Celebrating 19 Years on the Web
TODAY IN SCIENCE HISTORY ®
Find science on or your birthday

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “The Columbia is lost; there are no survivors.”
more quiz questions >>
Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index G > Category: Gravitation

Gravitation Quotes (70 quotes)
Gravitational Quotes

Un jour, en l'année 1666, Newton, retiré à la campagne, et voyant tomber des fruits d’un arbre, à ce que m'a conté sa nièce, (Mme Conduit) se laissa aller à une méditation profonde sur la cause qui entraîne ainsi tous les corps dans une ligne qui, si elle était prolongée, passerait à peu près par le centre de la Terre.
One day in the year 1666 Newton had gone to the country, and seeing the fall of an apple, [as his niece (Mme Conduit) told me,] let himself be led into a deep meditation on the cause which thus draws every object along a line whose extension would pass almost through the center of the Earth.
Original French from Éléments de Philosophie de Newton, Part 1, Chap. 3, in Oeuvres Completes de Voltaire (1785), Vol. 31, 175. Translation as given in an epigraph in Charles W. Misner, Kip S. Thorn and John Archibald Wheeler, Gravitation (1970, 1973), 47. An alternate translation is: “One day in the year 1666, Newton went into the country, and seeing fruit fall from a tree (as his niece, Madame Conduit, has informed me), entered into a profound train of thought as to the causes which could lead to such a drawing together or attraction.” As given in Robert Chambers (ed.), The Book of Days: A Miscellany of Popular Antiquities in Connection with the Calendar (1888), Vol. 2, 757. (Note: Voltaire originally published his Éléments in 1738, but Webmaster could not find the above quote in it.)
Science quotes on:  |  17th Century (16)  |  Apple (40)  |  Attraction (56)  |  Cause (541)  |  Conduit (3)  |  Country (251)  |  Deep (233)  |  Draw (137)  |  Earth (996)  |  Extension (59)  |  Fall (230)  |  Fruit (102)  |  Himself (461)  |  Meditation (19)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (333)  |  Object (422)  |  Pass (238)  |  Seeing (142)  |  Thought (953)  |  Through (849)  |  Tree (246)  |  Year (933)

A Frenchman who arrives in London, will find Philosophy, like every Thing else, very much chang’d there. He had left the World a plenum, and he now finds it a vacuum. At Paris the Universe is seen, compos’d of Vortices of subtile Matter; but nothing like it is seen in London. In France, ‘tis the Pressure of the Moon that causes the Tides; but in England ‘tis the Sea that gravitates towards the Moon; so what when you think that the Moon should make it flood with us, those Gentlemen fancy it should be Ebb, which, very unluckily, cannot be prov’d. For to be able to do this, ‘tis necessary the Moon and the Tides should have been enquir’d into, at the very instant of the Creation.
Letter XIV. 'On DesCartes and Sir Isaac Newton', in Letters Concerning the English Nation (1733), 109-110.
Science quotes on:  |  Cause (541)  |  Creation (327)  |  Do (1908)  |  Ebb (3)  |  England (40)  |  Fancy (50)  |  Find (998)  |  Flood (50)  |  France (27)  |  Gentleman (26)  |  Instant (45)  |  London (12)  |  Matter (798)  |  Moon (237)  |  Necessary (363)  |  Nothing (966)  |  Paris (11)  |  Philosophy (380)  |  Plenum (2)  |  Pressure (63)  |  Prove (250)  |  Sea (308)  |  Subtile (3)  |  Thing (1915)  |  Think (1086)  |  Tide (34)  |  Universe (857)  |  Vacuum (39)  |  Vortex (9)  |  Will (2355)  |  World (1774)

Adapting from the earlier book Gravitation, I wrote, “Spacetime tells matter how to move; matter tells spacetime how to curve.” In other words, a bit of matter (or mass, or energy) moves in accordance with the dictates of the curved spacetime where it is located. … At the same time, that bit of mass or energy is itself contributing to the curvature of spacetime everywhere.
With co-author Kenneth William Ford Geons, Black Holes, and Quantum Foam: A Life in Physics (1998, 2010), 235. Adapted from his earlier book, co-authored with Charles W. Misner and Kip S. Thorne, Gravitation (1970, 1973), 5, in which one of the ideas in Einstein’s geometric theory of gravity was summarized as, “Space acts on matter, telling it how to move. In turn, matter reacts back on space, telling it how to curve”.
Science quotes on:  |  Book (392)  |  Contribute (27)  |  Curvature (8)  |  Curve (49)  |  Energy (344)  |  Everywhere (94)  |  Mass (157)  |  Matter (798)  |  Move (216)  |  Other (2236)  |  Spacetime (4)  |  Tell (340)  |  Time (1877)  |  Word (619)

