Celebrating 18 Years on the Web
TODAY IN SCIENCE HISTORY™
Find science on or your birthday

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “The Columbia is lost; there are no survivors.”
more quiz questions >>
Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index B > Category: Beautiful

Beautiful Quotes (49 quotes)

Le savant n’étudie pas la nature parce que cela est utile; il l’étudie parce qu’il y prend plaisir et il y prend plaisir parce qu’elle est belle. Si la nature n’était pas belle, elle ne vaudrait pas la peine d’être connue, la vie ne vaudrait pas la peine d’être vécue.
The scientist does not study nature because it is useful to do so. He studies it because he takes pleasure in it, and he takes pleasure in it because it is beautiful. If nature were not beautiful, it would not be worth knowing, and life would not be worth living. I am not speaking, of course, of the beauty which strikes the senses, of the beauty of qualities and appearances. I am far from despising this, but it has nothing to do with science. What I mean is that more intimate beauty which comes from the harmonious order of its parts, and which a pure intelligence can grasp.
In Science et Méthode (1920), 48, as translated by Francis Maitland, in Science and Method (1908, 1952), 15.
Science quotes on:  |  Knowledge (1017)  |  Nature (860)  |  Pleasure (90)  |  Scientist (370)  |  Study (298)  |  Useful (59)

L’Astronomie est utile, parce qu’elle nous élève au-dessus de nous-mêmes; elle est utile, parce qu’elle est grande; elle est utile, parce qu’elle est belle… C’est elle qui nous montre combien l’homme est petit par le corps et combien il est grand par l’esprit, puisque cette immensité éclatante où son corps n’est qu’un point obscur, son intelligence peut l’embrasser tout entière et en goûter la silencieuse harmonie.
Astronomy is useful because it raises us above ourselves; it is useful because it is grand[; it is useful because it is beautiful]… It shows us how small is man’s body, how great his mind, since his intelligence can embrace the whole of this dazzling immensity, where his body is only an obscure point, and enjoy its silent harmony.
In La Valeur de la Science (1904), 276, translated by George Bruce Halsted, in The Value of Science (1907), 84. Webmaster added the meaning of “elle est utile, parce qu’elle est belle,” in brackets, which was absent in Halsted’s translation.
Science quotes on:  |  Astronomy (157)  |  Body (161)  |  Dazzling (10)  |  Enjoyment (24)  |  Grand (12)  |  Great (163)  |  Harmony (42)  |  Immensity (12)  |  Intelligence (116)  |  Man (334)  |  Mind (437)  |  Obscurity (18)  |  Raising (4)  |  Silent (14)  |  Useful (59)

A chess problem is genuine mathematics, but it is in some way “trivial” mathematics. However, ingenious and intricate, however original and surprising the moves, there is something essential lacking. Chess problems are unimportant. The best mathematics is serious as well as beautiful—“important” if you like, but the word is very ambiguous, and “serious” expresses what I mean much better.
'A Mathematician's Apology', in James Roy Newman, The World of Mathematics (2000), 2029.
Science quotes on:  |  Chess (18)  |  Essential (71)  |  Important (85)  |  Ingenious (17)  |  Intricate (12)  |  Mathematics (538)  |  Original (28)  |  Problem (297)  |  Serious (28)  |  Surprise (36)  |  Trivial (22)  |  Unimportant (3)

A large number of areas of the brain are involved when viewing equations, but when one looks at a formula rated as beautiful it activates the emotional brain—the medial orbito-frontal cortex—like looking at a great painting or listening to a piece of music. … Neuroscience can’t tell you what beauty is, but if you find it beautiful the medial orbito-frontal cortex is likely to be involved; you can find beauty in anything.
As quoted in James Gallagher, 'Mathematics: Why The Brain Sees Maths As Beauty,' BBC News (13 Feb 2014), on bbc.co.uk web site.
Science quotes on:  |  Beauty (146)  |  Brain (154)  |  Cortex (3)  |  Emotional (2)  |  Equation (66)  |  Formula (44)  |  Listen (15)  |  Music (54)  |  Neuroscience (3)  |  Painting (23)  |  View (80)

As to Bell's talking telegraph, it only creates interest in scientific circles, and, as a toy it is beautiful; but ... its commercial value will be limited.
Letter to William D. Baldwin, his attorney (1 Nov 1876). Telephone Investigating Committee, House of Representatives, United States 49th Congress, 1st Session, Miscellaneous Documents (1886), No. 355, 1186.
Science quotes on:  |  Alexander Graham Bell (34)  |  Circle (21)  |  Commercial (17)  |  Creation (193)  |  Interest (139)  |  Limited (13)  |  Scientific (120)  |  Talk (42)  |  Telegraph (28)  |  Telephone (20)  |  Toy (12)  |  Value (127)

