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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index M > Marcello Malpighi Quotes

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Marcello Malpighi
(10 Mar 1628 - 30 Nov 1694)

Italian physician, physiologist and biologist who founded the science of microscopic anatomy of such organs as the lung, kidney, brain aand skin at the microscopic level. He extended William Harvey's work on the circulation of blood.


Science Quotes by Marcello Malpighi (16 quotes)


By its very nature the uterus is a field for growing the seeds, that is to say the ova, sown upon it. Here the eggs are fostered, and here the parts of the living [fetus], when they have further unfolded, become manifest and are made strong. Yet although it has been cast off by the mother and sown, the egg is weak and powerless and so requires the energy of the semen of the male to initiate growth. Hence in accordance with the laws of Nature, and like the other orders of living things, women produce eggs which, when received into the chamber of the uterus and fecundated by the semen of the male, unfold into a new life.
— Marcello Malpighi
'On the Developmental Process', in H. B. Adelmann (ed.), Marcello Malpighi and the Evolution of Embryology (1966), Vol. 2, 861.
Science quotes on:  |  Accordance (8)  |  Chamber (5)  |  Egg (41)  |  Embryology (16)  |  Field (119)  |  Fostering (2)  |  Law Of Nature (52)  |  Life (917)  |  Male (24)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Ovum (4)  |  Production (105)  |  Reception (6)  |  Seed (52)  |  Semen (3)  |  Uterus (2)  |  Woman (94)

Casting off the dark fog of verbal philosophy and vulgar medicine, which inculcate names alone ... I tried a series of experiments to explain more clearly many phenomena, particularly those of physiology. In order that I might subject as far as possible the reasonings of the Galenists and Peripatetics to sensory criteria, I began, after trying experiments, to write dialogues in which a Galenist adduced the better-known and stronger reasons and arguments; these a mechanist surgeon refuted by citing to the contrary the experiments I had tried, and a third, neutral interlocutor weighed the reasons advanced by both and provided an opportunity for further progress.
— Marcello Malpighi
'Malpighi at Pisa 1656-1659', in H. B. Adelmann (ed.), Marcello Malpighi and the Evolution of Embryology (1966), Vol. 1, 155-6.
Science quotes on:  |  Argument (59)  |  Experiment (543)  |  Explanation (161)  |  Galen (19)  |  Inculcate (5)  |  Medicine (322)  |  Name (118)  |  Phenomenon (218)  |  Philosophy (213)  |  Physiology (66)  |  Progress (317)  |  Reason (330)

For Nature is accustomed to rehearse with certain large, perhaps baser, and all classes of wild (animals), and to place in the imperfect the rudiments of the perfect animals.
— Marcello Malpighi
De Pulmonibus (1661), trans. James Young, Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine (1929-30), 23, 7.
Science quotes on:  |  Animal (309)  |  Imperfection (19)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Perfection (71)  |  Rehearse (2)

I could clearly see that the blood is divided and flows through tortuous vessels and that it is not poured out into spaces, but is always driven through tubules and distributed by the manifold bendings of the vessels... [F]rom the simplicity Nature employs in all her works, we may conclude... that the network I once believed to be nervous [that is, sinewy] is really a vessel intermingled with the vesicles and sinuses and carrying the mass of blood to them or away from them... though these elude even the keenest sight because of their small size... From these considerations it is highly probable that the question about the mutual union and anastomosis of the vessels can be solved; for if Nature once circulates the blood within vessels and combines their ends in a network, it is probable that they are joined by anastomosis at other times too.
— Marcello Malpighi
'The Return to Bologna 1659-1662', in H. B. Adelmann (ed.), Marcello Malpighi and the Evolution of Embryology (1966), Vol. 1, 194-5.
Science quotes on:  |  Blood (95)  |  Capillary (4)  |  Circulation (17)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Simplicity (126)  |  Tissue (24)

I have destroyed almost the whole race of frogs, which does not happen in that savage Batrachomyomachia of Homer. For in the anatomy of frogs, which, by favour of my very excellent colleague D. Carolo Fracassato, I had set on foot in order to become more certain about the membranous substance of the lungs, it happened to me to see such things that not undeservedly I can better make use of that [saying] of Homer for the present matter—
“I see with my eyes a work trusty and great.”
For in this (frog anatomy) owing to the simplicity of the structure, and the almost complete transparency of the vessels which admits the eye into the interior, things are more clearly shown so that they will bring the light to other more obscure matters.
— Marcello Malpighi
De Pulmonibus (1661), trans. James Young, Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine (1929-30), 23, 7.
Science quotes on:  |  Anatomy (59)  |  Certainty (97)  |  Destruction (80)  |  Eye (159)  |  Frog (30)  |  Great (300)  |  Homer (7)  |  Interior (13)  |  Lung (17)  |  Membrane (11)  |  Obscurity (18)  |  See (197)  |  Simplicity (126)  |  Structure (191)  |  Transparency (3)  |  Vessel (21)  |  Work (457)

