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 Superfund legislation... may prove to be as far-reaching and important as any accomplishment of my administration. The reduction of the threat to America's health and safety from thousands of toxic-waste sites will continue to be an urgent…issue …”
more quiz questions >>
Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index C > Category: Conception

Conception Quotes (63 quotes)

A force unconnected with matter, hovering loose over matter, is an utterly empty conception. In nitrogen, carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, in sulphur and phosphorus, their several properties have dwelt from all eternity.
As quoted in Ludwig Büchner, Force and Matter: Or, Principles of the Natural Order of the Universe (1891), 1.
Science quotes on:  |  Carbon (48)  |  Empty (26)  |  Eternity (44)  |  Force (194)  |  Force And Matter (3)  |  Hovering (2)  |  Loose (11)  |  Matter (270)  |  Nitrogen (18)  |  Phosphorus (15)  |  Property (96)  |  Sulphur (15)

Alas, your dear friend and servant is totally blind. Henceforth this heaven, this universe, which by wonderful observations I had enlarged by a hundred and a thousand times beyond the conception of former ages, is shrunk for me into the narrow space which I myself fill in it. So it pleases God; it shall therefore please me also.
In Letter, as quoted in Sir Oliver Lodge, Pioneers of Science (1905), 133.
Science quotes on:  |  Age (137)  |  Blind (35)  |  Enlarge (15)  |  Former (18)  |  Heaven (118)  |  Hundred (46)  |  Narrow (33)  |  Observation (418)  |  Shrink (10)  |  Space (154)  |  Thousand (106)  |  Universe (563)  |  Wonderful (37)

All our knowledge derived from observation … is knowledge gotten at first hand. Hereby we see and know things as they are, or as they appear to us; we take the impressions of them on our minds from the original objects themselves which give a clearer and stronger conception of things.
In Interesting Anecdotes, Memoirs, Allegories, Essays, and Poetical Fragments (1793), Vols 3-4, Vol 4, 72.
Science quotes on:  |  Clear (52)  |  First Hand (2)  |  Impression (51)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Mind (544)  |  Object (110)  |  Observation (418)  |  Original (36)  |  Strong (47)

Aristotle, in spite of his reputation, is full of absurdities. He says that children should be conceived in the Winter, when the wind is in the North, and that if people marry too young the children will be female. He tells us that the blood of females is blacker then that of males; that the pig is the only animal liable to measles; that an elephant suffering from insomnia should have its shoulders rubbed with salt, olive-oil, and warm water; that women have fewer teeth than men, and so on. Nevertheless, he is considered by the great majority of philosophers a paragon of wisdom.
From An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish (1937, 1943), 19. Collected in The Basic Writings of Bertrand Russell (2009), 63.
Science quotes on:  |  Absurdity (16)  |  Aristotle (141)  |  Black (27)  |  Blood (95)  |  Child (189)  |  Elephant (16)  |  Female (20)  |  Fewer (5)  |  Insomnia (2)  |  Male (24)  |  Marriage (31)  |  North (7)  |  Paragon (4)  |  Philosopher (132)  |  Pig (7)  |  Reputation (17)  |  Rub (2)  |  Salt (23)  |  Shoulder (13)  |  Teeth (11)  |  Warm (20)  |  Water (244)  |  Wind (52)  |  Winter (22)  |  Wisdom (151)  |  Woman (94)  |  Young (72)

But when science, passing beyond its own limits, assumes to take the place of theology, and sets up its own conception of the order of nature as a sufficient account of its cause, it is invading a province of thought to which it has no claim, and not unreasonably provokes the hostility of its best friends.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Account (45)  |  Assume (19)  |  Best (129)  |  Beyond (65)  |  Cause (231)  |  Claim (52)  |  Friend (63)  |  Hostility (10)  |  Invade (4)  |  Limit (86)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Order (167)  |  Pass (60)  |  Place (111)  |  Province (11)  |  Provoke (5)  |  Science (1699)  |  Set (56)  |  Sufficient (24)  |  Theology (35)  |  Thought (374)

Common to all these types is the anthropomorphic character of their conception of God. In general, only individuals of exceptional endowments, and exceptionally high-minded communities, rise to any considerable extent above this level. But there is a third stage of religious experience which belongs to all of them, even though it is rarely found in a pure form: I shall call it cosmic religious feeling. It is very difficult to elucidate this feeling to anyone who is entirely without it, especially as there is no anthropomorphic conception of God corresponding to it.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Anthropomorphic (2)  |  Anyone (26)  |  Belong (33)  |  Call (68)  |  Character (82)  |  Common (92)  |  Community (65)  |  Considerable (11)  |  Correspond (5)  |  Cosmic (34)  |  Difficult (62)  |  Endowment (7)  |  Entirely (23)  |  Especially (18)  |  Exceptional (6)  |  Exceptionally (3)  |  Experience (268)  |  Extent (30)  |  Feel (93)  |  Find (248)  |  Form (210)  |  General (92)  |  God (454)  |  Individual (177)  |  Level (51)  |  Pure (62)  |  Rarely (9)  |  Religious (44)  |  Rise (51)  |  Stage (39)  |  Third (11)  |  Type (34)

Consciously and systematically Klein sought to enthrall me with the problems of mathematical physics, and to win me over to his conception of these problems as developed it in lecture courses in previous years. I have always regarded Klein as my real teacher only in things mathematical, but also in mathematical physics and in my conception of mechanics.
As quoted in Paul Forman and Armin Hermann, 'Sommerfeld, Arnold (Johannes Wilhelm)', Biography in Dictionary of Scientific Biography (1975), Vol. 12, 526. Cited from 'Autobiographische Skizze', Gesammelte Schriften, Vol 4, 673–682.
Science quotes on:  |  Autobiography (55)  |  Conscious (25)  |  Course (57)  |  Develop (55)  |  Felix Klein (5)  |  Lecture (54)  |  Mathematical Physics (3)  |  Mechanics (44)  |  Problem (362)  |  Real (95)  |  Regard (58)  |  Systematic (25)  |  Teacher (90)  |  Win (25)

Dear Mr. Bell: … Sir Wm. Thomson … speaks with much enthusiasm of your achievement. What yesterday he would have declared impossible he has today seen realized, and he declares it the most wonderful thing he has seen in America. You speak of it as an embryo invention, but to him it seems already complete, and he declares that, before long, friends will whisper their secrets over the electric wire. Your undulating current he declares a great and happy conception.
Letter to Alexander Graham Bell (25 Jun 1876). Quoted in Alexander Graham Bell, The Bell Telephone: The Deposition of Alexander Graham Bell, in the Suit Brought by the United States to Annul the Bell Patents (1908), 101. Note: William Thomson is better known as Lord Kelvin.
Science quotes on:  |  Achievement (128)  |  Alexander Graham Bell (34)  |  Complete (43)  |  Current (43)  |  Declare (18)  |  Electric (11)  |  Embryo (22)  |  Enthusiasm (28)  |  Friend (63)  |  Great (300)  |  Impossible (68)  |  Invention (283)  |  Baron William Thomson Kelvin (50)  |  Realize (43)  |  Secret (98)  |  Today (86)  |  Whisper (5)  |  Wire (18)  |  Wonderful (37)  |  Yesterday (14)