Astronomy is older than physics. In fact, it got physics started by showing the beautiful simplicity of the motion of the stars and planets, the understanding of which was the beginning of physics. But the most remarkable discovery in all of astronomy is that the stars are made of atoms of the same kind as those on the earth.
In 'Astronomy', The Feynman Lectures on Physics (1961), Vol. 1, 3-6.
Science quotes on:  |  Astronomy (157)  |  Atom (226)  |  Beginning (110)  |  Discovery (548)  |  Earth (414)  |  Kind (54)  |  Made (14)  |  Motion (109)  |  Older (5)  |  Physics (253)  |  Planet (158)  |  Remarkable (31)  |  Same (33)  |  Showing (6)  |  Simplicity (119)  |  Star (215)  |  Start (49)  |  Understanding (315)

Every little girl needed a doll through which to project herself into her dream of her future. If she was going to do role playing of what she would be like when she was 16 or 17, it was a little stupid to play with a doll that had a flat chest. So I gave it beautiful breasts.
Interview (1977), as quoted in Kenneth C. Davis, Don't Know Much About History (2009), 435.
Science quotes on:  |  Breast (5)  |  Chest (2)  |  Doll (2)  |  Dream (71)  |  Flat (8)  |  Girl (11)  |  Need (134)  |  Play (41)  |  Project (16)  |  Stupidity (18)

First, [Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation] is mathematical in its expression…. Second, it is not exact; Einstein had to modify it…. There is always an edge of mystery, always a place where we have some fiddling around to do yet…. But the most impressive fact is that gravity is simple…. It is simple, and therefore it is beautiful…. Finally, comes the universality of the gravitational law and the fact that it extends over such enormous distances…
In The Character of Physical Law (1965, 2001), 33.
Science quotes on:  |  Distance (44)  |  Albert Einstein (240)  |  Enormous (23)  |  Expression (67)  |  Fact (524)  |  Gravitation (25)  |  Gravity (81)  |  Impressive (9)  |  Law Of Gravitation (15)  |  Mathematics (538)  |  Modify (8)  |  Mystery (105)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (236)  |  Simple (82)  |  Universal (53)

For it is too bad that there are so few who seek the truth and so few who do not follow a mistaken method in philosophy. This is not, however, the place to lament the misery of our century, but to rejoice with you over such beautiful ideas for proving the truth. So I add only, and I promise, that I shall read your book at leisure; for I am certain that I shall find the noblest things in it. And this I shall do the more gladly, because I accepted the view of Copernicus many years ago, and from this standpoint I have discovered from their origins many natural phenomena, which doubtless cannot be explained on the basis of the more commonly accepted hypothesis.
Letter (4 Aug 1597) to Kepler, expressing thanks and interest in the book Kepler sent him. As quoted in translation in Jackson J. Spielvogel, Western Civilization: Alternate Volume: Since 1300 (2010), Vol. 2, 494.
Science quotes on:  |  Basis (44)  |  Common (69)  |  Nicolaus Copernicus (39)  |  Explain (39)  |  Hypothesis (212)  |  Idea (390)  |  Lament (4)  |  Misery (15)  |  Mistake (80)  |  Natural (101)  |  Origin (65)  |  Phenomenon (185)  |  Philosophy (184)  |  Prove (30)  |  Rejoice (6)  |  Scientific Method (144)  |  Truth (661)

For they are not given to idleness, nor go in a proud habit, or plush and velvet garments, often showing their rings upon their fingers, or wearing swords with silver hilts by their sides, or fine and gay gloves upon their hands, but diligently follow their labours, sweating whole days and nights by their furnaces. They do not spend their time abroad for recreation, but take delight in their laboratory. They wear leather garments with a pouch, and an apron wherewith they wipe their hands. They put their fingers amongst coals, into clay, and filth, not into gold rings. They are sooty and black like smiths and colliers, and do not pride themselves upon clean and beautiful faces.
As translated in Paracelsus and Arthur Edward Waite (ed.), The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus (1894, 1976), Vol. 1, 167.
Science quotes on:  |  Abroad (5)  |  Apron (2)  |  Blacksmith (3)  |  Clay (9)  |  Clean (13)  |  Coal (39)  |  Day And Night (2)  |  Delight (38)  |  Diligence (12)  |  Face (46)  |  Filth (3)  |  Furnace (9)  |  Garment (5)  |  Glove (3)  |  Gold (49)  |  Habit (67)  |  Idleness (7)  |  Laboratory (112)  |  Labour (34)  |  Leather (3)  |  Pride (35)  |  Recreation (10)  |  Ring (11)  |  Silver (23)  |  Soot (6)  |  Sweat (11)  |  Sword (11)  |  Velvet (3)  |  Wear (9)  |  Wipe (5)

