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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index N > Alfred Bernhard Nobel Quotes

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Alfred Bernhard Nobel
(21 Oct 1833 - 10 Dec 1896)

Swedish chemist and inventor.


Science Quotes by Alfred Bernhard Nobel (11 quotes)

Alfred Nobel - pitiable half-creature, should have been stifled by humane doctor when he made his entry yelling into life. Greatest merits: Keeps his nails clean and is never a burden to anyone. Greatest fault: Lacks family, cheerful spirits, and strong stomach. Greatest and only petition: Not to be buried alive. Greatest sin: Does not worship Mammon. Important events in his life: None.
— Alfred Bernhard Nobel
Letter (1887) from Alfred to his brother, Ludwig. In Erik Bergengre, Alfred Nobel: the Man and His Work (1960), 177.
Science quotes on:  |  Biography (228)  |  Birth (87)  |  Event (102)  |  Family (43)  |  Fault (27)  |  Life (993)  |  Mammon (2)  |  Merit (25)  |  Worship (22)

All Frenchmen are under the blissful impression that the brain is a French organ.
— Alfred Bernhard Nobel
As quoted in Harry Black, Canada and the Nobel Prize: Biographies, Portraits and Fascinating Facts (2002), 19.
Science quotes on:  |  Blissful (3)  |  Brain (184)  |  French (12)  |  Frenchman (4)  |  Impression (54)  |  Organ (61)

For my part, I wish all guns with their belongings and everything could be sent to hell, which is the proper place for their exhibition and use.
— Alfred Bernhard Nobel
As quoted in Erik Bergengren, Alfred Nobel: The Man and his Work (1960), 124.
Science quotes on:  |  Gun (7)  |  Hell (30)

I am a misanthrope, but exceedingly benevolent; I am very cranky, and am a super-idealist. ... I can digest philosophy better than food.
— Alfred Bernhard Nobel
In Ake Erlandsson, 'The Nobel Library of the Swediah Academy', Libri (1999), 167.
Science quotes on:  |  Benevolent (4)  |  Biography (228)  |  Idealist (3)

I am not aware that I have deserved any notoriey, and I have no taste for its buzz.
— Alfred Bernhard Nobel
In Robert Shaplen, 'Annals Of Science: Adventures of a Pacifist', The New Yorker (22 Mar 1958), 41; without a reference, but cited elsewhere as in H. Schuck, 'Alfred Nobel: A Biographical Sketch' in The Nobel Foundation (ed.), Nobel: The Man and His Prize (1951), 18.
Science quotes on:  |  Biography (228)  |  Buzz (2)  |  Deserve (17)  |  Modesty (9)  |  Notoriety (2)

I would not leave anything to a man of action; as he would be tempted to give up work. On the other hand I would like to help dreamers as they find it difficult to get on in life.
— Alfred Bernhard Nobel
A few months before his death. As translated and stated in H. Schόck and Ragnar Sohlman, The Life of Alfred Nobel (1929), 241.
Science quotes on:  |  Action (163)  |  Difficult (73)  |  Dreamer (9)  |  Help (78)  |  On The Other Hand (17)  |  Tempt (4)  |  Will (29)  |  Work (493)

If I have a thousand ideas a year, and only one turns out to be good, I am satisfied.
— Alfred Bernhard Nobel
As quoted by Linus Pauling in Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech (10 Dec 1963). As reported in Gφran Liljestrand (ed.), Les Prix Nobel en 1963, (1964).
Science quotes on:  |  Good (255)  |  Idea (457)  |  Satisfied (14)  |  Thousand (123)  |  Year (240)

Lawyers have to make a living and can only do so by inducing people to believe that a straight line is crooked. This accounts for their penchant for politics, where they can usually find everything crooked enough to delight their hearts.
— Alfred Bernhard Nobel
As quoted in Harry Black, Canada and the Nobel Prize: Biographies, Portraits and Fascinating Facts (2002), 19.
Science quotes on:  |  Belief (421)  |  Crooked (3)  |  Delight (53)  |  Heart (125)  |  Lawyer (19)  |  Politics (81)  |  Straight Line (7)

My dynamite will sooner lead to peace than a thousand world conventions. As soon as men will find that in one instant, whole armies can be utterly destroyed, they surely will abide by golden peace.
— Alfred Bernhard Nobel
As quoted, without citation, in Peter T. Davis and Craig R. McGuffin, Wireless Local Area Networks: Technology, Issues, and Strategies (1995), 159. Various sources since then have the quote with that wording. This shares the same sentiment - and may be an alternate translation - as Nobel’s quote given by Linus Pauling in his Nobel Acceptance Speech (see elsewhere on this page). Pauling in his speech said it was from a statement by Nobel in 1892, as reported by Bertha von Sutter. Webmaster has so far found no definitive print source for either version. Please contact Webmaster if you have.
Science quotes on:  |  Abide (5)  |  Army (22)  |  Convention (13)  |  Destroy (66)  |  Dynamite (5)  |  Golden (13)  |  Instant (13)  |  Peace (70)  |  Thousand (123)  |  Utterly (14)  |  World (746)

