Celebrating 19 Years on the Web
TODAY IN SCIENCE HISTORY ®
Find science on or your birthday

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “I have no satisfaction in formulas unless I feel their arithmetical magnitude.”
more quiz questions >>
Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index A > Category: Absorb

Absorb Quotes (16 quotes)

At no period of [Michael Faraday’s] unmatched career was he interested in utility. He was absorbed in disentangling the riddles of the universe, at first chemical riddles, in later periods, physical riddles. As far as he cared, the question of utility was never raised. Any suspicion of utility would have restricted his restless curiosity. In the end, utility resulted, but it was never a criterion to which his ceaseless experimentation could be subjected.
'The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge', Harper's Magazine (Jun/Nov 1939), No. 179, 546. In Hispania (Feb 1944), 27, No. 1, 77.
Science quotes on:  |  Career (57)  |  Ceaseless (6)  |  Chemical (79)  |  Criterion (18)  |  Curiosity (106)  |  Disentangle (4)  |  Experiment (602)  |  Michael Faraday (85)  |  Restless (11)  |  Result (389)  |  Riddle (22)  |  Universe (686)  |  Usefulness (77)  |  Utility (33)

Consider the plight of a scientist of my age. I graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1940. In the 41 years since then the amount of biological information has increased 16 fold; during these 4 decades my capacity to absorb new information has declined at an accelerating rate and now is at least 50% less than when I was a graduate student. If one defines ignorance as the ratio of what is available to be known to what is known, there seems no alternative to the conclusion that my ignorance is at least 25 times as extensive as it was when I got my bachelor’s degree. Although I am sure that my unfortunate condition comes as no surprise to my students and younger colleagues, I personally find it somewhat depressing. My depression is tempered, however, by the fact that all biologists, young or old, developing or senescing, face the same melancholy situation because of an interlocking set of circumstances.
In 'Scientific innovation and creativity: a zoologist’s point of view', American Zoologist (1982), 22, 228.
Science quotes on:  |  Accelerate (8)  |  Age (178)  |  Alternative (29)  |  Amount (31)  |  Available (25)  |  Bachelor (3)  |  Berkeley (3)  |  Biological (35)  |  Biologist (41)  |  Capacity (64)  |  Circumstance (66)  |  Colleague (23)  |  Conclusion (160)  |  Condition (163)  |  Consider (81)  |  Decade (32)  |  Decline (17)  |  Define (49)  |  Degree (82)  |  Depressing (3)  |  Depression (19)  |  Develop (107)  |  Extensive (18)  |  Face (108)  |  Fact (733)  |  Find (408)  |  Fold (8)  |  Graduate (13)  |  Graduate Student (4)  |  Ignorance (213)  |  Increase (146)  |  Information (122)  |  Interlocking (2)  |  Know (556)  |  Least (74)  |  Less (102)  |  Melancholy (9)  |  New (496)  |  Old (147)  |  Personally (7)  |  Plight (3)  |  Rate (29)  |  Ratio (19)  |  Same (156)  |  Scientist (522)  |  Seem (143)  |  Set (99)  |  Situation (52)  |  Student (203)  |  Surprise (71)  |  Temper (9)  |  Time (595)  |  Unfortunate (14)  |  University Of California (2)  |  Year (299)  |  Young (100)

I am more of a sponge than an inventor. I absorb ideas from every source. I take half-matured schemes for mechanical development and make them practical. I am a sort of middleman between the long-haired and impractical inventor and the hard-headed businessman who measures all things in terms of dollars and cents. My principal business is giving commercial value to the brilliant but misdirected ideas of others.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Brilliant (28)  |  Business (84)  |  Businessman (4)  |  Cent (5)  |  Commercial (26)  |  Development (289)  |  Dollar (22)  |  Give (201)  |  Hard-Headed (2)  |  Idea (580)  |  Impractical (3)  |  Inventor (56)  |  Measure (104)  |  Mechanical (50)  |  Misdirect (2)  |  Practical (133)  |  Principal (28)  |  Scheme (25)  |  Sort (49)  |  Source (91)  |  Sponge (9)  |  Term (122)  |  Value (242)