From the freedom to explore comes the joy of learning. From knowledge acquired by personal initiative arises the desire for more knowledge. And from mastery of the novel and beautiful world awaiting every child comes self-confidence.
In The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth (2010), 147.
Science quotes on:  |  Arise (15)  |  Awaiting (2)  |  Child (160)  |  Desire (83)  |  Exploration (88)  |  Freedom (57)  |  Initiative (12)  |  Joy (44)  |  Knowledge (1017)  |  Learning (174)  |  Mastery (15)  |  Novel (13)  |  Personal (26)  |  Self-Confidence (3)  |  World (496)

How bright and beautiful a comet is as it flies past our planet—provided it does fly past it.
Epigraph in Isaac Asimov’s Book of Science and Nature Quotations (1988), 47.
Science quotes on:  |  Bright (18)  |  Comet (36)  |  Fly (51)  |  Planet (158)

I kind of like scientists, in a funny way. … I'm kind of interested in genetics though. I think I would have liked to have met Gregor Mendel. Because he was a monk who just sort of figured this stuff out on his own. That's a higher mind, that’s a mind that's connected. … But I would like to know about Mendel, because I remember going to the Philippines and thinking “this is like Mendel’s garden” because it had been invaded by so many different countries over the years, and you could see the children shared the genetic traits of all their invaders over the years, and it made for this beautiful varietal garden.
Answering question: “If you could go back in time and have a conversation with one person, who would it be and why?” by Anniedog03 during an Internet Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) online session (17 Jan 2014).
Science quotes on:  |  Child (160)  |  Country (86)  |  Garden (20)  |  Genetics (95)  |  Interest (139)  |  Invasion (6)  |  Like (18)  |  Meeting (14)  |  Gregor Mendel (20)  |  Mind (437)  |  Monk (3)  |  Scientist (370)  |  Share (19)  |  Thinking (220)  |  Trait (17)  |  Variety (45)

I love mathematics not only because it is applicable to technology but also because it is beautiful.
In Eberhard Zeidler, Quantum Field Theory (2006), 955.
Science quotes on:  |  Applicable (2)  |  Love (121)  |  Mathematics (538)  |  Technology (152)

I will be moving through the book as if on a train looking out at the beautiful landscape of the Arts.
Anonymous
An opinion posted on yougov.com (13 Jan 2017) describing reading a novel set after the Russian Revolution with much historical background, stimulating the reader’s interest on the literature, painting and performing arts of the time.
Science quotes on:  |  Arts (3)  |  Book (150)  |  Landscape (21)  |  Move (30)  |  Reading (51)  |  Train (18)

If you fix a piece of solid phosphorus in a quill, and write with it upon paper, the writing in a dark room will appear beautifully luminous.
From 'Artist and Mechanic', The artist & Tradesman’s Guide: embracing some leading facts & principles of science, and a variety of matter adapted to the wants of the artist, mechanic, manufacturer, and mercantile community (1827), 15.
Science quotes on:  |  Appear (32)  |  Dark (36)  |  Luminous (8)  |  Paper (46)  |  Phosphorus (15)  |  Write (43)

If you want to achieve conservation, the first thing you have to do is persuade people that the natural world is precious, beautiful, worth saving and complex. If people don’t understand that and don’t believe that in their hearts, conservation doesn't stand a chance. That’s the first step, and that is what I do.
From interview with Michael Bond, 'It’s a Wonderful Life', New Scientist (14 Dec 2002), 176, No. 2373, 48.
Science quotes on:  |  Belief (293)  |  Complex (45)  |  Conservation (71)  |  Natural World (17)  |  Persuade (7)  |  Precious (19)  |  Saving (19)  |  Understand (86)  |  Worth (54)

