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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index H > Gerald Holton Quotes

Gerald Holton
(1922 - )

American physicist and science historian.

Science Quotes by Gerald Holton (5 quotes)

As a result of the phenomenally rapid change and growth of physics, the men and women who did their great work one or two generations ago may be our distant predecessors in terms of the state of the field, but they are our close neighbors in terms of time and tastes. This may be an unprecedented state of affairs among professionals; one can perhaps be forgiven if one characterizes it epigrammatically with a disastrously mixed metaphor; in the sciences, we are now uniquely privileged to sit side-by-side with the giants on whose shoulders we stand.
— Gerald Holton
In 'On the Recent Past of Physics', American Journal of Physics (1961), 29, 807.
Science quotes on:  |  Metaphor (19)  |  Physics (301)  |  Predecessor (18)  |  Professional (27)

By a recent estimate, nearly half the bills before the U.S. Congress have a substantial science-technology component and some two-thirds of the District of Columbia Circuit Court’s case load now involves review of action by federal administrative agencies; and more and more of such cases relate to matters on the frontiers of technology.
If the layman cannot participate in decision making, he will have to turn himself over, essentially blind, to a hermetic elite. … [The fundamental question becomes] are we still capable of self-government and therefore freedom?
Margaret Mead wrote in a 1959 issue of Daedalus about scientists elevated to the status of priests. Now there is a name for this elevation, when you are in the hands of—one hopes—a benevolent elite, when you have no control over your political decisions. From the point of view of John Locke, the name for this is slavery.
— Gerald Holton
Quoted in 'Where is Science Taking Us? Gerald Holton Maps the Possible Routes', The Chronicle of Higher Education (18 May 1981). In Francis A. Schaeffer, A Christian Manifesto (1982), 80.
Science quotes on:  |  Education (280)  |  Elite (5)  |  Freedom (76)  |  Government (85)  |  John Locke (48)  |  Margaret Mead (30)  |  Science (1699)  |  Scientist (447)  |  Slavery (8)  |  Technology (199)

The flight of most members of a profession to the high empyrean, where they can work peacefully on purely scientific problems, isolated from the turmoil of real life, was perhaps quite appropriate at an earlier stage of science; but in today's world it is a luxury we cannot afford.
— Gerald Holton
The Scientific Imagination: Case Studies (1978), 250.
Science quotes on:  |  Research (517)

The statement that there is no single scientific method has become a truism only rather recently.
— Gerald Holton
In 'On the Duality and Growth of Physical Science', American Scientist (Jan 1953), 41, No. 1, 89.
Science quotes on:  |  Recent (23)  |  Scientific Method (155)  |  Single (72)  |  Statement (56)  |  Truism (3)

To this day, we see all around us the Promethean drive to omnipotence through technology and to omniscience through science. The effecting of all things possible and the knowledge of all causes are the respective primary imperatives of technology and of science. But the motivating imperative of society continues to be the very different one of its physical and spiritual survival. It is now far less obvious than it was in Francis Bacon's world how to bring the three imperatives into harmony, and how to bring all three together to bear on problems where they superpose.
— Gerald Holton
In 'Science, Technology and the Fourth Discontinuity' (1982). Reprinted in The Advancement of Science, and its Burdens (1986), 183.
Science quotes on:  |  Sir Francis Bacon (167)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Science (1699)  |  Technology (199)


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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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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- 90 -
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Andre Ampere
Winston Churchill
- 80 -
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Bible
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- 70 -
Samuel Morse
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- 60 -
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- 50 -
Stephen Hawking
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- 40 -
Pierre Fermat
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- 30 -
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Richard Feynman
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- 20 -
Carl Sagan
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- 10 -
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