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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index B > Torbern Olof Bergman Quotes

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Torbern Olof Bergman
(20 Mar 1735 - 8 Jul 1784)

Swedish mineralogist, chemist and naturalist who was a pioneer in chemical analysis, studied minerals and formed a theory of crystal structure.


Science Quotes by Torbern Olof Bergman (5 quotes)

A scientist strives to understand the work of Nature. But with our insufficient talents as scientists, we do not hit upon the truth all at once. We must content ourselves with tracking it down, enveloped in considerable darkness, which leads us to make new mistakes and errors. By diligent examination, we may at length little by little peel off the thickest layers, but we seldom get the core quite free, so that finally we have to be satisfied with a little incomplete knowledge.
— Torbern Olof Bergman
Lecture to the Royal Swedish Academy of Science, 23 May 1764. Quoted in J. A. Schufle 'Torbern Bergman, Earth Scientist', Chymia, 1967, 12, 78.
Science quotes on:  |  All (4107)  |  Considerable (75)  |  Core (18)  |  Darkness (68)  |  Diligent (19)  |  Do (1908)  |  Down (455)  |  Enquiry (87)  |  Error (321)  |  Examination (98)  |  Free (233)  |  Incomplete (30)  |  Knowledge (1536)  |  Layer (40)  |  Lead (385)  |  Little (708)  |  Mistake (170)  |  Must (1526)  |  Nature (1928)  |  New (1217)  |  Ourselves (245)  |  Scientist (825)  |  Seldom (65)  |  Talent (96)  |  Truth (1062)  |  Understand (607)  |  Work (1351)

Finally, I aim at giving denominations to things, as agreeable to truth as possible. I am not ignorant that words, like money, possess an ideal value, and that great danger of confusion may be apprehended from a change of names; in the mean time it cannot be denied that chemistry, like the other sciences, was formerly filled with improper names. In different branches of knowledge, we see those matters long since reformed: why then should chemistry, which examines the real nature of things, still adopt vague names, which suggest false ideas, and favour strongly of ignorance and imposition? Besides, there is little doubt but that many corrections may be made without any inconvenience.
— Torbern Olof Bergman
Physical and Chemical Essays (1784), Vol. I, xxxvii.
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Fossils are of four kinds, viz. saline, earthy, inflammable and metallic; hence arise four classes.
— Torbern Olof Bergman
In Outlines of Mineralogy (1783), trans. William Withering, 12. [Before it was used for the petrified remains of organic forms, the word “fossil”—obsolete, as used here—refers to that which is “dug from the earth, preserved in the ground.” Hence, in the quote, Bergman is classifying minerals, which are the subject matter of his book. —Webmaster] Also collected in William Withering (the son, ed.), The Miscellaneous Tracts of the Late William Withering (1822), Vol. 2, 15.
Science quotes on:  |  Arise (158)  |  Fossil (136)  |  Inflammable (5)  |  Kind (557)  |  Mineral (59)

The history of chemistry is properly divided into the mythologic, the obscure, and the certain. The first period exhibits it from its infancy, deformed by fictions, until the destruction of the library of Alexandria by the Arabs. —The second, though freed in some measure from these absurdities, yet is still clothed in numberless enigmas and allegorical expressions.— The third period commences at the middle of the seventeenth century, with the first establishment of societies and academies of science; of which the wise associates, in many places uniting their efforts, determined to pursue the study of Natural Philosophy by observation and experiments, and candidly to publish their attempts in a general account of their transactions.
— Torbern Olof Bergman
In Essays, Physical and Chemical (1791), 4, translated from the original Latin.
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The mineral kingdom consists of the fossil substances found in the earth. These are either entirely destitute of organic structure, or, having once possessed it, possess it no longer: such are the petrefactions.
— Torbern Olof Bergman
In Outlines of Mineralogy (1783), trans. William Withering, 5. [Before it was specifically used for the petrified remains of organic forms, the word “fossil”—obsolete, as used here—refers to that which is “dug from the earth, preserved in the ground.” —Webmaster] Also collected in William Withering (the son, ed.), The Miscellaneous Tracts of the Late William Withering (1822), Vol. 2, 9.
Science quotes on:  |  Consist (223)  |  Earth (998)  |  Fossil (136)  |  Kingdom (78)  |  Mineral (59)  |  Organic (158)  |  Possess (156)  |  Structure (346)  |  Substance (248)


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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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