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

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “A change in motion is proportional to the motive force impressed and takes place along the straight line in which that force is impressed.”
more quiz questions >>
Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index C > Category: Coal

Coal Quotes (41 quotes)

Between the frontiers of the three super-states Eurasia, Oceania, and Eastasia, and not permanently in possession of any of them, there lies a rough quadrilateral with its corners at Tangier, Brazzaville, Darwin, and Hongkong. These territories contain a bottomless reserve of cheap labour. Whichever power controls equatorial Africa, or the Middle East or Southern India or the Indonesian Archipelago, disposes also of the bodies of hundreds of millions of ill-paid and hardworking coolies, expended by their conquerors like so much coal or oil in the race to turn out more armaments, to capture more territory, to control more labour, to turn out more armaments, to capture more territory, to control…
Thus George Orwell—in his only reference to the less-developed world.
I wish I could disagree with him. Orwell may have erred in not anticipating the withering of direct colonial controls within the “quadrilateral” he speaks about; he may not quite have gauged the vehemence of urges to political self-assertion. Nor, dare I hope, was he right in the sombre picture of conscious and heartless exploitation he has painted. But he did not err in predicting persisting poverty and hunger and overcrowding in 1984 among the less privileged nations.
I would like to live to regret my words but twenty years from now, I am positive, the less-developed world will be as hungry, as relatively undeveloped, and as desperately poor, as today.
'The Less-Developed World: How Can We be Optimists?' (1964). Reprinted in Ideals and Realities (1984), xv-xvi. Referencing a misquote from George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty Four (1949), Ch. 9.
Science quotes on:  |  Armament (6)  |  Control (93)  |  Exploitation (8)  |  Labour (36)  |  Oil (37)  |  George Orwell (2)  |  Poverty (29)  |  Regret (16)  |  Territory (14)

[Editorial cartoon showing an executive sitting behind a desk with a Big Oil nameplate]
You want Coal? We own the mines.
You want oil and gas? We own the wells.
You want nuclear energy? We own the uranium.
You want solar power? We own the er..ah..
Solar power isn't feasible.
Newspaper
Mike Peters in Dayton Daily News. Please contact webmaster if you know the date of publication. It was on the cover of the book Solar Gas (1979) by David Hoye.
Science quotes on:  |  Big Oil (2)  |  Feasibility (3)  |  Gas (46)  |  Mine (15)  |  Nuclear Energy (10)  |  Owner (4)  |  Solar Energy (17)  |  Well (13)

All in all, the total amount of power conceivably available from the uranium and thorium supplies of the earth is about twenty times that available from the coal and oil we have left.
In The Intelligent Man's Guide to Science: The physical sciences (1960), 371.
Science quotes on:  |  Amount (20)  |  Available (18)  |  Conceivable (2)  |  Earth (487)  |  Left (13)  |  Oil (37)  |  Power (273)  |  Supply (31)  |  Thorium (4)  |  Total (29)  |  Uranium (16)

Coal and iron are the kings of the earth, because they make and unmake the kings of the earth.
Anonymous
Stated without naming the source as “A great writer has said,” by Daniel Bedinger Lucas in Nicaragua: War of the Filibusters (1896), 151. Please contact Webmaster if you can cite the writer.
Science quotes on:  |  Earth (487)  |  Iron (53)  |  King (23)  |  Make (23)

Coal … We may well call it black diamonds. Every basket is power and civilization; for coal is a portable climate. … Watt and Stephenson whispered in the ear of mankind their secret, that a half-ounce of coal will draw two tons a mile, and coal carries coal, by rail and by boat, to make Canada as warm as Calcutta, and with its comforts bring its industrial power.
In chapter 3, 'Wealth', The Conduct of Life (1860), collected in Emerson’s Complete Works (1892), Vol. 6, 86.
Science quotes on:  |  Basket (5)  |  Black (27)  |  Boat (13)  |  Bringing (10)  |  Canada (2)  |  Carrying (7)  |  Civilization (155)  |  Climate (38)  |  Comfort (42)  |  Diamond (15)  |  Ear (21)  |  Industry (91)  |  Mankind (196)  |  Mile (24)  |  Ounce (5)  |  Portable (3)  |  Power (273)  |  Rail (3)  |  Secret (98)  |  Ton (7)  |  Warm (20)  |  James Watt (11)  |  Whisper (5)

Do you realize we’ve got 250 million years of coal? But coal has got environmental hazards to it, but there’s—I’m convinced, and I know that we—technology can be developed so we can have zero-emissions coal-fired electricity plants.
Remarks at the Associated Builders and Contractors National Legislative Conference (8 Jun 2005). The White house corrected “250 million years” to “250 years” in a footnote to the printed record, 41 WCPD 956 in 'Administration of George W. Bush', 959.
Science quotes on:  |  Clean (20)  |  Convince (17)  |  Development (228)  |  Electricity (121)  |  Environmental (8)  |  Hazard (11)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Million (89)  |  Money (125)  |  Plant (173)  |  Realize (43)  |  Technology (199)  |  Year (214)

