancy (50)  |  Farther (51)  |  First (1283)  |  Food (199)  |  Form (959)  |  Fortify (4)  |  Furnish (96)  |  Government (110)  |  Greatest (328)  |  Harmony (102)  |  Idea (843)  |  Intricate (29)  |  Investigate (103)  |  Knife (23)  |  Knowledge (1529)  |  Labyrinth (10)  |  Lamp (36)  |  Lie (364)  |  Mathematics (1328)  |  Matter (798)  |  Maze (10)  |  Meditation (19)  |  Mention (82)  |  Mind (1338)  |  More (2559)  |  Most (1731)  |  Nature (1926)  |  Other (2236)  |  Person (363)  |  Philosopher (258)  |  Philosophy (380)  |  Pleasure (178)  |  Prejudice (87)  |  Presumption (15)  |  Proportion (136)  |  Pure (291)  |  Rash (14)  |  Reason (744)  |  Rectified (4)  |  Resolution (23)  |  Right (452)  |  Scepticism (16)  |  Settled (34)  |  Sharpen (22)  |  Simplicity (167)  |  Sound (183)  |  Speak (232)  |  Spur (4)  |  Step (231)  |  Study (653)  |  Subject (521)  |  Suffrage (4)  |  Surely (101)  |  Themselves (433)  |  Thread (32)  |  Through (849)  |  Trouble (107)  |  Truth (1057)  |  Tyranny (14)  |  Understanding (513)  |  Value Of Mathematics (60)  |  Vanity (19)  |  View (488)  |  Way (1217)  |  Whetstone (2)  |  Wholesome (12)  |  Wholly (88)  |  Will (2355)  |  Wit (59)

They [mathematicians] only take those things into consideration, of which they have clear and distinct ideas, designating them by proper, adequate, and invariable names, and premising only a few axioms which are most noted and certain to investigate their affections and draw conclusions from them, and agreeably laying down a very few hypotheses, such as are in the highest degree consonant with reason and not to be denied by anyone in his right mind. In like manner they assign generations or causes easy to be understood and readily admitted by all, they preserve a most accurate order, every proposition immediately following from what is supposed and proved before, and reject all things howsoever specious and probable which can not be inferred and deduced after the same manner.
— Isaac Barrow
In Mathematical Lectures (1734), 65-66.
Science quotes on:  |  Accuracy (78)  |  Accurate (86)  |  Adequate (46)  |  Affection (43)  |  All (4108)  |  Axiom (63)  |  Cause (541)  |  Certain (550)  |  Conclusion (254)  |  Consideration (139)  |  Deduce (25)  |  Degree (276)  |  Distinct (97)  |  Down (456)  |  Draw (137)  |  Easy (204)  |  Generation (242)  |  Hypothesis (296)  |  Idea (843)  |  Immediately (114)  |  Infer (12)  |  Investigate (103)  |  Investigation (230)  |  Mathematician (387)  |  Mind (1338)  |  Most (1731)  |  Name (333)  |  Nature Of Mathematics (80)  |  Order (632)  |  Preserve (83)  |  Proof (287)  |  Proper (144)  |  Proposition (123)  |  Reason (744)  |  Reject (63)  |  Right (452)  |  Thing (1915)  |  Understanding (513)  |  Understood (156)

[Hermetic philosophy (Alchemy) was the only Art which might be able] to complete and bring to light not only medicine but also a universal Philosophy.
…quaeque sola non Medicinam tantum, sed et universam Philosophiam valde perficere et illustrare possit.
— Isaac Barrow
Original Latin in The Theological Works of Isaac Barrow (1859), 46. Translation, with citation, in B.J.T. Dobbs, The Foundations of Newton's Alchemy (1983), 96.
Science quotes on:  |  Alchemy (30)  |  Art (657)  |  Complete (204)  |  Light (607)  |  Medicine (378)  |  Philosophy (380)  |  Universal (189)



Quotes by others about Isaac Barrow (1)

Foreshadowings of the principles and even of the language of [the infinitesimal] calculus can be found in the writings of Napier, Kepler, Cavalieri, Pascal, Fermat, Wallis, and Barrow. It was Newton's good luck to come at a time when everything was ripe for the discovery, and his ability enabled him to construct almost at once a complete calculus.
In History of Mathematics (3rd Ed., 1901), 366.
Science quotes on:  |   (2863)  |  Ability (152)  |  Anecdote (21)  |  Calculus (65)  |  Complete (204)  |  Construct (124)  |  Discovery (780)  |  Enable (119)  |  Everything (476)  |  Pierre de Fermat (15)  |  Foreshadow (5)  |  Good (889)  |  Infinitesimal (29)  |  Johannes Kepler (91)  |  Language (293)  |  Luck (42)  |  Mathematicians and Anecdotes (141)  |  John Napier (3)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (333)  |  Blaise Pascal (80)  |  Principle (507)  |  Publication (101)  |  Time (1877)  |  John Wallis (3)  |  Writing (189)


See also:
  • 4 May - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Barrow's death.

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 Einstein • Isaac Newton • Lord Kelvin • Charles Darwin • Srinivasa Ramanujan • Carl Sagan • Florence Nightingale • Thomas Edison • Aristotle • Marie Curie • Benjamin Franklin • Winston Churchill • Galileo Galilei • Sigmund Freud • Robert Bunsen • Louis Pasteur • Theodore Roosevelt • Abraham Lincoln • Ronald Reagan • Leonardo DaVinci • Michio Kaku • Karl Popper • Johann Goethe • Robert Oppenheimer • Charles Kettering  ... (more people)

Quotations about: • Atomic  Bomb • Biology • Chemistry • Deforestation • Engineering • Anatomy • Astronomy • Bacteria • Biochemistry • Botany • Conservation • Dinosaur • Environment • Fractal • Genetics • Geology • History of Science • Invention • Jupiter • Knowledge • Love • Mathematics • Measurement • Medicine • Natural Resource • Organic Chemistry • Physics • Physician • Quantum Theory • Research • Science and Art • Teacher • Technology • Universe • Volcano • Virus • Wind Power • Women Scientists • X-Rays • Youth • Zoology  ... (more topics)
Sitewide search within all Today In Science History 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 |

- 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



who invites your feedback
Thank you for sharing.
Today in Science History
Sign up for Newsletter
with quiz, quotes and more.