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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index B > George E.P. Box Quotes

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George E.P. Box
(18 Oct 1919 - 28 Mar 2013)

English-American engineer and statistician who was recognized internationally for his work on optimizing experimental design with statistics. He encouraged both his students and his colleagues with lively discussions about how statistics could help solve research problems.


Science Quotes by George E.P. Box (10 quotes)

Acceleration of knowledge generation also emphasizes the need for lifelong education. The trained teacher, scientist or engineer can no longer regard what they have learned at the university as supplying their needs for the rest of their lives.
— George E.P. Box
In article Total Quality: Its Origins and its Future (1995), published at the Center for Quality and Productivity Improvement.
Science quotes on:  |  Acceleration (6)  |  Education (280)  |  Emphasize (6)  |  Engineer (72)  |  Generation (111)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Learn (160)  |  Lifelong (8)  |  Need (211)  |  Scientist (447)  |  Supply (31)  |  Teacher (90)  |  Train (25)  |  University (51)

History shows that the human animal has always learned but progress used to be very slow. This was because learning often depended on the chance coming together of a potentially informative event on the one hand and a perceptive observer on the other. Scientific method accelerated that process.
— George E.P. Box
In article Total Quality: Its Origins and its Future (1995), published at the Center for Quality and Productivity Improvement.
Science quotes on:  |  Accelerate (5)  |  Animal (309)  |  Chance (122)  |  Depend (56)  |  Event (97)  |  History (302)  |  Human (445)  |  Informative (2)  |  Learn (160)  |  Observer (33)  |  Potential (34)  |  Process (201)  |  Progress (317)  |  Scientific Method (155)  |  Slow (36)

Remember that all models are wrong; the practical question is how wrong do they have to be to not be useful. [Co-author with Norman R. Draper]
— George E.P. Box
In George E.P. Box and Norman R. Draper, Empirical Model-Building and Response Surfaces (1987), 74.
Science quotes on:  |  Error (230)  |  Model (64)  |  Practical (93)  |  Question (315)  |  Remember (53)  |  Useful (66)  |  Wrong (116)

Samuel Pierpoint Langley, at that time regarded as one of the most distinguished scientists in the United States … evidently believed that a full sized airplane could be built and flown largely from theory alone. This resulted in two successive disastrous plunges into the Potomac River, the second of which almost drowned his pilot. This experience contrasts with that of two bicycle mechanics Orville and Wilbur Wright who designed, built and flew the first successful airplane. But they did this after hundreds of experiments extending over a number of years.
— George E.P. Box
In article Total Quality: Its Origins and its Future (1995), published at the Center for Quality and Productivity Improvement.

Samuel Pierpoint Langley, … one of the most distinguished scientists in the United States … evidently believed that a full sized airplane could be built and flown largely from theory alone. This resulted in two successive disastrous plunges into the Potomac River, the second of which almost drowned his pilot. This experience contrasts with that of two bicycle mechanics Orville and Wilbur Wright who designed, built and flew the first successful airplane. But they did this after hundreds of experiments extending over a number of years.
— George E.P. Box
In article Total Quality: Its Origins and its Future (1995), published at the Center for Quality and Productivity Improvement.
Science quotes on:  |  Airplane (32)  |  Alone (61)  |  Bicycle (8)  |  Build (80)  |  Contrast (16)  |  Design (92)  |  Disastrous (3)  |  Distinguished (6)  |  Drown (9)  |  Experience (268)  |  Experiment (543)  |  Fly (65)  |  Samuel Pierpont Langley (3)  |  Largely (12)  |  Mechanic (13)  |  Pilot (10)  |  Plunge (7)  |  Regarded (2)  |  Result (250)  |  Scientist (447)  |  Success (202)  |  Theory (582)  |  United States (31)  |  Orville Wright (6)

Scientific method is concerned with efficient ways of generating knowledge.
— George E.P. Box
In article Total Quality: Its Origins and its Future (1995), published at the Center for Quality and Productivity Improvement.
Science quotes on:  |  Concern (76)  |  Efficient (20)  |  Generate (11)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Scientific Method (155)

Statistics is, or should be, about scientific investigation and how to do it better, but many statisticians believe it is a branch of mathematics.
— George E.P. Box
In Technometrics (1990), 32, 251-252.
Science quotes on:  |  Belief (400)  |  Better (131)  |  Branch (61)  |  Investigation (123)  |  Mathematics (587)  |  Scientific (169)  |  Statistician (16)  |  Statistics (125)

The reason that, having started as a chemist, I became a statistician was that Statistics seemed to me of much greater importance. It was about the catalysis of scientific method itself.
— George E.P. Box
In article Total Quality: Its Origins and its Future (1995), published at the Center for Quality and Productivity Improvement.
Science quotes on:  |  Catalysis (6)  |  Chemist (79)  |  Greater (36)  |  Importance (183)  |  Reason (330)  |  Scientific Method (155)  |  Start (68)  |  Statistician (16)  |  Statistics (125)

To find out what happens to a system when you interfere with it you have to interfere with it (not just passively observe it).
— George E.P. Box
Use and Abuse of Regression (1966), 629.
Science quotes on:  |  Observation (418)  |  Research (517)

…all models are approximations. Essentially, all models are wrong, but some are useful. However, the approximate nature of the model must always be borne in mind… [Co-author with Norman R. Draper]
— George E.P. Box
In George E.P. Box, Norman R. Draper, Response Surfaces, Mixtures, and Ridge Analyses (2nd ed. 2007), 414.
Science quotes on:  |  Approximation (16)  |  Essential (87)  |  Model (64)  |  Statistics (125)  |  Usefulness (70)  |  Wrong (116)


See also:

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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