Fertile soil, level plains, easy passage across the mountains, coal, iron, and other metals imbedded in the rocks, and a stimulating climate, all shower their blessings upon man.
The Red Man's Continent: A Chronicle of Aboriginal America (1919), 87.
Science quotes on:  |  Climate (38)  |  Fertile (10)  |  Iron (53)  |  Mineral (37)  |  Mountain (111)  |  Soil (51)

For the first time there was constructed with this machine [locomotive engine] a self-acting mechanism in which the interplay of forces took shape transparently enough to discern the connection between the heat generated and the motion produced. The great puzzle of the vital force was also immediately solved for the physiologist in that it became evident that it is more than a mere poetic comparison when one conceives of the coal as the food of the locomotive and the combustion as the basis for its life.
'Leid und Freude in der Naturforschung', Die Gartenlaube (1870), 359. Trans. Kenneth L. Caneva, Robert Mayer and the Conservation of Energy (1993), 145.
Science quotes on:  |  Combustion (10)  |  Food (139)  |  Force (194)  |  Heat (90)  |  Life (917)  |  Locomotive (7)  |  Motion (127)  |  Physiologist (12)

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)  |  Beautiful (81)  |  Blacksmith (4)  |  Clay (9)  |  Clean (20)  |  Day And Night (2)  |  Delight (51)  |  Diligence (14)  |  Face (69)  |  Filth (4)  |  Furnace (10)  |  Garment (6)  |  Glove (3)  |  Gold (55)  |  Habit (78)  |  Idleness (8)  |  Laboratory (120)  |  Labour (36)  |  Leather (3)  |  Pride (45)  |  Recreation (11)  |  Ring (14)  |  Silver (26)  |  Soot (7)  |  Sweat (12)  |  Sword (12)  |  Velvet (3)  |  Wear (12)  |  Wipe (6)

Heat energy of uniform temperature [is] the ultimate fate of all energy. The power of sunlight and coal, electric power, water power, winds and tides do the work of the world, and in the end all unite to hasten the merry molecular dance.
Matter and Energy (1911), 140.
Science quotes on:  |  Dance (14)  |  Electricity (121)  |  End (141)  |  Energy (185)  |  Entropy (40)  |  Fate (38)  |  Haste (4)  |  Merry (2)  |  Molecule (125)  |  Power (273)  |  Solar Power (8)  |  Sunlight (14)  |  Temperature (42)  |  Thermodynamics (27)  |  Tidal Power (2)  |  Tide (18)  |  Ultimate (61)  |  Uniform (14)  |  Unite (13)  |  Water (244)  |  Water Power (4)  |  Wind Power (8)  |  Work (457)  |  World (667)

I prefer the spagyric chemical physicians, for they do not consort with loafers or go about gorgeous in satins, silks and velvets, gold rings on their fingers, silver daggers hanging at their sides and white gloves on their hands, but they tend their work at the fire patiently day and night. They do not go promenading, but seek their recreation in the laboratory, wear plain learthern dress and aprons of hide upon which to wipe their hands, thrust their fingers amongst the coals, into dirt and rubbish and not into golden rings. They are sooty and dirty like the smiths and charcoal burners, and hence make little show, make not many words and gossip with their patients, do not highly praise their own remedies, for they well know that the work must praise the master, not the master praise his work. They well know that words and chatter do not help the sick nor cure them... Therefore they let such things alone and busy themselves with working with their fires and learning the steps of alchemy. These are distillation, solution, putrefaction, extraction, calcination, reverberation, sublimination, fixation, separation, reduction, coagulation, tinction, etc.
Quoted in R. Oesper, The Human Side of Scientists (1975), 150. [Spagyric is a form of herbalism based on alchemic procedures of preparation.]
Science quotes on:  |  Alchemy (28)  |  Apron (2)  |  Busy (21)  |  Calcination (3)  |  Charcoal (7)  |  Chatter (3)  |  Chemical (72)  |  Coagulation (3)  |  Cure (88)  |  Dagger (3)  |  Day And Night (2)  |  Dirt (8)  |  Distillation (9)  |  Extraction (5)  |  Finger (38)  |  Fire (117)  |  Fixation (2)  |  Glove (3)  |  Gold (55)  |  Gossip (5)  |  Hand (103)  |  Help (68)  |  Hide (36)  |  Laboratory (120)  |  Leather (3)  |  Loafer (2)  |  Master (55)  |  Patience (31)  |  Patient (116)  |  Physician (232)  |  Praise (17)  |  Putrefaction (4)  |  Recreation (11)  |  Reduction (35)  |  Remedy (46)  |  Reverberation (3)  |  Ring (14)  |  Rubbish (8)  |  Satin (2)  |  Separation (32)  |  Show (55)  |  Sick (23)  |  Silk (5)  |  Silver (26)  |  Smith (2)  |  Solution (168)  |  Soot (7)  |  Step (67)  |  Velvet (3)  |  White (38)  |  Wipe (6)  |  Word (221)  |  Work (457)