For example, there are numbers of chemists who occupy themselves exclusively with the study of dyestuffs. They discover facts that are useful to scientific chemistry; but they do not rank as genuine scientific men. The genuine scientific chemist cares just as much to learn about erbium—the extreme rarity of which renders it commercially unimportant—as he does about iron. He is more eager to learn about erbium if the knowledge of it would do more to complete his conception of the Periodic Law, which expresses the mutual relations of the elements.
From 'Lessons from the History of Science: The Scientific Attitude' (c.1896), in Collected Papers (1931), Vol. 1, 20.
Science quotes on:  |  Chemist (79)  |  Chemistry (239)  |  Commercially (3)  |  Complete (43)  |  Discover (115)  |  Dye (5)  |  Eager (7)  |  Element (129)  |  Erbium (2)  |  Express (32)  |  Extreme (36)  |  Facts (3)  |  Genuine (19)  |  Iron (53)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Law (418)  |  Learn (160)  |  Mutual (22)  |  Occupy (18)  |  Periodic Table (13)  |  Rank (19)  |  Rarity (9)  |  Relation (96)  |  Render (17)  |  Scientific (169)  |  Study (331)  |  Unimportant (4)  |  Useful (66)

Furnished as all Europe now is with Academies of Science, with nice instruments and the spirit of experiment, the progress of human knowledge will be rapid and discoveries made of which we have at present no conception. I begin to be almost sorry I was born so soon, since I cannot have the happiness of knowing what will be known a hundred years hence.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Academy (11)  |  Bear (28)  |  Begin (52)  |  Discovery (591)  |  Europe (32)  |  Experiment (543)  |  Furnish (18)  |  Happiness (82)  |  Human (445)  |  Hundred (46)  |  Instrument (73)  |  Know (321)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Nice (9)  |  Present (103)  |  Progress (317)  |  Rapid (17)  |  Science (1699)  |  Soon (17)  |  Sorry (16)  |  Spirit (113)  |  Year (214)

I am much occupied with the investigation of the physical causes [of motions in the Solar System]. My aim in this is to show that the celestial machine is to be likened not to a divine organism but rather to a clockwork … insofar as nearly all the manifold movements are carried out by means of a single, quite simple magnetic force. This physical conception is to be presented through calculation and geometry.
Letter to Ilerwart von Hohenburg (10 Feb 1605) Quoted in Holton, Johannes Kepler's Universe: Its Physics and Metaphysics, 342, as cited by Hylarie Kochiras, Force, Matter, and Metaphysics in Newton's Natural Philosophy (2008), 57.
Science quotes on:  |  Calculation (67)  |  Cause (231)  |  Celestial (15)  |  Clockwork (4)  |  Divine (42)  |  Force (194)  |  Geometry (99)  |  Investigation (123)  |  Machine (133)  |  Magnetic (7)  |  Manifold (7)  |  Motion (127)  |  Movement (65)  |  Occupation (37)  |  Organism (126)  |  Physical (94)  |  Presenting (2)  |  Simple (111)  |  Single (72)  |  Solar System (48)

I ask any one who has adopted the calling of an engineer, how much time he lost when he left school, because he had to devote himself to pursuits which were absolutely novel and strange, and of which he had not obtained the remotest conception from his instructors? He had to familiarize himself with ideas of the course and powers of Nature, to which his attention had never been directed during his school-life, and to learn, for the first time, that a world of facts lies outside and beyond the world of words.
From After-Dinner Speech (Apr 1869) delivered before the Liverpool Philomathic Society, 'Scientific Education', collected in Lay Sermons, Addresses, and Reviews (1870), 63. Previously published in Macmillan’s Magazine.
Science quotes on:  |  Attention (76)  |  Beyond (65)  |  Course (57)  |  Directed (2)  |  Engineering (115)  |  Fact (609)  |  Familiarize (3)  |  First (174)  |  Idea (440)  |  Instructor (4)  |  Learn (160)  |  Lose (53)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Novel (16)  |  Outside (37)  |  Power (273)  |  School (87)  |  Strange (61)  |  Time (439)  |  Word (221)  |  World (667)

I do not conceive of any manifestation of culture, of science, of art, as purposes in themselves. I think the purpose of science and culture is man.
In G. Barry Golson (ed.) The Playboy Interview (1981), 254.
Science quotes on:  |  Culture (85)  |  Man (345)  |  Purpose (138)  |  Purpose Of Science (4)  |  Science And Art (157)

I have therefore tried to show the tendency displayed throughout history, by the most profound investigators, to pass from the world of the senses to a world where vision becomes spiritual, where principles are elaborated, and from which the explorer emerges with conceptions and conclusions, to be approved or rejected according as they coincide with sensible things.
Heat, A Mode of Motion (1880, 1915), 6th ed., viii.
Science quotes on:  |  Approve (2)  |  Coincide (4)  |  Conclusion (120)  |  Display (22)  |  Emerge (16)  |  Explorer (15)  |  History (302)  |  Investigator (28)  |  Pass (60)  |  Principle (228)  |  Profound (46)  |  Rejected (2)  |  Sense (240)  |  Sensible (22)  |  Spiritual (45)  |  Tendency (40)  |  Vision (55)  |  World (667)

I maintain that in every special natural doctrine only so much science proper is to be met with as mathematics; for… science proper, especially [science] of nature, requires a pure portion, lying at the foundation of the empirical, and based upon a priori knowledge of natural things. … To the possibility of a determinate natural thing, and therefore to cognise it à priori, is further requisite that the intuition corresponding à priori to the conception should be given; in other words, that the conception should be constructed. But the cognition of the reason through construction of conceptions is mathematical. A pure philosophy of nature in general, namely, one that only investigates what constitutes a nature in general, may thus be possible without mathematics; but a pure doctrine of nature respecting determinate natural things (corporeal doctrine and mental doctrine), is only possible by means of mathematics; and as in every natural doctrine only so much science proper is to be met with therein as there is cognition à priori, a doctrine of nature can only contain so much science proper as there is in it of applied mathematics.
From Preface to The Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science (1786), as translated by Ernest Belford Boax, in Kant’s Prolegomena: And The Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science (1883), 140.
Science quotes on:  |  A Priori (16)  |  Applied Mathematics (10)  |  Doctrine (53)  |  Intuition (39)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Mathematics (587)  |  Natural Science (62)  |  Philosophy (213)