In 1975, ... [speaking with Shiing Shen Chern], I told him I had finally learned ... the beauty of fiber-bundle theory and the profound Chern-Weil theorem. I said I found it amazing that gauge fields are exactly connections on fiber bundles, which the mathematicians developed without reference to the physical world. I added, “this is both thrilling and puzzling, since you mathematicians dreamed up these concepts out of nowhere.” He immediately protested: “No, no. These concepts were not dreamed up. They were natural and real.”
In 'Einstein's Impact on Theoretical Physics', collected in Jong-Ping Hsu, Leonard Hsu (eds.), JingShin Theoretical Physics Symposium in Honor of Professor Ta-You Wu (1998), 70. Reprinted from Physics Today (Jun 1980), 49. The article was adapted from a talk given at the Second Marcel Grossman meeting, held in Trieste, Italy (Jul 1979), in honor of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Albert Einstein.
Science quotes on:  |  Amazing (14)  |  Concept (70)  |  Develop (38)  |  Immediately (6)  |  Mathematician (160)  |  Natural (101)  |  Nowhere (15)  |  Physical World (4)  |  Protest (4)  |  Puzzling (2)  |  Real (65)  |  Theory (518)  |  Thrill (13)

In general, art has preceded science. Men have executed great, and curious, and beautiful works before they had a scientific insight into the principles on which the success of their labours was founded. There were good artificers in brass and iron before the principles of the chemistry of metals were known; there was wine among men before there was a philosophy of vinous fermentation; there were mighty masses raised into the air, cyclopean walls and cromlechs, obelisks and pyramids—probably gigantic Doric pillars and entablatures—before there was a theory of the mechanical powers. … Art was the mother of Science.
Lecture (26 Nov 1851), to the London Society of Arts, 'The General Bearing of the Great Exhibition on the Progress of Art and Science', collected in Lectures on the Results of the Great Exhibition of 1851' (1852), 7-8.
Science quotes on:  |  Air (133)  |  Brass (3)  |  Chemistry (226)  |  Construction (60)  |  Curious (17)  |  Fermentation (14)  |  Founded (6)  |  Great (163)  |  Insight (43)  |  Iron (52)  |  Knowledge (1017)  |  Labour (34)  |  Mass (49)  |  Mechanics (44)  |  Metal (34)  |  Mother (48)  |  Philosophy (184)  |  Pillar (6)  |  Preceding (8)  |  Principle (189)  |  Pyramid (6)  |  Raised (3)  |  Science And Art (152)  |  Success (176)  |  Theory (518)  |  Wall (18)  |  Wine (23)  |  Work (347)

In that same year [1932], the number of [known] particles was suddenly doubled. In two beautiful experiments, Chadwick showed that the neutron existed, and Anderson photographed the first unmistakable positron track.
In Nobel Lecture (11 Dec 1968), 'Recent Developments in Particle Physics', collected in Nobel Lectures: Physics 1963-1970 (1972), 241.
Science quotes on:  |  Sir James Chadwick (3)  |  Definitive (2)  |  Exist (46)  |  Experiment (505)  |  Known (15)  |  Neutron (9)  |  Particle (77)  |  Photograph (16)  |  Positron (3)  |  Sudden (18)  |  Track (5)

It is a most beautiful and delightful sight to behold the body of the moon.
In pamphlet, The Sidereal Messenger (1610), reprinted in The Sidereal Messenger of Galileo Galilei: And a Part of the Preface to the Preface to Kepler's Dioptrics Containing the Original Account of Galileo's Astronomical Discoveries (1880), 8.
Science quotes on:  |  Astronomy (157)  |  Behold (10)  |  Delightful (3)  |  Moon (116)  |  Sight (22)

It is something to be able to paint a particular picture or to carve a statue and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.
In Walden: or, Life in the Woods (1854, 1893), 143.
Science quotes on:  |  Affect (8)  |  Art (143)  |  Atmosphere (59)  |  Carve (3)  |  Day (38)  |  Glorious (15)  |  Highest (15)  |  Medium (11)  |  Moral (68)  |  Object (80)  |  Paint (12)  |  Picture (41)  |  Quality (54)  |  Statue (9)

It is strange, but rocks, properly chosen and polished, can be as beautiful as flowers, and much more durable.
Epigraph in Isaac Asimov’s Book of Science and Nature Quotations (1988), 159.
Science quotes on:  |  Choice (53)  |  Durable (2)  |  Flower (54)  |  Minerology (4)  |  Polish (7)  |  Rock (95)  |  Strange (49)