If coal plants release mercury—and mercury is a neurotoxin that damages children's brains—then reducing the amount of mercury in emissions doesn’t stop that. It just says, “We’ll tell you at what rate you can dispense death.”
In interview article, 'Designing For The Future', Newsweek (15 May 2005).
Science quotes on:  |  Amount (20)  |  Brain (181)  |  Child (189)  |  Death (270)  |  Dispense (7)  |  Emission (16)  |  Industry (91)  |  Mercury (39)  |  Rate (22)  |  Reduction (35)  |  Release (15)  |  Stop (56)

In addition to the clean coal provisions, the energy conference agreement contains provisions instrumental in helping increase conservation and lowering consumption.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Addition (22)  |  Agreement (29)  |  Clean (20)  |  Conference (8)  |  Conservation (139)  |  Consumption (11)  |  Contain (37)  |  Energy (185)  |  Help (68)  |  Increase (107)  |  Instrumental (3)  |  Lowering (4)  |  Provision (15)

Instead of disbursing her annual millions for these dye stuffs, England will, beyond question, at no distant day become herself the greatest coloring producing country in the world; nay, by the very strangest of revolutions she may ere long send her coal-derived blues to indigo-growing India, her tar-distilled crimson to cochineal-producing Mexico, and her fossil substitutes for quercitron and safflower to China, Japan and the other countries whence these articles are now derived.
From 'Report on the Chemical Section of the Exhibition of 1862.' As quoted in Sir Frederick Abel, 'The Work of the Imperial Institute' Nature (28 Apr 1887), 35, No. 913, 620. Abel called the display of the first dye-products derived from coal tar at the Exhibition of 1862, “one of the features of greatest novelty.”
Science quotes on:  |  Blue (30)  |  China (17)  |  Color (78)  |  Country (121)  |  Crimson (2)  |  Derived (5)  |  Distilled (2)  |  Dye (5)  |  England (31)  |  Fossil (107)  |  Growing (15)  |  India (15)  |  Japan (7)  |  Producing (6)  |  Revolution (56)  |  Send (13)  |  Strangest (4)  |  Substitute (23)  |  World (667)

Iron and coal dominated everywhere, from grey to black: the black boots, the black stove-pipe hat, the black coach or carriage, the black iron frame of the hearth, the black cooking pots and pans and stoves. Was it a mourning? Was it protective coloration? Was it mere depression of the senses? No matter what the original color of the paleotechnic milieu might be it was soon reduced by reason of the soot and cinders that accompanied its activities, to its characteristic tones, grey, dirty-brown, black.
Technics and Civilisation (1934), 163.
Science quotes on:  |  Activity (97)  |  Black (27)  |  Brown (4)  |  Characteristic (66)  |  Cinder (5)  |  Color (78)  |  Depression (15)  |  Dirty (7)  |  Domination (12)  |  Grey (6)  |  Hat (8)  |  Iron (53)  |  Milieu (2)  |  Paleotechnic (2)  |  Protection (23)  |  Reason (330)  |  Reduction (35)  |  Sense (240)  |  Soot (7)  |  Tone (7)

Is not Cuvier the great poet of our era? Byron has given admirable expression to certain moral conflicts, but our immortal naturalist has reconstructed past worlds from a few bleached bones; has rebuilt cities, like Cadmus, with monsters’ teeth; has animated forests with all the secrets of zoology gleaned from a piece of coal; has discovered a giant population from the footprints of a mammoth.
From 'La Peau de Chagrin' (1831). As translated by Ellen Marriage in The Wild Ass’s Skin (1906), 21-22.
Science quotes on:  |  Admirable (11)  |  Animated (4)  |  Bleached (3)  |  Bone (57)  |  Lord George Gordon Byron (22)  |  Baron Georges Cuvier (28)  |  Discover (115)  |  Expression (82)  |  Footprint (12)  |  Forest (88)  |  Giant (28)  |  Glean (2)  |  Immortal (13)  |  Mammoth (7)  |  Monster (21)  |  Naturalist (49)  |  Past (109)  |  Poet (59)  |  Population (71)  |  Reconstruct (4)  |  Secret (98)  |  Tooth (23)  |  World (667)  |  Zoology (28)

Is not Cuvier the greatest poet of our age? Of course Lord Byron has set down in fine words certain of our souls’ longings; but our immortal naturalist has reconstructed whole worlds out of bleached bones. Like Cadmus, he has rebuilt great cities from teeth, repopulated thousands of forests with all the mysteries of zoology from a few pieces of coal, discovered races of giants in the foot of a mammoth.
From 'La Peau de Chagrin' (1831). As translated as by Helen Constantine The Wild Ass’s Skin (2012), 19.
Science quotes on:  |  Bleached (3)  |  Bone (57)  |  Build (80)  |  Lord George Gordon Byron (22)  |  City (37)  |  Cuvier_George (2)  |  Discover (115)  |  Foot (39)  |  Forest (88)  |  Giant (28)  |  Immortal (13)  |  Longing (8)  |  Mammoth (7)  |  Mystery (125)  |  Naturalist (49)  |  Poet (59)  |  Populate (4)  |  Race (76)  |  Reconstruct (4)  |  Soul (139)  |  Thousand (106)  |  Tooth (23)  |  Whole (122)  |  World (667)  |  Zoology (28)

