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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index E > Manfred Eigen Quotes

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Manfred Eigen
(9 May 1927 - 6 Feb 2019)

German physicist and biochemist who shared a Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his contributions to the study of extremely fast chemical reactions. His technique applied absorption spectroscopy.


Science Quotes by Manfred Eigen (6 quotes)

A theory has only the alternative of being right or wrong. A model has a third possibility: it may be right, but irrelevant.
— Manfred Eigen
Manfred Eigen, 'The Origin of Biological Information', in Jagdish Mehra (ed.), The Physicists's Conception of Nature (1973), 618.
Science quotes on:  |  Alternative (29)  |  Being (1278)  |  Irrelevant (9)  |  Model (102)  |  Possibility (164)  |  Right (452)  |  Theory (972)  |  Wrong (234)

Everything which is new has to come out of fundamental research otherwise it’s not new.
— Manfred Eigen
From transcript of video interview, with Hans Jφrnvallat, the meeting of Nobel Laureates in Lindau, Germany (Jun 2000), obelprize.org website.
Science quotes on:  |  Everything (476)  |  Fundamental (251)  |  New (1217)  |  Research (677)

One could say you can't do any experiment which exceeds the lifetime of a Ph.D. student.
— Manfred Eigen
In transcript of video interview story No. 45, 'Evolution experiments' on webofstories.com website.
Science quotes on:  |  Do (1908)  |  Experiment (696)  |  Lifetime (31)  |  PhD (9)  |  Say (984)  |  Student (301)

The “big bang” … set matter whirling in a maelstrom of activity that would never cease. The forces of order sought to bring this process under control, to tame chance. The result was not the rigid order of a crystal but the order of life. From the outset, chance has been the essential counterpart of the ordering forces.
— Manfred Eigen
As co-author with Ruthild Winkler, trans by Robert and Rita Kimber, in The Laws of the Game: How the Principles of Nature Govern Chance (1981, 1993), 3.
Science quotes on:  |  Activity (210)  |  Bang (29)  |  Big Bang (40)  |  Cease (79)  |  Chance (239)  |  Control (167)  |  Counterpart (9)  |  Crystal (69)  |  Essential (200)  |  Force (488)  |  Life (1799)  |  Matter (801)  |  Never (1087)  |  Order (632)  |  Process (423)  |  Result (678)  |  Rigid (24)  |  Set (394)

There’s no evolution of single individuals. Evolution is the property of populations.
— Manfred Eigen
In transcript of video interview story No. 112, 'What is Life?' on webofstories.com website.
Science quotes on:  |  Evolution (593)  |  Individual (404)  |  Population (110)  |  Property (169)  |  Single (354)

We are just beginning to understand how molecular reaction systems have found a way to “organize themselves”. We know that processes of this nature ultimately led to the life cycle, and that (for the time being?) Man with his central nervous system, i.e. his memory, his mind, and his soul, stands at the end of this development and feels compelled to understand this development. For this purpose he must penetrate into the smallest units of time and space, which also requires new ideas to make these familiar concepts from physics of service in understanding what has, right into our century, appeared to be beyond the confines of space and time.
— Manfred Eigen
Answering “Where Now?” as the conclusion of his Nobel Lecture (11 Dec 1967) on 'Immeasurably Fast Reactions', published in Nobel Lectures, Chemistry 1963-1970 (1972).
Science quotes on:  |  Beginning (305)  |  Being (1278)  |  Beyond (308)  |  Central (80)  |  Century (310)  |  Concept (221)  |  Confine (26)  |  Cycle (41)  |  Development (424)  |  End (590)  |  Familiar (43)  |  Feel (366)  |  Idea (845)  |  Know (1519)  |  Life (1799)  |  Life Cycle (4)  |  Man (2249)  |  Memory (134)  |  Mind (1339)  |  Molecule (174)  |  Must (1526)  |  Nature (1928)  |  Nervous System (34)  |  New (1217)  |  Organize (29)  |  Penetrate (67)  |  Physic (516)  |  Physics (533)  |  Process (423)  |  Purpose (317)  |  Reaction (104)  |  Require (219)  |  Right (452)  |  Service (110)  |  Small (479)  |  Soul (227)  |  Space (501)  |  Space And Time (36)  |  Stand (274)  |  System (537)  |  Themselves (433)  |  Time (1877)  |  Time And Space (39)  |  Ultimately (55)  |  Understand (607)  |  Understanding (514)  |  Unit (33)  |  Way (1216)



Quotes by others about Manfred Eigen (1)

I think she [Rosalind Franklin] was a good experimentalist but certainly not of the first rank. She was simply not in the same class as Eigen or Bragg or Pauling, nor was she as good as Dorothy Hodgkin. She did not even select DNA to study. It was given to her. Her theoretical crystallography was very average.
Letter to Charlotte Friend (18 Sep 1979). In Francis Harry Compton Crick Papers, Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine.
Science quotes on:  |  Average (82)  |  Sir Lawrence Bragg (13)  |  Certainly (185)  |  Class (164)  |  Crystallography (9)  |  DNA (77)  |  Experimentalist (20)  |  First (1284)  |  Rosalind Franklin (17)  |  Good (889)  |  Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin (7)  |  Linus Pauling (60)  |  Rank (67)  |  Select (44)  |  Study (656)  |  Theoretical (22)  |  Think (1086)


See also:
  • 9 May - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Eigen'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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