I presume that few who have paid any attention to the history of the Mathematical Analysis, will doubt that it has been developed in a certain order, or that that order has been, to a great extent, necessary—being determined, either by steps of logical deduction, or by the successive introduction of new ideas and conceptions, when the time for their evolution had arrived. And these are the causes that operate in perfect harmony. Each new scientific conception gives occasion to new applications of deductive reasoning; but those applications may be only possible through the methods and the processes which belong to an earlier stage.
Explaining his choice for the exposition in historical order of the topics in A Treatise on Differential Equations (1859), Preface, v-vi.
Science quotes on:  |  Analysis (123)  |  Application (117)  |  Cause (231)  |  Deduction (49)  |  Development (228)  |  Earlier (8)  |  Evolution (482)  |  Harmony (55)  |  History (302)  |  Idea (440)  |  Introduction (31)  |  Logic (187)  |  Mathematics (587)  |  Necessity (125)  |  New (340)  |  Occasion (12)  |  Order (167)  |  Process (201)  |  Reasoning (79)  |  Scientific (169)  |  Successive (14)

If it were not for our conception of weights and measures we would stand in awe of the firefly as we do before the sun.
In Kahlil Gibran: The Collected Works (207), 204.
Science quotes on:  |  Awe (24)  |  Firefly (2)  |  Measure (70)  |  Stand (60)  |  Sun (211)  |  Weight (61)

In experimenting on the arc, my aim was not so much to add to the large number of isolated facts that had already been discovered, as to form some idea of the bearing of these upon one another, and thus to arrive at a clear conception of what takes place in each part of the arc and carbons at every moment. The attempt to correlate all the known phenomena, and to bind them together into one consistent whole, led to the deduction of new facts, which, when duly tested by experiment, became parts of the growing body, and, themselves, opened up fresh questions, to be answered in their turn by experiment.
In The Electric Arc (1902), Preface, iii. Ayrton described the growth of her published work on the electric arc, from a series of articles in The Electrician in 1895-6, to the full book, which “has attained to its present proportions almost with the growth of an organic body.”
Science quotes on:  |  Answer (201)  |  Arc (5)  |  Carbon (48)  |  Correlation (9)  |  Deduction (49)  |  Discovery (591)  |  Electricity (121)  |  Experiment (543)  |  Fact (609)  |  Question (315)  |  Test (96)

In order that the facts obtained by observation and experiment may be capable of being used in furtherance of our exact and solid knowledge, they must be apprehended and analysed according to some Conceptions which, applied for this purpose, give distinct and definite results, such as can be steadily taken hold of and reasoned from.
Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences (1840), Vol. 2, 205.
Science quotes on:  |  Analysis (123)  |  Capability (35)  |  Definite (27)  |  Distinct (29)  |  Exact (38)  |  Experiment (543)  |  Fact (609)  |  Furtherance (2)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Observation (418)  |  Purpose (138)  |  Reason (330)  |  Result (250)

In the conception of a machine or the product of a machine there is a point where one may leave off for parsimonious reasons, without having reached aesthetic perfection; at this point perhaps every mechanical factor is accounted for, and the sense of incompleteness is due to the failure to recognize the claims of the human agent. Aesthetics carries with it the implications of alternatives between a number of mechanical solutions of equal validity; and unless this awareness is present at every stage of the process … it is not likely to come out with any success in the final stage of design.
From 'The Esthetic Assimilation of the Machine', Technics and Civilization (1934), 349.
Science quotes on:  |  Aesthetic (26)  |  Engineering (115)  |  Machine (133)  |  Perfection (71)  |  Product (72)

In the realm of science all attempts to find any evidence of supernatural beings, of metaphysical conceptions, as God, immortality, infinity, etc., thus far have failed, and if we are honest we must confess that in science there exists no God, no immortality, no soul or mind as distinct from the body.
In 'Religion and Modern Science', The Christian Register (16 Nov 1922), 101, 1089. The article is introduced as “the substance of an address to the Laymen’s League in All Soul’s Church (5 Nov 1922).
Science quotes on:  |  Attempt (94)  |  Body (193)  |  Confess (9)  |  Evidence (157)  |  Exist (89)  |  Failed (3)  |  Find (248)  |  God (454)  |  Immortality (9)  |  Infinity (59)  |  Metaphysical (5)  |  Mind (544)  |  Realm (40)  |  Science (1699)  |  Soul (139)  |  Supernatural (19)

Infinite space cannot be conceived by anybody; finite but unbounded space is difficult to conceive but not impossible. … [We] are using a conception of space which must have originated a million years ago and has become rather firmly imbedded in human thought. But the space of Physics ought not to be dominated by this creation of the dawning mind of an enterprising ape."
In The Nature of the Physical World (1929), 80-81.
Science quotes on:  |  Ape (39)  |  Conceive (22)  |  Creation (211)  |  Dawn (10)  |  Difficult (62)  |  Dominate (13)  |  Finite (22)  |  Human (445)  |  Impossible (68)  |  Infinite (88)  |  Million (89)  |  Mind (544)  |  Originate (14)  |  Physics (301)  |  Space (154)  |  Thought (374)  |  Unbounded (2)

It is easy to obtain confirmations, or verifications, for nearly every theory—if we look for confirmations. Confirmations should count only if they are the result of risky predictions... A theory which is not refutable by any conceivable event is non-scientific. Irrefutability is not a virtue of a theory (as people often think) but a vice. Every genuine test of a theory is an attempt to falsify it, or refute it.
Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge (1963), 36.
Science quotes on:  |  Attempt (94)  |  Confirmation (15)  |  Ease (29)  |  Event (97)  |  Falsification (7)  |  Genuine (19)  |  Non-Scientific (4)  |  Prediction (67)  |  Refutation (10)  |  Result (250)  |  Risk (29)  |  Test (96)  |  Theory (582)  |  Verification (20)  |  Vice (15)  |  Virtue (55)

It is the nature of an hypothesis, when once a man has conceived it, that it assimilates every thing to itself, as proper nourishment; and, from the first moment of your begetting it, it generally grows the stronger by every thing you see, hear, read, or understand.
The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy Gentleman (1759-67), Penguin edition (1997), 121-2.
Science quotes on:  |  Assimilation (9)  |  Growth (111)  |  Hearing (27)  |  Hypothesis (227)  |  Nourishment (16)  |  Reading (51)  |  Strength (63)  |  Understanding (317)

It would be foolish to give credit to Euclid for pangeometrical conceptions; the idea of geometry deifferent from the common-sense one never occurred to his mind. Yet, when he stated the fifth postulate, he stood at the parting of the ways. His subconscious prescience is astounding. There is nothing comperable to it in the whole history of science.
Ancient Science And Modern Civilization (1954, 1959), 28. In George Edward Martin, The Foundations of Geometry and the Non-Euclidean Plane (1982), 130.
Science quotes on:  |  Common Sense (69)  |  Euclid (28)  |  Postulate (23)  |  Prescience (2)

