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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index O > Henry Oldenburg Quotes

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Henry Oldenburg
(c. 1618 - 5 Sep 1677)

German-British Secretary of the Royal Society who came to England as a German diplomat, but stayed and from 1662 served as the Secretary of the Royal Society, London. He founded and editted the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society journal.


Science Quotes by Henry Oldenburg (4 quotes)

He attends constantly the Meetings both of ye Society and the Council; noteth the Observables said and done there; digesteth ym in private; takes care to have ym entered in the Journal- and Register-Books; reads over and corrects all entrys; sollicites the performances of taskes recommended and undertaken; writes all Letters abroad and answers the returns made to ym, entertaining a correspondence with at least 30. persons; employs a great deal of time, and takes much pain in inquiring after and satisfying foorain demands about philosophical matters, dispenseth farr and near store of directions and inquiries for the society’s purpose, and sees them well recommended etc.
— Henry Oldenburg
Description of his duties as Secretary of the Royal Society, in his own words, but in the third person. As quoted from A. Rupert Hall, 'Henry Oldenburg', in Charles Coulston Gillispie (ed.), Dictionary of National Biography (1974), Vol. 10, 201.
Science quotes on:  |  Abroad (19)  |  Answer (389)  |  Attend (67)  |  Books (2)  |  Care (203)  |  Correct (95)  |  Correspondence (24)  |  Council (9)  |  Demand (131)  |  Digest (10)  |  Direction (185)  |  Dispense (10)  |  Enter (145)  |  Inquire (26)  |  Inquiry (88)  |  Journal (31)  |  Letter (117)  |  Meeting (22)  |  Note (39)  |  Observation (593)  |  Performance (51)  |  Philosophy (409)  |  Private (29)  |  Purpose (336)  |  Read (308)  |  Recommend (27)  |  Register (22)  |  Royal Society (17)  |  Satisfy (29)  |  Solicit (2)  |  Task (152)  |  Undertake (35)  |  Write (250)

Modern philosophers, to avoid circumlocutions, call that instrument, wherein a cylinder of quicksilver, of between 28 to 32 inches in altitude, is kept suspended after the manner of the Torricellian experiment, a barometer or baroscope.
— Henry Oldenburg
Opening sentence of 'A Relation of Some Mercurial Observations, and Their Results', Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society (12 Feb 1665/6), 1, No. 9, 153. Since no author is identified, it is here assumed that the article was written by the journal (founding) editor, Oldenburg.
Science quotes on:  |  Altitude (5)  |  Avoid (123)  |  Barometer (7)  |  Call (781)  |  Cylinder (11)  |  Experiment (736)  |  Instrument (158)  |  Manner (62)  |  Nomenclature (159)  |  Philosopher (269)  |  Quicksilver (8)  |  Suspend (11)  |   Evangelista Torricelli, (6)

The King saw them with no common satisfaction, expressing his desire in no particular to have yt Stellar fish engraven and printed. We wish very much, Sir, yt you could procure for us a particular description of yesd Fish, viz. whether it be common there; what is observable in it when alive; what colour it then hath; what kind of motion in the water; what use it maketh of all that curious workmanship, wch Nature hath adorn'd it with?
— Henry Oldenburg
Letter to John Winthrop, Jr. (26 Mar 1670), concerning specimens provided by Winthrop to the Society. In A. Rupert Hall & Marie Boas Hall (eds.), The Correspondence of Henry Oldenburg (1969), Vol. 6, 594.
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Whereas there is nothing more necessary for promoting the improvement of Philosophical Matters, than the communicating to such, as apply their Studies and Endeavours that way, such things as are discovered or put in practice by others; it is therefore thought fit to employ the Press, as the most proper way to gratifie those, whose engagement in such Studies, and delight in the advancement of Learning and profitable Discoveries, doth entitle them to the knowledge of what this Kingdom, or other parts of the World, do, from time to time, afford as well of the progress of the Studies, Labours, and attempts of the Curious and learned in things of this kind, as of their compleat Discoveries and performances: To the end, that such Productions being clearly and truly communicated, desires after solid and usefull knowledge may be further entertained, ingenious Endeavours and Undertakings cherished, and those, addicted to and conversant in such matters, may be invited and encouraged to search, try, and find out new things, impart their knowledge to one another, and contribute what they can to the Grand design of improving Natural knowledge, and perfecting all Philosophical Arts, and Sciences. All for the Glory of God, the Honour and Advantage of these Kingdoms, and the Universal Good of Mankind.
— Henry Oldenburg
'Introduction', Philosophical Transactions (1665), 1, 1-2.
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See also:
  • 5 Sep - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Oldenburg's death.
  • Henry Oldenburg: Shaping the Royal Society, by Marie Boas Hall. - 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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