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Who said: “As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.”
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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index H > Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Quotes

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Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
(8 Mar 1841 - 6 Mar 1935)

American physician who served as a U.S. Supreme Court Justice (1902-32), noted as a liberal and for frequently being in disagreement with the conservative majority. Holmes laid the groundwork for the modern laws in America regarding free speech. His writings, speeches, essays, letters, and judicial opinions Holmes are intelligent, thought-provoking and eloquent.


Science Quotes by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (4 quotes)

A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanged, it is the skin of a living thought and may vary greatly in color and content according to the circumstances and the time in which it is used.
— Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
In Towne v. Eisner (1918), 245 U.S. 425. As quoted in Richard A. Posner (ed.), The Essential Holmes: Selections from the Letters, Speeches, Judicial Opinions, and Other Writings of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (1992), 287.
Science quotes on:  |  According (237)  |  Change (595)  |  Circumstance (136)  |  Circumstances (108)  |  Color (138)  |  Content (70)  |  Crystal (69)  |  Living (491)  |  Skin (47)  |  Thought (954)  |  Time (1877)  |  Transparent (16)  |  Vary (27)  |  Word (622)

Our Constitution … is an experiment as all life is an experiment.
— Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
From Dissent in Abrams v. U.S., p. 304, quoted in Saturday Review (1929), 6, 582.
Science quotes on:  |  All (4107)  |  Constitution (76)  |  The Constitution of the United States (7)  |  Experiment (696)  |  Life (1799)

There are many things which we can afford to forget which it is yet well to learn.
— Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Valedictory Address to the Graduating Class of the Bellevue Hospital College (2 Mar 1871), New York Medical Journal (1871), 422.
Science quotes on:  |  Education (379)  |  Forget (117)  |  Learn (632)  |  Thing (1915)

To have doubted one’s own first principles is the mark of a civilized man.
— Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
'Ideals and Doubts,' Illinois Law Review (1915), 10. In Collected Legal Papers (1920), 307.
Science quotes on:  |  Doubt (305)  |  First (1284)  |  Man (2249)  |  Principle (510)


See also:

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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- 90 -
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- 70 -
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- 40 -
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- 30 -
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