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Who said: “Nature does nothing in vain when less will serve; for Nature is pleased with simplicity and affects not the pomp of superfluous causes.”
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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index F > Frederick the Great Quotes

Frederick the Great
(24 Jan 1712 - 17 Aug 1786)

Prussian king who is known as an enlightened despot, though an intellectual.

Science Quotes by Frederick the Great (5 quotes)

I have no fault to find with those who teach geometry. That science is the only one which has not produced sects; it is founded on analysis and on synthesis and on the calculus; it does not occupy itself with the probable truth; moreover it has the same method in every country.
— Frederick the Great
In Oeuvres de Frederic Le Grand edited by J.D.E. Preuss (1849), Vol. 7, 100. In Robert Ιdouard Moritz, Memorabilia Mathematica (1917), 310.
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Is it not true that electricity, and all the prodigies it has hitherto discovered, have only served to excite curiosity?
— Frederick the Great
Letter to Jean le Rond D'Alembert (7 Jan 1768). Collected in Correspondence: Letters Between Frederick II and M. D’Alembert (1789), 79, as translated by Thomas Holcroft.
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Is it not true that the doctrine of attraction and gravity has done nothing but astonish our imagination? Is it not true that all chemical discoveries have done only the same?
— Frederick the Great
Letter to Jean le Rond D'Alembert (7 Jan 1768). Collected in Correspondence: Letters Between Frederick II and M. D’Alembert (1789), 79, as translated by Thomas Holcroft.
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The greatest and noblest pleasure which we can have in this world is to discover new truths; and the next is to shake off old prejudices.
— Frederick the Great
Epigraph, without citation, in Sir Richard Gregory, Discovery: Or, The Spirit and Service of Science (1916), 23.
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To your care and recommendation am I indebted for having replaced a half-blind mathematician with a mathematician with both eyes, which will especially please the anatomical members of my Academy.
— Frederick the Great
Letter (26 Jul 1766) to Jean le Rond D’Alembert appreciating his recommendation to bring the younger Joseph-Louis Lagrange (age 30) to the Academy of Sciences in Berlin when Leonhart Euler (age 59), vacated the post of director of mathematics. Euler lost the sight of one eye to disease in 1740, and a cataract took the sight of the remaining eye in 1766. As quoted in Florian Cajori, 'Frederick the Great on Mathematics and Mathematicians', The American Mathematical Monthly (Mar 1927), 34, No. 3, 128.
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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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- 100 -
Sophie Germain
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- 90 -
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Charles Babbage
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Euclid
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Robert Bunsen
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Andre Ampere
Winston Churchill
- 80 -
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Bronislaw Malinowski
Bible
Thomas Huxley
Alessandro Volta
Erwin Schrodinger
Wilhelm Roentgen
Louis Pasteur
Bertrand Russell
Jean Lamarck
- 70 -
Samuel Morse
John Wheeler
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Robert Fulton
Pierre Laplace
Humphry Davy
Thomas Edison
Lord Kelvin
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Carolus Linnaeus
- 60 -
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Martin Fischer
Robert Boyle
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Avicenna
James Watson
William Shakespeare
- 50 -
Stephen Hawking
Niels Bohr
Nikola Tesla
Rachel Carson
Max Planck
Henry Adams
Richard Dawkins
Werner Heisenberg
Alfred Wegener
John Dalton
- 40 -
Pierre Fermat
Edward Wilson
Johannes Kepler
Gustave Eiffel
Giordano Bruno
JJ Thomson
Thomas Kuhn
Leonardo DaVinci
Archimedes
David Hume
- 30 -
Andreas Vesalius
Rudolf Virchow
Richard Feynman
James Hutton
Alexander Fleming
Emile Durkheim
Benjamin Franklin
Robert Oppenheimer
Robert Hooke
Charles Kettering
- 20 -
Carl Sagan
James Maxwell
Marie Curie
Rene Descartes
Francis Crick
Hippocrates
Michael Faraday
Srinivasa Ramanujan
Francis Bacon
Galileo Galilei
- 10 -
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John Watson
Rosalind Franklin
Michio Kaku
Isaac Asimov
Charles Darwin
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