Celebrating 17 Years on the Web
TODAY IN SCIENCE HISTORY™
Find science on or your birthday

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind.”
more quiz questions >>
Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index E > Category: Elementary

Elementary Quotes (18 quotes)

[Elementary student, laying a cocoon on the teacher's desk:] That is serendipity. The caterpillar thinks it is dying but it is really being born.
Anonymous
As quoted, without citation, by Marcus Bach, 'Serendiptiy in the Business World', in The Rotarian (Oct 1981), 139, No. 4, 40.
Science quotes on:  |  Birth (60)  |  Caterpillar (2)  |  Cocoon (2)  |  Death (219)  |  Desk (7)  |  Reality (84)  |  Serendipity (12)  |  Student (84)  |  Teacher (66)  |  Thinking (207)

[On the propulsive force of rockets] One part of fire takes up as much space as ten parts of air, and one part of air takes up the space of ten parts of water, and one part of water as much as ten parts of earth. Now powder is earth, consisting of the four elementary principles, and when the sulfur conducts the fire into the dryest part of the powder, fire, and air increase … the other elements also gird themselves for battle with each other and the rage of battle is changed by their heat and moisture into a strong wind.
In De La Pirotechnia (1540). From the 1943 English translation, as given in Willy Ley, Rockets: The Future of Travel Beyond the Stratosphere (1944), 64. Though Birinuccio provided the first insight into what propels a rocket, the “strong wind” blowing downward, he did not explain why that should cause the rocket to rise upward, as Issac Newton would do with his Third Law of Motion, nearly a century and a half later.
Science quotes on:  |  Air (108)  |  Battle (13)  |  Change (186)  |  Earth (313)  |  Element (88)  |  Fire (79)  |  Force (108)  |  Heat (58)  |  Increase (52)  |  Moisture (8)  |  Powder (3)  |  Principle (156)  |  Propulsion (8)  |  Rage (4)  |  Rocket (20)  |  Strong (16)  |  Water (171)  |  Wind (39)

Does the evolutionary doctrine clash with religious faith? It does not. It is a blunder to mistake the Holy Scriptures for elementary textbooks of astronomy, geology, biology, and anthropology. Only if symbols are construed to mean what they are not intended to mean can there arise imaginary, insoluble conflicts. ... the blunder leads to blasphemy: the Creator is accused of systematic deceitfulness.
In 'Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution', The American Biology Teacher (Mar 1973), 125-129.
Science quotes on:  |  Anthropology (33)  |  Arise (10)  |  Astronomy (131)  |  Biology (106)  |  Blasphemy (3)  |  Blunder (10)  |  Clash (4)  |  Conflict (32)  |  Construed (2)  |  Creator (22)  |  Doctrine (36)  |  Evolution (378)  |  Faith (92)  |  Geology (165)  |  Imaginary (5)  |  Insoluble (6)  |  Lead (43)  |  Mean (17)  |  Mistake (51)  |  Religious (11)  |  Science And Religion (196)  |  Scripture (4)  |  Symbol (25)  |  Systematic (10)  |  Textbook (13)

In recent years several new particles have been discovered which are currently assumed to be “elementary,” that is, essentially structureless. The probability that all such particles should be really elementary becomes less and less as their number increases. It is by no means certain that nucleons, mesons, electrons, neutrinos are all elementary particles.
Opening statement, Enrico Fermi and C.N. Yang, 'Are Mesons Elementary Particles?', Physical Review (1949), 76, 1739. As cited in James Gleick, Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman (1992), 283.
Science quotes on:  |  Assumption (33)  |  Certainty (81)  |  Discovery (480)  |  Electron (48)  |  Increase (52)  |  Meson (2)  |  Neutrino (7)  |  New (178)  |  Number (123)  |  Particle (59)  |  Probability (69)

