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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index B > Sir Benjamin Collins Brodie Quotes

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Sir Benjamin Collins Brodie
(8 Jun 1783 - 21 Oct 1862)

British physiologist and surgeon.


Science Quotes by Sir Benjamin Collins Brodie (5 quotes)

In the pursuit of the physical sciences, the imagination supplies the hypothesis which bridges over the gulf that separates the known from the unknown.
— Sir Benjamin Collins Brodie
Presidential Address to Anniversary meeting of the Royal Society (30 Nov 1859), Proceedings of the Royal Society of London (1860), 10, 165-166.
Science quotes on:  |  Bridge (47)  |  Gulf (18)  |  Hypothesis (296)  |  Imagination (328)  |  Known (454)  |  Physical (508)  |  Physical Science (101)  |  Pursuit (121)  |  Science (3880)  |  Separate (143)  |  Separation (57)  |  Unknown (182)

Knowledge and wisdom are indeed not identical; and every man’s experience must have taught him that there may be much knowledge with little wisdom, and much wisdom with little knowledge. But with imperfect knowledge it is difficult or impossible to arrive at right conclusions. Many of the vices, many of the miseries, many of the follies and absurdities by which human society has been infested and disgraced may be traced to a want of knowledge.
— Sir Benjamin Collins Brodie
Presidential Address to Anniversary meeting of the Royal Society (30 Nov 1859), Proceedings of the Royal Society of London (1860), 10, 163.
Science quotes on:  |  Absurdity (32)  |  Conclusion (255)  |  Difficult (247)  |  Difficulty (198)  |  Disgrace (12)  |  Experience (470)  |  Folly (43)  |  Human (1470)  |  Human Society (13)  |  Identical (53)  |  Imperfect (45)  |  Imperfection (31)  |  Impossible (253)  |  Indeed (323)  |  Knowledge (1536)  |  Lack (119)  |  Little (708)  |  Man (2249)  |  Misery (30)  |  Must (1526)  |  Right (452)  |  Society (325)  |  Vice (40)  |  Want (497)  |  Wisdom (221)

Physical investigation, more than anything besides, helps to teach us the actual value and right use of the Imagination—of that wondrous faculty, which, left to ramble uncontrolled, leads us astray into a wilderness of perplexities and errors, a land of mists and shadows; but which, properly controlled by experience and reflection, becomes the noblest attribute of man; the source of poetic genius, the instrument of discovery in Science, without the aid of which Newton would never have invented fluxions, nor Davy have decomposed the earths and alkalies, nor would Columbus have found another Continent.
— Sir Benjamin Collins Brodie
Presidential Address to Anniversary meeting of the Royal Society (30 Nov 1859), Proceedings of the Royal Society of London (1860), 10, 165.
Science quotes on:  |  Actual (117)  |  Aid (97)  |  Alkali (6)  |  America (127)  |  Astray (11)  |  Attribute (61)  |  Become (815)  |  Christopher Columbus (16)  |  Continent (76)  |  Sir Humphry Davy (49)  |  Discovery (785)  |  Earth (998)  |  Element (310)  |  Error (321)  |  Experience (470)  |  Fluxion (7)  |  Genius (285)  |  Imagination (328)  |  Instrument (144)  |  Investigation (231)  |  Lead (385)  |  Man (2249)  |  Mist (14)  |  More (2559)  |  Never (1087)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (335)  |  Physical (508)  |  Ramble (3)  |  Reflection (91)  |  Right (452)  |  Science (3880)  |  Shadow (72)  |  Teach (278)  |  Use (766)  |  Value (368)  |  Wilderness (45)  |  Wondrous (21)

The first step in all physical investigations, even in those which admit of the application of mathematical reasoning and the deductive method afterwards, is the observation of natural phenomena; and the smallest error in such observation in the beginning is sufficient to vitiate the whole investigation afterwards. The necessity of strict and minute observation, then, is the first thing which the student of the physical sciences has to learn; and it is easy to see with what great advantage the habit thus acquired may be carried into everything else afterwards.
— Sir Benjamin Collins Brodie
Presidential Address to Anniversary meeting of the Royal Society (30 Nov 1859), Proceedings of the Royal Society of London (1860), 10, 164-165.
Science quotes on:  |  Acquired (78)  |  Advantage (135)  |  All (4107)  |  Application (242)  |  Beginning (305)  |  Easy (204)  |  Error (321)  |  Everything (476)  |  First (1284)  |  Great (1575)  |  Habit (168)  |  Investigation (231)  |  Learn (632)  |  Method (506)  |  Minute (125)  |  Natural (796)  |  Necessity (191)  |  Observation (560)  |  Physical (508)  |  Physical Science (101)  |  Reasoning (207)  |  Science (3880)  |  See (1082)  |  Step (231)  |  Student (301)  |  Sufficient (128)  |  Thing (1915)  |  Whole (738)

There may be instances of mere accidental discovery; but, setting these aside, the great advances made in the inductive sciences are, for the most part, preceded by a more or less probable hypothesis. The imagination, having some small light to guide it, goes first. Further observation, experiment, and reason follow.
— Sir Benjamin Collins Brodie
Presidential Address to Anniversary meeting of the Royal Society (30 Nov 1859), Proceedings of the Royal Society of London (1860), 10, 166.
Science quotes on:  |  Accident (88)  |  Accidental (27)  |  Advance (280)  |  Discovery (785)  |  Experiment (696)  |  First (1284)  |  Follow (379)  |  Great (1575)  |  Guide (98)  |  Hypothesis (296)  |  Imagination (328)  |  Inductive (20)  |  Light (609)  |  More (2559)  |  More Or Less (68)  |  Most (1729)  |  Observation (560)  |  Reason (744)  |  Science (3880)  |  Serendipity (15)  |  Setting (44)  |  Small (479)


See also:
  • 8 Jun - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Brodie'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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