Any opinion as to the form in which the energy of gravitation exists in space is of great importance, and whoever can make his opinion probable will have, made an enormous stride in physical speculation. The apparent universality of gravitation, and the equality of its effects on matter of all kinds are most remarkable facts, hitherto without exception; but they are purely experimental facts, liable to be corrected by a single observed exception. We cannot conceive of matter with negative inertia or mass; but we see no way of accounting for the proportionality of gravitation to mass by any legitimate method of demonstration. If we can see the tails of comets fly off in the direction opposed to the sun with an accelerated velocity, and if we believe these tails to be matter and not optical illusions or mere tracks of vibrating disturbance, then we must admit a force in that direction, and we may establish that it is caused by the sun if it always depends upon his position and distance.
Letter to William Huggins (13 Oct 1868). In P. M. Hannan (ed.), The Scientific Letters and Papers of James Clerk Maxwell (1995), Vol. 2, 1862-1873, 451-2.
Science quotes on:  |  All (4108)  |  Apparent (84)  |  Comet (54)  |  Conceive (98)  |  Demonstration (113)  |  Depend (228)  |  Direction (175)  |  Distance (161)  |  Disturbance (31)  |  Effect (393)  |  Energy (344)  |  Equality (31)  |  Exception (73)  |  Exist (443)  |  Experimental (192)  |  Fact (1210)  |  Facts (553)  |  Fly (146)  |  Force (487)  |  Form (959)  |  Gravity (132)  |  Great (1574)  |  Illusion (66)  |  Importance (286)  |  Inertia (14)  |  Kind (557)  |  Legitimate (25)  |  Mass (157)  |  Matter (798)  |  Method (505)  |  Most (1731)  |  Must (1526)  |  Negative (63)  |  Observation (555)  |  Observed (149)  |  Opinion (281)  |  Optical (11)  |  Physical (508)  |  Position (77)  |  Proportionality (2)  |  Purely (109)  |  See (1081)  |  Single (353)  |  Space (500)  |  Speculation (126)  |  Stride (15)  |  Sun (385)  |  Track (38)  |  Universality (22)  |  Velocity (48)  |  Vibration (20)  |  Way (1217)  |  Whoever (42)  |  Will (2355)

Architecture is of all the arts the one nearest to a science, for every architectural design is at its inception dominated by scientific considerations. The inexorable laws of gravitation and of statics must be obeyed by even the most imaginative artist in building.
Anonymous
In 'The Message of Greek Architecture', The Chautauquan (Apr 1906), 43, 110.
Science quotes on:  |  All (4108)  |  Architecture (48)  |  Art (657)  |  Artist (90)  |  Building (156)  |  Consideration (139)  |  Design (195)  |  Dominate (20)  |  Gravity (132)  |  Imaginative (8)  |  Inception (3)  |  Inexorable (10)  |  Law (894)  |  Law Of Gravitation (22)  |  Most (1731)  |  Must (1526)  |  Obey (40)  |  Science (3879)  |  Science And Art (184)  |  Scientific (941)  |  Statics (6)

As Herschel ruminated long ago, particles moving in mutual gravitational interaction are, as we human investigators see it forever solving differential equations which, if written out in full, might circle the earth.
In Forbidden Knowledge: And Other Essays on the Philosophy of Cognition (2012), 55.John Herschel. Rescher was not quoting, but restating from John Herschel, 'On Atoms', Familiar Lectures on Scientific Subjects (1867, 1872), 458. (Previously published in Fortnightly Review)
Science quotes on:  |  Circle (110)  |  Differential Equation (18)  |  Earth (996)  |  Equation (132)  |  Forever (103)  |  Sir John Herschel (23)  |  Human (1468)  |  Interaction (46)  |  Investigator (67)  |  Long (790)  |  Mutual (52)  |  Particle (194)  |  See (1081)  |  Solve (130)