It is very desirable to have a word to express the Availability for work of the heat in a given magazine; a term for that possession, the waste of which is called Dissipation. Unfortunately the excellent word Entropy, which Clausius has introduced in this connexion, is applied by him to the negative of the idea we most naturally wish to express. It would only confuse the student if we were to endeavour to invent another term for our purpose. But the necessity for some such term will be obvious from the beautiful examples which follow. And we take the liberty of using the term Entropy in this altered sense ... The entropy of the universe tends continually to zero.
Sketch of Thermodynamics (1868), 100-2.
Science quotes on:  |  Alteration (21)  |  Application (104)  |  Availability (9)  |  Rudolf Clausius (8)  |  Confusion (28)  |  Connection (76)  |  Continuity (19)  |  Desire (83)  |  Dissipation (2)  |  Endeavour (24)  |  Entropy (38)  |  Example (41)  |  Excellence (23)  |  Expression (67)  |  Follow (40)  |  Heat (86)  |  Idea (390)  |  Introduce (23)  |  Invention (270)  |  Liberty (11)  |  Magazine (17)  |  Necessity (113)  |  Negative (18)  |  Nomenclature (129)  |  Obvious (44)  |  Possession (31)  |  Purpose (116)  |  Sense (164)  |  Student (112)  |  Term (65)  |  Unfortunately (11)  |  Universe (446)  |  Waste (49)  |  Word (183)  |  Work (347)  |  Zero (15)

I’ve come to appreciate the planet we live on. It’s a small ball in a large universe. It’s a very fragile ball but also very beautiful. You don’t recognize that until you see it from a little farther off.
Science quotes on:  |  Appreciate (10)  |  Ball (14)  |  Fragile (4)  |  Planet (158)  |  Recognize (25)  |  Universe (446)

Never say there is nothing beautiful in the world anymore. There is always something to make you wonder in the shape of a tree, the trembling of a leaf.
In The Schweitzer Album: A Portrait in Words and Pictures (1965), 39.
Science quotes on:  |  Leaf (40)  |  Shape (34)  |  Tree (126)  |  Trembling (3)  |  Wondering (3)  |  World (496)

No matter how correct a mathematical theorem may appear to be, one ought never to be satisfied that there was not something imperfect about it until it also gives the impression of being beautiful.
As quoted in Desmond MacHale. Comic Sections (1993), 107, without citation. Please contact the Webmaster if you know the primary source.
Science quotes on:  |  Appear (32)  |  Correct (36)  |  Imperfect (9)  |  Impression (42)  |  Mathematics (538)  |  Satisfaction (43)  |  Theorem (44)

Nothing in our experience suggests the introduction of [complex numbers]. Indeed, if a mathematician is asked to justify his interest in complex numbers, he will point, with some indignation, to the many beautiful theorems in the theory of equations, of power series, and of analytic functions in general, which owe their origin to the introduction of complex numbers. The mathematician is not willing to give up his interest in these most beautiful accomplishments of his genius.
In 'The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences,' Communications in Pure and Applied Mathematics (Feb 1960), 13, No. 1 (February 1960). Collected in Eugene Paul Wigner, A.S. Wightman (ed.), Jagdish Mehra (ed.), The Collected Works of Eugene Paul Wigner (1955), Vol. 6, 537.
Science quotes on:  |  Accomplishment (51)  |  Equation (66)  |  Experience (212)  |  Genius (156)  |  Indignation (2)  |  Interest (139)  |  Justify (10)  |  Mathematician (160)  |  Origin (65)  |  Owe (9)  |  Theorem (44)  |  Theory (518)

Of possible quadruple algebras the one that had seemed to him by far the most beautiful and remarkable was practically identical with quaternions, and that he thought it most interesting that a calculus which so strongly appealed to the human mind by its intrinsic beauty and symmetry should prove to be especially adapted to the study of natural phenomena. The mind of man and that of Nature’s God must work in the same channels.
As quoted in W. E. Byerly (writing as a Professor Emeritus at Harvard University, but a former student at a Peirce lecture on Hamilton's new calculus of quaternions), 'Benjamin Peirce: II. Reminiscences', The American Mathematical Monthly (Jan 1925), 32, No. 1, 6.
Science quotes on:  |  Adapt (12)  |  Algebra (33)  |  Appeal (20)  |  Beauty (146)  |  Calculus (19)  |  Channel (11)  |  God (320)  |  Human Mind (43)  |  Identical (14)  |  Intrinsic (9)  |  Natural (101)  |  Nature (860)  |  Phenomenon (185)  |  Possible (46)  |  Practically (5)  |  Prove (30)  |  Remarkable (31)  |  Same (33)  |  Science And Religion (247)  |  Study (298)  |  Symmetry (21)

So when, by various turns of the Celestial Dance,
In many thousand years,
A Star, so long unknown, appears,
Tho’ Heaven itself more beauteous by it grow,
It troubles and alarms the World below,
Does to the Wise a Star, to Fools a Meteor show.
Science quotes on:  |  Alarm (7)  |  Appear (32)  |  Celestial (10)  |  Dance (11)  |  Fool (56)  |  Grow (40)  |  Heaven (104)  |  Meteor (12)  |  Nova (2)  |  Show (27)  |  Star (215)  |  Thousand (88)  |  Trouble (43)  |  Unknown (76)  |  Wise (31)  |  World (496)  |  Year (149)