Is not Fire a Body heated so hot as to emit Light copiously? For what else is a red hot Iron than Fire? And what else is a burning Coal than red hot Wood?
Opticks (1704), Book 3, Query 9, 134.
Science quotes on:  |  Body (193)  |  Burn (29)  |  Emission (16)  |  Fire (117)  |  Heat (90)  |  Iron (53)  |  Light (246)  |  Wood (33)

It is sunlight in modified form which turns all the windmills and water wheels and the machinery which they drive. It is the energy derived from coal and petroleum (fossil sunlight) which propels our steam and gas engines, our locomotives and automobiles. ... Food is simply sunlight in cold storage.
In New Dietetics: What to Eat and How (1921), 29.
Science quotes on:  |  Automobile (19)  |  Energy (185)  |  Food (139)  |  Fossil (107)  |  Gasoline (4)  |  Locomotive (7)  |  Machinery (25)  |  Petroleum (7)  |  Photosynthesis (15)  |  Propel (2)  |  Renewable Energy (11)  |  Solar Power (8)  |  Steam Engine (41)  |  Sunlight (14)  |  Wind Power (8)  |  Windmill (4)

It is very different to make a practical system and to introduce it. A few experiments in the laboratory would prove the practicability of system long before it could be brought into general use. You can take a pipe and put a little coal in it, close it up, heat it and light the gas that comes out of the stem, but that is not introducing gas lighting. I'll bet that if it were discovered to-morrow in New York that gas could be made out of coal it would be at least five years before the system would be in general use.
From the New York Herald (30 Jan 1879), as cited in Leslie Tomory, 'Building the First Gas Network, 1812-1820', Technology and Culture (Jan 2011), 52, No. 1, 75-102.
Science quotes on:  |  Bet (7)  |  Different (110)  |  Discover (115)  |  Experiment (543)  |  Gas (46)  |  Heat (90)  |  Introduce (27)  |  Laboratory (120)  |  Light (246)  |  Lighting (5)  |  New York (14)  |  Pipe (6)  |  Practical (93)  |  Prove (60)  |  Stem (11)  |  System (141)  |  Tomorrow (29)  |  Year (214)

James Watt patented his steam engine on the eve of the American Revolution, consummating a relationship between coal and the new Promethean spirit of the age, and humanity made its first tentative steps into an industrial way of life that would, over the next two centuries, forever change the world.
In The Hydrogen Economy: The Creation of the Worldwide Energy Web and the Redistribution of Power on Earth (2002), 2.
Science quotes on:  |  Age (137)  |  Century (94)  |  Change (291)  |  Consummation (4)  |  Eve (3)  |  First (174)  |  Forever (42)  |  Humanity (104)  |  Industrial Revolution (8)  |  New (340)  |  Patent (23)  |  Prometheus (5)  |  Relationship (59)  |  Spirit (113)  |  Steam Engine (41)  |  Step (67)  |  Tentative (7)  |  James Watt (11)  |  Way Of Life (5)  |  World (667)

July 11, 1656. Came home by Greenwich ferry, where I saw Sir J. Winter’s project of charring sea-coal to burn out the sulphur and render it sweet [coke]. He did it by burning the coals in such earthen pots as the glassmen melt their metal, so firing them without consuming them, using a bar of iron in each crucible, or pot, which bar has a hook at one end, that so the coals being melted in a furnace with other crude sea-coals under them, may be drawn out of the pots sticking to the iron, whence they are beaten off in great half-exhausted cinders, which being rekindled make a clear pleasant chamber-fire deprived of their sulphur and arsenic malignity. What success it may have, time will discover.
Science quotes on:  |  Arsenic (8)  |  Cinder (5)  |  Coke (3)  |  Crucible (5)  |  Fire (117)  |  Furnace (10)  |  Iron (53)  |  Mineralogy (15)  |  Success (202)  |  Sulphur (15)

Looking back over the last thousand years, one can divide the development of the machine and the machine civilization into three successive but over-lapping and interpenetrating phases: eotechnic, paleotechnic, neotechnic … Speaking in terms of power and characteristic materials, the eotechnic phase is a water-and-wood complex: the paleotechnic phase is a coal-and-wood complex… The dawn-age of our modern technics stretches roughly from the year 1000 to 1750. It did not, of course, come suddenly to an end in the middle of the eighteenth century. A new movement appeared in industrial society which had been gathering headway almost unnoticed from the fifteenth century on: after 1750 industry passed into a new phase, with a different source of power, different materials, different objectives.
Technics and Civilisation (1934), 109.
Science quotes on:  |  18th Century (17)  |  Characteristic (66)  |  Civilisation (18)  |  Complex (78)  |  Dawn (10)  |  Development (228)  |  Difference (208)  |  Headway (2)  |  Industry (91)  |  Machine (133)  |  Material (124)  |  Movement (65)  |  Objective (49)  |  Paleotechnic (2)  |  Phase (14)  |  Power (273)  |  Society (188)  |  Technology (199)  |  Wood (33)