At the planet’s very heart lies a solid rocky core, at least five times larger than Earth, seething with the appalling heat generated by the inexorable contraction of the stupendous mass of material pressing down to its centre. For more than four billion years Jupiter’s immense gravitational power has been squeezing the planet slowly, relentlessly, steadily, converting gravitational energy into heat, raising the temperature of that rocky core to thirty thousand degrees, spawning the heat flow that warms the planet from within. That hot, rocky core is the original protoplanet seed from the solar system’s primeval time, the nucleus around which those awesome layers of hydrogen and helium and ammonia, methane, sulphur compounds and water have wrapped themselves.
Ben Bova
Jupiter
Science quotes on:  |   (2863)  |  Ammonia (15)  |  Appalling (10)  |  Awesome (14)  |  Billion (95)  |  Centre (28)  |  Compound (113)  |  Contraction (15)  |  Convert (22)  |  Core (18)  |  Degree (276)  |  Down (456)  |  Earth (996)  |  Energy (344)  |  Five (16)  |  Flow (83)  |  Generate (16)  |  Heart (229)  |  Heat (174)  |  Helium (11)  |  Hot (60)  |  Hydrogen (75)  |  Immense (86)  |  Inexorable (10)  |  Jupiter (26)  |  Large (394)  |  Layer (40)  |  Least (75)  |  Lie (364)  |  Mass (157)  |  Material (353)  |  Methane (7)  |  More (2559)  |  Nucleus (49)  |  Original (58)  |  Planet (356)  |  Power (746)  |  Press (21)  |  Primeval (15)  |  Raise (35)  |  Relentlessly (2)  |  Rocky (3)  |  Seed (93)  |  Seething (3)  |  Slowly (18)  |  Solar System (77)  |  Solar Systems (3)  |  Solid (116)  |  Spawn (2)  |  Squeeze (6)  |  Steadily (6)  |  Stupendous (13)  |  Sulphur (18)  |  System (537)  |  Temperature (79)  |  Themselves (433)  |  Thirty (6)  |  Thousand (331)  |  Time (1877)  |  Warm (69)  |  Water (481)  |  Wrap (7)  |  Year (933)

But when we face the great questions about gravitation Does it require time? Is it polar to the 'outside of the universe' or to anything? Has it any reference to electricity? or does it stand on the very foundation of matter–mass or inertia? then we feel the need of tests, whether they be comets or nebulae or laboratory experiments or bold questions as to the truth of received opinions.
Letter to Michael Faraday, 9 Nov 1857. In P. M. Harman (ed.), The Scientific Letters and Papers of James Clerk Maxwell (1990), Vol. 1, 1846-1862, 551-2.
Science quotes on:  |  Bold (22)  |  Comet (54)  |  Electricity (159)  |  Experiment (695)  |  Face (212)  |  Feel (367)  |  Foundation (171)  |  Gravity (132)  |  Great (1574)  |  Inertia (14)  |  Laboratory (196)  |  Mass (157)  |  Matter (798)  |  Nebula (16)  |  Opinion (281)  |  Outside (141)  |  Polar (12)  |  Question (621)  |  Require (219)  |  Stand (274)  |  Test (211)  |  Time (1877)  |  Truth (1057)  |  Universe (857)

By such deductions the law of gravitation is rendered probable, that every particle attracts every other particle with a force which varies inversely as the square of the distance. The law thus suggested is assumed to be universally true.
In Isaac Newton and Percival Frost (ed.) Newton's Principia: Sections I, II, III (1863), 217.
Science quotes on:  |  Attraction (56)  |  Deduction (82)  |  Distance (161)  |  Force (487)  |  Inverse Square Law (4)  |  Law (894)  |  Law Of Gravitation (22)  |  Other (2236)  |  Particle (194)  |  Render (93)  |  Square (70)  |  Universal (189)

Facts and theories are different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty. Facts are the world's data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts. Facts do not go away while scientists debate rival theories for explaining them. Einstein's theory of gravitation replaced Newton's, but apples did not suspend themselves in mid-air pending the outcome.
'Evolution as Fact and Theory', in Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes (1983, 1994), Chap. 19.
Science quotes on:  |   (2863)  |  Air (347)  |  Apple (40)  |  Certainty (174)  |  Data (156)  |  Debate (38)  |  Difference (337)  |  Different (577)  |  Do (1908)  |  Einstein (101)  |  Albert Einstein (605)  |  Explain (322)  |  Explanation (234)  |  Fact (1210)  |  Facts (553)  |  Hierarchy (17)  |  Idea (843)  |  Increasing (4)  |  Interpretation (85)  |  Mid-Air (3)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (333)  |  Outcome (13)  |  Pending (2)  |  Rival (19)  |  Scientist (820)  |  Structure (344)  |  Suspend (9)  |  Themselves (433)  |  Theory (970)  |  Theory Of Gravitation (6)  |  Thing (1915)  |  World (1774)

Falling in love is not at all the most stupid thing that people do, but gravitation cannot be held responsible for it.
Scribbled by Einstein on a letter received during a visit to England (1933) from a man who suggested that gravity meant that as the world rotated people were sometimes upside down, horizontal, or at 'left angles' and that perhaps, this disorientation explained why people do foolish things like falling in love.
In Helen Dukas and Banesh Hoffmann (editors.), Einstein: The Human Side (1981), 56.
Science quotes on:  |  All (4108)  |  Do (1908)  |  Down (456)  |  Einstein (101)  |  Explain (322)  |  Foolish (40)  |  Gravity (132)  |  Horizontal (9)  |  Letter (109)  |  Love (309)  |  Man (2251)  |  Most (1731)  |  People (1005)  |  Stupid (35)  |  Stupidity (39)  |  Thing (1915)  |  Upside Down (8)  |  Why (491)  |  World (1774)

