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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index L > Lord Joseph Lister Quotes

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Lord Joseph Lister
(5 Apr 1827 - 10 Feb 1912)

English surgeon and medical scientist.


Science Quotes by Lord Joseph Lister (7 quotes)

Bearing in mind that it is from the vitality of the atmospheric particles that all the mischief arises, it appears that all that is requisite is to dress the wound with some material capable of killing these septic germs, provided that any substance can be found reliable for this purpose, yet not too potent as a caustic. In the course of the year 1864 I was much struck with an account of the remarkable effects produced by carbolic acid upon the sewage of the town of Carlisle, the admixture of a very small proportion not only preventing all odour from the lands irrigated with the refuse material, but, as it was stated, destroying the entozoa which usually infest cattle fed upon such pastures.
— Lord Joseph Lister
'On a New Method of Treating Compound Fracture, Abscesses, etc: With Observations on the Conditions of Supperation', Part 1, The Lancet (1867), 327.
Science quotes on:  |  Antiseptic (5)  |  Cow (27)  |  Dressing (3)  |  Irrigation (6)  |  Microorganism (20)  |  Sewage (5)  |  Treatment (88)

But when it has been shown by the researches of Pasteur that the septic property of the atmosphere depended not on the oxygen, or any gaseous constituent, but on minute organisms suspended in it, which owed their energy to their vitality, it occurred to me that decomposition in the injured part might be avoided without excluding the air, by applying as a dressing some material capable of destroying the life of the floating particles. Upon this principle I have based a practice.
— Lord Joseph Lister
'On the Antiseptic Principle in the Practice of Surgery', The British Medical Journal (1867), ii, 246.
Science quotes on:  |  Antiseptic (5)  |  Atmosphere (63)  |  Decay (31)  |  Dressing (3)  |  Infection (18)  |  Injury (14)  |  Microorganism (20)  |  Oxygen (49)  |  Louis Pasteur (79)  |  Treatment (88)

I trust I may be enabled in the treatment of patients always to act with a single eye to their good.
— Lord Joseph Lister
Letter to his sister Jane (3 Mar 1857). In John Vaughan, 'Lord Lister', The Living Age (1918), 297, 361. Reprinted from The Fortnightly Review (1918), 109, 417- .
Science quotes on:  |  Action (151)  |  Eye (159)  |  Good (228)  |  Patient (116)  |  Single (72)  |  Treatment (88)

If the love of surgery is a proof of a person’s being adapted for it, then certainly I am fitted to he a surgeon; for thou can’st hardly conceive what a high degree of enjoyment I am from day to day experiencing in this bloody and butchering department of the healing art. I am more and more delighted with my profession.
— Lord Joseph Lister
Letter to his father (1853). In John Vaughan, 'Lord Lister', The Living Age (1918), 297, 361. Reprinted from The Fortnightly Review (1918), 109, 417- .
Science quotes on:  |  Blood (95)  |  Delight (51)  |  Enjoyment (27)  |  Healing (16)  |  Profession (54)  |  Satisfaction (48)  |  Surgeon (43)  |  Surgery (39)

If we had nothing but pecuniary rewards and worldly honours to look to, our profession would not be one to be desired. But in its practice you will find it to be attended with peculiar privileges, second to none in intense interest and pure pleasures. It is our proud office to tend the fleshly tabernacle of the immortal spirit, and our path, rightly followed, will be guided by unfettered truth and love unfeigned. In the pursuit of this noble and holy calling I wish you all God-speed.
— Lord Joseph Lister
Conclusion of Graduation Address, University of Edinburgh (1876). In John Vaughan, 'Lord Lister', The Living Age (1918), 297, 361.
Science quotes on:  |  Flesh (22)  |  Honour (23)  |  Pecuniary (2)  |  Pleasure (98)  |  Privilege (16)  |  Profession (54)  |  Reward (38)  |  Tabernacle (2)

Next to the promulgation of the truth, the best thing I can conceive that man can do is the public recantation of an error.
— Lord Joseph Lister
In Collected Papers of Joseph Baron Lister (1909), Vol. 1, 366. As quoted and cited in Sir Rickman John Godlee, Lord Lister (1918), 278.
Science quotes on:  |  Best (129)  |  Error (230)  |  Public (82)  |  Truth (750)

The frequency of disastrous consequences in compound fracture, contrasted with the complete immunity from danger to life or limb in simple fracture, is one of the most striking as well as melancholy facts in surgical practice.
— Lord Joseph Lister
'On a New Method of Treating Compound Fracture, Abscesses, etc: With Observations on the Conditions of Supperation', Part I, The Lancet (1867), 326.
Science quotes on:  |  Bone (57)  |  Fracture (4)  |  Infection (18)  |  Treatment (88)



Quotes by others about Lord Joseph Lister (1)

Lister saw the vast importance of the discoveries of Pasteur. He saw it because he was watching on the heights, and he was watching there alone.
Baron Joseph Lister', The Encyclopædia Britannica (1911), 778.


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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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