Mankind has always drawn from outside sources of energy. This island was the first to harness coal and steam. But our present sources stand in the ratio of a million to one, compared with any previous sources. The release of atomic energy will change the whole structure of society.
Address to New Europe Group meeting on the third anniversary of the Hiroshima bomb. Quoted in New Europe Group, In Commemoration of Professor Frederick Soddy (1956), 7.
Science quotes on:  |  Atomic Energy (21)  |  Change (291)  |  Energy (185)  |  Harnessing (5)  |  Island (17)  |  Mankind (196)  |  Outside (37)  |  Ratio (15)  |  Release (15)  |  Society (188)  |  Source (71)  |  Steam (24)  |  Structure (191)

Nature will be reported. Everything in nature is engaged in writing its own history; the planet and the pebble are attended by their shadows, the rolling rock leaves its furrows on the mountain-side, the river its channel in the soil; the animal, its bones in the stratum; the fern and leaf, their modest epitaph in the coal.
In The Prose Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson (1847, 1872), Vol. 2, 141.
Science quotes on:  |  Animal (309)  |  Bone (57)  |  Channel (17)  |  Epitaph (19)  |  Fern (4)  |  Fossil (107)  |  Furrow (3)  |  History (302)  |  Leaf (43)  |  Mountain (111)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Pebble (17)  |  Planet (199)  |  River (68)  |  Rock (107)  |  Shadow (35)  |  Soil (51)  |  Stratum (7)  |  Write (87)

Our highest claim to respect, as a nation, rests not in the gold, nor in the iron and the coal, nor in inventions and discoveries, nor in agricultural productions, nor in our wealth, grown so great that a war debt of billions fades out under ministrations of the revenue collector without fretting the people; nor, indeed, in all these combined. That claim finds its true elements in our systems of education and of unconstrained religious worship; in our wise and just laws, and the purity of their administration; in the conservative spirit with which the minority submits to defeat in a hotly-contested election; in a free press; in that broad humanity which builds hospitals and asylums for the poor, sick, and insane on the confines of every city; in the robust, manly, buoyant spirit of a people competent to admonish others and to rule themselves; and in the achievements of that people in every department of thought and learning.
From his opening address at an annual exhibition of the Brooklyn Industrial Institute. As quoted in biographical preface by T. Bigelow to Austin Abbott (ed.), Official Report of the Trial of Henry Ward Beecher (1875), Vol. 1, xiv.
Science quotes on:  |  Achievement (128)  |  Agriculture (62)  |  Asylum (5)  |  Buoyant (2)  |  City (37)  |  Competent (10)  |  Debt (7)  |  Department (33)  |  Discovery (591)  |  Education (280)  |  Election (6)  |  Gold (55)  |  Hospital (33)  |  Humanity (104)  |  Insane (7)  |  Invention (283)  |  Iron (53)  |  Learning (174)  |  Manly (2)  |  Nation (111)  |  Poor (46)  |  Religion (210)  |  Revenue (3)  |  Robust (5)  |  Sick (23)  |  Thought (374)  |  War (144)  |  Wealth (50)

Science has gone down into the mines and coal-pits, and before the safety-lamp the Gnomes and Genii of those dark regions have disappeared… Sirens, mermaids, shining cities glittering at the bottom of quiet seas and in deep lakes, exist no longer; but in their place, Science, their destroyer, shows us whole coasts of coral reef constructed by the labours of minute creatures; points to our own chalk cliffs and limestone rocks as made of the dust of myriads of generations of infinitesimal beings that have passed away; reduces the very element of water into its constituent airs, and re-creates it at her pleasure.
Book review of Robert Hunt, Poetry of Science (1848), in the London Examiner (1848). Although uncredited in print, biographers identified his authorship from his original handwritten work. Collected in Charles Dickens and ‎Frederic George Kitton (ed.) Old Lamps for New Ones: And Other Sketches and Essays (1897), 86-87.
Science quotes on:  |  Air (151)  |  Being (39)  |  Bottom (28)  |  Chalk (4)  |  City (37)  |  Cliff (6)  |  Coast (11)  |  Constituent (13)  |  Constructing (3)  |  Coral (9)  |  Creature (127)  |  Dark (49)  |  Deep (81)  |  Destroyer (2)  |  Disappearance (21)  |  Dust (42)  |  Element (129)  |  Generation (111)  |  Genius (186)  |  Glitter (5)  |  Infinitesimal (8)  |  Labour (36)  |  Lake (12)  |  Limestone (6)  |  Mermaid (3)  |  Mine (15)  |  Minute (25)  |  Myriad (18)  |  Pleasure (98)  |  Pointing (4)  |  Quiet (12)  |  Reef (6)  |  Region (26)  |  Rock (107)  |  Safety Lamp (3)  |  Science (1699)  |  Sea (143)  |  Shining (8)  |  Siren (3)  |  Water (244)