First, [Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation] is mathematical in its expression…. Second, it is not exact; Einstein had to modify it…. There is always an edge of mystery, always a place where we have some fiddling around to do yet…. But the most impressive fact is that gravity is simple…. It is simple, and therefore it is beautiful…. Finally, comes the universality of the gravitational law and the fact that it extends over such enormous distances…
In The Character of Physical Law (1965, 2001), 33.
Science quotes on:  |   (2863)  |  Beautiful (258)  |  Distance (161)  |  Do (1908)  |  Edge (47)  |  Einstein (101)  |  Albert Einstein (605)  |  Enormous (41)  |  Expression (175)  |  Extend (128)  |  Fact (1210)  |  First (1283)  |  Gravity (132)  |  Impressive (25)  |  Law (894)  |  Law Of Gravitation (22)  |  Law Of Universal Gravitation (3)  |  Mathematics (1328)  |  Modify (15)  |  Most (1731)  |  Mystery (177)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (333)  |  Simple (406)  |  Universal (189)  |  Universality (22)

Gravitation is demonstrable by leaving a body unsupported.
In Sir William Withey Gull and Theodore Dyke Acland (ed.), A Collection of the Published Writings of William Withey Gull (1896), xlix.
Science quotes on:  |  Body (537)  |  Demonstrate (76)  |  Support (147)

GRAVITATION, n. The tendency of all bodies to approach one another with a strength proportioned to the quantity of matter they contain—the quantity of matter they contain being ascertained by the strength of their tendency to approach one another. This is a lovely and edifying illustration of how science, having made A the proof of B, makes B the proof of A.
The Collected Works of Ambrose Bierce (1911), Vol. 7, The Devil's Dictionary,  123.
Science quotes on:  |  All (4108)  |  Approach (108)  |  Ascertain (38)  |  Being (1278)  |  Humour (116)  |  Illustration (48)  |  Matter (798)  |  Proof (287)  |  Proportion (136)  |  Quantity (132)  |  Science (3879)  |  Strength (126)  |  Tendency (99)

I do not see any reason to assume that the heuristic significance of the principle of general relativity is restricted to gravitation and that the rest of physics can be dealt with separately on the basis of special relativity, with the hope that later on the whole may be fitted consistently into a general relativistic scheme. I do not think that such an attitude, although historically understandable, can be objectively justified. The comparative smallness of what we know today as gravitational effects is not a conclusive reason for ignoring the principle of general relativity in theoretical investigations of a fundamental character. In other words, I do not believe that it is justifiable to ask: What would physics look like without gravitation?
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Ask (411)  |  Assume (38)  |  Attitude (82)  |  Basis (173)  |  Belief (578)  |  Character (243)  |  Comparative (13)  |  Conclusive (11)  |  Consistently (8)  |  Deal (188)  |  Do (1908)  |  Effect (393)  |  Fit (134)  |  Fundamental (250)  |  General (511)  |  General Relativity (10)  |  Heuristic (5)  |  Historically (3)  |  Hope (299)  |  Ignore (45)  |  Ignoring (11)  |  In Other Words (9)  |  Investigation (230)  |  Justifiable (3)  |  Justify (24)  |  Know (1518)  |  Late (118)  |  Look (582)  |  Objectively (5)  |  Other (2236)  |  Physic (517)  |  Physics (533)  |  Principle (507)  |  Reason (744)  |  Relativistic (2)  |  Relativity (88)  |  Rest (280)  |  Restrict (12)  |  Scheme (57)  |  See (1081)  |  Significance (113)  |  Smallness (7)  |  Special (184)  |  Special Relativity (5)  |  Theoretical (22)  |  Think (1086)  |  Today (314)  |  Understandable (12)  |  Whole (738)  |  Word (619)

I do not see the possibility of comparison between his [H. G. Wells] work and mine. We do not proceed in the same manner. It occurs to me that his stories do not repose on a very scientific basis. ... I make use of physics. He invents. I go to the moon in a cannon-ball, discharged from a cannon. Here there is no invention. He goes to Mars in an airship, which he constructs of a metal which does not obey the law of gravitation. Ça c'est très joli ... but show me this metal. Let him produce it.
Quoted in R. H. Sherard, 'Jules Verne Re-Visited', T.P.'s Weekly (9 Oct 1903).
Science quotes on:  |   (2863)  |  Ball (62)  |  Basis (173)  |  Comparison (102)  |  Construct (124)  |  Do (1908)  |  Invention (369)  |  Law (894)  |  Law Of Gravitation (22)  |  Mars (44)  |  Metal (84)  |  Mine (76)  |  Moon (237)  |  Obey (40)  |  Occur (150)  |  Physic (517)  |  Physics (533)  |  Possibility (164)  |  Proceed (129)  |  Science Fiction (31)  |  Scientific (941)  |  See (1081)  |  Show (346)  |  Use (766)  |  Herbert George (H.G.) Wells (38)  |  Work (1351)