Some mathematics problems look simple, and you try them for a year or so, and then you try them for a hundred years, and it turns out that they're extremely hard to solve. There's no reason why these problems shouldn't be easy, and yet they turn out to be extremely intricate. [Fermat's] Last Theorem is the most beautiful example of this.
From interview for PBS website on the NOVA program, 'The Proof'.
Science quotes on:  |  Easy (29)  |  Example (41)  |  Extremely (4)  |  Pierre de Fermat (8)  |  Hard (37)  |  Hundred (25)  |  Intricate (12)  |  Mathematics (538)  |  Problem (297)  |  Reason (254)  |  Simple (82)  |  Solve (21)  |  Try (55)  |  Year (149)

Take the rose—most people think it very beautiful: I don’t care for It at all. I prefer the cactus, for the simple reason that it has a more interesting personality. It has wonderfully adapted itself to its surroundings! It is the best illustration of the theory of evolution in plant life.
From George MacAdam, 'Steinmetz, Electricity's Mastermind, Enters Politics', New York Times (2 Nov 1913), SM3.
Science quotes on:  |  Adapt (12)  |  Best (94)  |  Cactus (2)  |  Care (59)  |  Evolution (445)  |  Illustration (22)  |  Interesting (38)  |  Life (742)  |  Personality (30)  |  Plant (153)  |  Prefer (10)  |  Reason (254)  |  Rose (7)  |  Simple (82)  |  Surrounding (11)  |  Theory (518)

The efforts of most human-beings are consumed in the struggle for their daily bread, but most of those who are, either through fortune or some special gift, relieved of this struggle are largely absorbed in further improving their worldly lot. Beneath the effort directed toward the accumulation of worldly goods lies all too frequently the illusion that this is the most substantial and desirable end to be achieved; but there is, fortunately, a minority composed of those who recognize early in their lives that the most beautiful and satisfying experiences open to humankind are not derived from the outside, but are bound up with the development of the individual's own feeling, thinking and acting. The genuine artists, investigators and thinkers have always been persons of this kind. However inconspicuously the life of these individuals runs its course, none the less the fruits of their endeavors are the most valuable contributions which one generation can make to its successors.
In letter (1 May 1935), Letters to the Editor, 'The Late Emmy Noether: Professor Einstein Writes in Appreciation of a Fellow-Mathematician', New York Times (4 May 1935), 12.
Science quotes on:  |  Acting (5)  |  Artist (38)  |  Bound (12)  |  Contribution (43)  |  Derivation (12)  |  Development (198)  |  Early (27)  |  Endeavor (17)  |  Experience (212)  |  Feeling (76)  |  Fortunately (6)  |  Fruit (58)  |  Generation (89)  |  Genuine (15)  |  Humankind (6)  |  Inconspicuous (2)  |  Individual (119)  |  Investigator (27)  |  Kind (54)  |  Life (742)  |  Minority (12)  |  Emmy Noether (6)  |  Outside (20)  |  Recognition (60)  |  Satisfaction (43)  |  Successor (5)  |  Thinker (10)  |  Thinking (220)  |  Value (127)

The Moon and its phases gave man his first calendar. Trying to match that calendar with the seasons helped give him mathematics. The usefulness of the calendar helped give rise to the thought of beneficent gods. And with all that the Moon is beautiful, too.
Epigraph in Isaac Asimov’s Book of Science and Nature Quotations (1988), 164.
Science quotes on:  |  Beneficent (5)  |  Calendar (5)  |  First (112)  |  God (320)  |  Match (10)  |  Mathematics (538)  |  Moon (116)  |  Phase (14)  |  Rise (31)  |  Season (18)  |  Thought (290)  |  Usefulness (65)

The northern ocean is beautiful, ... and beautiful the delicate intricacy of the snowflake before it melts and perishes, but such beauties are as nothing to him who delights in numbers, spurning alike the wild irrationality of life and baffling complexity of nature’s laws.
In Kandelman's Krim: A Realistic Fantasy (1957), 101.
Science quotes on:  |  Baffling (4)  |  Beauty (146)  |  Complexity (73)  |  Delicate (9)  |  Delight (38)  |  Intricacy (6)  |  Law Of Nature (49)  |  Life (742)  |  Melt (10)  |  Nothing (189)  |  Number (145)  |  Ocean (103)  |  Perish (20)  |  Snowflake (7)  |  Spurn (2)  |  Wild (26)