It is a peculiar feature in the fortune of principles of such high elementary generality and simplicity as characterise the laws of motion, that when they are once firmly established, or supposed to be so, men turn with weariness and impatience from all questionings of the grounds and nature of their authority. We often feel disposed to believe that truths so clear and comprehensive are necessary conditions, rather than empirical attributes of their subjects: that they are legible by their own axiomatic light, like the first truths of geometry, rather than discovered by the blind gropings of experience.
In An Introduction to Dynamics (1832), x.
Science quotes on:  |  Axiom (16)  |  Empirical (5)  |  Geometry (87)  |  Impatience (9)  |  Law Of Motion (10)  |  Necessity (104)  |  Principle (156)  |  Question (202)  |  Simplicity (113)  |  Truth (573)  |  Weariness (4)

Judging from our experience upon this planet, such a history, that begins with elementary particles, leads perhaps inevitably toward a strange and moving end: a creature that knows, a science-making animal, that turns back upon the process that generated him and attempts to understand it. Without his like, the universe could be, but not be known, and this is a poor thing. Surely this is a great part of our dignity as men, that we can know, and that through us matter can know itself; that beginning with protons and electrons, out of the womb of time and the vastnesses of space, we can begin to understand; that organized as in us, the hydrogen, the carbon, the nitrogen, the oxygen, those 16-21 elements, the water, the sunlight—all having become us, can begin to understand what they are, and how they came to be.
In 'The Origins of Life', Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (1964), 52, 609-110.
Science quotes on:  |  Animal (199)  |  Beginning (93)  |  Carbon (34)  |  Creature (67)  |  Dignity (11)  |  Electron (48)  |  Element (88)  |  Experience (171)  |  Generation (76)  |  History (206)  |  Hydrogen (32)  |  Judge (23)  |  Knowledge (879)  |  Lead (43)  |  Moving (11)  |  Nitrogen (17)  |  Organized (4)  |  Oxygen (40)  |  Particle (59)  |  Planet (107)  |  Space (89)  |  Strange (30)  |  Sunlight (12)  |  Time (252)  |  Understanding (297)  |  Universe (347)  |  Vastness (6)  |  Water (171)  |  Womb (5)

Men are noisy, narrow-band devices, but their nervous systems have very many parallel and simultaneously active channels. Relative to men, computing machines are very fast and very accurate, but they are constrained to perform only one or a few elementary operations at a time. Men are flexible, capable of “programming themselves contingently” on the basis of newly received information. Computing machines are single-minded, constrained by their “pre-programming.”
From article 'Man-Computer Symbiosis', in IRE Transactions on Human Factors in Electronics (Mar 1960), Vol. HFE-1, 4-11.
Science quotes on:  |  Accurate (11)  |  Active (6)  |  Capable (11)  |  Channel (8)  |  Computer (62)  |  Contingent (4)  |  Device (16)  |  Fast (14)  |  Flexible (3)  |  Information (69)  |  Man (288)  |  Nervous System (9)  |  Noise (18)  |  Operation (72)  |  Parallel (12)  |  Perform (10)  |  Program (10)  |  Relative (15)  |  Simultaneous (5)

My view, the skeptical one, holds that we may be as far away from an understanding of elementary particles as Newton's successors were from quantum mechanics. Like them, we have two tremendous tasks ahead of us. One is to study and explore the mathematics of the existing theories. The existing quantum field-theories may or may not be correct, but they certainly conceal mathematical depths which will take the genius of an Euler or a Hamilton to plumb. Our second task is to press on with the exploration of the wide range of physical phenomena of which the existing theories take no account. This means pressing on with experiments in the fashionable area of particle physics. Outstanding among the areas of physics which have been left out of recent theories of elementary particles are gravitation and cosmology
In Scientific American (Sep 1958). As cited in '50, 100 & 150 years ago', Scientific American (Sep 2008), 299, No. 3, 14.
Science quotes on:  |  Account (24)  |  Certainly (4)  |  Concealing (2)  |  Correctness (11)  |  Cosmology (13)  |  Leonhard Euler (8)  |  Existing (7)  |  Experiment (460)  |  Exploration (65)  |  Fashionable (4)  |  Genius (137)  |  Gravitation (18)  |  Mathematics (471)  |  Particle (59)  |  Particle Physics (7)  |  Phenomena (8)  |  Physical (50)  |  Quantum Field Theory (2)  |  Quantum Mechanics (22)  |  Recent (16)  |  Skeptic (6)  |  Study (233)  |  Successor (5)  |  Task (44)  |  Theory (446)  |  Tremendous (5)  |  Understanding (297)