I have satisfied myself that the [cosmic] rays are not generated by the formation of new matter in space, a process which would be like water running up a hill. Nor do they come to any appreciable amount from the stars. According to my investigations the sun emits a radiation of such penetrative power that it is virtually impossible to absorb it in lead or other substances. ... This ray, which I call the primary solar ray, gives rise to a secondary radiation by impact against the cosmic dust scattered through space. It is the secondary radiation which now is commonly called the cosmic ray, and comes, of course, equally from all directions in space. [The article continues: The phenomena of radioactivity are not the result of forces within the radioactive substances but are caused by this ray emitted by the sun. If radium could be screened effectively against this ray it would cease to be radioactive, he said.]
Quoted in 'Tesla, 75, Predicts New Power Source', New York Times (5 Jul 1931), Section 2, 1.
Science quotes on:  |  Cosmic Ray (6)  |  Emit (6)  |  Hill (20)  |  Investigation (176)  |  Lead (160)  |  Matter (343)  |  Penetration (18)  |  Power (366)  |  Radiation (25)  |  Radioactivity (28)  |  Solar Energy (17)  |  Space (257)  |  Star (336)  |  Sun (276)  |  Water (293)

I waited for Rob and, linking arms, we took our final steps together onto the rooftop of the world. It was 8.15 am on 24 May 2004; there was nowhere higher on the planet that we could go, the world lay at our feet. Holding each other tightly, we tried to absorb where we were. To be standing here, together, exactly three years since Rob’s cancer treatment, was nothing short of a miracle. Standing on top of Everest was more than just climbing a mountain - it was a gift of life. With Pemba and Nawang we crowded together, wrapping our arms around each other. They had been more than Sherpas, they had been our guardian angels.
Jo Gambi
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Angel (30)  |  Arm (27)  |  Cancer (49)  |  Climb (34)  |  Crowd (22)  |  Everest (10)  |  Exactly (13)  |  Final (50)  |  Foot (60)  |  Gift (61)  |  Guardian (3)  |  High (153)  |  Hold (94)  |  Lie (115)  |  Life (1131)  |  Link (42)  |  Miracle (66)  |  Mountain (145)  |  Nothing (395)  |  Nowhere (28)  |  Planet (263)  |  Rob (6)  |  Short (51)  |  Stand (108)  |  Step (110)  |  Tightly (2)  |  Together (79)  |  Top (34)  |  Treatment (100)  |  Try (141)  |  Wait (58)  |  World (898)  |  Wrap (7)  |  Year (299)

It is often said that all the conditions for the first production of a living being are now present, which could ever have been present. But if (and oh what a big if) we could conceive in some warm little pond with all sort of ammonia and phosphoric salts—light, heat, electricity present, that a protein compound was chemically formed, ready to undergo still more complex changes, at the present such matter would be instantly devoured, or absorbed, which would not have been the case before living creatures were formed.
Letter (1 Feb 1871) to Joseph Dalton Hooker. In The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin (1888), Vol. 3, 18.
Science quotes on:  |  Ammonia (12)  |  Change (364)  |  Chemistry (252)  |  Complex (95)  |  Compound (58)  |  Condition (163)  |  Creature (155)  |  Devour (13)  |  Electricity (136)  |  Form (314)  |  Heat (100)  |  Light (347)  |  Matter (343)  |  Origin Of Life (35)  |  Pond (11)  |  Protein (44)  |  Salt (26)

Mathematicians boast of their exacting achievements, but in reality they are absorbed in mental acrobatics and contribute nothing to society.
From Complete Works on Japan’s Philosophical Thought (1956). As quoted and cited in Alan L. Mackay, A Dictionary of Scientific Quotations (1991), 185.
Science quotes on:  |  Achievement (150)  |  Acrobat (2)  |  Boast (21)  |  Contribute (27)  |  Exact (68)  |  Mathematician (384)  |  Mental (78)  |  Nothing (395)  |  Reality (190)  |  Society (228)

Mathematics is indeed dangerous in that it absorbs students to such a degree that it dulls their senses to everything else.
While a student, an observation made about his teacher, Professor Karl Schellbach. Quoted, without citation, in Howard W. Eves, Mathematical Circles Adieu, (1977).
Science quotes on:  |  Dangerous (60)  |  Degree (82)  |  Dull (32)  |  Everything (181)  |  Mathematics (1205)  |  Sense (321)  |  Student (203)

