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

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “I have no satisfaction in formulas unless I feel their arithmetical magnitude.”
more quiz questions >>
Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index F > Category: Fine

Fine Quotes (24 quotes)

(On Cantor’s set theory:) The finest product of mathematical genius and one of the supreme achievements of purely intellectual human activity.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Achievement (128)  |  Activity (97)  |  Genius (186)  |  Human (445)  |  Intellectual (79)  |  Mathematics (587)  |  Product (72)  |  Purely (15)  |  Set Theory (3)  |  Supreme (24)

Question: Account for the delicate shades of colour sometimes seen on the inside of an oyster shell. State and explain the appearance presented when a beam of light falls upon a sheet of glass on which very fine equi-distant parallel lines have been scratched very close to one another.
Answer: The delicate shades are due to putrefaction; the colours always show best when the oyster has been a bad one. Hence they are considered a defect and are called chromatic aberration.
The scratches on the glass will arrange themselves in rings round the light, as any one may see at night in a tram car.
Genuine student answer* to an Acoustics, Light and Heat paper (1880), Science and Art Department, South Kensington, London, collected by Prof. Oliver Lodge. Quoted in Henry B. Wheatley, Literary Blunders (1893), 182, Question 27. (*From a collection in which Answers are not given verbatim et literatim, and some instances may combine several students' blunders.)
Science quotes on:  |  Aberration (2)  |  Account (45)  |  Answer (201)  |  Appearance (77)  |  Bad (78)  |  Beam (9)  |  Closeness (4)  |  Color (78)  |  Consideration (65)  |  Defect (14)  |  Delicate (11)  |  Diffraction (3)  |  Examination (60)  |  Explanation (161)  |  Glass (35)  |  Howler (15)  |  Inside (16)  |  Light (246)  |  Line (44)  |  Night (73)  |  Oyster (7)  |  Parallel (16)  |  Putrefaction (4)  |  Question (315)  |  Ring (14)  |  Scratch (6)  |  Seeing (48)  |  Shade (12)  |  Sheet (6)  |  Shell (35)  |  State (96)  |  Tram (3)

As we discern a fine line between crank and genius, so also (and unfortunately) we must acknowledge an equally graded trajectory from crank to demagogue. When people learn no tools of judgment and merely follow their hopes, the seeds of political manipulation are sown.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Acknowledge (13)  |  Crank (7)  |  Discern (7)  |  Equally (18)  |  Follow (66)  |  Genius (186)  |  Grade (10)  |  Hope (129)  |  Judgment (72)  |  Learn (160)  |  Line (44)  |  Manipulation (9)  |  Merely (35)  |  People (269)  |  Political (31)  |  Seed (52)  |  Sow (10)  |  Tool (70)  |  Trajectory (4)  |  Unfortunately (14)

Examine your words well, and you will find that even when you have no motive to be false, it is a very hard thing to say the exact truth, even about your own immediate feelings—much harder than to say something fine about them which is not the exact truth.
In Adam Bede (1859, 1860), 151.
Science quotes on:  |  Exact (38)  |  Examine (24)  |  False (79)  |  Feeling (79)  |  Find (248)  |  Hard (70)  |  Harder (5)  |  Immediate (27)  |  Motive (26)  |  Say (126)  |  Truth (750)  |  Word (221)

Extinction has only separated groups: it has by no means made them; for if every form which has ever lived on this earth were suddenly to reappear, though it would be quite impossible to give definitions by which each group could be distinguished from other groups, as all would blend together by steps as fine as those between the finest existing varieties, nevertheless a natural classification, or at least a natural arrangement, would be possible.
From On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection; or, The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life (1860), 431.
Science quotes on:  |  Arrangement (45)  |  Blend (6)  |  Classification (79)  |  Definition (152)  |  Distinguish (32)  |  Earth (487)  |  Existing (9)  |  Extinction (55)  |  Form (210)  |  Group (52)  |  Impossible (68)  |  Live (186)  |  Natural (128)  |  Possible (100)  |  Reappear (2)  |  Separate (46)  |  Step (67)  |  Tree Of Life (4)  |  Variety (53)

Fine sense and exalted sense are not half as useful as common sense.
'Thoughts On Various Subjects', The Works of Alexander Pope (1806), Vol. 6, 406.
Science quotes on:  |  Common Sense (69)  |  Exalted (8)

