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Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index B > Category: Bacteriologist

Bacteriologist Quotes (5 quotes)

A bacteriologist is a man whose conversation always starts with the germ of an idea.
Anonymous
Quoted in M. Goran, A Treasury of Science Jokes (1986), 37.
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If these d'Hérelle bodies were really genes, fundamentally like our chromosome genes, they would give us an utterly new angle from which to attack the gene problem. They are filterable, to some extent isolable, can be handled in test-tubes, and their properties, as shown by their effects on the bacteria, can then be studied after treatment. It would be very rash to call these bodies genes, and yet at present we must confess that there is no distinction known between the genes and them. Hence we can not categorically deny that perhaps we may be able to grind genes in a mortar and cook them in a beaker after all. Must we geneticists become bacteriologists, physiological chemists and physicists, simultaneously with being zoologists and botanists? Let us hope so.
'Variation Due to Change in the Individual Gene', The American Naturalist (1922), 56, 48-9.
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In my first publication I might have claimed that I had come to the conclusion, as a result of serious study of the literature and deep thought, that valuable antibacterial substances were made by moulds and that I set out to investigate the problem. That would have been untrue and I preferred to tell the truth that penicillin started as a chance observation. My only merit is that I did not neglect the observation and that I pursued the subject as a bacteriologist. My publication in 1929 was the starting-point of the work of others who developed penicillin especially in the chemical field.
'Penicillin', Nobel Lecture, 11 Dec 1945. In Nobel Lectures: Physiology or Medicine 1942-1962 (1964), 83.
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It is best to attenuate the virulence of our adversaries with the chloroform of courtesy and flattery, much as bacteriologists disarm a pathogen by converting it into a vaccine.
In Charlas de Caf้: pensamientos, an้cdotas y confidencias (1920, 1967), 32. (Caf้ Chats: Thoughts, Anecdotes and Confidences). As translated in Peter McDonald (ed.) Oxford Dictionary of Medical Quotations (2004), 83. From the original Spanish, “Cuando no se ha nacido rico y es fuerza, por tanto, luchar por la existencia, la mแs hแbil y piadosa conducta consiste en adormecer y atenuar la toxicidad de nuestros ้mulos y adversarios con el cloroformo de la cortesํa y del halago. Procedamos como el bacteri๓logo que, en la imposibilidad de aniquilar al microbio, opta por embolarlo, es decir, por convertirlo en saludable vacuna.” A more literal translation attempted by Webmaster using Google Translate is “When you are not born rich and mighty, thus, struggle for existence, the most shrewd and pious behavior is to calm and reduce the toxicity of our rivals and adversaries with the chloroform of politeness and flattery. Proceed as the bacteriologist who, unable to kill the microbe, opt for embolization (?), ie, by converting it into a healthy vaccine.”
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It may very properly be asked whether the attempt to define distinct species, of a more or less permanent nature, such as we are accustomed to deal with amongst the higher plants and animals, is not altogether illusory amongst such lowly organised forms of life as the bacteria. No biologist nowadays believes in the absolute fixity of species … but there are two circumstances which here render the problem of specificity even more difficult of solution. The bacteriologist is deprived of the test of mutual fertility or sterility, so valuable in determining specific limits amongst organisms in which sexual reproduction prevails. Further, the extreme rapidity with which generation succeeds generation amongst bacteria offers to the forces of variation and natural selection a field for their operation wholly unparalleled amongst higher forms of life.
'The Evolution of the Streptococci', The Lancet, 1906, 2, 1415-6.
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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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