The sciences are like a beautiful river, of which the course is easy to follow, when it has acquired a certain regularity; but if one wants to go back to the source, one will find it nowhere, because it is everywhere; it is spread so much [as to be] over all the surface of the earth; it is the same if one wants to go back to the origin of the sciences, one will find only obscurity, vague ideas, vicious circles; and one loses oneself in the primitive ideas.
In Essai sur les machines en général (1783), conclusion, as translated in Ivor Grattan-Guinness, Convolutions in French Mathematics, 1800-1840 (1990), Vol. 1, 32.
Science quotes on:  |  Course (44)  |  Earth (414)  |  Easy (29)  |  Everywhere (9)  |  Find (142)  |  Follow (40)  |  Idea (390)  |  Lose (22)  |  Nowhere (15)  |  Obscurity (18)  |  Origin (65)  |  Primitive (27)  |  Regularity (20)  |  River (60)  |  Science (1371)  |  Source (57)  |  Spread (18)  |  Surface (63)  |  Vague (10)

The world looks so different after learning science. For example, trees are made of air, primarily. When they are burned, they go back to air, and in the flaming heat is released the flaming heat of the sun which was bound in to convert the air into tree, and in the ash is the small remnant of the part which did not come from air, that came from the solid earth, instead. These are beautiful things, and the content of science is wonderfully full of them. They are very inspiring, and they can be used to inspire others.
From address (1966) at the 14th Annual Convention of the National Science Teachers Association, New York City, printed in 'What is science?', The Physics Teacher (1969), 7, No. 6, 320.
Science quotes on:  |  Air (133)  |  Ash (15)  |  Burn (21)  |  Content (29)  |  Convert (14)  |  Different (61)  |  Earth (414)  |  Flame (19)  |  Heat (86)  |  Inspire (15)  |  Learning (174)  |  Science (1371)  |  Solid (31)  |  Sun (179)  |  Tree (126)  |  Wonderful (26)  |  World (496)

There is one great difficulty with a good hypothesis. When it is completed and rounded, the corners smooth and the content cohesive and coherent, it is likely to become a thing in itself, a work of art. It is then like a finished sonnet or a painting completed. One hates to disturb it. Even if subsequent information should shoot a hole in it, one hates to tear it down because it once was beautiful and whole. One of our leading scientists, having reasoned a reef in the Pacific, was unable for a long time to reconcile the lack of a reef, indicated by soundings, with the reef his mind told him was there.
In John Steinbeck and Edward Flanders Ricketts Sea of Cortez: a Leisurely Journal of Travel and Research (1941), 179-80.
Science quotes on:  |  Art (143)  |  Coherence (6)  |  Cohesion (2)  |  Completeness (9)  |  Completion (14)  |  Content (29)  |  Corner (17)  |  Difficulty (106)  |  Disturbance (17)  |  Finish (16)  |  Good (154)  |  Hypothesis (212)  |  Information (86)  |  Mind (437)  |  Painting (23)  |  Proof (179)  |  Reef (6)  |  Scientific Method (144)  |  Smoothness (2)  |  Sonnet (4)  |  Sounding (2)

There was a loudspeaker that reported on the time left before the blast: “T-minus ten minutes”—something like that. The last few seconds were counted off one by one. We had all turned away. At zero there was the flash. I counted and then turned around. The first thing I saw was a yellow-orange fireball that kept getting larger. As it grew, it turned more orange and then red. A mushroom-shaped cloud of glowing magenta began to rise over the desert where the explosion had been. My first thought was, “My God, that is beautiful!”
(1982).
Science quotes on:  |  Atomic Bomb (98)  |  Blast (7)  |  Cloud (39)  |  Desert (20)  |  Explosion (23)  |  Fireball (2)  |  Flash (20)  |  Glow (6)  |  Mushroom (4)  |  Orange (5)  |  Yellow (7)  |  Zero (15)

This is Friendship 7. Can see clear back; a big cloud pattern way back across towards the Cape. Beautiful sight.
From the transcript of in-flight communications, 5 min 35 sec after launch, about his view through the porthole.
Science quotes on:  |  Back (32)  |  Big (20)  |  Clear (33)  |  Cloud (39)  |  Friendship 7 (3)  |  Pattern (43)  |  See (103)  |  Sight (22)  |  Toward (5)

Truth is beautiful and divine, no matter how humble its origin; it is the same in the musty boiler-room as it is in the glorious stars of heaven.
In 'From Chaos to Cosmos', Scribner's Magazine (July 1924), 76, No. 1, 9. Reprinted in The New Reformation: From Physical to Spiritual Realities (1927), 205.
Science quotes on:  |  Divine (29)  |  Glorious (15)  |  Heaven (104)  |  Humble (16)  |  Matter (228)  |  Origin (65)  |  Star (215)  |  Truth (661)

