Celebrating 19 Years on the Web
TODAY IN SCIENCE HISTORY ®
Find science on or your birthday

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “Environmental extremists ... wouldn’t let you build a house unless it looked like a bird’s nest.”
more quiz questions >>
Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index C > Category: Captain

Captain Quotes (14 quotes)

“Advance, ye mates! Cross your lances full before me. Well done! Let me touch the axis.” So saying, with extended arm, he grasped the three level, radiating lances at their crossed centre; while so doing, suddenly and nervously twitched them; meanwhile, glancing intently from Starbuck to Stubb; from Stubb to Flask. It seemed as though, by some nameless, interior volition, he would fain have shocked into them the same fiery emotion accumulated within the Leyden jar of his own magnetic life. The three mates quailed before his strong, sustained, and mystic aspect. Stubb and Flask looked sideways from him; the honest eye of Starbuck fell downright.
“In vain!&rsdquo; cried Ahab; “but, maybe, 'tis well. For did ye three but once take the full-forced shock, then mine own electric thing, that had perhaps expired from out me. Perchance, too, it would have dropped ye dead. ...”
[Commentary by Henry Schlesinger: Electricity—mysterious and powerful as it seemed at the time—served as a perfect metaphor for Captain Ahab's primal obsession and madness, which he transmits through the crew as if through an electrical circuit in Moby-Dick.]
Extract from Herman Melville, Moby-Dick and comment by Henry Schlesinger in The Battery: How Portable Power Sparked a Technological Revolution (2010), 64.
Science quotes on:  |   (2863)  |  Accumulation (50)  |  Advance (280)  |  Arm (81)  |  Aspect (124)  |  Circuit (29)  |  Death (388)  |  Doing (280)  |  Dropped (17)  |  Electric (76)  |  Electrical (57)  |  Electricity (159)  |  Emotion (100)  |  Extend (128)  |  Eye (419)  |  Honest (50)  |  Interior (32)  |  Leyden Jar (2)  |  Life (1795)  |  Look (582)  |  Madness (33)  |  Magnetic (44)  |  Metaphor (33)  |  Mine (76)  |  Mysterious (79)  |  Mystic (20)  |  Obsession (13)  |  Perfect (216)  |  Powerful (139)  |  Quail (2)  |  Shock (37)  |  Strong (174)  |  Suddenly (88)  |  Sustain (46)  |  Thing (1915)  |  Through (849)  |  Time (1877)  |  Touch (141)  |  Vain (83)  |  Volition (3)

Atten. Pray of what disease did Mr. Badman die, for now I perceive we are come up to his death? Wise. I cannot so properly say that he died of one disease, for there were many that had consented, and laid their heads together to bring him to his end. He was dropsical, he was consumptive, he was surfeited, was gouty, and, as some say, he had a tang of the pox in his bowels. Yet the captain of all these men of death that came against him to take him away, was the consumption, for it was that that brought him down to the grave.
The Life and Death of Mr Badman (1680). In Grace Abounding & The Life and Death of Mr Badman (1928), 282.
Science quotes on:  |  Against (332)  |  All (4108)  |  Bowel (16)  |  Consent (14)  |  Consumption (14)  |  Death (388)  |  Disease (328)  |  Down (456)  |  End (590)  |  Gout (5)  |  Grave (52)  |  Say (984)  |  Together (387)  |  Wise (131)

