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Who said: “I have no satisfaction in formulas unless I feel their arithmetical magnitude.”
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Thumbnail of Dian Fossey (source)
Dian Fossey
(16 Jan 1932 - 26 Dec 1985)

American zoologist who spent years studying and protecting the mountain forest gorillas of Rwanda, central Africa, about which she wrote in Gorillas in the Mist (1983).

Dian Fossey - The dignity of the gorilla

Illustrated Quote - Medium (500 x 350 px)

“The more you learn about the dignity of the gorilla, the more you want to avoid people.”
— Dian Fossey
As quoted in Los Angeles Times.

More Dian Fossey quotes on science >>

This quote comes from the last interview before her death that Dian Fossey gave to a visiting journalist, the Associated Press East Africa Correspondent. Barry Shlachter, travelling in Rwanda, visited Dian Fossey in May 1985, at her Karisoke Research Station in the Virunga Mountains. Shortly after her murder on 27 Dec 1985, Shlachter rewrote the account of his meeting with Fossey, published as a “Special to the Philadelphia Inquirer” on 12 Jan 1986. The quote originally appeared in his first article about the meeting syndicated by AP the previous summer (1985).

During the interview with Fossey, recalled Shlachter, “Her raspy voice and difficult breathing were due to emphysema, which she said was in an advanced stage,” which wasn't helped by “puffing continuously on her local Impala brand of cigarettes.” She was too sick to carry out research, but still was able to supervise anti-poaching patrols.

She cared very much for the gorillas she studied, and had established a well-tended burial ground adjacent to her home. Thirteen wooden markers were inscribed with the names of gorillas interred there. Twelve of them were killed by poachers.

Fossey was often inhospitable to even white outsiders and by extreme actions, she had created animosities among the local people. About searching for a guide to take him up the mountain to find Fossey’s cabin, Shlachter wrote, “Many local Rwandans said they feared going near Fossey… They called her Nyiramachabelli, which in the Kinryanda language means, ‘The Old Lady Who Lives in the Forest Without a Man.’”

Concluding his frank account of how Fossey had become a controversial figure in the year before she died, Shlachter quoted her own words, which she had confided without regret:

“I have no friends. The more you learn about the dignity of the gorilla, the more you want to avoid people.”

Following her wishes, Dian Fossey was laid to rest on 31 Dec 1985, in the gorilla cemetery with her beloved gorillas. Like them, she had been killed.

Text by Webmaster, with quotes from Barry Shlachter, 'Fossey: An Expert Nearly As Elusive As Her Subjects', The Philadelphia Inquirer (12 Jan 1986). The “dignity of the gorilla” quote appeared the previous summer of 1985 in Shlachter's original description of his visit with Fossey, that was syndicated by AP. It appeared, for example, titled 'Woman Fierce Protector of Gorilla Friends', in Lawrence Journal-World (29 Jul 1985), 7. (source)

See also:
  • Science Quotes by Dian Fossey.
  • 16 Jan - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Fossey's birth.
  • Dian Fossey - context of quote The dignity of the gorilla - Large image (800 x 600 px)
  • Dian Fossey - context of quote I feel more comfortable with gorillas - Medium image (500 x 350 px)
  • Dian Fossey - context of quote I feel more comfortable with gorillas - Large image (800 x 600 px)
  • Dian Fossey - context of quote My first encounter with gorillas - Medium image (500 x 350 px)
  • Dian Fossey - context of quote My first encounter with gorillas - Large image (800 x 600 px)
  • Gorillas in the Mist, by Dian Fossey. - book suggestion.

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)
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