Haemoglobin is a very large molecule by ordinary standards, containing about ten thousand atoms, but the chances are that your haemoglobin and mine are identical, and significantly different from that of a pig or horse. You may be impressed by how much human beings differ from one another, but if you were to look into the fine details of the molecules of which they are constructed, you would be astonished by their similarity.
In Of Molecules and Men (1966, 2004), 6.
Science quotes on:  |  Astonishment (19)  |  Construction (69)  |  Detail (65)  |  Difference (208)  |  Haemoglobin (3)  |  Horse (40)  |  Human Being (54)  |  Identical (17)  |  Molecule (125)  |  Ordinary (44)  |  Pig (7)  |  Significance (60)  |  Similarity (17)  |  Standard (41)

I like the scientific spirit—the holding off, the being sure but not too sure, the willingness to surrender ideas when the evidence is against them: this is ultimately fine—it always keeps the way beyond open.
In Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden (1906), Vol. 1, 101.
Science quotes on:  |  Against (5)  |  Beyond (65)  |  Evidence (157)  |  Idea (440)  |  Open (38)  |  Science (1699)  |  Spirit (113)  |  Sure (13)  |  Surrender (13)  |  Ultimately (11)  |  Way (36)  |  Willingness (9)

I should object to any experimentation which can justly be called painful, for the purpose of elementary instruction ... [but I regret] a condition of the law which permits a boy to troll for pike, or set lines with live frog bait, for idle amusement; and, at the same time, lays the teacher of that boy open to the penalty of fine and imprisonment, if he uses the same animal for the purpose of exhibiting one of the most beautiful and instructive of physiological spectacles, the circulation in the web of the foot. ... [Maybe the frog is] inconvenienced by being wrapped up in a wet rag, and having his toes tied out ... But you must not inflict the least pain on a vertebrated animal for scientific purposes (though you may do a good deal in that way for gain or for sport) without due licence of the Secretary of State for the Home Department, granted under the authority of the Vivisection Act.
... [Yet, in] 1877, two persons may be charged with cruelty to animals. One has impaled a frog, and suffered the creature to writhe about in that condition for hours; the other has pained the animal no more than one of us would be pained by tying strings round his fingers, and keeping him in the position of a hydropathic patient. The first offender says, 'I did it because I find fishing very amusing,' and the magistrate bids him depart in peace; nay, probably wishes him good sport. The second pleads, 'I wanted to impress a scientific truth, with a distinctness attainable in no other way, on the minds of my scholars,' and the magistrate fines him five pounds.
I cannot but think that this is an anomalous and not wholly creditable state of things.
'On Elementary Instruction in Physiology'. Science and Culture (1882), 92.
Science quotes on:  |  Bait (2)  |  Circulation (17)  |  Demonstration (51)  |  Fishing (12)  |  Frog (30)  |  Instruction (51)  |  Law (418)  |  Pain (82)  |  Physiology (66)  |  Trial (23)  |  Vivisection (7)

In Japan, an exceptional dexterity that comes from eating with chopsticks … is especially useful in micro-assembly. (This … brings smiles from my colleagues, but I stand by it. Much of modern assembly is fine tweezer work, and nothing prepares for it better than eating with chopsticks from early childhood.)
In The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Some Are So Rich and Some So Poor (1998, 1999), 475.
Science quotes on:  |  Assembly (5)  |  Better (131)  |  Childhood (23)  |  Colleague (19)  |  Dexterity (4)  |  Early (39)  |  Eating (21)  |  Especially (18)  |  Exception (33)  |  Japan (7)  |  Modern (104)  |  Preparation (33)  |  Smile (13)  |  Stand (60)  |  Useful (66)  |  Work (457)

Junior high school seemed like a fine idea when we invented it but it turned out to be an invention of the devil. We’re catching our boys in a net in which they’re socially unprepared. We put them in junior high school with girls who are two years ahead of them. There isn’t a thing they should have to do with girls at this age except growl at them.
As quoted in Frances Glennon, 'Student and Teacher of Human Ways', Life (14 Sep 1959), 147.
Science quotes on:  |  Age (137)  |  Ahead (14)  |  Boy (33)  |  Catch (21)  |  Devil (18)  |  Girl (15)  |  Growl (3)  |  High School (6)  |  Idea (440)  |  Invent (30)  |  Invention (283)  |  Junior (2)  |  Net (10)  |  Social (93)  |  Turn Out (2)