Let him look at that dazzling light hung aloft as an eternal lamp to lighten the universe; let him behold the earth, a mere dot compared with the vast circuit which that orb describes, and stand amazed to find that the vast circuit itself is but a very fine point compared with the orbit traced by the stars as they roll their course on high. But if our vision halts there, let imagination pass beyond; it will fail to form a conception long before Nature fails to supply material. The whole visible world is but an imperceptible speck in the ample bosom of Nature. No notion comes near it. Though we may extend our thought beyond imaginable space, yet compared with reality we bring to birth mere atoms. Nature is an infinite sphere whereof the centre is everywhere, the circumference nowhere. In short, imagination is brought to silence at the thought, and that is the most perceptible sign of the all-power of God.
Let man reawake and consider what he is compared with the reality of things; regard himself lost in this remote corner of Nature; and from the tiny cell where he lodges, to wit the Universe, weigh at their true worth earth, kingdoms, towns, himself. What is a man face to face with infinity?
Pensées (1670), Section 1, aphorism 43. In H. F. Stewart (ed.), Pascal's Pensées (1950), 19.
Science quotes on:  |  Aloft (4)  |  Amazement (9)  |  Ample (4)  |  Atom (251)  |  Behold (12)  |  Beyond (65)  |  Birth (81)  |  Bosom (8)  |  Cell (125)  |  Centre (19)  |  Circuit (12)  |  Circumference (12)  |  Comparison (53)  |  Consideration (65)  |  Corner (24)  |  Course (57)  |  Dazzling (11)  |  Dot (5)  |  Earth (487)  |  Everywhere (14)  |  Face (69)  |  Failure (118)  |  God (454)  |  Halt (6)  |  Himself (10)  |  Imagination (209)  |  Imperceptibility (2)  |  Infinity (59)  |  Kingdom (34)  |  Light (246)  |  Lodge (2)  |  Look (46)  |  Lost (28)  |  Material (124)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Notion (32)  |  Nowhere (19)  |  Orb (5)  |  Pass (60)  |  Perception (53)  |  Reality (140)  |  Regard (58)  |  Remote (27)  |  Roll (7)  |  Sign (36)  |  Silence (32)  |  Space (154)  |  Speck (8)  |  Sphere (40)  |  Star (251)  |  Supply (31)  |  Thought (374)  |  Tiny (25)  |  Town (18)  |  Universe (563)  |  Vast (56)  |  Visibility (6)  |  Vision (55)  |  Worth (74)

Modern physics has changed nothing in the great classical disciplines of, for instance, mechanics, optics, and heat. Only the conception of hitherto unexplored regions, formed prematurely from a knowledge of only certain parts of the world, has undergone a decisive transformation. This conception, however, is always decisive for the future course of research.
In Philosophical Problems of Nuclear Science: Eight Lectures (1952), 18.
Science quotes on:  |  Change (291)  |  Classical (11)  |  Future (229)  |  Heat (90)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Mechanics (44)  |  Modern Physics (12)  |  Optics (15)  |  Research (517)  |  Transformation (47)  |  Unexplored (11)

No one must think that Newton’s great creation can be overthrown in any real sense by this [Theory of Relativity] or by any other theory. His clear and wide ideas will for ever retain their significance as the foundation on which our modern conceptions of physics have been built.
In 'Time, Space, and Gravitation', The Times (28 Nov 1919). Excerpted in David E. Rowe and Robert J. Schulmann, Einstein on Politics: His Private Thoughts and Public Stands on Nationalism, Zionism, War, Peace, and the Bomb (2007), 104.
Science quotes on:  |  Clear (52)  |  Creation (211)  |  Foundation (75)  |  Idea (440)  |  Modern (104)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (258)  |  Overthrown (5)  |  Physics (301)  |  Significance (60)  |  Theory Of Relativity (12)  |  Wide (14)

Not greatly moved with awe am I
To learn that we may spy
Five thousand firmaments beyond our own.
The best that's known
Of the heavenly bodies does them credit small.
View'd close, the Moon's fair ball
Is of ill objects worst,
A corpse in Night's highway, naked, fire-scarr'd, accurst;
And now they tell
That the Sun is plainly seen to boil and burst
Too horribly for hell.
So, judging from these two,
As we must do,
The Universe, outside our living Earth,
Was all conceiv'd in the Creator's mirth,
Forecasting at the time Man's spirit deep,
To make dirt cheap.
Put by the Telescope!
Better without it man may see,
Stretch'd awful in the hush'd midnight,
The ghost of his eternity.
'The Two Deserts' (1880-85). Poems, Introduction Basil Champneys (1906), 302.
Science quotes on:  |  Awe (24)  |  Boil (9)  |  Burst (17)  |  Cheap (9)  |  Corpse (5)  |  Creator (40)  |  Dirt (8)  |  Earth (487)  |  Eternity (44)  |  Fire (117)  |  Firmament (11)  |  Forecast (8)  |  Ghost (20)  |  Hell (29)  |  Highway (10)  |  Horrible (7)  |  Judge (43)  |  Midnight (7)  |  Moon (132)  |  Naked (8)  |  Night (73)  |  Poem (85)  |  Scar (3)  |  Spirit (113)  |  Sun (211)  |  Telescope (74)  |  Universe (563)

Of all the conceptions of the human mind from unicorns to gargoyles to the hydrogen bomb perhaps the most fantastic is the black hole: a hole in space with a definite edge over which anything can fall and nothing can escape; a hole with a gravitational field so strong that even light is caught and held in its grip; a hole that curves space and warps time.
In Cosmology + I: Readings from Scientific American (1977), 63.
Science quotes on:  |  Black Hole (14)  |  Bomb (17)  |  Catch (21)  |  Curve (16)  |  Definite (27)  |  Edge (16)  |  Escape (34)  |  Fall (89)  |  Fantastic (7)  |  Field (119)  |  Gargoyle (2)  |  Gravitation (27)  |  Grip (8)  |  Hold (56)  |  Human Mind (51)  |  Hydrogen (37)  |  Light (246)  |  Nothing (267)  |  Space (154)  |  Strong (47)  |  Time (439)  |  Unicorn (2)  |  Warp (5)

Our attention will focus on the institutional context of technological innovation rather than … individual inventors, for the actual course of work that leads to the conception and use of technology always involves a group that has worked for a considerable period of time on the basic idea before success is achieved.
In The Social Context of Innovation: Bureaucrats, Families, and Heroes in the Early Industrial Revolution as Foreseen in Bacon’s New Atlantis (1982, 2003), 3.
Science quotes on:  |  Achieve (36)  |  Actual (34)  |  Attention (76)  |  Basic (52)  |  Considerable (11)  |  Context (17)  |  Group (52)  |  Idea (440)  |  Individual (177)  |  Innovation (38)  |  Institution (32)  |  Inventor (49)  |  Success (202)  |  Technology (199)  |  Time (439)  |  Work (457)

Science can have a purifying effect on religion, freeing it from beliefs of a pre-scientific age and helping us to a truer conception of God. At the same time, I am far from believing that science will ever give us the answers to all our questions.
Essay 'Science Will Never Give Us the Answers to All Our Questions', collected in Henry Margenau, and Roy Abraham Varghese (eds.), Cosmos, Bios, Theos (1992), 65.
Science quotes on:  |  Age (137)  |  Answer (201)  |  Belief (400)  |  Effect (133)  |  Freeing (2)  |  God (454)  |  Help (68)  |  Pre-Scientific (2)  |  Purify (5)  |  Question (315)  |  Religion (210)  |  Science (1699)

