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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index B > W. I. B. Beveridge Quotes

W. I. B. Beveridge
(23 Apr 1908 - 14 Aug 2006)

Australian microbiologist and animal pathologist who was an international authority on comparative medicine and a consultant in that field to the World Health Organization. He joined the University of Cambridge faculty in 1947 and became a professor of animal pathology.


Science Quotes by W. I. B. Beveridge (12 quotes)

Careful and correct use of language is a powerful aid to straight thinking, for putting into words precisely what we mean necessitates getting our own minds quite clear on what we mean.
— W. I. B. Beveridge
In The Art of Scientific Investigation (1950,1957), 91.
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Elaborate apparatus plays an important part in the science of to-day, but I sometimes wonder if we are not inclined to forget that the most important instrument in research must always be the mind of man.
— W. I. B. Beveridge
The Art of Scientific Investigation (1951), ix.
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Hypothesis is a tool which can cause trouble if not used properly. We must be ready to abandon our hypothesis as soon as it is shown to be inconsistent with the facts.
— W. I. B. Beveridge
In The Art of Scientific Investigation (1950,1957), 66.
Science quotes on:  |  Abandon (68)  |  Cause (541)  |  Fact (1210)  |  Facts (553)  |  Hypothesis (296)  |  Inconsistent (9)  |  Must (1526)  |  Properly (20)  |  Ready (39)  |  Soon (186)  |  Tool (117)  |  Trouble (107)

Hypothesis is the most important mental technique of the investigator, and its main function is to suggest new experiments or new observations. Indeed, most experiments and many observations are carried out with the deliberate object of testing an hypothesis. Another function is to help one see the significance of an object or event that otherwise would mean nothing. For instance, a mind prepared by the hypothesis of evolution would make many more significant observations on a field excursion than one not so prepared. Hypotheses should be used as tools to uncover new facts rather than as ends in themselves.
— W. I. B. Beveridge
The Art of Scientific Investigation (1953), 46.
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It is a delusion that the use of reason is easy and needs no training or special caution.
— W. I. B. Beveridge
In The Art of Scientific Investigation (1950), 85.
Science quotes on:  |  Caution (24)  |  Delusion (25)  |  Easy (204)  |  Need (290)  |  Reason (744)  |  Special (184)  |  Training (80)  |  Use (766)

Many discoveries must have been stillborn or smothered at birth. We know only those which survived.
— W. I. B. Beveridge
The Art of Scientific Investigation (1950), 65.
Science quotes on:  |  Birth (147)  |  Discovery (780)  |  Know (1518)  |  Must (1526)

More discoveries have arisen from intense observation of very limited material than from statistics applied to large groups. The value of the latter lies mainly in testing hypotheses arising from the former. While observing one should cultivate a speculative, contemplative attitude of mind and search for clues to be followed up. Training in observation follows the same principles as training in any activity. At first one must do things consciously and laboriously, but with practice the activities gradually become automatic and unconscious and a habit is established. Effective scientific observation also requires a good background, for only by being familiar with the usual can we notice something as being unusual or unexplained.
— W. I. B. Beveridge
The Art of Scientific Investigation (1950), 101.
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No one believes an hypothesis except its originator but everyone believes an experiment except the experimenter. Most people are ready to believe something based on experiment but the experimenter knows the many little things that could have gone wrong in the experiment. For this reason the discoverer of a new fact seldom feels quite so confident of it as others do. On the other hand other people are usually critical of an hypothesis, whereas the originator identifies himself with it and is liable to become devoted to it.
— W. I. B. Beveridge
The Art of Scientific Investigation (1950), 47.
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Paradoxical as it may at first appear, the fact is that, as W. H. George has said, scientific research is an art, not a science.
— W. I. B. Beveridge
The Art of Scientific Investigation (1950, 1957), 138.
Science quotes on:  |  Art (657)  |  Fact (1210)  |  First (1283)  |  Paradox (50)  |  Research (664)  |  Science (3879)  |  Scientific (941)

The role of hypothesis in research can be discussed more effectively if we consider first some examples of discoveries which originated from hypotheses. One of the best illustrations of such a discovery is provided by the story of Christopher Columbus’ voyage; it has many of the features of a classic discovery in science. (a) He was obsessed with an idea—that since the world is round he could reach the Orient by sailing West, (b) the idea was by no means original, but evidently he had obtained some additional evidence from a sailor blown off his course who claimed to have reached land in the west and returned, (c) he met great difficulties in getting someone to provide the money to enable him to test his idea as well as in the actual carrying out of the experimental voyage, (d) when finally he succeeded he did not find the expected new route, but instead found a whole new world, (e) despite all evidence to the contrary he clung to the bitter end to his hypothesis and believed that he had found the route to the Orient, (f) he got little credit or reward during his lifetime and neither he nor others realised the full implications of his discovery, (g) since his time evidence has been brought forward showing that he was by no means the first European to reach America.
— W. I. B. Beveridge
The Art of Scientific Investigation (1950), 41.
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When adults first become conscious of something new, they usually either attack or try to escape from it ... Attack includes such mild forms as ridicule, and escape includes merely putting out of mind.
— W. I. B. Beveridge
The Art of Scientific Investigation (1950), 65.
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While playing the part of the detective the investigator follows clues, but having captured his alleged fact, he turns judge and examines the case by means of logically arranged evidence. Both functions are equally essential but they are different.
— W. I. B. Beveridge
In The Art of Scientific Investigation (1950, 1957), 92.
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See also:
  • 23 Apr - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Beveridge'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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