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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index F > Emil Fischer Quotes

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Emil Fischer
(9 Oct 1852 - 15 Jul 1919)

German chemist.

Science Quotes by Emil Fischer (4 quotes)

Modern warfare is in every respect so horrifying, that scientific people will only regret that it draws its means from the progress of the sciences. I hope that the present war [World War I] will teach the peoples of Europe a lasting lesson and bring the friends of peace into power. Otherwise the present ruling classes will really deserve to be swept away by socialism.
— Emil Fischer
Fischer to Margaret Oppenheim, 14 Dec 1917. Fischer Papers, Bancroft Library, University of California. Quotation supplied by W. H. Brock.
Science quotes on:  |  War (103)

Once a molecule is asymmetric, its extension proceeds also in an asymmetrical sense. This concept completely eliminates the difference between natural and artificial synthesis. The advance of science has removed the last chemical hiding place for the once so highly esteemed vis vitalis.
— Emil Fischer
‘Synthesen in der Zuckergruppe', Berichte der deutschen Chemischen Gesellschaft, 1894, 27, 3189.
Science quotes on:  |  Life (642)  |  Molecule (101)  |  Stereochemistry (2)  |  Synthesis (34)

Their specific effect on the glucosides might thus be explained by assuming that the intimate contact between the molecules necessary for the release of the chemical reaction is possible only with similar geometrical configurations. To give an illustration I will say that enzyme and glucoside must fit together like lock and key in order to be able to exercise a chemical action on each other. This concept has undoubtedly gained in probability and value for stereochemical research, after the phenomenon itself was transferred from the biological to the purely chemical field. It is an extension of the theory of asymmetry without being a direct consequence of it: for the conviction that the geometrical structure of the molecule even for optical isomers exercises such a great influence on the chemical affinities, in my opinion could only be gained by new actual observations.
— Emil Fischer
'Einfluss der Configuration auf die wirkung der Enzyme', Berichte der deutschen Chemischen Gesellschaft, 1894, 27, 2985-93. Trans. B. Holmstedt and G. Liljestrand (eds.) Readings in Pharmacology (1963), 251.
Science quotes on:  |  Enzyme (13)  |  Isomer (5)  |  Observation (352)  |  Reaction (52)  |  Stereochemistry (2)

You are urgently warned against allowing yourself to be influenced in any way by theories or by other preconceived notions in the observation of phenomena, the performance of analyses and other determinations.
— Emil Fischer
Laboratory Rules at Munich. Quoted by M. Bergmann, 'Fischer', in Bugge's Das Buch der Grosse Chemiker. Trans. Joseph S. Froton, Contrasts in Scientific Style: Research Groups in the Chemical and Biomedical Sciences (1990), 172.
Science quotes on:  |  Analysis (105)  |  Experiment (473)  |  Laboratory (100)  |  Observation (352)

Quotes by others about Emil Fischer (3)

First I would like to wash Bunsen, and then I would like to kiss him because he is such a charming man.
Remark by the wife of Emil Fischer, upon meeting Bunsen for the first time, perhaps noticing a lasting chemical odour from his work.
Quoted in E. Fischer, Aus meinem Leben (1923). Trans. W. H. Brock.
Science quotes on:  |  Robert Bunsen (8)

We may regard the cell quite apart from its familiar morphological aspects, and contemplate its constitution from the purely chemical standpoint. We are obliged to adopt the view, that the protoplasm is equipped with certain atomic groups, whose function especially consists in fixing to themselves food-stuffs, of importance to the cell-life. Adopting the nomenclature of organic chemistry, these groups may be designated side-chains. We may assume that the protoplasm consists of a special executive centre (Leistungs-centrum) in connection with which are nutritive side-chains… The relationship of the corresponding groups, i.e., those of the food-stuff, and those of the cell, must be specific. They must be adapted to one another, as, e.g., male and female screw (Pasteur), or as lock and key (E. Fischer).
Croonian Lecture, 'On Immunity with Special Reference to Cell Life', Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, 1900, 66, 433-434.
Science quotes on:  |  Cell (107)  |  Food (108)  |  Louis Pasteur (42)

Emil Fischer represents a symbol of Germany's greatness.
'Emil Fischer Wissenschaftliche Arbeiten', Naturwissenschaften, 1919, 7, 843. Trans. Joseph S. Froton, Contrasts in Scientific Style: Research Groups in the Chemical and Biomedical Sciences (1990), 167.
Science quotes on:  |  Biography (212)

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