A weird happening has occurred in the case of a lansquenet named Daniel Burghammer, of the squadron of Captain Burkhard Laymann Zu Liebenau, of the honorable Madrucci Regiment in Piadena, in Italy. When the same was on the point of going to bed one night he complained to his wife, to whom he had been married by the Church seven years ago, that he had great pains in his belly and felt something stirring therein. An hour thereafter he gave birth to a child, a girl. When his wife was made aware of this, she notified the occurrence at once. Thereupon he was examined and questioned. … He confessed on the spot that he was half man and half woman and that for more than seven years he had served as a soldier in Hungary and the Netherlands… . When he was born he was christened as a boy and given in baptism the name of Daniel… . He also stated that while in the Netherlands he only slept once with a Spaniard, and he became pregnant therefrom. This, however, he kept a secret unto himself and also from his wife, with whom he had for seven years lived in wedlock, but he had never been able to get her with child… . The aforesaid soldier is able to suckle the child with his right breast only and not at all on the left side, where he is a man. He has also the natural organs of a man for passing water. Both are well, the child is beautiful, and many towns have already wished to adopt it, which, however, has not as yet been arranged. All this has been set down and described by notaries. It is considered in Italy to be a great miracle, and is to be recorded in the chronicles. The couple, however, are to be divorced by the clergy.
Anonymous
'From Piadena in Italy, the 26th day of May 1601'. As quoted in George Tennyson Matthews (ed.) The Fugger Newsletter (1970), 247-248. A handwritten collection of news reports (1568-1604) by the powerful banking and merchant house of Fugger in Ausburg. This was footnoted in The Story of the Secret Service (1937), 698. https://books.google.com/books?id=YfssAAAAMAAJ Richard Wilmer Rowan - 1937
Science quotes on:  |  All (4108)  |  Already (222)  |  Beautiful (258)  |  Birth (147)  |  Both (493)  |  Boy (94)  |  Child (307)  |  Church (56)  |  Confess (42)  |  Consider (416)  |  Divorce (6)  |  Down (456)  |  Girl (37)  |  Great (1574)  |  Happening (58)  |  Himself (461)  |  Honorable (14)  |  Hour (186)  |  Hungary (3)  |  Man (2251)  |  Miracle (83)  |  More (2559)  |  Name (333)  |  Natural (796)  |  Never (1087)  |  Occurrence (53)  |  Organ (115)  |  Pain (136)  |  Passing (76)  |  Point (580)  |  Question (621)  |  Record (154)  |  Reproduction (72)  |  Right (452)  |  Secret (194)  |  Set (394)  |  Side (233)  |  Soldier (26)  |  Something (719)  |  Water (481)  |  Wife (41)  |  Wish (212)  |  Woman (151)  |  Year (933)

At length being at Clapham where there is, on the common, a large pond which, I observed to be one day very rough with the wind, I fetched out a cruet of oil and dropt a little of it on the water. I saw it spread itself with surprising swiftness upon the surface; but the effect of smoothing the waves was not produced; for I had applied it first on the leeward side of the pond, where the waves were largest, and the wind drove my oil back upon the shore. I then went to the windward side, where they began to form; and there the oil, though not more than a tea-spoonful, produced an instant calm over a space several yards square, which spread amazingly, and extended itself gradually till it reached the leeside, making all that quarter of the pond, perhaps half an acre, as smooth as a looking-glass.
[Experiment to test an observation made at sea in 1757, when he had seen the wake of a ship smoothed, explained by the captain as presumably due to cooks emptying greasy water in to the sea through the scuppers.]
Letter, extract in 'Of the still of Waves by Means of Oil The Gentleman's Magazine (1775), Vol. 45, 82.
Science quotes on:  |  Acre (12)  |  All (4108)  |  Applied (177)  |  Back (390)  |  Being (1278)  |  Calm (31)  |  Common (436)  |  Due (141)  |  Effect (393)  |  Experiment (695)  |  Explain (322)  |  Extend (128)  |  First (1283)  |  Form (959)  |  Glass (92)  |  Gradually (102)  |  Instant (45)  |  Large (394)  |  Largest (39)  |  Little (707)  |  Looking (189)  |  Making (300)  |  More (2559)  |  Observation (555)  |  Observed (149)  |  Oil (59)  |  Pond (15)  |  Produced (187)  |  Reach (281)  |  Saw (160)  |  Sea (308)  |  Ship (62)  |  Side (233)  |  Smooth (32)  |  Space (500)  |  Spread (83)  |  Square (70)  |  Still (613)  |  Surface (209)  |  Tea (12)  |  Test (211)  |  Through (849)  |  Water (481)  |  Wave (107)  |  Wind (128)

But I canna change the laws of physics, Captain!
Scotty
chief engineer aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise, to Captain James T. Kirk on Star Trek.
Science quotes on:  |  Change (593)  |  Law (894)  |  Physic (517)  |  Physics (533)

HURRICANE, n. An atmospheric demonstration once very common but now generally abandoned for the tornado and cyclone. The hurricane is still in popular use in the West Indies and is preferred by certain old- fashioned sea-captains.
The Collected Works of Ambrose Bierce (1911), Vol. 7, The Devil's Dictionary,  143-144.
Science quotes on:  |  Abandon (68)  |  Atmosphere (103)  |  Certain (550)  |  Common (436)  |  Cyclone (2)  |  Demonstration (113)  |  Humour (116)  |  Hurricane (4)  |  Old (481)  |  Sea (308)  |  Still (613)  |  Tornado (3)  |  Use (766)

