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British Museum Quotes (2 quotes)

Scientists and Drapers. Why should the botanist, geologist or other-ist give himself such airs over the draper’s assistant? Is it because he names his plants or specimens with Latin names and divides them into genera and species, whereas the draper does not formulate his classifications, or at any rate only uses his mother tongue when he does? Yet how like the sub-divisions of textile life are to those of the animal and vegetable kingdoms! A few great families—cotton, linen, hempen, woollen, silk, mohair, alpaca—into what an infinite variety of genera and species do not these great families subdivide themselves? And does it take less labour, with less intelligence, to master all these and to acquire familiarity with their various habits, habitats and prices than it does to master the details of any other great branch of science? I do not know. But when I think of Shoolbred’s on the one hand and, say, the ornithological collections of the British Museum upon the other, I feel as though it would take me less trouble to master the second than the first.
Samuel Butler, Henry Festing Jones (ed.), The Note-Books of Samuel Butler (1917), 218.
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When I was examining and arranging some minerals in the British Museum, I observed a small specimen of a dark colored substance, which attracted my attention, on account of some resemblance which it had with the Siberian chromate of iron, on which I that time was making experiments. Upon referring to Sir Hans Sloane’s catalog, I found that this specimen was only described as a very heavy black stone with golden streaks, which proved to be yellow mica, and it appeared that it had been sent…to Sloane by Mr, Winthrop, of Massachusetts.
Opening paragraph from Paper (26 Nov 1801) read to the Royal Society, printed in 'Analysis of a Mineral Substance From North America, Containing a Metal Hitherto Unknown', Philosophical Transactions (1802), 92, 49.
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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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