Science, like life, feeds on its own decay. New facts burst old rules; then newly divined conceptions bind old and new together into a reconciling law.
The Will to Believe and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy, 1910
Science quotes on:  |  Bind (18)  |  Burst (17)  |  Decay (31)  |  Divine (42)  |  Fact (609)  |  Feed (22)  |  Law (418)  |  Life (917)  |  New (340)  |  Newly (3)  |  Old (104)  |  Reconcile (10)  |  Rule (135)  |  Science (1699)  |  Together (48)

Surely it must be admitted that if the conceptions of Physics are presented to the beginner in erroneous language, there is a danger that in many instances these conceptions will never be properly acquired. And is not accurate language as cheap as inaccurate?
A paper read at the Association for the Improvement of Geometrical Teaching (19 Jan 1889), 'The Vices of our Scientific Education', in Nature (6 Jun 1889), 40, 128.
Science quotes on:  |  Accuracy (52)  |  Acquisition (32)  |  Beginner (3)  |  Cheap (9)  |  Danger (62)  |  Error (230)  |  Inaccuracy (3)  |  Language (155)  |  Physics (301)  |  Proper (27)  |  Teaching (99)

Surely something is wanting in our conception of the universe. We know positive and negative electricity, north and south magnetism, and why not some extra terrestrial matter related to terrestrial matter, as the source is to the sink. ... Worlds may have formed of this stuff, with element and compounds possessing identical properties with out own, indistinguishable from them until they are brought into each other's vicinity. ... Astronomy, the oldest and most juvenile of the sciences, may still have some surprises in store. Many anti-matter be commended to its care! ... Do dreams ever come true?
[Purely whimsical prediction long before the 1932 discovery of the positron, the antiparticle of the electron.]
'Potential Matter—A Holiday Dream', Letter to the Editor, Nature (18 Aug 1898), 58, 367. Quoted in Edward Robert Harrison, Cosmology: the Science of the Universe (2000), 433.
Science quotes on:  |  Anti-Matter (4)  |  Astronomy (175)  |  Commendation (3)  |  Dream (92)  |  Electricity (121)  |  Juvenile (3)  |  Magnetism (26)  |  Negative (24)  |  Nomenclature (129)  |  Oldest (6)  |  Positive (28)  |  Sink (15)  |  Source (71)  |  Surprise (44)

The Archetypal idea was manifested in the flesh, under divers such modifications, upon this planet, long prior to the existence of those animal species that actually exemplify it. To what natural laws or secondary causes the orderly succession and progression of such organic phaenomena may have been committed we as yet are ignorant. But if, without derogation of the Divine power, we may conceive the existence of such ministers, and personify them by the term 'Nature,' we learn from the past history of our globe that she has advanced with slow and stately steps, guided by the archetypal light, amidst the wreck of worlds, from the first embodiment of the Vertebrate idea under its old Ichthyic vestment, until it became arrayed in the glorious garb of the Human form.
On the Nature of Limbs (1849), 86.
Science quotes on:  |  Advancement (36)  |  Animal (309)  |  Archetype (4)  |  Array (5)  |  Cause (231)  |  Commitment (11)  |  Divine (42)  |  Embodiment (5)  |  Evolution (482)  |  Example (57)  |  Existence (254)  |  Garb (2)  |  Globe (39)  |  Glory (44)  |  History (302)  |  Human (445)  |  Idea (440)  |  Ignorance (190)  |  Learning (174)  |  Manifestation (30)  |  Minister (6)  |  Natural Law (26)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Orderly (6)  |  Organic (48)  |  Past (109)  |  Personification (3)  |  Phenomenon (218)  |  Progression (9)  |  Secondary (11)  |  Slow (36)  |  Species (181)  |  Stately (6)  |  Step (67)  |  Succession (39)  |  Term (87)  |  Vertebrate (13)  |  Wreck (7)

The combination in time and space of all these thoughtful conceptions [of Nature] exhibits not only thought, it shows also premeditation, power, wisdom, greatness, prescience, omniscience, providence. In one word, all these facts in their natural connection proclaim aloud the One God, whom man may know, adore, and love; and Natural History must in good time become the analysis of the thoughts of the Creator of the Universe….
In Essay on Classification (1851), 205.
Science quotes on:  |  Adore (2)  |  Analysis (123)  |  Combination (69)  |  Connection (86)  |  Creator (40)  |  Exhibit (12)  |  Fact (609)  |  God (454)  |  Greatness (34)  |  Know (321)  |  Love (164)  |  Natural (128)  |  Natural History (44)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Omniscience (3)  |  Power (273)  |  Prescience (2)  |  Proclaim (12)  |  Providence (6)  |  Science And Religion (267)  |  Show (55)  |  Thought (374)  |  Time And Space (30)  |  Universe (563)  |  Wisdom (151)

The conception of objective reality … has thus evaporated … into the transparent clarity of mathematics that represents no longer the behavior of particles but rather our knowledge of this behavior.
In 'The Representation of Nature in Contemporary Physics', Daedalus (1958), 87, 95-108. As cited in Karl Popper, Quantum Theory and the Schism in Physics (1992), 85.
Science quotes on:  |  Behavior (49)  |  Clarity (31)  |  Evaporation (5)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Mathematics (587)  |  Objective (49)  |  Particle (90)  |  Reality (140)  |  Representation (27)  |  Transparency (3)

The conception that antibodies, which should protect against disease, are also responsible for the disease, sounds at first absurd. This has as its basis the fact that we are accustomed to see in disease only the harm done to the organism and to see in the antibodies solely antitoxic [protective] substances. One forgets too easily that the disease represents only a stage in the development of immunity, and that the organism often attains the advantage of immunity only by means of disease. ... Serum sickness represents, so to speak, an unnatural (artificial) form of disease.
C. von Pirquet and B. Schick, Die Serumkrankheit (1906), trans B. Schick, Serum Sickness (1951), 119-20.
Science quotes on:  |  Absurdity (16)  |  Accustomed (8)  |  Antibody (5)  |  Antitoxin (2)  |  Basis (60)  |  Disease (257)  |  Harm (31)  |  Organism (126)  |  Protection (23)  |  Representation (27)  |  Responsibility (47)  |  Serum (7)  |  Sickness (20)  |  Substance (73)  |  Unnatural (10)

The desire for guidance, love, and support prompts men to form the social or moral conception of God. This is the God of Providence, who protects, disposes, rewards, and punishes; the God who, according to the limits of the believer’s outlook, loves and cherishes the life of the tribe or of the human race, or even or life itself; the comforter in sorrow and unsatisfied longing; he who preserves the souls of the dead. This is the social or moral conception of God.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Accord (21)  |  Believer (8)  |  Cherish (6)  |  Dead (45)  |  Desire (101)  |  Dispose (7)  |  Form (210)  |  God (454)  |  Guidance (12)  |  Human Race (49)  |  Life (917)  |  Limit (86)  |  Long (95)  |  Love (164)  |  Moral (100)  |  Outlook (12)  |  Preserve (38)  |  Prompt (5)  |  Protect (26)  |  Providence (6)  |  Punish (5)  |  Reward (38)  |  Social (93)  |  Sorrow (8)  |  Soul (139)  |  Support (63)  |  Tribe (10)