No video, no photographs, no verbal descriptions, no lectures can provide the enchantment that a few minutes out-of-doors can: watch a spider construct a web; observe a caterpillar systematically ravaging the edge of a leaf; close your eyes, cup your hands behind your ears, and listen to aspen leaves rustle or a stream muse about its pools and eddies. Nothing can replace plucking a cluster of pine needles and rolling them in your fingers to feel how they’re put together, or discovering that “sedges have edges and grasses are round,” The firsthand, right-and-left-brain experience of being in the out-of-doors involves all the senses including some we’ve forgotten about, like smelling water a mile away. No teacher, no student, can help but sense and absorb the larger ecological rhythms at work here, and the intertwining of intricate, varied and complex strands that characterize a rich, healthy natural world.
Into the Field: A Guide to Locally Focused Teaching
Science quotes on:  |  Behind (38)  |  Caterpillar (3)  |  Characterize (20)  |  Close (67)  |  Cluster (14)  |  Complex (95)  |  Construct (41)  |  Cup (7)  |  Description (84)  |  Discover (199)  |  Ear (29)  |  Ecological (7)  |  Eddy (4)  |  Edge (23)  |  Enchantment (8)  |  Experience (342)  |  Eye (222)  |  Feel (167)  |  Finger (44)  |  Firsthand (2)  |  Forget (63)  |  Grass (35)  |  Hand (142)  |  Healthy (25)  |  Help (103)  |  Include (40)  |  Intricate (21)  |  Involve (48)  |  Large (130)  |  Leaf (49)  |  Leave (128)  |  Lecture (68)  |  Listen (41)  |  Mile (39)  |  Minute (44)  |  Muse (6)  |  Natural World (25)  |  Needle (5)  |  Nothing (395)  |  Observe (76)  |  Photograph (19)  |  Pine (9)  |  Pluck (5)  |  Pool (14)  |  Provide (69)  |  Ravage (6)  |  Replace (30)  |  Rhythm (18)  |  Rich (61)  |  Roll (17)  |  Round (26)  |  Rustle (2)  |  Sense (321)  |  Smell (18)  |  Spider (11)  |  Strand (5)  |  Stream (40)  |  Student (203)  |  Systematically (7)  |  Teacher (120)  |  Together (79)  |  Vary (26)  |  Verbal (9)  |  Video (2)  |  Watch (65)  |  Water (293)  |  Web (15)  |  Weve (13)  |  Work (635)

On one occasion, when he was giving a dinner to some friends at the university, he left the table to get them a bottle of wine; but, on his way to the cellar, he fell into reflection, forgot his errand and his company, went to his chamber, put on his surplice, and proceeded to the chapel. Sometimes he would go into the street half dressed, and on discovering his condition, run back in great haste, much abashed. Often, while strolling in his garden, he would suddenly stop, and then run rapidly to his room, and begin to write, standing, on the first piece of paper that presented itself. Intending to dine in the public hall, he would go out in a brown study, take the wrong turn, walk a while, and then return to his room, having totally forgotten the dinner. Once having dismounted from his horse to lead him up a hill, the horse slipped his head out of the bridle; but Newton, oblivious, never discovered it till, on reaching a tollgate at the top of the hill, he turned to remount and perceived that the bridle which he held in his hand had no horse attached to it. His secretary records that his forgetfulness of his dinner was an excellent thing for his old housekeeper, who “sometimes found both dinner and supper scarcely tasted of, which the old woman has very pleasantly and mumpingly gone away with”. On getting out of bed in the morning, he has been discovered to sit on his bedside for hours without dressing himself, utterly absorbed in thought.
In 'Sir Isaac Newton', People’s Book of Biography: Or, Short Lives of the Most Interesting Persons of All Ages and Countries (1868), 257.
Science quotes on:  |  Bedside (3)  |  Cellar (4)  |  Chapel (3)  |  Dinner (14)  |  Forget (63)  |  Forgetfulness (6)  |  Friend (86)  |  Garden (34)  |  Horse (49)  |  Hour (71)  |  Mathematicians and Anecdotes (141)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (333)  |  Oblivious (9)  |  Record (68)  |  Secretary (2)  |  Sit (47)  |  Street (23)  |  Stroll (2)  |  Suddenly (17)  |  Supper (6)  |  Thought (546)  |  University (81)  |  Wine (28)  |  Write (154)

