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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index H > Robert Heinlein Quotes

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Robert Heinlein
(7 Jul 1907 - 8 May 1988)

American author who is one of the foremost of the science fiction novelists, noted for maintaining plausibility in his treatment of science in his stories.

Science Quotes by Robert Heinlein (17 quotes)

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
— Robert Heinlein
In Time Enough for Love: The Lives of Lazarus Long (1987), 248.
Science quotes on:  |  Account (45)  |  Act (80)  |  Alone (61)  |  Analysis (123)  |  Balance (43)  |  Bone (57)  |  Building (51)  |  Butcher (6)  |  Change (291)  |  Comfort (42)  |  Computer (84)  |  Cooking (7)  |  Cooperation (27)  |  Death (270)  |  Design (92)  |  Efficiency (25)  |  Equation (69)  |  Fight (37)  |  Hog (4)  |  Human (445)  |  Insect (57)  |  Invasion (7)  |  Manure (6)  |  Meal (14)  |  New (340)  |  Order (167)  |  Pitch (7)  |  Plan (69)  |  Problem (362)  |  Program (32)  |  Set (56)  |  Ship (33)  |  Solution (168)  |  Sonnet (4)  |  Specialization (12)  |  Wall (20)  |  Writing (72)

A touchstone to determine the actual worth of an “intellectual”—find out how he feels about astrology.
— Robert Heinlein
In Time Enough For Love (1973), 263. In Carl C. Gaither, Mathematically Speaking (1998), 249.
Science quotes on:  |  Actual (34)  |  Astrology (35)  |  Determination (53)  |  Intellectual (79)  |  Touchstone (3)  |  Worth (74)

A “critic” is a man who creates nothing and thereby feels qualified to judge the work of creative men. There is logic in this; he is unbiased—he hates all creative people equally.
— Robert Heinlein
In Time Enough For Love (1973), 263. In Carl C. Gaither, Mathematically Speaking (1998), 347.
Science quotes on:  |  Creating (7)  |  Creativity (66)  |  Critic (17)  |  Equality (21)  |  Hatred (16)  |  Judge (43)  |  Logic (187)  |  Nothing (267)  |  Qualification (7)  |  Unbiased (4)  |  Work (457)

Anyone who cannot cope with mathematics is not fully human. At best he is a tolerable subhuman who has learned to wear shoes, bathe and not make messes in the house
— Robert Heinlein
In Time Enough for Love: The Lives of Lazarus Long (1987), 247.
Science quotes on:  |  Mathematics (587)

Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done. One could write a history of science in reverse by assembling the solemn pronouncements of highest authority about what could not be done and could never happen.
— Robert Heinlein
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Assemble (8)  |  Authority (50)  |  Everything (120)  |  Happen (63)  |  High (78)  |  History Of Science (53)  |  Impossible (68)  |  Pronouncement (2)  |  Reverse (14)  |  Solemn (6)  |  Theoretically (2)  |  Write (87)

Expertise in one field does not carry over into other fields. But experts often think so. The narrower their field of knowledge the more likely they are to think so.
— Robert Heinlein
In Time Enough For Love (1973), 263. In Carl C. Gaither, Mathematically Speaking (1998), 349.
Science quotes on:  |  Expert (42)  |  Expertise (5)  |  Field (119)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Likelihood (8)  |  Narrowness (2)  |  Thinking (222)

If it can’t be expressed in figures, it is not science; it is opinion.
— Robert Heinlein
Spoken by character Lazarus Long in Time Enough for Love (1973). In Leon E. Stover, Heinlein (1987), 103.
Science quotes on:  |  Measurement (148)  |  Opinion (146)

It is said that God notes each sparrow that falls. And so He does … because the Sparrow is God. And when a cat stalks a sparrow both of them are God, carrying out God’s thoughts.
— Robert Heinlein
Stranger in a Strange Land. Quoted in Kim Lim (ed.), 1,001 Pearls of Spiritual Wisdom: Words to Enrich, Inspire, and Guide Your Life (2014), 141
Science quotes on:  |  Both (52)  |  Carrying Out (2)  |  Cat (31)  |  Fall (89)  |  God (454)  |  Note (22)  |  Say (126)  |  Sparrow (6)  |  Stalk (4)  |  Thought (374)

No storyteller has been able to dream up anything as fantastically unlikely as what really does happen in this mad Universe.
— Robert Heinlein
Time Enough For Love: the Lives of Lazarus Long (1973, 1987). The book has no page numbering.
Science quotes on:  |  Universe (563)

One man’s “magic” is another man’s engineering. “Supernatural” is a null word.
— Robert Heinlein
In Time Enough for Love: The Lives of Lazarus Long (1987), 250.
Science quotes on:  |  Engineering (115)  |  Magic (67)  |  Man (345)  |  Null (2)  |  Supernatural (19)  |  Word (221)

The difference between science and the fuzzy subjects is that science requires reasoning while those other subjects merely require scholarship.
— Robert Heinlein
Time Enough For Love: the Lives of Lazarus Long (1973, 1974), 366.
Science quotes on:  |  Difference (208)  |  Fuzzy (3)  |  Reasoning (79)  |  Scholarship (13)  |  Science (1699)  |  Subject (129)

The greatest productive force is human selfishness.
— Robert Heinlein
In Time Enough For Love (1973), 263. In Carl C. Gaither, Mathematically Speaking (1998), 349.
Science quotes on:  |  Force (194)  |  Great (300)  |  Human (445)  |  Productivity (13)  |  Selfishness (8)

The truth of a proposition has nothing to do with its credibility. And vice versa.
— Robert Heinlein
In Time Enough for Love: The Lives of Lazarus Long (1987), 247.
Science quotes on:  |  Credibility (4)  |  Nothing (267)  |  Proposition (47)  |  Truth (750)  |  Vice Versa (5)

There ought not to be anything in the whole universe that man can't poke his nose into—that’s the way we’re built and I assume that there's some reason for that.
— Robert Heinlein
Methuselah's Children, revised (1958). In The Past Through Tomorrow: 'Future History' Stories (1967), 666.
Science quotes on:  |  Exploration (93)  |  Universe (563)

This Universe never did make sense; I suspect that it was built on government contract.
— Robert Heinlein
The Number of the Beast (1980), 14. In Carl C. Gaither, Physically Speaking (1997), 340.
Science quotes on:  |  Government (85)  |  Universe (563)

Touch is the most fundamental sense. A baby experiences it, all over, before he is born and long before he learns to use sight, hearing, or taste, and no human ever ceases to need it.
— Robert Heinlein
In Time Enough For Love (1973), 263. In Carl C. Gaither, Mathematically Speaking (1998), 348.
Science quotes on:  |  Baby (18)  |  Birth (81)  |  Ceasing (2)  |  Experience (268)  |  Fundamental (122)  |  Hearing (27)  |  Human (445)  |  Learning (174)  |  Need (211)  |  Sense (240)  |  Sight (25)  |  Taste (35)  |  Touch (48)

“Logic” proved that airplanes can't fly and that H-bombs won't work and that stones don't fall out of the sky. Logic is a way of saying that anything which didn't happen yesterday won't happen tomorrow.
— Robert Heinlein
Glory Road (1963)
Science quotes on:  |  Airplane (32)  |  Logic (187)  |  Nuclear Bomb (4)


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)
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- 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



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