Our factories may well put an end to war sooner than your (peace) congresses. The day when two army corps can annihilate one another in one second, all civilized nations, it is to be hoped, will recoil from war and discharge their troops.
— Alfred Bernhard Nobel
As quoted by Linus Pauling in Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech (10 Dec 1963). Pauling in his speech said it was from a statement by Nobel “in 1892, as reported by Bertha von Sutter.” Printed in Gφran Liljestrand (ed.), Les Prix Nobel en 1963, (1964).
Science quotes on:  |  Annihilate (6)  |  Army (22)  |  Civilized (13)  |  Congress (9)  |  Corps (2)  |  Discharge (7)  |  End (161)  |  Factory (13)  |  Hope (146)  |  Nation (114)  |  Peace (70)  |  Recoil (6)  |  Second (44)  |  War (149)

The capital ... shall form a fund, the interest of which shall be distributed annually as prizes to those persons who shall have rendered humanity the best services during the past year. ... One-fifth to the person having made the most important discovery or invention in the science of physics, one-fifth to the person who has made the most eminent discovery or improvement in chemistry, one-fifth to the one having made the most important discovery with regard to physiology or medicine, one-fifth to the person who has produced the most distinguished idealistic work of literature, and one-fifth to the person who has worked the most or best for advancing the fraternization of all nations and for abolishing or diminishing the standing armies as well as for the forming or propagation of committees of peace.
— Alfred Bernhard Nobel
From will (27 Nov 1895), in which he established the Nobel Prizes, as translated in U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Consular Reports, Issues 156-159 (1897), 331.
Science quotes on:  |  Annual (5)  |  Benefit (58)  |  Capital (15)  |  Confer (7)  |  Distribution (27)  |  Fund (12)  |  Humanity (111)  |  Interest (182)  |  Mankind (217)  |  Nobel Prize (26)  |  Render (19)  |  Will (29)



Quotes by others about Alfred Bernhard Nobel (4)

It can even be thought that radium could become very dangerous in criminal hands, and here the question can be raised whether mankind benefits from knowing the secrets of Nature, whether it is ready to profit from it or whether this knowledge will not be harmful for it. The example of the discoveries of Nobel is characteristic, as powerful explosives have enabled man to do wonderful work. They are also a terrible means of destruction in the hands of great criminals who lead the peoples towards war. I am one of those who believe with Nobel that mankind will derive more good than harm from the new discoveries.
Nobel Lecture (6 June 1905), 'Radioactive Substances, Especially Radium', collected in Stig Lundqvist (ed.), Nobel Lectures: Physics 1901-1921 (1998), 78.
Science quotes on:  |  Nobel Prize (26)  |  Radium (19)  |  War (149)

And this is the ultimate lesson that our knowledge of the mode of transmission of typhus has taught us: Man carries on his skin a parasite, the louse. Civilization rids him of it. Should man regress, should he allow himself to resemble a primitive beast, the louse begins to multiply again and treats man as he deserves, as a brute beast. This conclusion would have endeared itself to the warm heart of Alfred Nobel. My contribution to it makes me feel less unworthy of the honour which you have conferred upon me in his name.
'Investigations on Typhus', Nobel Lecture, 1928. In Nobel Lectures: Physiology or Medicine 1922-1941 (1965), 187.
Science quotes on:  |  Beast (36)  |  Brute (13)  |  Civilization (161)  |  Conclusion (124)  |  Contribution (51)  |  Honour (23)  |  Knowledge (1148)  |  Lesson (33)  |  Louse (6)  |  Man (348)  |  Mode (29)  |  Parasite (30)  |  Primitive (38)  |  Resemblance (18)  |  Skin (22)  |  Teaching (100)  |  Transmission (23)  |  Typhus (2)  |  Ultimate (71)  |  Unworthy (9)

I am one of those who think, like Nobel, that humanity will draw more good than evil from new discoveries.
In Pierre Biquard, Frιdιric Joliot-Curie: the Man and his Theories (1966), 11.
Science quotes on:  |  Discovery (601)  |  Evil (69)  |  Good (255)  |  Humanity (111)  |  Thinking (223)

As was the case for Nobel's own invention of dynamite, the uses that are made of increased knowledge can serve both beneficial and potentially harmful ends. Increased knowledge clearly implies increased responsibility. We reject the notion advocated in some quarters that man should stop eating from the tree of knowledge, as if that were humanly possible.
From Nobel Banquet Speech (10 Dec 1981), in Wilhelm Odelberg (ed.), Les Prix Nobel 1981 (1981), 44.
Science quotes on:  |  Advocate (10)  |  Beneficial (11)  |  Clearly (23)  |  Dynamite (5)  |  Harmful (11)  |  Humanly (4)  |  Imply (12)  |  Increased (3)  |  Invention (287)  |  Knowledge (1148)  |  Notion (33)  |  Possible (112)  |  Potential (35)  |  Reject (22)  |  Responsibility (49)  |  Serve (38)  |  Tree Of Knowledge (7)


See also:
  • 21 Oct - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Nobel's birth.
  • Alfred Nobel: A Biography, by Kenne Fant. - book suggestion.

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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