The great object of all knowledge is to enlarge and purify the soul, to fill the mind with noble contemplations, to furnish a refined pleasure, and to lead our feeble reason from the works of nature up to its great Author and Sustainer. Considering this as the ultimate end of science, no branch of it can surely claim precedence of Astronomy. No other science furnishes such a palpable embodiment of the abstractions which lie at the foundation of our intellectual system; the great ideas of time, and space, and extension, and magnitude, and number, and motion, and power. How grand the conception of the ages on ages required for several of the secular equations of the solar system; of distances from which the light of a fixed star would not reach us in twenty millions of years, of magnitudes compared with which the earth is but a foot-ball; of starry hosts—suns like our own—numberless as the sands on the shore; of worlds and systems shooting through the infinite spaces.
Oration at Inauguration of the Dudley Astronomical Observatory, Albany (28 Jul 1856). Text published as The Uses of Astronomy (1856), 36.
Science quotes on:  |  Abstraction (29)  |  Age (137)  |  Astronomy (175)  |  Author (39)  |  Branch (61)  |  Considering (6)  |  Contemplation (37)  |  Distance (54)  |  Earth (487)  |  Embodiment (5)  |  End (141)  |  Enlarge (15)  |  Equation (69)  |  Extension (20)  |  Feeble (21)  |  Fill (35)  |  Fixed (11)  |  Football (3)  |  Foundation (75)  |  Furnish (18)  |  Host (9)  |  Idea (440)  |  Infinite (88)  |  Intellectual (79)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Lead (101)  |  Light (246)  |  Magnitude (21)  |  Million (89)  |  Mind (544)  |  Motion (127)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Noble (41)  |  Number (179)  |  Numberless (3)  |  Object (110)  |  Palpable (2)  |  Pleasure (98)  |  Power (273)  |  Precedence (2)  |  Purify (5)  |  Reason (330)  |  Refined (6)  |  Sand (25)  |  Science (1699)  |  Secular (8)  |  Shooting (6)  |  Shore (11)  |  Solar System (48)  |  Soul (139)  |  Space (154)  |  Star (251)  |  Sun (211)  |  System (141)  |  Time (439)  |  Ultimate (61)  |  Work (457)  |  World (667)  |  Year (214)

The great object of human thought is the discovery of truth or, in other words, to arrive at conceptions and expressions of things which shall agree with the nature of things.
Lecture (c. 1840s) on 'Geology and Revelation', in Joseph Henry and ‎Arthur P. Molella et al. (eds.), A Scientist in American Life: Essays and Lectures of Joseph Henry (1980), 24.
Science quotes on:  |  Agree (19)  |  Discovery (591)  |  Expression (82)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Thought (374)  |  Truth (750)

The influence of modern physics goes beyond technology. It extends to the realm of thought and culture where it has led to a deep revision in man’s conception of the universe and his relation to it
In The Tao of Physics (1975), 17.
Science quotes on:  |  Culture (85)  |  Influence (110)  |  Modern Physics (12)  |  Realm (40)  |  Relationship (59)  |  Revision (4)  |  Technology (199)  |  Thought (374)  |  Universe (563)

The most important distinction between the two qualities [talent and genius] is this: one, in conception, follows mechanical processes; the other, vital. Talent feebly conceives objects with the senses and understanding; genius, fusing all its powers together in the alembic of an impassioned imagination, clutches every thing in the concrete, conceives objects as living realities, gives body to spiritual abstractions, and spirit to bodily appearances, and like
“A gate of steel
Fronting the sun, receives and renders back
His figure and his heat!”
In 'Genius', Wellman’s Miscellany (Dec 1871), 4, No. 6, 203. The quotation at the end is from Wiliam Shakespeare, Tr. & Cress. iii, 3.
Science quotes on:  |  Abstraction (29)  |  Alembic (3)  |  Appearance (77)  |  Back (55)  |  Body (193)  |  Clutch (2)  |  Conceive (22)  |  Concrete (21)  |  Distinction (37)  |  Feeble (21)  |  Figure (32)  |  Following (16)  |  Gate (8)  |  Genius (186)  |  Giving (11)  |  Heat (90)  |  Imagination (209)  |  Impassioned (2)  |  Importance (183)  |  Living (44)  |  Mechanical (31)  |  Object (110)  |  Power (273)  |  Process (201)  |  Reality (140)  |  Receive (39)  |  Render (17)  |  Sense (240)  |  Spirit (113)  |  Spiritual (45)  |  Steel (14)  |  Sun (211)  |  Talent (49)  |  Together (48)  |  Understanding (317)  |  Vital (32)

The origin of an adaptive structure and the purposes it comes to fulfill are only chance combinations. Purposefulness is a very human conception for usefulness. It is usefulness looked at backwards. Hard as it is to imagine, inconceivably hard it may appear to many, that there is no direct relation between the origin of useful variations and the ends they come to serve, yet the modern zoologist takes his stand as a man of science on this ground. He may admit in secret to his father confessor, the metaphysician, that his poor intellect staggers under such a supposition, but he bravely carries forward his work of investigation along the only lines that he has found fruitful.
'For Darwin', The Popular Science Monthly (1909), 74, 380.
Science quotes on:  |  Adaptation (40)  |  Chance (122)  |  Combination (69)  |  Fruitful (31)  |  Intellect (157)  |  Investigation (123)  |  Metaphysician (4)  |  Origin (77)  |  Purpose (138)  |  Relation (96)  |  Structure (191)  |  Supposition (33)  |  Usefulness (70)  |  Variation (50)  |  Zoologist (10)

The picture of scientific method drafted by modern philosophy is very different from traditional conceptions. Gone is the ideal of a universe whose course follows strict rules, a predetermined cosmos that unwinds itself like an unwinding clock. Gone is the ideal of the scientist who knows the absolute truth. The happenings of nature are like rolling dice rather than like revolving stars; they are controlled by probability laws, not by causality, and the scientist resembles a gambler more than a prophet. He can tell you only his best posits—he never knows beforehand whether they will come true. He is a better gambler, though, than the man at the green table, because his statistical methods are superior. And his goal is staked higher—the goal of foretelling the rolling dice of the cosmos. If he is asked why he follows his methods, with what title he makes his predictions, he cannot answer that he has an irrefutable knowledge of the future; he can only lay his best bets. But he can prove that they are best bets, that making them is the best he can do—and if a man does his best, what else can you ask of him?
The Rise of Scientific Philosophy (1951, 1973), 248-9. Collected in James Louis Jarrett and Sterling M. McMurrin (eds.), Contemporary Philosophy: A Book of Readings (1954), 376.
Science quotes on:  |  Absoluteness (3)  |  Asking (23)  |  Best (129)  |  Bet (7)  |  Causality (7)  |  Clock (26)  |  Cosmos (39)  |  Course (57)  |  Dice (13)  |  Difference (208)  |  Draft (5)  |  Foretelling (4)  |  Future (229)  |  Gambler (4)  |  Goal (81)  |  Happening (32)  |  Ideal (52)  |  Irrefutable (3)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Method (154)  |  Modern (104)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Philosophy (213)  |  Picture (55)  |  Posit (2)  |  Prediction (67)  |  Probability (83)  |  Proof (192)  |  Prophet (8)  |  Roll (7)  |  Rule (135)  |  Scientific Method (155)  |  Scientist (447)  |  Stake (14)  |  Star (251)  |  Statistics (125)  |  Superiority (9)  |  Tradition (43)  |  Truth (750)  |  Universe (563)

