Celebrating 19 Years on the Web
TODAY IN SCIENCE HISTORY ®
Find science on or your birthday

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “We are here to celebrate the completion of the first survey of the entire human genome. Without a doubt, this is the most important, most wondrous map ever produced by human kind.”
more quiz questions >>
Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index G > Sir William Robert Grove Quotes

Thumbnail of Sir William Robert Grove (source)
Sir William Robert Grove
(11 Jul 1811 - 1 Aug 1896)

Welsh physicist who offered the first proof of the thermal dissociation of atoms within a molecule. He produced hydrogen and oxygen from steam passed over strongly heated platinum wire.


Science Quotes by Sir William Robert Grove (4 quotes)

Alphonse of Castile is reported to have said that if he had had the making of the universe he would have done it much better. And I think so too. Instead of making a man go through the degradation of faculties and death, he should continually improve with age, and then be translated from this world to a superior planet, where he should begin life with the knowledge gained here, and so on. That would be to my mind, as an old man, a more satisfactory way of conducting affairs
— Sir William Robert Grove
Address, in 'Report to the Chemical Society's Jubilee', Nature (26 Mar 1891), 43, 493.
Science quotes on:  |  Age (499)  |  Begin (260)  |  Better (488)  |  Continual (43)  |  Death (391)  |  Degradation (17)  |  Faculty (72)  |  Gain (145)  |  Improve (58)  |  Knowledge (1536)  |  Life (1799)  |  Making (300)  |  Man (2249)  |  Mind (1339)  |  More (2559)  |  Old (480)  |  Old Age (33)  |  Old Man (5)  |  Planet (357)  |  Satisfactory (17)  |  Superior (82)  |  Think (1086)  |  Through (849)  |  Translate (19)  |  Universe (861)  |  Way (1216)  |  World (1778)

For my part, I must say that science to me generally ceases to be interesting as it becomes useful.
— Sir William Robert Grove
Address, in 'Report to the Chemical Society's Jubilee', Nature (26 Mar 1891), 43, 493.
Science quotes on:  |  Become (815)  |  Cease (79)  |  Cessation (12)  |  Interest (386)  |  Interesting (153)  |  Must (1526)  |  Say (984)  |  Science (3880)  |  Useful (250)  |  Usefulness (87)

I had observed that there were different lines exhibited in the spectra of different metals when ignited in the voltaic arc; and if I had had any reasonable amount of wit I ought to have seen the converse, viz., that by ignition different bodies show in their spectral lines the materials of which they are formed. If that thought had occured to my mind, I should have discovered the spectroscope before Kirchoff; but it didn’t.
— Sir William Robert Grove
Address, in 'Report to the Chemical Society's Jubilee', Nature (26 Mar 1891), 43, 493. Words as in original text, occured and Kirchoff are sic.
Science quotes on:  |  Amount (151)  |  Arc (12)  |  Blunder (21)  |  Converse (8)  |  Different (577)  |  Discover (553)  |  Electricity (160)  |  Form (960)  |  Ignite (3)  |  Ignition (3)  |  Gustav Robert Kirchhoff (4)  |  Line (91)  |  Material (353)  |  Metal (84)  |  Mind (1339)  |  Observe (168)  |  Observed (149)  |  Occur (150)  |  Overlook (31)  |  Realize (147)  |  Remorse (9)  |  Research (677)  |  Show (346)  |  Spectral Line (5)  |  Spectroscope (3)  |  Spectrum (31)  |  Thought (954)  |  Voltaic (9)  |  Wit (59)

I think the name atomic theory was an unfortunate one. We talk fluently about atoms as the smallest particles that exist, and chemists regard them as indivisible … To my mind the infinitely small is as incomprehensible as the infinitely great. … we cannot comprehend it, we cannot take it in. And so with the atom. Therefore I think that it would have been better to have taken a different word—say minim—which would have been a safer term than atom.
— Sir William Robert Grove
Address, in 'Report to the Chemical Society's Jubilee', Nature (26 Mar 1891), 43, 493.
Science quotes on:  |  Atom (358)  |  Atomic Theory (15)  |  Better (488)  |  Chemist (156)  |  Comprehend (40)  |  Different (577)  |  Exist (444)  |  Great (1575)  |  Incomprehensible (29)  |  Indivisible (22)  |  Infinite (233)  |  Mind (1339)  |  Name (333)  |  Nomenclature (146)  |  Particle (196)  |  Regard (304)  |  Safe (54)  |  Say (984)  |  Small (479)  |  Term (349)  |  Theory (972)  |  Think (1086)  |  Unfortunate (19)  |  Word (622)



