Grab Quotes (4 quotes)
A professor of experimental science must sometimes grab at any, even senseless, means to impress scientific laws [on students]. Sometimes, one can only capture what is most important about beautiful drastic experiments with a joke. Nothing conveys it better!
In outer space you develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, Look at that, you son of a bitch.
Occurrences that other men would have noted only with the most casual interest became for Whitney exciting opportunities to experiment. Once he became disturbed by a scientist's seemingly endless pursuit of irrelevant details in the course of an experiment, and criticized this as being as pointless as grabbing beans out of a pot, recording the numbers, and then analyzing the results. Later that day, after he had gone home, his simile began to intrigue him, and he asked himself whether it would really be pointless to count beans gathered in such a random manner. Another man might well have dismissed this as an idle fancy, but to Whitney an opportunity to conduct an experiment was not to be overlooked. Accordingly, he set a pot of beans beside his bed, and for several days each night before retiring he would take as many beans as he could grasp in one hand and make a note of how many were in the handful. After several days had passed he was intrigued to find that the results were not as unrewarding as he had expected. He found that each handful contained more beans than the one before, indicating that with practice he was learning to grasp more and more beans. This might be called research in morphology, the science of animal structure, he mused. My hand was becoming webbed so I said to myself: never label a real experiment useless, it may reveal something unthought of but worth knowing.
Whenever science makes a discovery, the devil grabs it while the angels are debating the best way to use it.