The rudest numerical scales, such as that by which the mineralogists distinguish different degrees of hardness, are found useful. The mere counting of pistils and stamens sufficed to bring botany out of total chaos into some kind of form. It is not, however, so much from counting as from measuring, not so much from the conception of number as from that of continuous quantity, that the advantage of mathematical treatment comes. Number, after all, only serves to pin us down to a precision in our thoughts which, however beneficial, can seldom lead to lofty conceptions, and frequently descend to pettiness.
On the Doctrine of Chances, with Later Reflections (1878), 61-2.
Science quotes on:  |  Advantage (42)  |  Beneficial (10)  |  Botany (47)  |  Chaos (63)  |  Continuity (23)  |  Count (34)  |  Degree (48)  |  Descent (14)  |  Difference (208)  |  Distinguishing (14)  |  Form (210)  |  Hardness (3)  |  Lofty (7)  |  Mathematics (587)  |  Measure (70)  |  Mineralogist (3)  |  Number (179)  |  Pettiness (2)  |  Precision (38)  |  Quantity (35)  |  Rudeness (5)  |  Scale (49)  |  Stamen (2)  |  Sufficiency (13)  |  Thought (374)  |  Treatment (88)  |  Usefulness (70)

The scientist is not much given to talking of the riddle of the universe. “Riddle” is not a scientific term. The conception of a riddle is “something which can he solved.” And hence the scientist does not use that popular phrase. We don’t know the why of anything. On that matter we are no further advanced than was the cavedweller. The scientist is contented if he can contribute something toward the knowledge of what is and how it is.
As quoted in 'Electricity Will Keep The World From Freezing Up', New York Times (12 Nov 1911), SM4.
Science quotes on:  |  Advanced (10)  |  Contribute (10)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Phrase (21)  |  Popular (21)  |  Riddle (18)  |  Scientist (447)  |  Solution (168)  |  Talking (10)  |  Term (87)  |  Universe (563)

The self-fulfilling prophecy is, in the beginning, a false definition of the situation evoking a new behavior which makes the originally false conception come true. The specious validity of the self-fulfilling prophecy perpetuates a reign of error. For the prophet will cite the actual course of events as proof that he was right from the very beginning. … Such are the perversities of social logic.
In article, 'The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy', The Antioch Review (Summer 1948), 8, No. 2, 195-196. Included as Chap. 7 of Social Theory and Social Structure (1949), 181-195. Note: Merton coined the expression “self-fulfilling prophecy.”
Science quotes on:  |  Beginning (114)  |  Cite (5)  |  Error (230)  |  Event (97)  |  False (79)  |  Logic (187)  |  Original (36)  |  Perpetuate (5)  |  Perversity (2)  |  Proof (192)  |  Prophecy (6)  |  Reign (5)  |  Situation (41)  |  Society (188)  |  Validity (22)

The sight of day and night, and the months and the revolutions of the years, have created number and have given us conception of time, and the power of inquiring about the nature of the Universe.
Plato
In Timaeus section 47a, as translated by Benjamin Jowett (1871, 1959), 29. The translation by W.R.M. Lamb gives this passage as “The vision of day and night and of months and circling years has created the art of number and has given us not only the notion of Time but also means of research into the nature of the Universe.”
Science quotes on:  |  Created (5)  |  Day (38)  |  Giving (11)  |  Inquiring (4)  |  Month (21)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Night (73)  |  Number (179)  |  Power (273)  |  Revolution (56)  |  Sight (25)  |  Time (439)  |  Universe (563)  |  Year (214)

The simplicity of nature is not to be measured by that of our conceptions. Infinitely varied in its effects, nature is simple only in its causes, and its economy consists in producing a great number of phenomena, often very complicated, by means of a small number of general laws.
Philosophical Essay on Probabilities (1825), trans. Andrew I. Dale (1995), book 1, chap. 14.
Science quotes on:  |  Cause (231)  |  Complicated (38)  |  Economy (46)  |  Effect (133)  |  Law (418)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Phenomenon (218)  |  Simplicity (126)  |  Variation (50)

The study of abstract science … offers unbounded fields of pleasurable, healthful, and ennobling exercise to the restless intellect of man, expanding his powers and enlarging his conceptions of the wisdom, the energy, and the beneficence of the Great Ruler of the universe
In 'Report of the Secretary', Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution for 1859 (1860), 17.
Science quotes on:  |  Abstract (43)  |  Beneficence (3)  |  Energy (185)  |  Enlarge (15)  |  Ennoble (5)  |  Exercise (35)  |  Expand (14)  |  Great (300)  |  Health (136)  |  Intellect (157)  |  Pleasure (98)  |  Power (273)  |  Restless (4)  |  Ruler (12)  |  Science (1699)  |  Study (331)  |  Universe (563)  |  Wisdom (151)

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 (43)  |  Child (189)  |  Counterpart (5)  |  Definition (152)  |  Difficulty (113)  |  Electron (66)  |  Explanation (161)  |  Familiar (22)  |  Fundamental (122)  |  Letter (36)  |  Life (917)  |  Outgrow (4)  |  Physics (301)  |  Progress (317)  |  Realise (12)  |  Symbol (35)

The truly scientific mind is altogether unafraid of the new, and while having no mercy for ideas which have served their turn or shown their uselessness, it will not grudge to any unfamiliar conception its moment of full and friendly attention, hoping to expand rather than to minimize what small core of usefulness it may happen to contain.
In 'Observation and Experiment and Their Use in the Medical Sciences', British Medical Journal (1930), 2, 129-34. As cited in Edward J. Huth and T.J. Murray, Medicine in Quotations: Views of Health and Disease Through the Ages (2006), 357 and 512.
Science quotes on:  |  Attention (76)  |  Content (39)  |  Core (11)  |  Expansion (25)  |  Friend (63)  |  Happening (32)  |  Hope (129)  |  Idea (440)  |  Mercy (9)  |  Moment (61)  |  New (340)  |  Scientific Method (155)  |  Service (54)  |  Show (55)  |  Time (439)  |  Truth (750)  |  Unfamiliarity (4)  |  Usefulness (70)  |  Uselessness (21)

The two processes by which Science is constructed are the Explication of Conceptions and the Colligation of Facts.
Aphorism 1, 'Aphorisms Concerning Science', The Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences (1840), Vol. 1, xxxvii.
Science quotes on:  |  Fact (609)  |  Science (1699)

