Celebrating 19 Years on the Web
Find science on or your birthday

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “The conservation of natural resources is the fundamental problem. Unless we solve that problem it will avail us little to solve all others.”
more quiz questions >>
Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index A > Category: Aphorism

Aphorism Quotes (18 quotes)

“Le génie n'est qu'une longue patience”, a dit Buffon. Cela est bien incomplet. Le génie, c'est l'impatience dans les idées et la patience dans les faits : une imagination vive et un jugement calme; quelque chose comme un liquide en ébullition dans un vase qui reste toujours froid.
“Genius is just enduring patience,” said Buffon. This is far from complete. Genius is impatience in ideas and patience with the facts: a lively imagination and a calm judgment, rather like a liquid boiling in a cup that remains cold.
In Recueil d'Œuvres de Léo Errera: Botanique Générale (1908), 198. Google translation by Webmaster.
Science quotes on:  |  Boiling (3)  |  Buffon_Georges (2)  |  Calm (22)  |  Cold (58)  |  Cup (7)  |  Enduring (6)  |  Fact (733)  |  Genius (249)  |  Idea (580)  |  Imagination (275)  |  Impatience (12)  |  Incomplete (15)  |  Judgment (101)  |  Like (21)  |  Liquid (25)  |  Lively (7)  |  Patience (39)  |  Remaining (14)  |  Vivid (17)

Ars longa, vita brevis.
Art is long, life is short.
Aphorisms, i. The original was written in Greek. This Latin translation, by Seneca (De Brevitate Vitae, 1.1), is in John Bartlett, Familiar Quotations (1905), 6, footnote 3. The sense is generally taken to be, 'Life is short, but to learn a profession (an art) takes a long time.'
Science quotes on:  |  Learning (177)  |  Life (1131)  |  Profession (60)  |  Skill (66)

Contraria sunt complementa.
Opposites are complementary.
Motif on Niels Bohr's coat of arms.

La vérité est sur une courbe dont notre ésprit suit éternellement l'asymptote. (Oct 1879)
Truth is on a curve whose asymptote our spirit follows eternally.
In Recueil d'Œuvres de Léo Errera: Botanique Générale (1908), 193. As translated in John Arthur Thomson, Introduction to Science (1911), 57,
Science quotes on:  |  Asymptote (2)  |  Curve (33)  |  Eternity (49)  |  Spirit (154)  |  Truth (928)

L’Art est fait pour troubler, la Science rassure.
Art is meant to disturb, science reassures.
From the original French, “L’Art est fait pour troubler, la Science rassure,” in Pensées sur l’Art. As translated by S. Appelbaum in Georges Braque Illustrated Notebooks: 1917-1955 (1971), 10. Also seen elsewhere translated as, “Art upsets, science reassures” or “Art is meant to upset people, science reassures them.”
Science quotes on:  |  Art (294)  |  Disturb (10)  |  Reassure (7)  |  Science (2067)  |  Science And Art (181)

Natura nihil agit frustra.
Nature does nothing in vain.
The idea that nature does nothing in vain can be found in many texts by Aristotle: De Caelo 271a 33, 291b 13-14; De Anima 432b 21, 434a 41; P.A. 661b 24, 691b 4-5, 694a 15, 695b 19-20; G.A. 739b 19, 741b 4, 744a 37-8. The original Greek over the centuries was repeatedly hand-copied and variously translated. The quote as shown above is none-the-less ascribed to “Anonymous” in James Wood, Dictionary of Quotations from Ancient and Modern, English and Foreign Sources (1893), 290:9. For comparison, in De Caelo translated by J.L.Stocks (1922), the last sentence of 291a is given as “But God and nature create nothing that has not its use,” and 291b as “Nature is no wanton or random creator.” In De Anima, 432b, J.A. Smith translates Aristotle’s words as “Nature never makes anything without a purpose,” whereas R.D. Hicks wrote a translation (1907), giving the same quote as “Nature does nothing in vain,” on p.149.
Science quotes on:  |  Nature (1223)

