Celebrating 24 Years on the Web
Find science on or your birthday

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “Truth is ever to be found in simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things.”
more quiz questions >>
Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index H > Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Quotes

Thumbnail of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (source)
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. (5 quotes)

A river is more than an amenity, it is a treasure. It offers a necessity of life that must be rationed among those who have power over it.
— Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Writing for the Court, New Jersey v. New York, et al., 283 U.S. 336, 342 (1931), His ruling declared that the water of the Delaware River must be divided among states on a basis of need, rather than on the geographic mileage of the resource controlled by each state. Thus a river was to be regarded as a shared economic treasure. An upstream state must not willy-nilly deprive a downstream state of an important water resource. As quoted and explained in Tim Palmer, Endangered Rivers and the Conservation Movement (2004), 42.
Science quotes on:  |  Necessity (197)  |  Offer (142)  |  Power (771)  |  Ration (2)  |  River (140)  |  Treasure (59)

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 (236)  |  Change (639)  |  Circumstance (139)  |  Circumstances (108)  |  Color (155)  |  Content (75)  |  Crystal (71)  |  Living (492)  |  Skin (48)  |  Thought (995)  |  Time (1911)  |  Transparent (16)  |  Vary (27)  |  Word (650)

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:  |  Constitution (78)  |  The Constitution of the United States (7)  |  Experiment (736)  |  Life (1870)

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 (423)  |  Forget (125)  |  Learn (672)  |  Thing (1914)

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 (314)  |  First (1302)  |  Man (2252)  |  Principle (530)

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
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)
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 |
Thank you for sharing.
- 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
Ralph Emerson
Robert Bunsen
Frederick Banting
Andre Ampere
Winston Churchill
- 80 -
John Locke
Bronislaw Malinowski
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
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
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
Michael Faraday
Srinivasa Ramanujan
Francis Bacon
Galileo Galilei
- 10 -
John Watson
Rosalind Franklin
Michio Kaku
Isaac Asimov
Charles Darwin
Sigmund Freud
Albert Einstein
Florence Nightingale
Isaac Newton

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