In the Mortality Bills, pneumonia is an easy second, to tuberculosis; indeed in many cities the death-rate is now higher and it has become, to use the phrase of Bunyan 'the captain of the men of death.'
'Medicine in the Nineteenth Century' (1904). In Aequanimitas with Other Addresses to Medical Students, Nurses and Practitioners of Medicine (1904), 260.
Science quotes on:  |  Become (815)  |  Bill (14)  |  John Bunyan (5)  |  City (78)  |  Death (388)  |  Ease (35)  |  Easy (204)  |  Indeed (324)  |  Man (2251)  |  Mortality (15)  |  Phrase (61)  |  Pneumonia (7)  |  Rate (29)  |  Second (62)  |  Tuberculosis (8)  |  Use (766)

It wasn't his [the captain of the Exxon Valdez] driving that caused the Alaskan oil spill. It was yours.
Caption, under a picture of Captain Joseph Hazelwood, in Greenpeace full-page advertisement, in various world newspapers, including New York Times (25 Feb 1990).
Science quotes on:  |  Alaska (3)  |  Cause (541)  |  Driving (28)  |  Oil (59)  |  Oil Spill (5)  |  Responsibility (66)  |  Valdez (2)

Lord Northampton made a very apt quotation on the reading of Captain Denham's paper “on the deposits in the Mersey,” “It appears,” said his lordship, “that the quality of Mersey is not strained.”
Magazine
In The Literary Gazette (21 Oct 1837), No. 1083, 677. (As an unverified guess by the Webmaster, the paper may have been read at the Royal Society, where the Marquis of Northampton was president 1838-48.)
Science quotes on:  |   (2863)  |  Deposit (12)  |  Lord (93)  |  Paper (182)  |  Pun (3)  |  Quality (135)  |  Quotation (18)  |  Reading (133)  |  River Mersey (3)  |  Strained (3)

Man may be the captain of his fate, but he is also the victim of his blood sugar.
Indicating the burden of diabetes.
Transactions of the Medical Society of London (1962), 78:16.
Science quotes on:  |  Blood (134)  |  Diabetes (5)  |  Fate (72)  |  Man (2251)  |  Sugar (23)  |  Victim (35)

Most classifications, whether of inanimate objects or of organisms, are hierarchical. There are “higher” and “lower” categories, there are higher and lower ranks. What is usually overlooked is that the use of the term “hierarchy” is ambiguous, and that two fundamentally different kinds of arrangements have been designated as hierarchical. A hierarchy can be either exclusive or inclusive. Military ranks from private, corporal, sergeant, lieutenant, captain, up to general are a typical example of an exclusive hierarchy. A lower rank is not a subdivision of a higher rank; thus, lieutenants are not a subdivision of captains. The scala naturae, which so strongly dominated thinking from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century, is another good illustration of an exclusive hierarchy. Each level of perfection was considered an advance (or degradation) from the next lower (or higher) level in the hierarchy, but did not include it.
The Growth of Biological Thought: Diversity, Evolution and Inheritance (1982), 205-6.
Science quotes on:  |  Advance (280)  |  Ambiguity (17)  |  Ambiguous (13)  |  Arrangement (91)  |  Century (310)  |  Classification (97)  |  Consider (416)  |  Degradation (17)  |  Different (577)  |  Exclusive (29)  |  Fundamental (250)  |  General (511)  |  Good (889)  |  Hierarchy (17)  |  Illustration (48)  |  Inanimate (16)  |  Include (90)  |  Inclusive (4)  |  Kind (557)  |  Level (67)  |  Military (40)  |  Most (1731)  |  Next (236)  |  Object (422)  |  Organism (220)  |  Overlook (31)  |  Perfection (129)  |  Rank (67)  |  Term (349)  |  Thinking (414)  |  Two (937)  |  Use (766)  |  Usually (176)