The cause of nutrition and growth resides not in the organism as a whole but in the separate elementary parts—the cells.
Mikroskopische Untersuchungen über die Uebereinstimmung in der Struktur und dem Wachsthum der Thiere und Pflanzen (1839). Microscopic Researches into the Accordance in the Structure and Growth of Animals and Plants, trans. Henry Smith (1847), 192.
Science quotes on:  |  Cell (104)  |  Growth (90)  |  Nutrition (12)  |  Organism (90)  |  Part (74)  |  Reside (5)

The elementary parts of all tissues are formed of cells in an analogous, though very diversified manner, so that it may be asserted, that there is one universal principle of development for the elementary parts of organisms, however different, and that this principle is the formation of cells.
Mikroskopische Untersuchungen über die Uebereinstimmung in der Struktur und dem Wachsthum der Thiere und Pflanzen (1839). Microscopic Researches into the Accordance in the Structure and Growth of Animals and Plants, trans. Henry Smith (1847), 165.
Science quotes on:  |  Analogy (36)  |  Assertion (18)  |  Cell (104)  |  Development (172)  |  Difference (167)  |  Diversity (33)  |  Formation (47)  |  Manner (17)  |  Organism (90)  |  Principle (156)  |  Tissue (18)  |  Universality (10)

The method of arithmetical teaching is perhaps the best understood of any of the methods concerned with elementary studies.
In Education as a Science (1879), 288.
Science quotes on:  |  Arithmetic (50)  |  Method (107)  |  Study (233)  |  Teaching (87)  |  Understanding (297)

The only royal road to elementary geometry is ingenuity.
In The Development of Mathematics (1940, 1945), 322.
Science quotes on:  |  Geometry (87)  |  Ingenuity (22)  |  Road (29)  |  Royal (6)

The principal result of my investigation is that a uniform developmental principle controls the individual elementary units of all organisms, analogous to the finding that crystals are formed by the same laws in spite of the diversity of their forms.
Mikroskopische Untersuchungen über die Uebereinstimmung in der Struktur und dem Wachsthum der Thiue und Pflanzen (1839). Microscopic Researches into the Accordance in the Structure and Growth of Animals and Plants, trans. Henry Smith (1847), 1.
Science quotes on:  |  Analogy (36)  |  Control (57)  |  Crystal (38)  |  Development (172)  |  Diversity (33)  |  Form (112)  |  Formation (47)  |  Individual (90)  |  Investigation (103)  |  Law (334)  |  Organism (90)  |  Result (167)  |  Uniform (10)  |  Unit (17)

The supreme task of the physicist is to arrive at those universal elementary laws from which the cosmos can be built up by pure deduction. There is no logical path to these laws; only intuition, resting on sympathetic understanding of experience, can reach them.
Address (1918) for Max Planck's 60th birthday, at Physical Society, Berlin, 'Principles of Research' in Essays in Science (1934), 4.
Science quotes on:  |  Cosmos (28)  |  Deduction (41)  |  Experience (171)  |  Intuition (29)  |  Law (334)  |  Logic (154)  |  Path (35)  |  Physicist (88)  |  Supreme (9)  |  Task (44)  |  Understanding (297)

The Theory of Relativity confers an absolute meaning on a magnitude which in classical theory has only a relative significance: the velocity of light. The velocity of light is to the Theory of Relativity as the elementary quantum of action is to the Quantum Theory: it is its absolute core.
'A Scientific Autobiography' (1948), in Scientific Autobiography and Other Papers, trans. Frank Gaynor (1950), 47.
Science quotes on:  |  Absolute (44)  |  Action (85)  |  Classical (8)  |  Confer (4)  |  Core (5)  |  Light (161)  |  Magnitude (18)  |  Meaning (73)  |  Quantum (8)  |  Quantum Theory (38)  |  Relativity (38)  |  Significance (40)  |  Theory (446)  |  Velocity (9)

