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Who said: “Genius is two percent inspiration, ninety-eight percent perspiration.”
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George Gamow
(4 Mar 1904 - 19 Aug 1968)

Russian-American nuclear physicist, cosmologist and writer who embraced the Big Bang Theory to explain the origin of the universe. Later in his career, he broadened his field of study into biochemistry, DNA and genetic theory.


George Gamow
“Five billion years to make man”

Illustrated Quote - Medium (500 x 250 px)

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“It took less than an hour to make the atoms, a few hundred million years to make the stars and planets, but five billion years to make man!”
— George Gamow
In The Creation of the Universe (1952).

More George Gamow quotes on science >>

This quote comes from George Gamow’s book, The Creation of the Universe (1952), in which he was a strong advocate for the Big Bang theory of cosmogony. In the first chapter, he considered “Evolution Versus Permanence” in which he presented the evidence that the universe could not have existed for all time in a steady state. In subsequent chapters, he described the great expansion, the making of atoms, the hierarchy of condensations, and the “Private Lives of the Stars.”

In his conclusion, he contrasts the initial flurry of physical events at the origin of the universe with the eventual, and dramatic comparatively recent evolution of life as we know it:

Probably one of the most striking conclusions from our inquiry into the history of the universe is the fact that the main evolutionary events of physical development occupied only such a tiny fraction of the total period. This, of course, only means that organic evolution takes place at a much slower rate than the large-scale physical processes in the universe.

This was followed by the subject quote, written by Gamow as his final statement:

It took less than an hour to make the atoms, a few hundred million years to make the stars and planets, but five billion years to make man!


See also:
  • Science Quotes by George Gamow.
  • 4 Mar - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Gamow's birth.
  • George Gamow - context of quote “Five billion years to make man” - Large image (800 x 400 px)
  • George Gamow - context of quote “Twinkle, twinkle, quasi-star” - Medium image (500 x 250 px)
  • George Gamow - context of quote “Twinkle, twinkle, quasi-star” - Large image (800 x 400 px)
  • Mr Tompkins in Paperback, by George Gamow. - 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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- 90 -
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- 80 -
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- 70 -
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Marie Curie
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Francis Crick
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Francis Bacon
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Charles Darwin
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