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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index P > Cyril Ponnamperuma Quotes

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Cyril Ponnamperuma
(16 Oct 1923 - 20 Dec 1994)

Ceylonese-American biochemist and exobiologist.


Science Quotes by Cyril Ponnamperuma (9 quotes)

A working definition of life … could thing in terms of a large molecule made up of carbon compounds that can replicate, or make copies of itself, and metabolize food and energy…: macromolecule, metabolism, replication.
— Cyril Ponnamperuma
From interview, 'The Seeds of Life', in The Omni Interviews (1984), 4.
Science quotes on:  |  Carbon (48)  |  Definition (152)  |  Energy (185)  |  Food (139)  |  Life (917)  |  Macromolecule (3)  |  Metabolism (11)  |  Replication (7)

Eventually man has to get there [Mars] because we will never be satisfied with unmanned exploration.
— Cyril Ponnamperuma
In 'Interview: Cyril Ponnamperuma', Space World (1989), 5, 25.
Science quotes on:  |  Eventually (14)  |  Exploration (93)  |  Mars (26)  |  Planet (199)  |  Satisfied (14)

If there is life elsewhere in the universe, chemically speaking, it would be very similar to what we have on earth.
— Cyril Ponnamperuma
Speaking at a 1986 Fall Meeting of the American Chemical Society, Anaheim, California, as quoted and cited in J. Raloff, 'Is There a Cosmic Chemistry of Life?', Science News (20 Sep 1986), 130, No. 12, 182.
Science quotes on:  |  Chemistry (239)  |  Earth (487)  |  Extraterrestrial Life (18)  |  Life (917)  |  Similar (22)  |  Universe (563)

Recently, we’ve reported that we have made all five bases, the compounds that spell out the instructions for all life and are a part of the nucleic acids, RNA and DNA. Not only did we make all five bases but we found them in a meteorite! So that these two things coming together really assure us that the molecules necessary for life can be found in the absence of life. This was the biggest stumbling block.
— Cyril Ponnamperuma
In Space World (1985), 5, 25.
Science quotes on:  |  Absence (16)  |  Base (43)  |  Compound (53)  |  DNA (67)  |  Instruction (51)  |  Life (917)  |  Meteorite (5)  |  Molecule (125)  |  Necessary (89)  |  Nucleic Acid (4)  |  Origin Of Life (32)  |  RNA (3)  |  Stumbling Block (3)

Scientists are human—they're as biased as any other group. But they do have one great advantage in that science is a self-correcting process.
— Cyril Ponnamperuma
In Pamela Weintraub (Ed.), The OMNI Interviews (1984), 14.
Science quotes on:  |  Advantage (42)  |  Bias (15)  |  Great (300)  |  Group (52)  |  Human (445)  |  Process (201)  |  Science (1699)  |  Scientist (447)  |  Self-Correcting (2)

The division between life and nonlife is perhaps an artificial one.
— Cyril Ponnamperuma
Speaking at an international meeting on the origins of life, quoted in E. Eckholm, 'Search for the Origins is Widening', International Herald Tribune (7 Jul 1986). As cited in Stuart R. Hameroff, Ultimate Computing: Biomolecular Consciousness and Nanotechnology (1987), 57. https://books.google.com/books?id=VE9RAAAAMAAJ - 1987
Science quotes on:  |  Artificial (26)  |  Biology (150)  |  Division (27)  |  Life (917)  |  Nonlife (2)

The information we have so far from the exploration of the planets seems to indicate that the earth is probably the only place in this solar system where there is life.
— Cyril Ponnamperuma
In Space World (1985), 5, 25.
Science quotes on:  |  Earth (487)  |  Exploration (93)  |  Indicate (10)  |  Information (102)  |  Life (917)  |  Planet (199)  |  Solar System (48)  |  Space Exploration (6)

The universe is reeking with organic matter. You could say that the universe is in the business of making life—or that God is an organic chemist.
— Cyril Ponnamperuma
From interview, 'The Seeds of Life', in The Omni Interviews (1984), 10.
Science quotes on:  |  Chemist (79)  |  God (454)  |  Matter (270)  |  Organic (48)  |  Origin Of Life (32)  |  Science And Religion (267)  |  Universe (563)

We think of something that has four legs and wags its tail as being alive. We look at a rock and say it’s not living. Yet when we get down to the no man’s land of virus particles and replicating molecules, we are hard put to define what is living and what is non-living.
— Cyril Ponnamperuma
From interview, 'The Seeds of Life', in The Omni Interviews (1984), 4.
Science quotes on:  |  Alive (38)  |  Define (29)  |  Leg (13)  |  Life (917)  |  Molecule (125)  |  Non-Living (3)  |  Rock (107)  |  Tail (13)  |  Virus (22)


See also:
  • 16 Oct - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Ponnamperuma's birth.

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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