No force however great can stretch a cord however fine into an horizontal line which is accurately straight: there will always be a bending downward.
In 'The Equilibrium of Forces on a Point', Elementary Treatise on Mechanics (1819), Vol. 1, 44. Note by Webmaster: …bending downward, however small.
Science quotes on:  |  Accurately (6)  |  Bend (8)  |  Downward (4)  |  Force (194)  |  Great (300)  |  Horizontal (3)  |  Line (44)  |  Statics (4)  |  Straight (15)  |  Stretch (8)

Nursing is an art: and if it is to be made an art, it requires an exclusive devotion as hard a preparation as any painter’s or sculptor’s work; for what is the having to do with dead canvas or dead marble, compared with having to do with the living body, the temple of God’s spirit? It is one of the Fine Arts: I had almost said, the finest of Fine Arts.
First published as a eulogy to an unnamed nurse in 'Una and the Lion', Good Words (1 Jun 1868), 360-366. Reprinted in Una and the Lion (1871), 6.
Science quotes on:  |  Art (205)  |  Body (193)  |  Canvas (2)  |  Dead (45)  |  Devotion (24)  |  Exclusive (9)  |  God (454)  |  Hard (70)  |  Life (917)  |  Make (23)  |  Marble (10)  |  Nursing (3)  |  Painter (15)  |  Preparation (33)  |  Sculptor (8)  |  Spirit (113)  |  Temple (22)  |  Work (457)

Our world is not an optimal place, fine tuned by omnipotent forces of selection. It is a quirky mass of imperfections, working well enough (often admirably); a jury-rigged set of adaptations built of curious parts made available by past histories in different contexts ... A world optimally adapted to current environments is a world without history, and a world without history might have been created as we find it. History matters; it confounds perfection and proves that current life transformed its own past.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Adapt (18)  |  Adaptation (40)  |  Admirably (2)  |  Available (18)  |  Build (80)  |  Confound (9)  |  Context (17)  |  Create (98)  |  Curious (24)  |  Current (43)  |  Different (110)  |  Environment (138)  |  Find (248)  |  Force (194)  |  History (302)  |  Imperfection (19)  |  Life (917)  |  Mass (61)  |  Matter (270)  |  Often (69)  |  Omnipotent (6)  |  Optimal (4)  |  Optimally (2)  |  Part (146)  |  Past (109)  |  Perfection (71)  |  Place (111)  |  Prove (60)  |  Quirky (2)  |  Selection (27)  |  Set (56)  |  Transform (20)  |  Tune (9)  |  Work (457)  |  World (667)

So far as I can see the atomic bomb has deadened the finest feeling that has sustained mankind for ages.
(1946). In William Borman, Gandhi and Non-Violence (1986), 170.
Science quotes on:  |  Age (137)  |  Atomic Bomb (101)  |  Death (270)  |  Feeling (79)  |  Mankind (196)  |  Sustain (13)

Technology, while adding daily to our physical ease, throws daily another loop of fine wire around our souls. It contributes hugely to our mobility, which we must not confuse with freedom. The extensions of our senses, which we find so fascinating, are no
My Faith in Democratic Capitalism, in Fortune (Oct 1955).
Science quotes on:  |  Add (26)  |  Confuse (13)  |  Contribute (10)  |  Daily (19)  |  Ease (29)  |  Extension (20)  |  Fascinating (17)  |  Find (248)  |  Freedom (76)  |  Loop (4)  |  Mobility (5)  |  Physical (94)  |  Sense (240)  |  Soul (139)  |  Technology (199)  |  Throw (31)  |  Wire (18)