I esteem his understanding and subtlety highly, but I consider that they have been put to ill use in the greater part of his work, where the author studies things of little use or when he builds on the improbable principle of attraction.
Writing about Newton's Principia. Huygens had some time earlier indicated he did not believe the theory of universal gravitation, saying it 'appears to me absurd.'
Quoted in Archana Srinivasan, Great Inventors (2007), 37.
Science quotes on:  |   (2863)  |  Absurd (59)  |  Attraction (56)  |  Author (167)  |  Build (204)  |  Consider (416)  |  Greater (288)  |  Little (707)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (333)  |  Principia (13)  |  Principle (507)  |  Subtlety (19)  |  Theory (970)  |  Thing (1915)  |  Time (1877)  |  Understanding (513)  |  Universal (189)  |  Use (766)  |  Work (1351)  |  Writing (189)

I have never thought that you could obtain the extremely clumpy, heterogeneous universe we have today, strongly affected by plasma processes, from the smooth, homogeneous one of the Big Bang, dominated by gravitation.
Quoted in Anthony L. Peratt, 'Dean of the Plasma Dissidents', Washington Times, supplement: The World and I (May 1988),196.
Science quotes on:  |  Affected (3)  |  Bang (29)  |  Big Bang (39)  |  Dominate (20)  |  Gravity (132)  |  Heterogeneous (3)  |  Homogeneous (16)  |  Never (1087)  |  Obtain (163)  |  Plasma (8)  |  Smooth (32)  |  Thinking (414)  |  Thought (953)  |  Today (314)  |  Universe (857)

I never really paused for a moment to question the idea that the progressive Spiritualization of Matter—so clearly demonstrated to me by Paleontology—could be anything other, or anything less, than an irreversible process. By its gravitational nature, the Universe, I saw, was falling—falling forwards—in the direction of spirit as upon its stable form. In other words, Matter was not ultra-materialized as I would at first have believed, but was instead metamorphosed in Psyche.
In The Heart of Matter (1978), 27-28.
Science quotes on:  |  Demonstrate (76)  |  Direction (175)  |  Fall (230)  |  First (1283)  |  Form (959)  |  Forward (102)  |  Idea (843)  |  Irreversible (12)  |  Materialize (2)  |  Matter (798)  |  Metamorphose (2)  |  Moment (253)  |  Nature (1926)  |  Never (1087)  |  Other (2236)  |  Paleontology (31)  |  Process (423)  |  Progressive (17)  |  Psyche (9)  |  Question (621)  |  Saw (160)  |  Spirit (265)  |  Spiritualization (2)  |  Stable (30)  |  Universe (857)  |  Word (619)

I shall explain a System of the World differing in many particulars from any yet known, answering in all things to the common Rules of Mechanical Motions: This depends upon three Suppositions. First, That all Cœlestial Bodies whatsoever, have an attraction or gravitating power towards their own Centers, whereby they attract not only their own parts, and keep them from flying from them, as we may observe the Earth to do, but that they do also attract all the other Cœlestial bodies that are within the sphere of their activity; and consequently that not only the Sun and Moon have an influence upon the body and motion the Earth, and the Earth upon them, but that Mercury also Venus, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter by their attractive powers, have a considerable influence upon its motion in the same manner the corresponding attractive power of the Earth hath a considerable influence upon every one of their motions also. The second supposition is this, That all bodies whatsoever that are put into a direct and simple motion, will continue to move forward in a streight line, till they are by some other effectual powers deflected and bent into a Motion, describing a Circle, Ellipse, or some other more compounded Curve Line. The third supposition is, That these attractive powers are so much the more powerful in operating, by how much the nearer the body wrought upon is to their own Centers. Now what these several degrees are I have not yet experimentally verified; but it is a notion, which if fully prosecuted as it ought to be, will mightily assist the Astronomer to reduce all the Cœlestial Motions to a certain rule, which I doubt will never be done true without it. He that understands the nature of the Circular Pendulum and Circular Motion, will easily understand the whole ground of this Principle, and will know where to find direction in Nature for the true stating thereof. This I only hint at present to such as have ability and opportunity of prosecuting this Inquiry, and are not wanting of Industry for observing and calculating, wishing heartily such may be found, having myself many other things in hand which I would first compleat and therefore cannot so well attend it. But this I durst promise the Undertaker, that he will find all the Great Motions of the World to be influenced by this Principle, and that the true understanding thereof will be the true perfection of Astronomy.
An Attempt to Prove the Motion of the Earth from Observations (1674), 27-8. Based on a Cutlerian Lecture delivered by Hooke at the Royal Society four years earlier.
Science quotes on:  |  Ability (152)  |  Activity (210)  |  All (4108)  |  Astronomer (93)  |  Astronomy (229)  |  Attend (65)  |  Attraction (56)  |  Attractive (23)  |  Body (537)  |  Certain (550)  |  Circle (110)  |  Circular (19)  |  Circular Motion (6)  |  Common (436)  |  Compound (113)  |  Considerable (75)  |  Continue (165)  |  Curve (49)  |  Degree (276)  |  Depend (228)  |  Direct (225)  |  Direction (175)  |  Do (1908)  |  Doubt (304)  |  Earth (996)  |  Ellipse (8)  |  Explain (322)  |  Find (998)  |  First (1283)  |  Flying (72)  |  Forward (102)  |  Great (1574)  |  Ground (217)  |  Hint (21)  |  Industry (137)  |  Inertia (14)  |  Influence (222)  |  Inquiry (78)  |  Jupiter (26)  |  Know (1518)  |  Known (454)  |  Mars (44)  |  Mechanical (140)  |  Mercury (49)  |  Moon (237)  |  More (2559)  |  Motion (310)  |  Move (216)  |  Myself (212)  |  Nature (1926)  |  Nearer (45)  |  Never (1087)  |  Notion (113)  |  Observe (168)  |  Opportunity (87)  |  Orbit (81)  |  Other (2236)  |  Pendulum (17)  |  Perfection (129)  |  Planet (356)  |  Power (746)  |  Powerful (139)  |  Present (619)  |  Principle (507)  |  Promise (67)  |  Reduce (94)  |  Rule (294)  |  Saturn (13)  |  Simple (406)  |  Sphere (116)  |  Sun (385)  |  Supposition (50)  |  System (537)  |  Theory (970)  |  Thing (1915)  |  Understand (606)  |  Understanding (513)  |  Venus (20)  |  Whatsoever (41)  |  Whole (738)  |  Will (2355)  |  World (1774)