In such sad circumstances I but see myself exalted by my own enemies, for in order to defeat some small works of mine they try to make the whole rational medicine and anatomy fall, as if I were myself these noble disciplines.
— Marcello Malpighi
'Letter to Marescotti about the dispute with Sbaraglia and others, 1689(?)', in H. B. Adelmann (ed.), The Correspondence of Marcello Malpighi (1975), Vol. 4, 1561.
Science quotes on:  |  Anatomy (59)  |  Circumstance (48)  |  Defeat (13)  |  Discipline (38)  |  Enemy (52)  |  Exaltation (2)  |  Fall (89)  |  Medicine (322)  |  Nobility (3)  |  Rationality (11)  |  Sadness (26)  |  Seeing (48)  |  Work (457)

It is therefore proper to acknowledge that the first filaments of the chick preexist in the egg and have a deeper origin, exactly as [the embryo] in the eggs of plants.
— Marcello Malpighi
'On the Formation of the Chick in the Egg' (1673), in H. B. Adelmann (ed.), Marcello Malpighi and the Evolution of Embryology (1966), Vol. 2, 945.
Science quotes on:  |  Acknowledgment (10)  |  Chick (3)  |  Egg (41)  |  Embryo (22)  |  Existence (254)  |  Origin (77)  |  Plant (173)

Nature has but one plan of operation, invariably the same in the smallest things as well as in the largest, and so often do we see the smallest masses selected for use in Nature, that even enormous ones are built up solely by fitting these together. Indeed, all Nature’s efforts are devoted to uniting the smallest parts of our bodies in such a way that all things whatsoever, however diverse they may be, which coalesce in the structure of living things construct the parts by means of a sort of compendium.
— Marcello Malpighi
'On the Developmental Process', in H. B. Adelmann (ed.), Marcello Malpighi and the Evolution of Embryology (1966), Vol. 2, 843.
Science quotes on:  |  Body (193)  |  Building (51)  |  Compendium (5)  |  Construction (69)  |  Devotion (24)  |  Diversity (46)  |  Effort (94)  |  Enormous (33)  |  Invariability (4)  |  Large (82)  |  Living Thing (2)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Operation (96)  |  Part (146)  |  Plan (69)  |  Sameness (2)  |  Selection (27)  |  Small (97)  |  Structure (191)  |  Uniting (4)  |  Use (70)

Nature, … in order to carry out the marvelous operations [that occur] in animals and plants has been pleased to construct their organized bodies with a very large number of machines, which are of necessity made up of extremely minute parts so shaped and situated as to form a marvelous organ, the structure and composition of which are usually invisible to the naked eye without the aid of a microscope. … Just as Nature deserves praise and admiration for making machines so small, so too the physician who observes them to the best of his ability is worthy of praise, not blame, for he must also correct and repair these machines as well as he can every time they get out of order.
— Marcello Malpighi
'Reply to Doctor Sbaraglia' in Opera Posthuma (1697), in H. B. Adelmann (ed.), Marcello Malpighi and the Evolution of Embryology (1966), Vol. 1, 568.
Science quotes on:  |  Ability (75)  |  Admiration (34)  |  Aid (23)  |  Animal (309)  |  Blame (17)  |  Body (193)  |  Composition (52)  |  Construction (69)  |  Correction (28)  |  Extreme (36)  |  Formation (54)  |  Invisibility (5)  |  Machine (133)  |  Making (26)  |  Marvel (24)  |  Microscope (68)  |  Minuteness (3)  |  Naked Eye (7)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Necessity (125)  |  Observation (418)  |  Operation (96)  |  Organ (60)  |  Organization (79)  |  Out Of Order (2)  |  Part (146)  |  Physician (232)  |  Plant (173)  |  Pleasure (98)  |  Praise (17)  |  Repair (7)  |  Shape (52)  |  Small (97)  |  Structure (191)

Observation by means of the microscope will reveal more wonderful things than those viewed in regard to mere structure and connection: for while the heart is still beating the contrary (i.e., in opposite directions in the different vessels) movement of the blood is observed in the vessels—though with difficulty—so that the circulation of the blood is clearly exposed.
— Marcello Malpighi
De Pulmonibus (1661), trans. James Young, Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine (1929-30), 23, 8.
Science quotes on:  |  Beat (15)  |  Blood (95)  |  Capillary (4)  |  Connection (86)  |  Heart (110)  |  Microscope (68)  |  Observation (418)  |  Structure (191)  |  Vessel (21)  |  Wonder (134)

Surgical knowledge depends on long practice, not from speculations.
— Marcello Malpighi
'Letter to Borghese' (27 Jul 1689), quoted in H.B. Adelmann (ed.), The Correspondence of Marcello Malpighi (1975), Vol. 4, 1486.
Science quotes on:  |  Dependence (32)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Long (95)  |  Practice (67)  |  Speculation (77)  |  Surgery (39)