The book of Nature is the book of Fate. She turns the gigantic pages,—leaf after leaf,—never re-turning one. One leaf she lays down, a floor of granite; then a thousand ages, and a bed of slate; a thousand ages, and a measure of coal; a thousand ages, and a layer of marl and mud: vegetable forms appear; her first misshapen animals, zoophyte, trilobium, fish; then, saurians,—rude forms, in which she has only blocked her future statue, concealing under these unwieldy monsters the fine type of her coming king. The face of the planet cools and dries, the races meliorate, and man is born. But when a race has lived its term, it comes no more again.
From 'Fate', collected in The Complete Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Volume 6: The Conduct of Life (1860), 15. This paragraph is the prose version of his poem, 'Song of Nature'.
Science quotes on:  |  Age (137)  |  Animal (309)  |  Appearance (77)  |  Bed (20)  |  Birth (81)  |  Block (8)  |  Book (181)  |  Book Of Fate (2)  |  Book Of Nature (6)  |  Coming (10)  |  Concealing (2)  |  Cool (9)  |  Dry (12)  |  Evolution (482)  |  Face (69)  |  Fate (38)  |  Fine (24)  |  First (174)  |  Fish (85)  |  Floor (16)  |  Form (210)  |  Future (229)  |  Gigantic (16)  |  Granite (6)  |  King (23)  |  Layer (14)  |  Leaf (43)  |  Life (917)  |  Measure (70)  |  Monster (21)  |  Mud (14)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Page (18)  |  Planet (199)  |  Race (76)  |  Returning (2)  |  Rude (5)  |  Saurian (2)  |  Statue (9)  |  Term (87)  |  Thousand (106)  |  Trilobite (4)  |  Turn (72)  |  Type (34)  |  Unwieldy (2)  |  Vegetable (19)  |  Zoophyte (4)

The coal on your grate gives out in decomposing to-day exactly the same amount of light and heat which was taken from the sunshine in its formation in the leaves and boughs of the antediluvian tree.
In 'Perpetual Forces', North American Review (1877), No. 125. Collected in Ralph Waldo Emerson and James Elliot Cabot (ed.), Lectures and Biographical Sketches (1883), 60.
Science quotes on:  |  Antediluvian (3)  |  Bough (6)  |  Conservation Of Energy (25)  |  Decompose (5)  |  Formation (54)  |  Heat (90)  |  Leaf (43)  |  Light (246)  |  Sunshine (2)  |  Tree (143)

The frost continuing more and more severe, the Thames before London was still planted with booths in formal streets … so that it see’d to be a bacchanalian triumph or carnival on the water, whilst it was a severe judgement on the land, the trees not only splitting as if lightning-struck, but men and cattle perishing in diverse places, and the very seas so lock’d up with ice, that no vessels could stir out or come in. London, by reason of the smoke, was so filled with the fuliginous steame of the sea-coale, that hardly could one see crosse the streets, and this filling the breast, so as one could hardly breath. Here was no water to be had from the pipes and engines, nor could the brewers and divers other tradesmen worke, and every moment was full of disastrous accidents.
Writing about the Great Frost (1683-84).
Science quotes on:  |  Accident (54)  |  Carnival (2)  |  Cattle (13)  |  Disaster (36)  |  Engine (25)  |  Frost (12)  |  London (12)  |  Meteorology (29)  |  Perish (23)  |  Smoke (16)  |  Thames (4)  |  Water (244)

The most revolutionary aspect of technology is its mobility. Anybody can learn it. It jumps easily over barriers of race and language. … The new technology of microchips and computer software is learned much faster than the old technology of coal and iron. It took three generations of misery for the older industrial countries to master the technology of coal and iron. The new industrial countries of East Asia, South Korea, and Singapore and Taiwan, mastered the new technology and made the jump from poverty to wealth in a single generation.
Infinite in All Directions: Gifford lectures given at Aberdeen, Scotland (2004), 270.
Science quotes on:  |  Asia (3)  |  Generation (111)  |  Industry (91)  |  Iron (53)  |  Misery (19)  |  Software (11)  |  Technology (199)

The power of man to do work—one man-power—is, in its purely physical sense, now an insignificant accomplishment, and could only again justify his existence if other sources of power failed. … Curious persons in cloisteral seclusion are experimenting with new sources of energy, which, if ever harnessed, would make coal and oil as useless as oars and sails. If they fail in their quest, or are too late, so that coal and oil, everywhere sought for, are no longer found, and the only hope of men lay in their time-honoured traps to catch the sunlight, who doubts that galley-slaves and helots would reappear in the world once more?
Science and Life (1920), 6.
Science quotes on:  |  Energy (185)  |  Oil (37)  |  Solar Energy (17)

