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Who said: “Every body perseveres in its state of being at rest or of moving uniformly straight forward, except insofar as it is compelled to change its state by forces impressed.”
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Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index C > Category: Committee

Committee Quotes (8 quotes)

A camel is a horse designed by committee.
As attributed, perhaps incorrectly. For example, UPI states in its "The Almanac" feature that this was written by Issigonis in The Guardian, but Webmaster suspects it was a saying in use before him. It was attributed to Kittering in "From the Mail Box' The New York Times (6 May 1962)- but could that mean Charles F. Kettering? A web page suggests it is in Vogue magazine (Jul 1958), and Wictionary lists a meeting proceedings source in 1952. If you know a primary source, please contact Webmaster.
Science quotes on:  |  Camel (9)  |  Design (92)  |  Horse (40)

Committees are dangerous things that need most careful watching. I believe that a research committee can do one useful thing and one only. It can find the workers best fitted to attack a particular problem, bring them together, give them the facilities they need, and leave them to get on with the work. It can review progress from time to time, and make adjustments; but if it tries to do more, it will do harm.
Attributed.
Science quotes on:  |  Adjustment (12)  |  Attack (29)  |  Belief (400)  |  Best (129)  |  Bring (53)  |  Careful (12)  |  Dangerous (45)  |  Facility (7)  |  Find (248)  |  Fitted (2)  |  Harm (31)  |  Leave (63)  |  Need (211)  |  Particular (54)  |  Problem (362)  |  Progress (317)  |  Research (517)  |  Review (5)  |  Time (439)  |  Together (48)  |  Try (103)  |  Useful (66)  |  Watching (10)  |  Work (457)

Could Hamlet have been written by a committee, or the “Mona Lisa” painted by a club? Could the New Testament have been composed as a conference report? Creative ideas do not spring from groups. They spring from individuals. The divine spark leaps from the finger of God to the finger of Adam, whether it takes ultimate shape in a law of physics or a law of the land, a poem or a policy, a sonata or a mechanical computer.
Baccalaureate address (9 Jun 1957), Yale University. In In the University Tradition (1957), 156.
Science quotes on:  |  Adam (6)  |  Club (4)  |  Composition (52)  |  Computer (84)  |  Conference (8)  |  Creativity (66)  |  Divinity (11)  |  Finger (38)  |  God (454)  |  Group (52)  |  Hamlet (3)  |  Idea (440)  |  Individual (177)  |  Land (83)  |  Law (418)  |  Leap (23)  |  Mechanics (44)  |  New Testament (3)  |  Painting (24)  |  Physics (301)  |  Poem (85)  |  Poetry (96)  |  Report (31)  |  Shape (52)  |  Spark (18)  |  Spring (47)  |  Ultimate (61)  |  Writing (72)

I learnt very quickly that the only reason that would be accepted for not attending a committee meeting was that one already had a previous commitment to attend a meeting of another organization on the same day. I therefore invented a society, the Orion Society, a highly secret and very exclusive society that spawned a multitude of committees, sub-committees, working parties, evaluation groups and so on that, regrettably, had a prior claim on my attention. Soon people wanted to know more about this club and some even decided that they would like to join it. However, it was always made clear to them that applications were never entertained and that if they were deemed to qualify for membership they would be discreetly approached at the appropriate time.
Loose Ends from Current Biology (1997), 14.
Science quotes on:  |  Meeting (14)

I think I have been much of my life an irritant. But some people say that something good came out of my research, something valuable that could be regarded as a pearl, and I can assure those who worked with me it was you who made the pearls and I was merely the grain of sand, the irritant to produce the pearls.
Recalling how, when increasingly in demand to serve on committees, upon attempting to resign from one, he was told by the chairman “We want you as an irritant.” Remark at a luncheon, quoted in Obituary, 'Nicholas Kurti, C. B. E. 14 May 1908-24 November 1998', by J.H. Sanders, Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society (Nov 2000), 46, 309.
Science quotes on:  |  Pearl (4)  |  Research (517)  |  Sand (25)  |  Value (180)

In an enterprise such as the building of the atomic bomb the difference between ideas, hopes, suggestions and theoretical calculations, and solid numbers based on measurement, is paramount. All the committees, the politicking and the plans would have come to naught if a few unpredictable nuclear cross sections had been different from what they are by a factor of two.
Epigraph in Richard Rhodes, The Making of the Atomic Bomb (1986), 8.
Science quotes on:  |  Atomic Bomb (101)  |  Building (51)  |  Calculation (67)  |  Difference (208)  |  Enterprise (20)  |  Factor (34)  |  Hope (129)  |  Idea (440)  |  Measurement (148)  |  Nuclear (24)  |  Number (179)  |  Paramount (6)  |  Plan (69)  |  Politics (77)  |  Suggestion (24)  |  Theory (582)  |  Unpredictable (10)

No politics, no committees, no reports, no referees, no interviews – just highly motivated people picked by a few men of good judgment.
[Describing the compelling ideas of Max Perutz on how best to nurture research.]
Quoted in Andrew Jack, "An Acute Talent for Innovation", Financial Times (1 Feb 2009).
Science quotes on:  |  Best (129)  |  Compelling (7)  |  Idea (440)  |  Interview (3)  |  Judgment (72)  |  Motivation (21)  |  Nurture (12)  |  Max Ferdinand Perutz (13)  |  Pick (14)  |  Politics (77)  |  Referee (3)  |  Report (31)  |  Research (517)  |  Selection (27)

With respect to Committees as you would perceive I am very jealous of their formation. I mean working committees. I think business is always better done by few than by many. I think also the working few ought not to be embaras[s]ed by the idle many and further I think the idle many ought not to be honoured by association with the working few.—I do not think that my patience has ever come nearer to an end than when compelled to hear ... long rambling malapropros enquiries of members who still have nothing in consequence to propose that shall advance the business.
Letter to John William Lubbock (6 Dec 1833). In Frank A. J. L. James (ed.), The Correspondence of Michael Faraday: Volume 2, 1832-1840 (1993), 160.
Science quotes on:  |  Work (457)


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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- 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
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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



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