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

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “A people without children would face a hopeless future; a country without trees is almost as helpless.”
more quiz questions >>
Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index F > Category: Futility

Futility Quotes (5 quotes)

AZT stood up and said, 'Stop your pessimism. Stop your sense of futility. Go back to the lab. Go back to development. Go back to clinical trials. Things will work.'
[On the impact of AZT emerging as the long-sought first significant AIDS drug.]
As quoted in Emily Langer, 'Researcher Jerome P. Horwitz, 93, created AZT, the first approved treatment for HIV/AIDS' Washington Post (19 Sep 2012). The article was excerpted on blogs, sometimes referring to this quote by saying "AZT was more a cure for fatalism than for AIDS."
Science quotes on:  |  AIDS (3)  |  AZT (2)  |  Clinic (4)  |  Development (228)  |  Laboratory (120)  |  Perseverance (15)  |  Pessimism (3)  |  Research (517)  |  Success (202)  |  Trial (23)

But many of our imaginations and investigations of nature are futile, especially when we see little living animals and see their legs and must judge the same to be ten thousand times thinner than a hair of my beard, and when I see animals living that are more than a hundred times smaller and am unable to observe any legs at all, I still conclude from their structure and the movements of their bodies that they do have legs... and therefore legs in proportion to their bodies, just as is the case with the larger animals upon which I can see legs... Taking this number to be about a hundred times smaller, we therefore find a million legs, all these together being as thick as a hair from my beard, and these legs, besides having the instruments for movement, must be provided with vessels to carry food.
Letter to N. Grew, 27 Sep 1678. In The Collected Letters of Antoni van Leeuwenhoek (1957), Vol. 2, 391.
Science quotes on:  |  Animalcule (10)  |  Imagination (209)  |  Investigation (123)  |  Microorganism (20)  |  Microscope (68)  |  Nature (1029)

If that's how it all started, then we might as well face the fact that what's left out there is a great deal of shrapnel and a whole bunch of cinders (one of which is, fortunately, still hot enough and close enough to be good for tanning). Trying to find some sense and order in this mess may be as futile as trying to … reconstruct the economy of Iowa from a bowl of popcorn. [On searching for evidence of the Big Bang.]
From essay 'First Person Secular: Blocking the Gates to Heaven', Mother Jones Magazine (Jun 1986), 48. Collected in The Worst Years of our Lives: Irreverent Notes from a Decade of Greed (1995), 267.
Science quotes on:  |  Big Bang (38)  |  Bowl (2)  |  Bunch (5)  |  Cinder (5)  |  Close (40)  |  Economy (46)  |  Face (69)  |  Find (248)  |  Hot (17)  |  Left (13)  |  Mess (10)  |  Order (167)  |  Origin Of The Universe (13)  |  Reconstruction (13)  |  Sense (240)  |  Start (68)  |  Tanning (3)  |  Try (103)  |  Universe (563)

The fatal futility of Fact.
In Preface, The Spoils of Poynton, in The Novels and Tales of Henry James (1908), Vol. 10, vii.
Science quotes on:  |  Fact (609)  |  Fatal (10)

The individual feels the futility of human desires and aims and the sublimity and marvelous order which reveal themselves both in nature and in the world of thought. Individual existence impresses him as a sort of prison and he wants to experience the universe as a single significant whole. The beginnings of cosmic religious feeling already appear at an early stage of development, e.g., in many of the Psalms of David and in some of the Prophets. Buddhism, as we have learned especially from the wonderful writings of Schopenhauer, contains a much stronger element of this. The religious geniuses of all ages have been distinguished by this kind of religious feeling, which knows no dogma and no God conceived in man’s image; so that there can be no church whose central teachings are based on it. Hence it is precisely among the heretics of every age that we find men who were filled with this highest kind of religious feeling and were in many cases regarded by their contemporaries as atheists, sometimes also as saints. Looked at in this light, men like Democritus, Francis of Assisi, and Spinoza are closely akin to one another.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Age (137)  |  Aim (58)  |  Akin (3)  |  Already (16)  |  Appear (55)  |  Atheist (13)  |  Base (43)  |  Beginnings (2)  |  Both (52)  |  Case (64)  |  Central (23)  |  Church (30)  |  Closely (8)  |  Conceive (22)  |  Contain (37)  |  Contemporary (22)  |  Cosmic (34)  |  David (5)  |  Democritus of Abdera (16)  |  Desire (101)  |  Development (228)  |  Distinguish (32)  |  Dogma (25)  |  Early (39)  |  Element (129)  |  Especially (18)  |  Existence (254)  |  Experience (268)  |  Feel (93)  |  Fill (35)  |  Find (248)  |  Francis (2)  |  Genius (186)  |  God (454)  |  Heretic (5)  |  High (78)  |  Human (445)  |  Image (38)  |  Impress (9)  |  Individual (177)  |  Kind (99)  |  Know (321)  |  Learn (160)  |  Light (246)  |  Marvelous (13)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Order (167)  |  Precisely (11)  |  Prison (7)  |  Prophet (8)  |  Psalm (3)  |  Regard (58)  |  Religious (44)  |  Reveal (32)  |  Saint (10)  |  Significant (26)  |  Single (72)  |  Sometimes (27)  |  Sort (32)  |  Spinoza (4)  |  Stage (39)  |  Strong (47)  |  Sublimity (4)  |  Teachings (2)  |  Themselves (45)  |  Thought (374)  |  Universe (563)  |  Want (120)  |  Whole (122)  |  Wonderful (37)  |  World (667)  |  Writings (2)


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:
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.