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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index P > Terry Pratchett Quotes

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Terry Pratchett
(28 Apr 1948 - 21 Mar 2015)

English author who has been publishing comic fantasy and science fiction novels since 1971, and was Britain's best-selling author of the 1990s. In his youth he was interested in astronomy and owned a telescope. His books include Discworld, Guards! Guards! and Good Omens. Many of his works were adapted as serials on BBC Radio 4 and staged in theatre productions.

Science Quotes by Terry Pratchett (16 quotes)

SCIENCE: a way of finding things out and then making them work. Science explains what is happening around us the whole time. So does RELIGION, but science is better because it comes up with more understandable excuses when it’s wrong.
— Terry Pratchett
In Wings (1990, 2007), 147.
Science quotes on:  |  Better (486)  |  Excuse (26)  |  Explain (325)  |  Happening (59)  |  Making (300)  |  More (2559)  |  Religion (364)  |  Science And Religion (330)  |  Small (484)  |  Thing (1914)  |  Time (1890)  |  Understandable (12)  |  Way (1214)  |  Whole (746)  |  Work (1374)  |  Wrong (236)

A rock has no detectable opinion about gravity.
— Terry Pratchett
In Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen, introductory section, 'The Story Starts Here', The Science of Discworld (1999), 10, footnote. The section is initialed by all three coauthors. Which of them wrote which lines, is not designated. [Webmaster, without proof, guesses the subject quote was by Pratchett, and lists it under his name.]
Science quotes on:  |  Gravity (135)  |  Opinion (285)  |  Rock (169)

At least I know I’m bewildered about the really fundamental and important facts of the universe.
— Terry Pratchett
Equal Rites (1987)
Science quotes on:  |  Fact (1236)  |  Facts (553)  |  Fundamental (258)  |  Know (1526)  |  Universe (883)

Do you not know that a man is not dead while his name is still spoken?
— Terry Pratchett
In Going Postal (2004, 2009), 101.
Science quotes on:  |  Dead (62)  |  Do (1905)  |  Know (1526)  |  Man (2252)  |  Name (346)  |  Spoken (3)  |  Still (614)

Every so often, you have to unlearn what you thought you already knew, and replace it by something more subtle.
— Terry Pratchett
With co-author Jack Cohen. In Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen, Chap. 4, 'Science and Magic', The Science of Discworld (Rev. Ed. 2002), 14. Pratchett wrote the fantasy story told in the odd-numbered chapters. Following each, relevant real science is provided by his co-authors, Stewart and Cohen, in the even-numbered chapters (such as Chap. 4), but which of the two wrote which lines, is not designated.
Science quotes on:  |  Already (222)  |  More (2559)  |  Replace (32)  |  Something (718)  |  Subtle (37)  |  Thought (967)  |  Unlearn (11)

In the beginning, there was nothing, which exploded.
— Terry Pratchett
In Lords and Ladies (1992), 1.
Science quotes on:  |  Begin (265)  |  Big Bang (44)  |  Explode (15)  |  Nothing (987)

It is known that knowledge is power, and power is energy, and energy is matter, and matter is mass, and therefore large accumulations of knowledge distort time and space.
— Terry Pratchett
In Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen, Chap. 25, 'Unnatural Selection', The Science of Discworld (1999), 180. Pratchett wrote the fantasy story told in the odd-numbered chapters (such as Chap. 25). Relevant real science is contributed by his co-authors, Stewart and Cohen, in the even-numbered chapters.
Science quotes on:  |  Accumulation (50)  |  Distort (22)  |  Energy (364)  |  Knowledge (1610)  |  Known (451)  |  Large (396)  |  Mass (156)  |  Matter (810)  |  Power (757)  |  Space (510)  |  Time (1890)  |  Time And Space (39)

It’s that moment, that brief epiphany when the universe opens up and shows us something, and in that instant we get just a sense of an order greater than Heaven and, as yet at least, beyond the grasp of Stephen Hawking.
— Terry Pratchett
Quoted in Kim Lim (ed.), 1,001 Pearls of Spiritual Wisdom: Words to Enrich, Inspire, and Guide Your Life (2014), 109
Science quotes on:  |  Beyond (310)  |  Brief (36)  |  Grasp (64)  |  Great (1579)  |  Greater (289)  |  Stephen W. Hawking (61)  |  Heaven (261)  |  Instant (46)  |  Least (75)  |  Moment (256)  |  Open (275)  |  Order (635)  |  Sense (776)  |  Show (348)  |  Something (718)  |  Universe (883)