This is the patent-age of new inventions
For killing bodies, and for saving souls,
All propagated with the best intentions;
Sir Humphrey Davy's lantern, by which coals
Are safely mined for in the mode he mentions,
Tombuctoo travels, voyages to the Poles,
Are ways to benefit mankind, as true,
Perhaps, as shooting them at Waterloo.
Don Juan (1819, 1858), Canto I, CXXXII, 36. Although aware of scientific inventions, the poet seemed to view them with suspicion. Davy invented his safety lamp in 1803. Sir W.E. Parry made a voyage to the Arctic Regions (4 Apr to 18 Nov 1818).
Science quotes on:  |  Age (137)  |  Benefit (54)  |  Best (129)  |  Body (193)  |  Sir Humphry Davy (45)  |  Intention (25)  |  Invention (283)  |  Killing (14)  |  Lantern (5)  |  Mankind (196)  |  Mining (11)  |  New (340)  |  Patent (23)  |  Pole (14)  |  Propagation (9)  |  Safety Lamp (3)  |  Saving (19)  |  Shooting (6)  |  Soul (139)  |  Travel (40)

To have a railroad, there must have been first the discoverers, who found out the properties of wood and iron, fire and water, and their latent power to carry men over the earth; next the organizers, who put these elements together, surveyed the route, planned the structure, set men to grade the hill, to fill the valley, and pave the road with iron bars; and then the administrators, who after all that is done, procure the engines, engineers, conductors, ticket-distributors, and the rest of the “hands;” they buy the coal and see it is not wasted, fix the rates of fare, calculate the savings, and distribute the dividends. The discoverers and organizers often fare hard in the world, lean men, ill-clad and suspected, often laughed at, while the administrator is thought the greater man, because he rides over their graves and pays the dividends, where the organizer only called for the assessments, and the discoverer told what men called a dream. What happens in a railroad happens also in a Church, or a State.
Address at the Melodeon, Boston (5 Mar 1848), 'A Discourse occasioned by the Death of John Quincy Adams'. Collected in Discourses of Politics: The Collected Works of Theodore Parker: Part 4 (1863), 139. Note: Ralph Waldo Emerson earlier used the phrase “pave the road with iron bars,” in Nature (1836), 17.
Science quotes on:  |  Administrator (6)  |  Bar (4)  |  Buy (14)  |  Calculate (15)  |  Church (30)  |  Conductor (8)  |  Discoverer (9)  |  Distribute (5)  |  Dividend (3)  |  Dream (92)  |  Element (129)  |  Engine (25)  |  Engineer (72)  |  Fare (2)  |  Fill (35)  |  Fire (117)  |  Fix (10)  |  Grade (10)  |  Grave (20)  |  Hand (103)  |  Hill (19)  |  Iron (53)  |  Latent (9)  |  Pave (4)  |  Pay (30)  |  Plan (69)  |  Power (273)  |  Procure (4)  |  Property (96)  |  Railroad (10)  |  Rate (22)  |  Road (47)  |  Route (11)  |  Saving (19)  |  State (96)  |  Structure (191)  |  Survey (14)  |  Tell (67)  |  Ticket (3)  |  Valley (16)  |  Waste (57)  |  Water (244)  |  Wood (33)

To produce any given motion, to spin a certain weight of cotton, or weave any quantity of linen, there is required steam; to produce the steam, fuel; and thus the price of fuel regulates effectively the cost of mechanical power. Abundance and cheapness of fuel are hence main ingredients in industrial success. It is for this reason that in England the active manufacturing districts mark, almost with geological accuracy, the limits of the coal fields.
In The Industrial Resources of Ireland (1844), 2.
Science quotes on:  |  Abundance (15)  |  Accuracy (52)  |  Cost (31)  |  Cotton (6)  |  District (7)  |  Effectiveness (10)  |  England (31)  |  Fuel (27)  |  Geography (25)  |  Geology (187)  |  Industrial Revolution (8)  |  Limit (86)  |  Linen (4)  |  Manufacturing (21)  |  Mark (28)  |  Price (26)  |  Production (105)  |  Quantity (35)  |  Regulation (18)  |  Requirement (45)  |  Spinning (7)  |  Steam (24)  |  Steam Power (6)  |  Weight (61)

We are like tenant farmers chopping down the fence around our house for fuel when we should be using Natures inexhaustible sources of energy — sun, wind and tide. ... I'd put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don't have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.
Edison in conversation Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone (1931), quoted as a recollection of the author, in James Newton, Uncommon Friends: Life with Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, Alexis Carrel & Charles Lindbergh (1987), 31. The quote is not cited from a print source. However, in the introduction the author said he “kept a diary in which I noted times and places, key phrases, and vivid impressions.” He also “relied on publications by and about my friends, which jogged my memory.” Webmaster has found no earlier record of this quote, and thus suggests the author may have the gist of what Edison said, but is not quoting the exact words uttered by Edison, although quote marks are used to state what Edison said.
Science quotes on:  |  Bet (7)  |  Chop (5)  |  Energy (185)  |  Farmer (23)  |  Fence (7)  |  Fuel (27)  |  House (36)  |  Inexhaustible (10)  |  Money (125)  |  Oil (37)  |  Power (273)  |  Solar Energy (17)  |  Source (71)  |  Sun (211)  |  Tackle (4)  |  Tenant (2)  |  Tide (18)  |  Wait (38)  |  Wind (52)