I was sitting in a chair in the patent office at Bern when all of a sudden a thought occurred to me: “If a person falls freely he will not feel his own weight.” I was startled. This simple thought made a deep impression on me. It impelled me toward a theory of gravitation.
Lecture in Japan (1922). The quote is footnoted in Michael White, John Gribbin, Einstein: a Life in Science (1995), 128, saying the talk is known as the 'Kyoto address', reported in J. Ishiwara, Einstein Koen-Roku (1977).
Science quotes on:  |  All (4108)  |  Chair (24)  |  Deep (233)  |  Fall (230)  |  Falling (6)  |  Feel (367)  |  Feeling (250)  |  Free (232)  |  Gravity (132)  |  Impelling (2)  |  Impression (114)  |  Occurrence (53)  |  Office (71)  |  Patent (33)  |  Patent Office (3)  |  Person (363)  |  Simple (406)  |  Simplicity (167)  |  Sitting (44)  |  Startling (15)  |  Sudden (67)  |  Theory (970)  |  Theory Of Gravitation (6)  |  Thought (953)  |  Weight (134)  |  Will (2355)

If we turn to the problems to which the calculus owes its origin, we find that not merely, not even primarily, geometry, but every other branch of mathematical physics—astronomy, mechanics, hydrodynamics, elasticity, gravitation, and later electricity and magnetism—in its fundamental concepts and basal laws contributed to its development and that the new science became the direct product of these influences.
Opening of Presidential Address (27 Apr 1907) to the American Mathematical Society, 'The Calculus in Colleges and Technical Schools', published in Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society (Jun 1907), 13, 449.
Science quotes on:  |  Astronomy (229)  |  Base (117)  |  Branch (150)  |  Calculus (65)  |  Concept (221)  |  Contribute (27)  |  Development (422)  |  Direct (225)  |  Elasticity (8)  |  Electricity (159)  |  Find (998)  |  Fundamental (250)  |  Geometry (255)  |  Hydrodynamics (5)  |  Influence (222)  |  Law (894)  |  Magnetism (41)  |  Mathematical Physics (11)  |  Mechanic (119)  |  Mechanics (131)  |  Merely (316)  |  New (1216)  |  Origin (239)  |  Other (2236)  |  Owe (71)  |  Physic (517)  |  Physics (533)  |  Problem (676)  |  Product (160)  |  Science (3879)  |  Turn (447)

If you are out to describe the truth, leave elegance to the tailor.
On being reproached that his formula of gravitation was longer and more cumbersome than Newton’s.
Quoted in J. H. Mitchell, Writing for Professional and Technical Journals (1968), Introduction.
Science quotes on:  |   (2863)  |  Being (1278)  |  Describe (128)  |  Elegance (37)  |  Formula (98)  |  Gravity (132)  |  More (2559)  |  Theory (970)  |  Truth (1057)

