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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index B > Sir James Black Quotes

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Sir James Black
(14 Jun 1924 - 22 Mar 2010)

Scottish pharmacologist whose invention of the beta blocker drug propranolol ultimately led to the lives of hundreds of thousands of heart patients being saved.


Science Quotes by Sir James Black (9 quotes)

I call myself a pharmacological toolmaker.
— Sir James Black
As quoted in Obituary, The Times (24 Mar 2010)
Science quotes on:  |  Call (769)  |  Myself (212)  |  Tool (117)

I never found it easy. People say I was lucky twice but I resent that. We stuck with [cimetidine] for four years with no progress until we eventually succeeded. It was not luck, it was bloody hard work.
[Rejecting that drug discovery was easier in the past.]
— Sir James Black
Quoted in Andrew Jack, "An Acute Talent for Innovation", Financial Times (1 Feb 2009).
Science quotes on:  |  Discovery (780)  |  Drug (57)  |  Easier (53)  |  Easy (204)  |  Eventually (65)  |  Hard (243)  |  Hard Work (20)  |  Luck (42)  |  Never (1087)  |  Past (337)  |  People (1005)  |  Progress (465)  |  Say (984)  |  Succeed (109)  |  Success (302)  |  Work (1351)  |  Year (933)

I wish I had my beta-blockers handy.
[Comment when told that he had won a Nobel prize, referring to the drug he discovered for the treatment of heart disease.]
— Sir James Black
As quoted in Obituary, The Times (24 Mar 2010)
Science quotes on:  |  Biography (240)  |  Discover (553)  |  Disease (328)  |  Drug (57)  |  Handy (2)  |  Heart (229)  |  Nobel Prize (40)  |  Treatment (130)  |  Wish (212)

No politics, no committees, no reports, no referees, no interviews – just highly motivated people picked by a few men of good judgment.
[Describing the compelling ideas of Max Perutz on how best to nurture research.]
— Sir James Black
Quoted in Andrew Jack, "An Acute Talent for Innovation", Financial Times (1 Feb 2009).
Science quotes on:  |  Best (459)  |  Committee (15)  |  Compelling (11)  |  Good (889)  |  Idea (843)  |  Interview (5)  |  Judgment (132)  |  Motivated (14)  |  Motivation (27)  |  Nurture (16)  |  People (1005)  |  Max Ferdinand Perutz (14)  |  Pick (16)  |  Politics (112)  |  Referee (7)  |  Report (38)  |  Research (664)  |  Selection (128)

Our brains seem to be organised to make random comparisons of the contents of our memories. Daydreaming allows the process to go into free fall. Suddenly, there is a new idea, born with intense excitement. We cannot organise this process but we can distort or even defeat it.
[Commenting that creativity is not a method that can be learnt and taught.]
— Sir James Black
Quoted in Andrew Jack, "An Acute Talent for Innovation", Financial Times (1 Feb 2009).
Science quotes on:  |  Brain (270)  |  Comparison (102)  |  Content (69)  |  Creativity (76)  |  Defeat (29)  |  Distort (22)  |  Excitement (50)  |  Fall (230)  |  Free (232)  |  Idea (843)  |  Memory (134)  |  Method (505)  |  New (1216)  |  Organisation (7)  |  Process (423)  |  Random (41)  |  Suddenly (88)

Peer reviewers go for orthodoxy ... Many of the great 19th-century discoveries were made by men who had independent wealth—Charles Darwin is the prototype. They trusted themselves.
[Commenting that the anonymous peer review process is the enemy of scientific creativity]
— Sir James Black
Quoted in Andrew Jack, "An Acute Talent for Innovation", Financial Times (1 Feb 2009).
Science quotes on:  |  19th Century (33)  |  Century (310)  |  Creativity (76)  |  Charles Darwin (303)  |  Discovery (780)  |  Enemy (82)  |  Great (1574)  |  Independent (67)  |  Orthodoxy (9)  |  Peer Review (4)  |  Process (423)  |  Prototype (9)  |  Review (26)  |  Scientific (941)  |  Themselves (433)  |  Trust (66)  |  Wealth (94)

The techniques have galloped ahead of the concepts. We have moved away from studying the complexity of the organism; from processes and organisation to composition.
[Commenting that growing use of new technologies and techniques, from molecular biology to genomics, has proved a mixed blessing.]
— Sir James Black
Quoted in Andrew Jack, "An Acute Talent for Innovation", Financial Times (1 Feb 2009).
Science quotes on:  |  Biology (216)  |  Blessing (24)  |  Complexity (111)  |  Composition (84)  |  Concept (221)  |  Drug (57)  |  Growing (98)  |  Molecular Biology (27)  |  New (1216)  |  Organisation (7)  |  Organism (220)  |  Process (423)  |  Research (664)  |  Study (653)  |  Studying (70)  |  Technique (80)  |  Technology (257)  |  Use (766)

[I] learnt, for the first time, the joys of substituting hard, disciplined study for the indulgence of day-dreaming.
[Comment on his successful undergraduate studies at the University of St. Andrews.]
— Sir James Black
As quoted in Obituary, The Times (24 Mar 2010)
Science quotes on:  |  Biography (240)  |  Day Dream (2)  |  Discipline (77)  |  First (1283)  |  Hard (243)  |  Indulgence (6)  |  Joy (107)  |  Study (653)  |  Successful (123)  |  Time (1877)  |  Undergraduate (15)  |  University (121)

[There is no shortage of scientific talent.] But [I am] much less optimistic about the managerial vision [of the pharmaceutical industry] to catalyse these talents to deliver the results we all want.
— Sir James Black
Quoted in Andrew Jack, "An Acute Talent for Innovation", Financial Times (1 Feb 2009).
Science quotes on:  |  All (4108)  |  Deliver (29)  |  Industry (137)  |  Manager (6)  |  Optimism (14)  |  Pharmaceutical (4)  |  Result (677)  |  Scientific (941)  |  Shortage (5)  |  Talent (94)  |  Vision (123)  |  Want (497)


See also:
  • 14 Jun - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Black'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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- 90 -
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- 70 -
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- 40 -
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- 30 -
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- 20 -
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- 10 -
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