We used to be a source of fuel; we are increasingly becoming a sink. These supplies of foreign liquid fuel are no doubt vital to our industry, but our ever-increasing dependence upon them ought to arouse serious and timely reflection. The scientific utilisation, by liquefaction, pulverisation and other processes, or our vast and magnificent deposits of coal, constitutes a national object of prime importance.
Parliamentary Debate (24 Apr 1928). Quoted in Winston Churchill and Richard Langworth (ed.), Churchill by Himself: The Definitive Collection of Quotations (2008), 469.
Science quotes on:  |  Energy (185)  |  Fuel (27)  |  Oil (37)

What beauty. I saw clouds and their light shadows on the distant dear earth…. The water looked like darkish, slightly gleaming spots…. When I watched the horizon, I saw the abrupt, contrasting transition from the earth’s light-colored surface to the absolutely black sky. I enjoyed the rich color spectrum of the earth. It is surrounded by a light blue aureole that gradually darkens, becomes turquoise, dark blue, violet, and finally coal black.
Describing his view while making the first manned orbit of the earth (12 Apr 1961). As quoted in Don Knefel, Writing and Life: A Rhetoric for Nonfiction with Readings (1986), 93. Front Cover
Science quotes on:  |  Abrupt (3)  |  Absolutely (24)  |  Beauty (171)  |  Black (27)  |  Blue (30)  |  Cloud (44)  |  Color (78)  |  Contrast (16)  |  Dark (49)  |  Distant (16)  |  Earth (487)  |  Enjoy (23)  |  Gleam (9)  |  Gradually (13)  |  Horizon (13)  |  Light (246)  |  Rich (48)  |  Shadow (35)  |  Sky (68)  |  Space Flight (21)  |  Spectrum (23)  |  Spot (11)  |  Surface (74)  |  Surround (17)  |  Transition (15)  |  Violet (4)  |  Watch (39)  |  Water (244)

Wood was the main source of energy in the world until the eighteen-fifties, and it still could be. Roughly a tenth of the annual growth of all the trees on earth could yield alcohol enough to run everything that now uses coal and petroleum—every airplane, every industry, every automobile.
Pieces of the Frame
Science quotes on:  |  Airplane (32)  |  Alcohol (16)  |  Annual (5)  |  Automobile (19)  |  Earth (487)  |  Energy (185)  |  Everything (120)  |  Growth (111)  |  Industry (91)  |  Main (16)  |  Petroleum (7)  |  Run (33)  |  Source (71)  |  Tree (143)  |  Wood (33)  |  World (667)  |  Yield (23)

[Alchemists] finde out men so covetous of so much happiness, whom they easily perswade that they shall finde greater Riches in Hydargyrie [mercury], than Nature affords in Gold. Such, whom although they have twice or thrice already been deluded, yet they have still a new Device wherewith to deceive um again; there being no greater Madness…. So that the smells of Coles, Sulphur, Dung, Poyson, and Piss, are to them a greater pleasure than the taste of Honey; till their Farms, Goods, and Patrimonies being wasted, and converted into Ashes and Smoak, when they expect the rewards of their Labours, births of Gold, Youth, and Immortality, after all their Time and Expences; at length, old, ragged, famisht, with the continual use of Quicksilver [mercury] paralytick, onely rich in misery, … a laughing-stock to the people: … compell’d to live in the lowest degree of poverty, and … at length compell’d thereto by Penury, they fall to Ill Courses, as Counterfeiting of Money.
In The Vanity of the Arts and Sciences (1530), translation (1676), 313.
Science quotes on:  |  Alchemist (14)  |  Counterfeit (2)  |  Covetous (2)  |  Deceive (8)  |  Delude (2)  |  Dung (4)  |  Gold (55)  |  Happiness (82)  |  Honey (5)  |  Madness (26)  |  Mercury (39)  |  Misery (19)  |  Money (125)  |  Penury (2)  |  Persuade (10)  |  Pleasure (98)  |  Poison (32)  |  Poverty (29)  |  Quicksilver (3)  |  Smell (16)  |  Smoke (16)  |  Sulphur (15)

[I predict] the electricity generated by water power is the only thing that is going to keep future generations from freezing. Now we use coal whenever we produce electric power by steam engine, but there will be a time when there’ll be no more coal to use. That time is not in the very distant future. … Oil is too insignificant in its available supply to come into much consideration.
As quoted in 'Electricity Will Keep The World From Freezing Up', New York Times (12 Nov 1911), SM4.
Science quotes on:  |  Distant (16)  |  Electric (11)  |  Electricity (121)  |  Freezing (11)  |  Future (229)  |  Generation (111)  |  Hydroelectricity (2)  |  Power (273)  |  Prediction (67)  |  Produce (63)  |  Steam Engine (41)  |  Water (244)


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.