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Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “Truth is ever to be found in simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things.”
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Thumbnail of Thomas Edison (source)
Thomas Edison
(11 Feb 1847 - 18 Oct 1931)

American inventor who was known internationally as “the Wizard of Menlo Park,” for the huge number of innovations coming from there, the world's first industrial research laboratory.


Thomas Edison Quote - Tinfoil Phonograph
“Mary Had a Little Lamb”

Illustrated Quote - Large (800 x 600 px)

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Thomas Edison quote “Mary Had a Little Lamb”, recording track background+colorized photo of Edison & a later tinfoil phonograph
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Thomas Edison Tinfoil Phonograph - illustration from Scientific American (22 Dec 1877). Image thumbnail.
1877 (source)
“I was going to record talking, and then have the machine talk back. ... the foil was put on; I then shouted 'Mary had a little lamb', ... I adjusted the reproducer, and the machine reproduced it perfectly.”
— Thomas Edison
Describing the first recording he made on his tinfoil phonograph

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Phonongraph shown with illustrated quote is a later model, photo taken probably 1878. Text from Frank Lewis Dyer and Thomas Commerford Martin, Edison, his life and inventions (1910), Vol. 1, 207-209. (source)


See also:

Nature bears long with those who wrong her. She is patient under abuse. But when abuse has gone too far, when the time of reckoning finally comes, she is equally slow to be appeased and to turn away her wrath. (1882) -- Nathaniel Egleston, who was writing then about deforestation, but speaks equally well about the danger of climate change today.
Carl Sagan Thumbnail Carl Sagan: 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) ...(more by Sagan)

Albert Einstein: I used to wonder how it comes about that the electron is negative. Negative-positive—these are perfectly symmetric in physics. There is no reason whatever to prefer one to the other. Then why is the electron negative? I thought about this for a long time and at last all I could think was “It won the fight!” ...(more by Einstein)

Richard Feynman: It is the facts that matter, not the proofs. Physics can progress without the proofs, but we can't go on without the facts ... if the facts are right, then the proofs are a matter of playing around with the algebra correctly. ...(more by Feynman)
Quotations by:Albert EinsteinIsaac NewtonLord KelvinCharles DarwinSrinivasa RamanujanCarl SaganFlorence NightingaleThomas EdisonAristotleMarie CurieBenjamin FranklinWinston ChurchillGalileo GalileiSigmund FreudRobert BunsenLouis PasteurTheodore RooseveltAbraham LincolnRonald ReaganLeonardo DaVinciMichio KakuKarl PopperJohann GoetheRobert OppenheimerCharles Kettering  ... (more people)

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