What good your beautiful proof on [the transcendence of] π? Why investigate such problems, given that irrational numbers do not even exist?
Science quotes on:  |  Exist (46)  |  Good (154)  |  Investigate (45)  |  Pi (6)  |  Problem (297)  |  Proof (179)  |  Transcendence (2)

Whatever else astronomy may or may not be who can doubt it to be the most beautiful of the sciences?
Epigraph in Isaac Asimov’s Book of Science and Nature Quotations (1988), 26.
Science quotes on:  |  Astronomy (157)  |  Science (1371)

Ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.
Bible
(circa 325 A.D.)
Science quotes on:  |  Archaeology (39)  |  Bone (52)  |  Death (240)  |  Sepulchre (3)  |  White (31)

[Concerning] mr Kirwan’s charming treatise on manures. Science never appears so beautiful as when applied to the uses of human life, nor any use of it so engaging as agriculture & domestic economy.
Letter (23 Mar 1798) from Jefferson in Philadelphia to William Strickland. In The Papers of Thomas Jefferson: 1 January 1798 to 31 January 1799 (2003), 211. Jefferson was thanking Strickland, who had sent him a copy of Kirwan’s treatise.
Science quotes on:  |  Agriculture (54)  |  Appear (32)  |  Applied (15)  |  Charming (2)  |  Concern (50)  |  Domestic (7)  |  Economy (39)  |  Human (312)  |  Richard Kirwan (3)  |  Life (742)  |  Manure (6)  |  Science (1371)  |  Treatise (15)  |  Use (70)

[Kepler] had to realize clearly that logical-mathematical theoretizing, no matter how lucid, could not guarantee truth by itself; that the most beautiful logical theory means nothing in natural science without comparison with the exactest experience. Without this philosophic attitude, his work would not have been possible.
From Introduction that Einstein wrote for Carola Baumgardt and Jamie Callan, Johannes Kepler Life and Letters (1953), 13.
Science quotes on:  |  Attitude (31)  |  Clearly (6)  |  Comparison (46)  |  Experience (212)  |  Guarantee (14)  |  Johannes Kepler (68)  |  Logic (171)  |  Mathematics (538)  |  Matter (228)  |  Natural Science (53)  |  Philosophy (184)  |  Possible (46)  |  Realize (26)  |  Theory (518)  |  Truth (661)  |  Work (347)

[On why are numbers beautiful?] It’s like asking why is Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony beautiful. If you don’t see why, someone can’t tell you. I know numbers are beautiful. If they aren’t beautiful, nothing is.
As quoted in Paul Hoffman, The Man who Loves Only Numbers (1998), 44.
Science quotes on:  |  Ask (64)  |  Beethoven_Ludwig (6)  |  Know (146)  |  Nothing (189)  |  Number (145)  |  See (103)  |  Symphony (3)  |  Tell (32)

[The Book of Genesis is] [p]rofoundly interesting and indeed pathetic to me are those attempts of the opening mind of man to appease its hunger for a Cause. But the Book of Genesis has no voice in scientific questions. It is a poem, not a scientific treatise. In the former aspect it is for ever beautiful; in the latter it has been, and it will continue to be, purely obstructive and hurtful.'
In 'Professor Virchow and Evolution', Fragments of Science (1879), Vol. 2, 377. Tyndall is quoting himself from “four years ago”&mdashthus c.1875.
Science quotes on:  |  Aspect (33)  |  Attempt (70)  |  Bible (74)  |  Cause (189)  |  Early (27)  |  Evolution (445)  |  Genesis (10)  |  Hunger (8)  |  Hurtful (2)  |  Interest (139)  |  Man (334)  |  Obstruction (2)  |  Origin Of The Universe (13)  |  Pathetic (2)  |  Poem (83)  |  Profound (37)  |  Scientific (120)  |  Treatise (15)

“You know that it is quite preposterous of you to chase rainbows,” said the sane person to the poet.
“Yet it would be rather beautiful if I did one day manage to catch one,” mused the poet.
'Dreams' in Little Stings (1907, 1908), 59.
Science quotes on:  |  Catch (15)  |  Chase (9)  |  Manage (6)  |  Muse (3)  |  Person (88)  |  Poet (51)  |  Preposterous (4)  |  Rainbow (8)


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:
Custom Quotations Search - custom search within only our quotations 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 |

who invites your feedback

- 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

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