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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index H > Learned Hand Quotes

Learned Hand
(27 Jan 1872 - 18 Aug 1961)

American judge and lawyer who through 52 years, served as a federal trial judge, then an eminent federal appellate justice, until his death. He is also remembered for his judicial philosophy and profound mind. Learned was his mother’s maiden name,

Science Quotes by Learned Hand (3 quotes)

A wise man once said, “Convention is like the shell to the chick, a protection till he is strong enough to break it through.”
— Learned Hand
In Learned Hand and Irving Dilliard (ed.), The Spirit of Liberty: Papers and Addresses of Learned Hand (1952), 32.
Science quotes on:  |  Break (109)  |  Chick (5)  |  Convention (16)  |  Protection (41)  |  Shell (69)  |  Strength (139)  |  Wise Man (17)

After all, most men are incapable of deciding for themselves, and have got to have a leader somewhere. If the new discoveries in mass suggestion enable us to make government easier, not only political, but moral and aesthetic, why not welcome them like other useful inventions? Why should science be limited to improvements in our control over nature, and exclude the most important part of our environment, our fellows? Get on the inside, join, as I used to be told, some party, and learn where the ropes come down within your reach. Adopt the high calling of Manipulator and save the State.
Such Machiavellis are not confined to Russia and Italy; one may find them all about even in this Land of the Free. … Still there remains in me a strange misgiving about making use of one’s fellows through an appeal to their weaknesses, even when all you do is to select their objects for them. In the elegant diction of Mr. Mencken, and in spite of the great weight of his authority, a government of the boobs, for the boobs and by the boobs to me still has its morbid charms.
— Learned Hand
In Learned Hand and Irving Dilliard (ed.), The Spirit of Liberty: Papers and Addresses of Learned Hand (1952), 36.
Science quotes on:  |  Aesthetic (48)  |  Authority (99)  |  Charm (54)  |  Control (182)  |  Decision (98)  |  Discovery (837)  |  Government (116)  |  Improvement (117)  |  Incapable (41)  |  Italy (6)  |  Leader (51)  |   Niccolò Machiavelli (6)  |  Manipulator (5)  |  H. L. Mencken (86)  |  Misgiving (3)  |  Morality (55)  |  Morbid (5)  |  Nature (2017)  |  Politics (122)  |  Russia (14)  |  State (505)  |  Weakness (50)

Suppose…a boy thrown upon his own choice, fresh from the limitations of a schoolroom, to believe that science is an epitome of human desires. There is so much to fire his imagination and lend eagerness to his pursuit, that it is no wonder if he thinks it. Men of today are so astounded with the advance of empirical observation beyond what their fathers had accomplished, they have results that would so have exceeded even their predecessors’ fancy, that they go mad in the search for scientific truth, and shall not the rasher judgment of a boy be likewise moved? The mere ideals strain his imagination and extend his view into the eternities, backward or forward. His power is absolute, he is the only real prophet, the prophet who after his baptism of patience and of faith finds the whole world at his feet, if only he has the determination and the courage to make it his. The contempt with which the prophet may regard the loose and inaccurate babblings of other men who have less scope and make less splendid promises, is after all excusable when his prophecies are found so often true and his results so useful.
— Learned Hand
In Learned Hand and Irving Dilliard (ed.), The Spirit of Liberty: Papers and Addresses of Learned Hand (1952), 4.
Science quotes on:  |  Contempt (20)  |  Courage (82)  |  Determination (80)  |  Excuse (27)  |  Judgment (140)  |  Promise (72)  |  Prophet (22)  |  Result (700)  |  Truth (1109)  |  Useful (260)


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 EinsteinIsaac NewtonLord KelvinCharles DarwinSrinivasa RamanujanCarl SaganFlorence NightingaleThomas EdisonAristotleMarie CurieBenjamin FranklinWinston ChurchillGalileo GalileiSigmund FreudRobert BunsenLouis PasteurTheodore RooseveltAbraham LincolnRonald ReaganLeonardo DaVinciMichio KakuKarl PopperJohann GoetheRobert OppenheimerCharles Kettering  ... (more people)

Quotations about:Atomic  BombBiologyChemistryDeforestationEngineeringAnatomyAstronomyBacteriaBiochemistryBotanyConservationDinosaurEnvironmentFractalGeneticsGeologyHistory of ScienceInventionJupiterKnowledgeLoveMathematicsMeasurementMedicineNatural ResourceOrganic ChemistryPhysicsPhysicianQuantum TheoryResearchScience and ArtTeacherTechnologyUniverseVolcanoVirusWind PowerWomen ScientistsX-RaysYouthZoology  ... (more topics)
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- 90 -
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- 70 -
Samuel Morse
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Martin Fischer
Robert Boyle
Karl Popper
Paul Dirac
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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
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Francis Crick
Hippocrates
Michael Faraday
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Francis Bacon
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- 10 -
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John Watson
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Isaac Asimov
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