There are very few things of which we can acquire a conception through all five senses.
Aphorism 9 in Notebook B (1768-1771), as translated by R.J. Hollingdale in Aphorisms (1990). Reprinted as The Waste Books (2000), 17.
Science quotes on:  |  Acquisition (32)  |  All (8)  |  Few (9)  |  Sense (240)

There was a time when we wanted to be told what an electron is. The question was never answered. No familiar conceptions can be woven around the electron; it belongs to the waiting list.
The Nature Of The Physical World (1928), 290.
Science quotes on:  |  Answer (201)  |  Electron (66)  |  Familiarity (12)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Quantum Theory (55)  |  Question (315)  |  Time (439)  |  Weave (9)

This work should commence with the conception of man, and should describe the nature of the womb, and how the child inhabits it, and in what stage it dwells there, and the manner of its quickening and feeding, and its growth, and what interval there is between one stage of growth and another, and what thing drives it forth from the body of the mother, and for what reason it sometimes emerges from the belly of its mother before the due time.
'Anatomy', in The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, trans. E. MacCurdy (1938), Vol. 1, 139.
Science quotes on:  |  Baby (18)  |  Child (189)  |  Growth (111)  |  Man (345)  |  Mother (59)  |  Premature (17)  |  Womb (13)

To discover a Conception of the mind which will justly represent a train of observed facts is, in some measure, a process of conjecture, ... and the business of conjecture is commonly conducted by calling up before our minds several suppositions, selecting that one which most agrees with what we know of the observed facts. Hence he who has to discover the laws of nature may have to invent many suppositions before he hits upon the right one; and among the endowments which lead to his success, we must reckon that fertility of invention which ministers to him such imaginary schemes, till at last he finds the one which conforms to the true order of nature.
Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences (1847), Vol. 2, 54.
Science quotes on:  |  Discovery (591)  |  Endowment (7)  |  Fact (609)  |  Fertility (11)  |  Hypothesis (227)  |  Imagination (209)  |  Invention (283)  |  Law (418)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Observation (418)  |  Success (202)  |  Supposition (33)

To say that mind is a product or function of protoplasm, or of its molecular changes, is to use words to which we can attach no clear conception. You cannot have, in the whole, what does not exist in any of the parts; and those who argue thus should put forth a definite conception of matter, with clearly enunciated properties, and show, that the necessary result of a certain complex arrangement of the elements or atoms of that matter, will be the production of self-consciousness. There is no escape from this dilemma—either all matter is conscious, or consciousness is something distinct from matter, and in the latter case, its presence in material forms is a proof of the existence of conscious beings, outside of, and independent of, what we term matter. The foregoing considerations lead us to the very important conclusion, that matter is essentially force, and nothing but force; that matter, as popularly understood, does not exist, and is, in fact, philosophically inconceivable. When we touch matter, we only really experience sensations of resistance, implying repulsive force; and no other sense can give us such apparently solid proofs of the reality of matter, as touch does. This conclusion, if kept constantly present in the mind, will be found to have a most important bearing on almost every high scientific and philosophical problem, and especially on such as relate to our own conscious existence.
In 'The Limits of Natural Selection as Applied to Man', last chapter of Contributions to the Theory of Natural Selection (1870), 365-366.
Science quotes on:  |  Apparently (11)  |  Argue (17)  |  Arrangement (45)  |  Atom (251)  |  Attach (8)  |  Bearing (8)  |  Being (39)  |  Case (64)  |  Certain (84)  |  Change (291)  |  Clear (52)  |  Clearly (17)  |  Complex (78)  |  Conclusion (120)  |  Conscious (25)  |  Consciousness (71)  |  Consideration (65)  |  Constantly (19)  |  Definite (27)  |  Dilemma (6)  |  Distinct (29)  |  Element (129)  |  Escape (34)  |  Especially (18)  |  Essentially (11)  |  Exist (89)  |  Existence (254)  |  Experience (268)  |  Fact (609)  |  Force (194)  |  Form (210)  |  Forth (4)  |  Found (11)  |  Function (90)  |  Give (117)  |  High (78)  |  Important (124)  |  Inconceivable (7)  |  Independent (41)  |  Latter (13)  |  Lead (101)  |  Material (124)  |  Matter (270)  |  Mind (544)  |  Molecular (3)  |  Necessary (89)  |  Nothing (267)  |  Outside (37)  |  Part (146)  |  Philosophical (14)  |  Presence (26)  |  Present (103)  |  Problem (362)  |  Product (72)  |  Production (105)  |  Proof (192)  |  Property (96)  |  Protoplasm (12)  |  Reality (140)  |  Really (50)  |  Relate (5)  |  Repulsive (7)  |  Resistance (23)  |  Result (250)  |  Say (126)  |  Scientific (169)  |  Self-Consciousness (2)  |  Sensation (22)  |  Sense (240)  |  Show (55)  |  Solid (34)  |  Term (87)  |  Touch (48)  |  Understood (9)  |  Whole (122)  |  Word (221)

Tolstoi explains somewhere in his writings why, in his opinion, “Science for Science's sake” is an absurd conception. We cannot know all the facts since they are infinite in number. We must make a selection ... guided by utility ... Have we not some better occupation than counting the number of lady-birds in existence on this planet?
In Science and Method (1914, 2003), 15
Science quotes on:  |  Absurd (20)  |  Count (34)  |  Existence (254)  |  Fact (609)  |  Infinite (88)  |  Occupation (37)  |  Opinion (146)  |  Sake (17)  |  Science (1699)  |  Selection (27)  |  Count Leo Tolstoy (11)  |  Utility (23)  |  Writing (72)

We, however, maintain … that all animals whatsoever, even the viviparous, and man himself not excepted, are produced from ova; that the first conception, from which the foetus proceeds in all, is an ovum of one description or another, as well as the seeds of all kinds of plants.
As translated by Robert Willis in The Works of William Harvey (1847), Vol. 7, 170. Harvey’s doctrine, given herein, has been summarized in later literature as: omne vivum ex ovo omnia, (all life from an egg). Also see the quote “Ex ova omnia,” elsewhere on this webpage.
Science quotes on:  |  Animal (309)  |  Egg (41)  |  Foetus (5)  |  Man (345)  |  Plant (173)  |  Proceed (25)  |  Produce (63)  |  Seed (52)  |  Viviparous (2)

What nature demands of us is not a quantum theory or a wave theory, instead nature demands of us a synthesis both conceptions, which, to be sure, until now still exceeds the powers of thought of the physicists.
Concluding remark in Lecture (23 Feb 1927) to Mathematisch-physikalische Arbeitsgemeinschaft, University of Berlin, reported in 'Theoretisches und Experimentelles zur Frage der Lichtentstehung', Zeitschr. f. ang. Chem., 40, 546. As translated and cited in Arthur I. Miller, Sixty-Two Years of Uncertainty: Historical, Philosophical, and Physical Inquiries into the Foundations of Quantum Mechanics (2012), 89 & 108.
Science quotes on:  |  Demand (52)  |  Instead (12)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Physicist (130)  |  Power (273)  |  Quantum Theory (55)  |  Synthesis (38)  |  Thought (374)  |  Wave (55)


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.