The actions of bad men produce only temporary evil, the actions of good men only temporary good ; and eventually the good and the evil altogether subside, are neutralized by subsequent generations, absorbed by the incessant movements of future ages. But the discoveries of great men never leave us; they are immortal; they contain those eternal truths which survive the shock of empires, outlive the struggles of rival creeds, and witness the decay of successive religions.
In History of Civilization in England (1858), Vol. 1, 206.
Science quotes on:  |  Action (185)  |  Age (178)  |  Bad (99)  |  Creed (11)  |  Decay (33)  |  Discovery (680)  |  Empire (14)  |  Eternal (67)  |  Eventual (9)  |  Evil (79)  |  Future (287)  |  Generation (141)  |  Good (345)  |  Great (534)  |  Immortal (19)  |  Incessant (8)  |  Leave (128)  |  Movement (83)  |  Outlive (3)  |  Religion (239)  |  Rival (10)  |  Shock (13)  |  Struggle (78)  |  Subsequent (19)  |  Subside (5)  |  Successive (23)  |  Survival (61)  |  Temporary (17)  |  Truth (928)  |  Witness (32)

The carbon output that melts the ice in the Arctic also causes ocean acidification, which results from the ocean absorbing excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere (the same carbon dioxide that is the primary cause of global warming, hence the nickname “the other carbon problem”).
In 'What do the Arctic, a Thermostat and COP15 Have in Common?', Huffington Post (18 Mar 2010).
Science quotes on:  |  Acidification (3)  |  Arctic (5)  |  Atmosphere (79)  |  Carbon (49)  |  Carbon Dioxide (20)  |  Cause (285)  |  Excess (9)  |  Global Warming (26)  |  Ice (33)  |  Melt (16)  |  Nickname (3)  |  Ocean (149)  |  Output (10)  |  Primary (41)  |  Problem (497)  |  Result (389)

The earth holds a silver treasure, cupped between ocean bed and tenting sky. Forever the heavens spend it, in the showers that refresh our temperate lands, the torrents that sluice the tropics. Every suckling root absorbs it, the very soil drains it down; the rivers run unceasing to the sea, the mountains yield it endlessly… Yet none is lost; in vast convection our water is returned, from soil to sky, and sky to soil, and back gain, to fall as pure as blessing. There was never less; there could never be more. A mighty mercy on which life depends, for all its glittering shifts, water is constant.
In A Cup of Sky (1950), 41.
Science quotes on:  |  Bed (22)  |  Blessing (9)  |  Constant (58)  |  Convection (2)  |  Cup (7)  |  Depend (90)  |  Drain (7)  |  Earth (638)  |  Endlessly (3)  |  Fall (120)  |  Gain (70)  |  Glittering (2)  |  Heaven (153)  |  Hold (94)  |  Land (115)  |  Less (102)  |  Life (1131)  |  Lost (32)  |  Mercy (11)  |  Mighty (13)  |  Mountain (145)  |  Ocean (149)  |  Pure (103)  |  Refresh (4)  |  Return (55)  |  River (79)  |  Root (61)  |  Sea (188)  |  Shift (29)  |  Shower (6)  |  Silver (33)  |  Sky (124)  |  Sluice (2)  |  Soil (64)  |  Spend (43)  |  Suckling (2)  |  Torrent (5)  |  Treasure (45)  |  Tropic (2)  |  Unceasing (3)  |  Vast (89)  |  Water (293)  |  Water Cycle (3)  |  Yield (38)

Walking home at night, I shine my flashlight up at the sky. I send billions of ... photons toward space. What is their destination? A tiny fraction will be absorbed by the air. An even smaller fraction will be intercepted by the surface of planets and stars. The vast majority ... will plod on forever. After some thousands of years they will leave our galaxy; after some millions of years they will leave our supercluster. They will wander through an even emptier, even colder realm. The universe is transparent in the direction of the future.
Atoms of Silence
Science quotes on:  |  Air (190)  |  Billions (6)  |  Cold (58)  |  Destination (12)  |  Direction (76)  |  Empty (40)  |  Forever (60)  |  Fraction (13)  |  Future (287)  |  Galaxy (46)  |  Home (84)  |  Intercept (3)  |  Leave (128)  |  Majority (42)  |  Millions (17)  |  Night (118)  |  Photon (10)  |  Planet (263)  |  Plod (2)  |  Realm (55)  |  Send (22)  |  Shine (45)  |  Sky (124)  |  Small (163)  |  Space (257)  |  Star (336)  |  Surface (101)  |  Thousand (152)  |  Tiny (36)  |  Toward (45)  |  Transparent (7)  |  Universe (686)  |  Vast (89)  |  Walk (67)  |  Wander (20)  |  Year (299)