Finally, to the theme of the respiratory chain, it is especially noteworthy that David Kellin's chemically simple view of the respiratory chain appears now to have been right all along–and he deserves great credit for having been so reluctant to become involved when the energy-rich chemical intermediates began to be so fashionable. This reminds me of the aphorism: 'The obscure we see eventually, the completely apparent takes longer'.
'David Kellin's Respiratory Chain Concept and Its Chemiosmotic Consequences', Nobel Lecture (8 Dec 1978). In Nobel Lectures: Chemistry 1971-1980 (1993), 325.
Science quotes on:  |  Apparent (39)  |  Chain (50)  |  Energy (214)  |  Fashionable (6)  |  Obscure (32)  |  Reluctant (4)  |  Respiration (12)  |  Right (197)

If I may paraphrase Hobbes's well-known aphorism, I would say that 'books are the money of Literature, but only the counters of Science.'
'Universities: Actual and Ideal' (1874). In Collected Essays (1893), Vol. 3, 213.
Science quotes on:  |  Book (257)  |  Thomas Hobbes (22)  |  Literature (79)  |  Science (2067)

If we couldn’t laugh at ourselves, that would be the end of everything.
Comment made to Professor Erik Riidinger, 1962. Quotation supplied and translated by Professor Erik Rüdinger, Niels Bohr Archive.

It is another aphorism that no one knows everything about anything. That need not dull the pleasure and fascination of the fact that a great deal is known about some things.
In Splendid Isolation (1980), 38.
Science quotes on:  |  Dull (32)  |  Everything (181)  |  Fascination (28)  |  Know (556)  |  Pleasure (133)

It is impossible to put together a single prescription that will cure all ailing bodies.
As quoted in Fred Rosner, The Medical Legacy of Moses Maimonides (1998), 51.
Science quotes on:  |  Ailment (6)  |  All (8)  |  Cure (96)  |  Impossibility (53)  |  Prescription (16)  |  Single (120)

Medicine is a science of uncertainty and an art of probability.
William Bennett Bean (ed.), Sir William Osler: Aphorisms from his Bedside Teachings and Writings, No. 265 (1950), 125.
Science quotes on:  |  Art (294)  |  Medicine (344)  |  Probability (106)  |  Uncertainty (42)

No aphorism is more frequently repeated in connection with field trials, than that we must ask Nature few questions, or, ideally, one question, at a time. The writer is convinced that this view is wholly mistaken. Nature, he suggests, will best respond to a logical and carefully thought out questionnaire; indeed, if we ask her a single question, she will often refuse to answer until some other topic has been discussed.
'The Arrangement of Field Experiments', The Journal of the Ministry of Agriculture, 1926, 33, 511.
Science quotes on:  |  Nature (1223)  |  Research (590)

Since the days of Hippocrates, our father, the aphorism has been the literary vehicle of the doctor… Laymen have stolen the trick from time to time, but the aphorism remains the undisputed contribution of the doctor to literature.
[Coauthor with Ray Marr]
In Howard Fabing and Ray Marr (eds.), Fischerisms. Cited in epigraph, Robert Taylor, White Coat Tales: Medicine's Heroes, Heritage, and Misadventures (2010), 119.
Science quotes on:  |  Contribution (60)  |  Doctor (102)  |  Hippocrates (49)  |  Literary (12)  |  Vehicle (7)

Tell me what you eat: I will tell you what you are.
The Philosopher in the Kitchen (1825), Aphorism iv.
Science quotes on:  |  Food (154)

The discovery of a new dish does more for the happiness of mankind than the discovery of a star.
The Philosopher in the Kitchen (1825), Aphorism ix.
Science quotes on:  |  Food (154)

The history of Western science confirms the aphorism that the great menace to progress is not ignorance but the illusion of knowledge.
In Cleopatra’s Nose: Essays on the Unexpected (1994), 7.
Science quotes on:  |  Confirm (12)  |  History (369)  |  Ignorance (213)  |  Illusion (43)  |  Knowledge (1306)  |  Menace (5)  |  Progress (368)  |  Science (2067)  |  Western (19)

Wit is the best safety valve modern man has evolved; the more civilization, the more repression, the more the need there is for wit.
Science quotes on:  |  Wit (36)

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
Ralph Emerson
Robert Bunsen
Frederick Banting
Andre Ampere
Winston Churchill
- 80 -
John Locke
Bronislaw Malinowski
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
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
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
Michael Faraday
Srinivasa Ramanujan
Francis Bacon
Galileo Galilei
- 10 -
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.