We set out, therefore, with the supposition that an organised body is not produced by a fundamental power which is guided in its operation by a definite idea, but is developed, according to blind laws of necessity, by powers which, like those of inorganic nature, are established by the very existence of matter. As the elementary materials of organic nature are not different from those of the inorganic kingdom, the source of the organic phenomena can only reside in another combination of these materials, whether it be in a peculiar mode of union of the elementary atoms to form atoms of the second order, or in the arrangement of these conglomerate molecules when forming either the separate morphological elementary parts of organisms, or an entire organism.
Mikroskopische Untersuchungen über die Uebereinstimmung in der Struktur und dem Wachsthum der Thiere und Pflanzen (1839). Microscopic Researches into the Accordance in the Structure and Growth of Animals and Plants, trans. Henry Smith (1847), 190-1.
Science quotes on:  |  Arrangement (35)  |  Atom (190)  |  Blind (14)  |  Combination (54)  |  Definite (10)  |  Development (172)  |  Difference (167)  |  Fundamental (76)  |  Idea (313)  |  Inorganic (10)  |  Kingdom (22)  |  Law (334)  |  Material (86)  |  Molecule (98)  |  Morphology (15)  |  Nature (688)  |  Necessity (104)  |  Operation (72)  |  Organic (30)  |  Organism (90)  |  Organization (64)  |  Phenomenon (160)  |  Power (155)  |  Supposition (31)  |  Union (12)

When the child outgrows the narrow circle of family life … then comes the period of the school, whose object is to initiate him into the technicalities of intercommunication with his fellow-men, and to familiarize him with the ideas that underlie his civilization, and which he must use as tools of thought if he would observe and understand the phases of human life around him; for these … are invisible to the human being who has not the aid of elementary ideas with which to see them.
In Psychologic Foundations of Education: An Attempt to Show the Genesis of the Higher Faculties of the Mind (1907), 265.
Science quotes on:  |  Child (114)  |  Circle (16)  |  Civilization (119)  |  Education (225)  |  Familiarize (2)  |  Family (22)  |  Fellow (15)  |  Human (225)  |  Idea (313)  |  Invisible (17)  |  Life (606)  |  Narrow (21)  |  Object (68)  |  Observe (7)  |  Outgrow (2)  |  Period (41)  |  Phase (10)  |  School (52)  |  See (56)  |  Technicality (3)  |  Thought (237)  |  Tool (40)  |  Underlie (4)  |  Understand (20)

When the logician has resolved each demonstration into a host of elementary operations, all of them correct, he will not yet be in possession of the whole reality, that indefinable something that constitutes the unity ... Now pure logic cannot give us this view of the whole; it is to intuition that we must look for it.
Science and Method (1914 edition, reprint 2003), 126.
Science quotes on:  |  Correct (25)  |  Demonstration (44)  |  Intuition (29)  |  Logic (154)  |  Logician (3)  |  Operation (72)  |  Reality (84)  |  Resolve (8)  |  Unity (29)  |  Whole (62)


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 Einstein • Isaac Newton • Lord Kelvin • Charles Darwin • Srinivasa Ramanujan • Carl Sagan • Florence Nightingale • Thomas Edison • Aristotle • Marie Curie • Benjamin Franklin • Winston Churchill • Galileo Galilei • Sigmund Freud • Robert Bunsen • Louis Pasteur • Theodore Roosevelt • Abraham Lincoln • Ronald Reagan • Leonardo DaVinci • Michio Kaku • Karl Popper • Johann Goethe • Robert Oppenheimer • Charles Kettering  ... (more people)

Quotations about: • Atomic  Bomb • Biology • Chemistry • Deforestation • Engineering • Anatomy • Astronomy • Bacteria • Biochemistry • Botany • Conservation • Dinosaur • Environment • Fractal • Genetics • Geology • History of Science • Invention • Jupiter • Knowledge • Love • Mathematics • Measurement • Medicine • Natural Resource • Organic Chemistry • Physics • Physician • Quantum Theory • Research • Science and Art • Teacher • Technology • Universe • Volcano • Virus • Wind Power • Women Scientists • X-Rays • Youth • Zoology  ... (more topics)
Sitewide search within all Today In Science History pages:
Custom Quotations Search - custom search within only our quotations 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 |

who invites your feedback

- 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

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