Logic is a wonderful thing but doesn't always beat actual thought.
— Terry Pratchett
The Last Continent (1998)
Science quotes on:  |  Actual (117)  |  Beat (41)  |  Logic (296)  |  Thing (1914)  |  Thought (967)  |  Wonderful (151)

Some of them wanted to sell me snake oil and I’m not necessarily going to dismiss all of these, as I have never found a rusty snake.
— Terry Pratchett
Speech to Alzheimer's Research Trust Conference, Bristol (13 Mar 2008).
Science quotes on:  |  Medicine (383)  |  Necessarily (136)  |  Never (1088)  |  Oil (64)  |  Quack (18)  |  Snake (28)  |  Want (498)

Sometimes scientists change their minds. New developments cause a rethink. If this bothers you, consider how much damage is being done to the world by people for whom new developments do not cause a rethink.
— Terry Pratchett
In Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen, revised introductory section, 'The Story Starts Here', The Science of Discworld (Rev. ed. 2002), 14, PPS. The section is initialed by all three coauthors. Which of them wrote which lines, is not designated.
Science quotes on:  |  Being (1277)  |  Bother (7)  |  Cause (549)  |  Change (617)  |  Consider (417)  |  Damage (37)  |  Development (431)  |  Do (1905)  |  Mind (1359)  |  New (1247)  |  People (1012)  |  Rethink (2)  |  Scientist (856)  |  World (1822)

The pen is mightier than the sword … only if the sword is very small and the pen is very sharp.
— Terry Pratchett
The Light Fantastic (1986)
Science quotes on:  |  Pen (20)  |  Small (484)  |  Weapon (97)

The presence of those seeking the truth is infinitely to be preferred to the presence of those who think they’ve found it.
— Terry Pratchett
In Monstrous Regiment (2004), 211.
Science quotes on:  |  Finding (32)  |  Infinity (94)  |  Preference (28)  |  Presence (63)  |  Seeking (31)  |  Think (1096)  |  Thinking (425)  |  Truth (1088)

There is no higher life form than a librarian.
— Terry Pratchett
In Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen, introductory section, 'The Story Starts Here', The Science of Discworld (1999), 10. The section is initialed by all three coauthors. Which of them wrote which lines, is not designated. [Webmaster recognizes the subject quote is, at least, characteristic of Pratchett; hence listed under his name.]
Science quotes on:  |  Form (967)  |  Higher (37)  |  Librarian (2)  |  Life (1830)  |  Life Form (6)

There was no point in telling your bosses everything; they were busy men, they didn’t want explanations. There was no point in burdening them. What they wanted was little stories that they felt they could understand, and then they’d go away and stop worrying.
— Terry Pratchett
In Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen, Chap. 1, 'Splitting the Thaum', The Science of Discworld (1999), 16. Pratchett wrote the fantasy story told in the odd-numbered chapters (such as Chap. 1). Relevant real science is contributed by his co-authors, Stewart and Cohen, in the even-numbered chapters.
Science quotes on:  |  Burden (27)  |  Everything (482)  |  Explanation (241)  |  Little (708)  |  Point (583)  |  Story (119)  |  Tell (341)  |  Understand (634)  |  Want (498)  |  Worry (34)

…because of the ancient principle of WYGIWYGAINGW. … ‘What You Get Is What You’re Given And It’s No Good Whining.’
— Terry Pratchett
In Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen, Chap. 5, 'The Roundworld Project', The Science of Discworld (1999), 45. Pratchett wrote the fantasy story told in the odd-numbered chapters (such as Chap. 5). Relevant real science is contributed by his co-authors, Stewart and Cohen, in the even-numbered chapters.
Science quotes on:  |  Ancient (194)  |  Principle (522)


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
Quotations by:Albert EinsteinIsaac NewtonLord KelvinCharles DarwinSrinivasa RamanujanCarl SaganFlorence NightingaleThomas EdisonAristotleMarie CurieBenjamin FranklinWinston ChurchillGalileo GalileiSigmund FreudRobert BunsenLouis PasteurTheodore RooseveltAbraham LincolnRonald ReaganLeonardo DaVinciMichio KakuKarl PopperJohann GoetheRobert OppenheimerCharles Kettering  ... (more people)

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