We must never be too absorbed by the thought we are pursuing.
Science quotes on:  |  Hypothesis (252)  |  Pursue (23)  |  Think (347)

When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me that my talent for absorbing positive knowledge.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Conclusion (160)  |  Examine (44)  |  Fantasy (11)  |  Gift (61)  |  Knowledge (1306)  |  Mean (101)  |  Method (239)  |  Myself (36)  |  Positive (44)  |  Talent (63)  |  Thought (546)


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)

Quotations about:Atomic  BombBiologyChemistryDeforestationEngineeringAnatomyAstronomyBacteriaBiochemistryBotanyConservationDinosaurEnvironmentFractalGeneticsGeologyHistory of ScienceInventionJupiterKnowledgeLoveMathematicsMeasurementMedicineNatural ResourceOrganic ChemistryPhysicsPhysicianQuantum TheoryResearchScience and ArtTeacherTechnologyUniverseVolcanoVirusWind PowerWomen ScientistsX-RaysYouthZoology  ... (more topics)
Sitewide search within all Today In Science History pages:
Visit our Science and Scientist Quotations index for more Science Quotes from archaeologists, biologists, chemists, geologists, inventors and inventions, mathematicians, physicists, pioneers in medicine, science events and technology.

Names index: | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |

Categories index: | 1 | 2 | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |

- 100 -
Sophie Germain
Gertrude Elion
Ernest Rutherford
James Chadwick
Marcel Proust
William Harvey
Johann Goethe
John Keynes
Carl Gauss
Paul Feyerabend
- 90 -
Antoine Lavoisier
Lise Meitner
Charles Babbage
Ibn Khaldun
Euclid
Ralph Emerson
Robert Bunsen
Frederick Banting
Andre Ampere
Winston Churchill
- 80 -
John Locke
Bronislaw Malinowski
Bible
Thomas Huxley
Alessandro Volta
Erwin Schrodinger
Wilhelm Roentgen
Louis Pasteur
Bertrand Russell
Jean Lamarck
- 70 -
Samuel Morse
John Wheeler
Nicolaus Copernicus
Robert Fulton
Pierre Laplace
Humphry Davy
Thomas Edison
Lord Kelvin
Theodore Roosevelt
Carolus Linnaeus
- 60 -
Francis Galton
Linus Pauling
Immanuel Kant
Martin Fischer
Robert Boyle
Karl Popper
Paul Dirac
Avicenna
James Watson
William Shakespeare
- 50 -
Stephen Hawking
Niels Bohr
Nikola Tesla
Rachel Carson
Max Planck
Henry Adams
Richard Dawkins
Werner Heisenberg
Alfred Wegener
John Dalton
- 40 -
Pierre Fermat
Edward Wilson
Johannes Kepler
Gustave Eiffel
Giordano Bruno
JJ Thomson
Thomas Kuhn
Leonardo DaVinci
Archimedes
David Hume
- 30 -
Andreas Vesalius
Rudolf Virchow
Richard Feynman
James Hutton
Alexander Fleming
Emile Durkheim
Benjamin Franklin
Robert Oppenheimer
Robert Hooke
Charles Kettering
- 20 -
Carl Sagan
James Maxwell
Marie Curie
Rene Descartes
Francis Crick
Hippocrates
Michael Faraday
Srinivasa Ramanujan
Francis Bacon
Galileo Galilei
- 10 -
Aristotle
John Watson
Rosalind Franklin
Michio Kaku
Isaac Asimov
Charles Darwin
Sigmund Freud
Albert Einstein
Florence Nightingale
Isaac Newton



who invites your feedback
Thank you for sharing.
Today in Science History
Sign up for Newsletter
with quiz, quotes and more.