The generation of seeds ... is therefore marvelous and analogous to the other productions of living things. For first of all an umbilicus appears. ... Its extremity gradually expands and after gathering a colliquamentous ichor becomes analogous to an amnion. ... In the course of time the seed or fetus begins to become visible.
— Marcello Malpighi
'On the Developmental Process', in H. B. Adelmann (ed.), Marcello Malpighi and the Evolution of Embryology (1966), Vol. 2, 850.
Science quotes on:  |  Analogy (46)  |  Appearance (77)  |  Embryology (16)  |  Expansion (25)  |  Extremity (2)  |  Gather (29)  |  Generation (111)  |  Life (917)  |  Marvel (24)  |  Production (105)  |  Seed (52)  |  Visibility (6)

The power of the eye could not be extended further in the opened living animal, hence I had believed that this body of the blood breaks into the empty space, and is collected again by a gaping vessel and by the structure of the walls. The tortuous and diffused motion of the blood in divers directions, and its union at a determinate place offered a handle to this. But the dried lung of the frog made my belief dubious. This lung had, by chance, preserved the redness of the blood in (what afterwards proved to be) the smallest vessels, where by means of a more perfect lens, no more there met the eye the points forming the skin called Sagrino, but vessels mingled annularly. And, so great is the divarication of these vessels as they go out, here from a vein, there from an artery, that order is no longer preserved, but a network appears made up of the prolongations of both vessels. This network occupies not only the whole floor, but extends also to the walls, and is attached to the outgoing vessel, as I could see with greater difficulty but more abundantly in the oblong lung of a tortoise, which is similarly membranous and transparent. Here it was clear to sense that the blood flows away through the tortuous vessels, that it is not poured into spaces but always works through tubules, and is dispersed by the multiplex winding of the vessels.
— Marcello Malpighi
De Pulmonibus (1661), trans. James Young, Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine (1929-30), 23, 8.
Science quotes on:  |  Artery (8)  |  Blood (95)  |  Capillary (4)  |  Doubt (121)  |  Frog (30)  |  Lens (11)  |  Lung (17)  |  Membrane (11)  |  Microscope (68)  |  Physiology (66)  |  Skin (17)  |  Structure (191)  |  Tortoise (8)  |  Transparency (3)  |  Vein (11)  |  Vessel (21)

The seed is the fetus, in other words, a true plant with its parts (that is, its leaves, of which there are usually two, its stalk or stem, and its bud) completely fashioned.
— Marcello Malpighi
'On the Developmental Process', in H. B. Adelmann (ed.), Marcello Malpighi and the Evolution of Embryology (1966), Vol. 2, 845.
Science quotes on:  |  Bud (4)  |  Fashioning (2)  |  Fetus (2)  |  In Other Words (4)  |  Leaf (43)  |  Part (146)  |  Plant (173)  |  Seed (52)  |  Stalk (4)  |  Stem (11)

This, however, seems to be certain: the ichor, that is, the material I have mentioned that finally becomes red, exists before the heart begins to beat, but the heart exists and even beats before the blood reddens.
— Marcello Malpighi
'On the Formation of the Chick in the Egg' (1673), in H. B. Adelmann (ed.), Marcello Malpighi and the Evolution of Embryology (1966), Vol. 2, 957.
Science quotes on:  |  Beat (15)  |  Blood (95)  |  Certainty (97)  |  Egg (41)  |  Existence (254)  |  Heart (110)  |  Material (124)  |  Mention (12)  |  Redness (2)

We are many small puppets moved by fate and fortune through strings unseen by us; therefore, if it is so as I think, one has to prepare oneself with a good heart and indifference to accept things coming towards us, because they cannot be avoided, and to oppose them requires a violence that tears our souls too deeply, and it seems that both fortune and men are always busy in affairs for our dislike because the former is blind and the latter only think of their interest.
— Marcello Malpighi
'Letter to Bellini' (17 Oct 1689), in H. B. Adelmann (ed.), The Correspondence of Marcello Malpighi (1975), Vol. 4, 1534.
Science quotes on:  |  Affair (24)  |  Avoidance (9)  |  Blindness (8)  |  Dislike (11)  |  Fate (38)  |  Fortune (23)  |  Indifference (12)  |  Interest (170)  |  Opposition (29)  |  Preparation (33)  |  Puppet (2)  |  Soul (139)  |  String (17)  |  Tear (20)  |  Thinking (222)


See also:
  • 10 Mar - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Malpighi's birth.
  • Marcello Malpighi - context of quote “Nature deserves praise…for making machines so small” - Medium image (500 x 250 px)
  • Marcello Malpighi - context of quote “Nature deserves praise…for making machines so small” - Large image (800 x 400 px)
  • Marcello Malpighi - context of quote “I but see myself exalted by my own enemies” - Medium image (500 x 250 px)
  • Marcello Malpighi - context of quote “I but see myself exalted by my own enemies” - Large image (800 x 400 px)
  • Marcello Malpighi - context of quote “Surgical knowledge depends on long practice” - Medium image (500 x 250 px)
  • Marcello Malpighi - context of quote “Surgical knowledge depends on long practice” - Large image (800 x 400 px)

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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