It did not cause anxiety that Maxwell’s equations did not apply to gravitation, since nobody expected to find any link between electricity and gravitation at that particular level. But now physics was faced with an entirely new situation. The same entity, light, was at once a wave and a particle. How could one possibly imagine its proper size and shape? To produce interference it must be spread out, but to bounce off electrons it must be minutely localized. This was a fundamental dilemma, and the stalemate in the wave-photon battle meant that it must remain an enigma to trouble the soul of every true physicist. It was intolerable that light should be two such contradictory things. It was against all the ideals and traditions of science to harbor such an unresolved dualism gnawing at its vital parts. Yet the evidence on either side could not be denied, and much water was to flow beneath the bridges before a way out of the quandary was to be found. The way out came as a result of a brilliant counterattack initiated by the wave theory, but to tell of this now would spoil the whole story. It is well that the reader should appreciate through personal experience the agony of the physicists of the period. They could but make the best of it, and went around with woebegone faces sadly complaining that on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays they must look on light as a wave; on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, as a particle. On Sundays they simply prayed.
The Strange Story of the Quantum (1947), 42.
Science quotes on:  |   (2863)  |  Against (332)  |  Agony (7)  |  All (4108)  |  Anxiety (30)  |  Apply (160)  |  Appreciate (63)  |  Beneath (64)  |  Best (459)  |  Bridge (47)  |  Brilliant (53)  |  Cause (541)  |  Dilemma (11)  |  Dualism (4)  |  Electricity (159)  |  Electron (93)  |  Enigma (14)  |  Entity (35)  |  Equation (132)  |  Evidence (248)  |  Expect (200)  |  Experience (467)  |  Face (212)  |  Find (998)  |  Flow (83)  |  Fundamental (250)  |  Ideal (99)  |  Imagine (164)  |  Interference (21)  |  Light (607)  |  Look (582)  |  Maxwell (42)  |  James Clerk Maxwell (87)  |  Must (1526)  |  New (1216)  |  Nobody (104)  |  Particle (194)  |  Period (198)  |  Photon (11)  |  Physic (517)  |  Physicist (259)  |  Physics (533)  |  Possibly (111)  |  Proper (144)  |  Quantum Theory (66)  |  Remain (349)  |  Result (677)  |  Saturday (11)  |  Science (3879)  |  Side (233)  |  Situation (113)  |  Soul (226)  |  Spread (83)  |  Story (118)  |  Tell (340)  |  Theory (970)  |  Thing (1915)  |  Through (849)  |  Tradition (69)  |  Trouble (107)  |  Two (937)  |  Vital (85)  |  Water (481)  |  Wave (107)  |  Way (1217)  |  Whole (738)

It is most interesting to observe into how small a field the whole of the mysteries of nature thus ultimately resolve themselves. The inorganic has one final comprehensive law, GRAVITATION. The organic, the other great department of mundane things, rests in like manner on one law, and that is,—DEVELOPMENT. Nor may even these be after all twain, but only branches of one still more comprehensive law, the expression of that unity which man's wit can scarcely separate from Deity itself.
Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation (1844), 360.
Science quotes on:  |   (2863)  |  All (4108)  |  Comprehensive (29)  |  Creation (327)  |  Deity (22)  |  Department (92)  |  Development (422)  |  Evolution (590)  |  Expression (175)  |  Field (364)  |  Final (118)  |  Gravity (132)  |  Great (1574)  |  Interesting (153)  |  Law (894)  |  Man (2251)  |  More (2559)  |  Most (1731)  |  Nature (1926)  |  Observe (168)  |  Organic (158)  |  Other (2236)  |  Resolve (40)  |  Rest (280)  |  Scarcely (74)  |  Separate (143)  |  Small (477)  |  Still (613)  |  Themselves (433)  |  Thing (1915)  |  Ultimately (55)  |  Unity (78)  |  Whole (738)  |  Wit (59)

Kepler’s suggestion of gravitation with the inverse distance, and Bouillaud’s proposed substitution of the inverse square of the distance, are things which Newton knew better than his modern readers. I have discovered two anagrams on his name, which are quite conclusive: the notion of gravitation was not new; but Newton went on.
In Budget of Paradoxes (1872), 82.
Science quotes on:  |   (2863)  |  Anagram (9)  |  Better (486)  |  Conclusive (11)  |  Discover (553)  |  Distance (161)  |  Inverse (7)  |  Johannes Kepler (91)  |  Know (1518)  |  Mathematicians and Anecdotes (141)  |  Modern (385)  |  Name (333)  |  New (1216)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (333)  |  Notion (113)  |  Propose (23)  |  Reader (40)  |  Square (70)  |  Substitution (13)  |  Suggestion (46)  |  Thing (1915)  |  Two (937)

