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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.”
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Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index A > Category: Arms Race

Arms Race Quotes (3 quotes)

Imagine a room awash in gasoline, and there are two implacable enemies in that room. One of them has nine thousand matches. The other has seven thousand matches. Each of them is concerned about who's ahead, who's stronger. Well that's the kind of situation we are actually in. The amount of weapons that are available to the United States and the Soviet Union are so bloated, so grossly in excess of what's needed to dissuade the other, that if it weren't so tragic, it would be laughable. What is necessary is to reduce the matches and to clean up the gasoline.
From Sagan's analogy about the nuclear arms race and the need for disarmament, during a panel discussion in ABC News Viewpoint following the TV movie The Day After (20 Nov 1983). Transcribed by Webmaster from a video recording. It is seen misquoted in summary form as “The nuclear arms race is like two sworn enemies standing waist deep in gasoline, one with three matches, the other with five.”
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It is important to be clear about the different situations. Today the arms race is a long-range problem. The second world war was a short-range problem, and in the short range I think it was essential to make the atomic bomb. However, not much thought was given to the time “after the bomb”. At first, the work was too absorbing, and we wanted to get the job done. But I think that once it was made it had its own impulse—its own motion that could not be stopped.
In William J. Broad, 'Hans Bethe Confronts The Legacy Of His Bomb: Physicist, at 77, Now Works Against Atomic Weapons', The New York Times (12 Jun 1984), C2.
Science quotes on:  |  Atom Bomb (4)  |  Impulse (52)

The nuclear arms race is like two sworn enemies standing waist deep in gasoline, one with three matches, the other with five.
[A summary version; not verbatim.]
A summary version, as written by Kristen Ghodsee in Lost in Transition: Ethnographies of Everyday Life After Communism (2011), 2-3. Note the author states it as “I remember,” and the wording is not verbatim from Sagan's original remark made during a panel discussion in ABC News Viewpoint following the TV movie The Day After (20 Nov 1983). The verbatim quote is also on this page. It begins, “Imagine a room…”
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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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