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)  |  Coal (41)  |  Coming (10)  |  Concealing (2)  |  Cool (9)  |  Dry (12)  |  Evolution (482)  |  Face (69)  |  Fate (38)  |  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 demand for certainty is one which is natural to man, but is nevertheless an intellectual vice. If you take your children for a picnic on a doubtful day, they will demand a dogmatic answer as to whether it will be fine or wet, and be disappointed in you when you cannot be sure.
From 'Philosophy For Laymen', collected in Unpopular Essays (1950, 1996), 38. This idea may be summarized as “What men want is not knowledge, but certainty” — a widely circulated aphorism attributed to Russell, but for which Webmaster has so far found no citation. (Perhaps it is a summary, never expressed in those exact words, but if you know the primary source, please contact Webmaster.)
Science quotes on:  |  Answer (201)  |  Certainty (97)  |  Child (189)  |  Demand (52)  |  Disappointed (3)  |  Dogmatic (4)  |  Doubtful (5)  |  Intellectual (79)  |  Natural (128)  |  Vice (15)  |  Weather (27)  |  Wet (5)

The finest emotion of which we are capable is the mystic emotion. Herein lies the germ of all art and all true science.
Quoted in Kim Lim (ed.), 1,001 Pearls of Spiritual Wisdom: Words to Enrich, Inspire, and Guide Your Life (2014), 16
Science quotes on:  |  Art (205)  |  Capable (26)  |  Emotion (62)  |  Germ (27)  |  Lie (80)  |  Mystic (10)  |  Science (1699)  |  True (120)

The [Moon] surface is fine and powdery. I can kick it up loosely with my toe. It does adhere in fine layers like powdered charcoal to the sole and sides of my boots. I only go in a small fraction of an inch, maybe an eighth of an inch, but I can see the footprints of my boots and the treads in the fine sandy particles.
[First report, immediately after stepping on to the Moon and saying “That's one small step for (a) man; one giant leap for mankind.”]
NASA web site. Also in David Michael Harland, The First Men on the Moon: the Story of Apollo 11 (2007), 461.
Science quotes on:  |  Adhesion (4)  |  Boot (4)  |  Charcoal (7)  |  Footprint (12)  |  Kick (7)  |  Layer (14)  |  Moon (132)  |  Powder (4)  |  Sole (9)

These days I am not bothering about
Getting enlightenment all the time.
And the result is that
I wake up in the morning feeling fine.
Quoted in Kim Lim (ed.), 1,001 Pearls of Spiritual Wisdom: Words to Enrich, Inspire, and Guide Your Life (2014), 249
Science quotes on:  |  Bother (6)  |  Enlightenment (11)  |  Feel (93)  |  Morning (31)  |  Result (250)  |  Time (439)  |  Wake (6)

Those who are finer and nobler are always alone — and necessarily so — and that because of this they can enjoy the purity of their own atmosphere.
Letter (5 Apr 1933). As quoted in Jamie Sayen, Einstein in America: The Scientist’s Conscience in the Age of Hitler and Hiroshima (1985), 12. This is part of Einstein’s reply to a letter from a troubled, unemployed musician, presumably living in Munich.
Science quotes on:  |  Alone (61)  |  Atmosphere (63)  |  Enjoy (23)  |  Necessarily (13)  |  Noble (41)  |  Purity (13)

To make still bigger telescopes will be useless, for the light absorption and temperature variations of the earth’s atmosphere are what now limits the ability to see fine detail. If bigger telescopes are to be built, it will have to be for use in an airless observatory, perhaps an observatory on the moon.
(1965). In Isaac Asimov’s Book of Science and Nature Quotations (1988), 284.
Science quotes on:  |  Ability (75)  |  Absorption (8)  |  Airless (2)  |  Atmosphere (63)  |  Big (33)  |  Build (80)  |  Detail (65)  |  Earth (487)  |  Light (246)  |  Limit (86)  |  Moon (132)  |  Observatory (11)  |  See (197)  |  Telescope (74)  |  Temperature (42)  |  Useless (24)  |  Variation (50)

We think of Euclid as of fine ice; we admire Newton as we admire the peak of Teneriffe. Even the intensest labors, the most remote triumphs of the abstract intellect, seem to carry us into a region different from our own—to be in a terra incognita of pure reasoning, to cast a chill on human glory.
In Estimates of Some Englishmen and Scotchmen (1856), 411-412
Science quotes on:  |  Abstract (43)  |  Admiration (34)  |  Chill (7)  |  Difference (208)  |  Euclid (28)  |  Glory (44)  |  Human (445)  |  Ice (29)  |  Intellect (157)  |  Intensity (19)  |  Labor (53)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (258)  |  Peak (15)  |  Pure (62)  |  Reasoning (79)  |  Region (26)  |  Remote (27)  |  Triumph (33)


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.