Since you are now studying geometry and trigonometry, I will give you a problem. A ship sails the ocean. It left Boston with a cargo of wool. It grosses 200 tons. It is bound for Le Havre. The mainmast is broken, the cabin boy is on deck, there are 12 passengers aboard, the wind is blowing East-North-East, the clock points to a quarter past three in the afternoon. It is the month of May. How old is the captain?
Letter (14 Aug 1853) to Louise Colet. As quote and cited in Robert A. Nowlan, Masters of Mathematics: The Problems They Solved, Why These Are Important, and What You Should Know about Them (2017), 271.
Science quotes on:  |  Afternoon (5)  |  Blow (44)  |  Blowing (22)  |  Boston (7)  |  Bound (119)  |  Boy (94)  |  Break (99)  |  Broken (56)  |  Cabin (4)  |  Cargo (5)  |  Clock (47)  |  Deck (3)  |  Geometry (255)  |  Give (202)  |  Gross (7)  |  Leave (130)  |  Month (88)  |  Ocean (202)  |  Old (481)  |  Passenger (10)  |  Past (337)  |  Point (580)  |  Problem (676)  |  Quarter (5)  |  Sail (36)  |  Ship (62)  |  Study (653)  |  Studying (70)  |  Ton (21)  |  Trigonometry (6)  |  Will (2355)  |  Wind (128)  |  Wool (4)

The achievements of the Beagle did not just depend on FitzRoy’s skill as a hydrographer, nor on Darwin’s skill as a natural scientist, but on the thoroughly effective fashion in which everyone on board pulled together. Of course Darwin and FitzRoy had their quarrels, but all things considered, they were remarkably infrequent. To have shared such cramped quarters for nearly five years with a man often suffering from serious depression, prostrate part of the time with sea sickness, with so little friction, Darwin must have been one of the best-natured people ever! This is, indeed, apparent in his letters. And anyone who has participated in a scientific expedition will agree that when he wrote from Valparaiso in July 1834 that ‘The Captain keeps all smooth by rowing everyone in turn, which of course he has as much right to do as a gamekeeper to shoot partridges on the first of September’, he was putting a finger on an important ingredient in the Beagle’s success.
From Introduction to The Beagle Record (1979, 2012), 9.
Science quotes on:  |   (2863)  |  Achievement (179)  |  All (4108)  |  Apparent (84)  |  Beagle (13)  |  Best (459)  |  Biography (240)  |  Consider (416)  |  Course (409)  |  Charles Darwin (303)  |  Depend (228)  |  Depression (24)  |  Do (1908)  |  Effective (59)  |  Expedition (8)  |  First (1283)  |  Robert Fitzroy (4)  |  Friction (14)  |  Hydrographer (3)  |  Importance (286)  |  Indeed (324)  |  Ingredient (15)  |  Letter (109)  |  Little (707)  |  Man (2251)  |  Must (1526)  |  Natural (796)  |  Natural Scientist (5)  |  Nearly (137)  |  Partridge (2)  |  People (1005)  |  Pull (43)  |  Quarrel (10)  |  Right (452)  |  Scientific (941)  |  Scientist (820)  |  Sea (308)  |  Serious (91)  |  Sickness (26)  |  Skill (109)  |  Smooth (32)  |  Success (302)  |  Suffering (67)  |  Thing (1915)  |  Thoroughly (67)  |  Time (1877)  |  Together (387)  |  Turn (447)  |  Will (2355)  |  Year (933)

The symbol A is not the counterpart of anything in familiar life. To the child the letter A would seem horribly abstract; so we give him a familiar conception along with it. “A was an Archer who shot at a frog.” This tides over his immediate difficulty; but he cannot make serious progress with word-building so long as Archers, Butchers, Captains, dance round the letters. The letters are abstract, and sooner or later he has to realise it. In physics we have outgrown archer and apple-pie definitions of the fundamental symbols. To a request to explain what an electron really is supposed to be we can only answer, “It is part of the A B C of physics”.
In Introduction to The Nature of the Physical World (1928), xiv.
Science quotes on:  |  Abstract (124)  |  Answer (366)  |  Apple (40)  |  Building (156)  |  Butcher (9)  |  Child (307)  |  Conception (154)  |  Counterpart (9)  |  Dance (32)  |  Definition (221)  |  Difficulty (196)  |  Electron (93)  |  Explain (322)  |  Explanation (234)  |  Familiar (43)  |  Frog (38)  |  Fundamental (250)  |  Immediate (95)  |  Letter (109)  |  Life (1795)  |  Long (790)  |  Outgrow (4)  |  Physic (517)  |  Physics (533)  |  Progress (465)  |  Realize (147)  |  Serious (91)  |  Symbol (93)  |  Tide (34)  |  Word (619)


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
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



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