Quotes by others about Sir William Robert Grove (1)

You must not say that this cannot be, or that that is contrary to nature. You do not know what Nature is, or what she can do; and nobody knows; not even Sir Roderick Murchison, or Professor Huxley, or Mr. Darwin, or Professor Faraday, or Mr. Grove, or any other of the great men whom good boys are taught to respect. They are very wise men; and you must listen respectfully to all they say: but even if they should say, which I am sure they never would, “That cannot exist. That is contrary to nature,” you must wait a little, and see; for perhaps even they may be wrong.
The Water-babies (1886), 81.
Science quotes on:  |  All (4107)  |  Boy (94)  |  Contrary (142)  |  Charles Darwin (304)  |  Do (1908)  |  Evolution (593)  |  Exist (444)  |  Michael Faraday (85)  |  Good (889)  |  Great (1575)  |  Thomas Henry Huxley (126)  |  Hypothesis (296)  |  Know (1519)  |  Listen (73)  |  Little (708)  |  Sir Roderick Impey Murchison (9)  |  Must (1526)  |  Nature (1928)  |  Never (1087)  |  Nobody (104)  |  Other (2236)  |  Sir Richard Owen (15)  |  Professor (129)  |  Proof (289)  |  Respect (207)  |  Say (984)  |  See (1082)  |  Wise (132)  |  Wrong (234)


See also:
  • 11 Jul - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Grove's birth.
  • William Grove - Speech on his recollections at the Chemical Society Jubilee (1891)

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
Quotations by: • Albert Einstein • Isaac Newton • Lord Kelvin • Charles Darwin • Srinivasa Ramanujan • Carl Sagan • Florence Nightingale • Thomas Edison • Aristotle • Marie Curie • Benjamin Franklin • Winston Churchill • Galileo Galilei • Sigmund Freud • Robert Bunsen • Louis Pasteur • Theodore Roosevelt • Abraham Lincoln • Ronald Reagan • Leonardo DaVinci • Michio Kaku • Karl Popper • Johann Goethe • Robert Oppenheimer • Charles Kettering  ... (more people)

Quotations about: • Atomic  Bomb • Biology • Chemistry • Deforestation • Engineering • Anatomy • Astronomy • Bacteria • Biochemistry • Botany • Conservation • Dinosaur • Environment • Fractal • Genetics • Geology • History of Science • Invention • Jupiter • Knowledge • Love • Mathematics • Measurement • Medicine • Natural Resource • Organic Chemistry • Physics • Physician • Quantum Theory • Research • Science and Art • Teacher • Technology • Universe • Volcano • Virus • Wind Power • Women Scientists • X-Rays • Youth • Zoology  ... (more topics)
Sitewide search within all Today In Science History pages:
Visit our Science and Scientist Quotations index for more Science Quotes from archaeologists, biologists, chemists, geologists, inventors and inventions, mathematicians, physicists, pioneers in medicine, science events and technology.

Names index: | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |

Categories index: | 1 | 2 | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |

- 100 -
Sophie Germain
Gertrude Elion
Ernest Rutherford
James Chadwick
Marcel Proust
William Harvey
Johann Goethe
John Keynes
Carl Gauss
Paul Feyerabend
- 90 -
Antoine Lavoisier
Lise Meitner
Charles Babbage
Ibn Khaldun
Euclid
Ralph Emerson
Robert Bunsen
Frederick Banting
Andre Ampere
Winston Churchill
- 80 -
John Locke
Bronislaw Malinowski
Bible
Thomas Huxley
Alessandro Volta
Erwin Schrodinger
Wilhelm Roentgen
Louis Pasteur
Bertrand Russell
Jean Lamarck
- 70 -
Samuel Morse
John Wheeler
Nicolaus Copernicus
Robert Fulton
Pierre Laplace
Humphry Davy
Thomas Edison
Lord Kelvin
Theodore Roosevelt
Carolus Linnaeus
- 60 -
Francis Galton
Linus Pauling
Immanuel Kant
Martin Fischer
Robert Boyle
Karl Popper
Paul Dirac
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 -
Aristotle
John Watson
Rosalind Franklin
Michio Kaku
Isaac Asimov
Charles Darwin
Sigmund Freud
Albert Einstein
Florence Nightingale
Isaac Newton



who invites your feedback
Thank you for sharing.
Today in Science History
Sign up for Newsletter
with quiz, quotes and more.