Mr Hooke sent, in his next letter [to Sir Isaac Newton] the whole of his Hypothesis, scil that the gravitation was reciprocall to the square of the distance: ... This is the greatest Discovery in Nature that ever was since the World's Creation. It was never so much as hinted by any man before. I wish he had writt plainer, and afforded a little more paper.
Brief Lives (1680), edited by Oliver Lawson Dick (1949), 166-7.
Science quotes on:  |   (2863)  |  Creation (327)  |  Discovery (780)  |  Distance (161)  |  Greatest (328)  |  Hint (21)  |  Hypothesis (296)  |  Inverse Square Law (4)  |  Letter (109)  |  Little (707)  |  Man (2251)  |  More (2559)  |  Nature (1926)  |  Never (1087)  |  Next (236)  |  Paper (182)  |  Square (70)  |  Theory (970)  |  Whole (738)  |  Wish (212)  |  World (1774)

My position is perfectly definite. Gravitation, motion, heat, light, electricity and chemical action are one and the same object in various forms of manifestation.
Annalen der Chemie und der Pharmacie (1842). Trans. A. S. Eve and C. H. Creasey, The Life and Work of John Tyndall (1945), 94.
Science quotes on:  |  Action (327)  |  Chemical (292)  |  Conservation Of Energy (29)  |  Definite (110)  |  Electricity (159)  |  Form (959)  |  Heat (174)  |  Light (607)  |  Manifestation (58)  |  Motion (310)  |  Object (422)  |  Reaction (104)  |  Various (200)

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:  |   (2863)  |  Account (192)  |  Certainly (185)  |  Concealing (2)  |  Correctness (12)  |  Cosmology (25)  |  Depth (94)  |  Elementary (96)  |  Leonhard Euler (35)  |  Existing (10)  |  Experiment (695)  |  Exploration (134)  |  Fashionable (15)  |  Field (364)  |  Genius (284)  |  Mathematics (1328)  |  Mean (809)  |  Means (579)  |  Mechanic (119)  |  Mechanics (131)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (333)  |  Outstanding (16)  |  Particle (194)  |  Particle Physics (13)  |  Phenomena (8)  |  Physic (517)  |  Physical (508)  |  Physics (533)  |  Quantum (117)  |  Quantum Field Theory (3)  |  Quantum Mechanics (46)  |  Range (99)  |  Recent (77)  |  Skeptic (8)  |  Skeptical (20)  |  Study (653)  |  Successor (14)  |  Task (147)  |  Theory (970)  |  Tremendous (26)  |  Two (937)  |  Understanding (513)  |  View (488)  |  Wide (96)  |  Will (2355)

No idea should be suppressed. … And it applies to ideas that look like nonsense. We must not forget that some of the best ideas seemed like nonsense at first. The truth will prevail in the end. Nonsense will fall of its own weight, by a sort of intellectual law of gravitation. If we bat it about, we shall only keep an error in the air a little longer. And a new truth will go into orbit.
In Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin: An Autobiography and Other Recollections (1996), 233.
Science quotes on:  |  Air (347)  |  Bat (10)  |  Best (459)  |  End (590)  |  Error (321)  |  Fall (230)  |  First (1283)  |  Forget (115)  |  Idea (843)  |  Intellectual (255)  |  Law (894)  |  Law Of Gravitation (22)  |  Little (707)  |  Longer (10)  |  Look (582)  |  Must (1526)  |  New (1216)  |  Nonsense (48)  |  Orbit (81)  |  Prevail (46)  |  Seem (145)  |  Suppress (6)  |  Truth (1057)  |  Weight (134)  |  Will (2355)

Not believing in force is the same thing as not believing in gravitation.
As quoted in G. Maximov, The Guillotine at Work (1940).
Science quotes on:  |  Belief (578)  |  Force (487)  |  Thing (1915)

Now it came to me: … the independence of the gravitational acceleration from the nature of the falling substance, may be expressed as follows: In a gravitational field (of small spatial extension) things behave as they do in a space free of gravitation. … This happened in 1908. Why were another seven years required for the construction of the general theory of relativity? The main reason lies in the fact that it is not so easy to free oneself from the idea that coordinates must have an immediate metrical meaning.
In Paul Arthur Schilpp, 'Autobiographical Notes', Albert Einstein: Philosopher-Scientist (1949), 65-67.
Science quotes on:  |  Acceleration (12)  |  Construction (112)  |  Coordinate (5)  |  Do (1908)  |  Easy (204)  |  Express (186)  |  Extension (59)  |  Fact (1210)  |  Fall (230)  |  Field (364)  |  Follow (378)  |  Free (232)  |  General (511)  |  Gravity (132)  |  Happen (274)  |  Happened (88)  |  Idea (843)  |  Immediate (95)  |  Independence (34)  |  Lie (364)  |  Meaning (233)  |  Metrical (3)  |  Must (1526)  |  Nature (1926)  |  Oneself (33)  |  Reason (744)  |  Relativity (88)  |  Required (108)  |  Small (477)  |  Space (500)  |  Substance (248)  |  Theory (970)  |  Theory Of Relativity (33)  |  Thing (1915)  |  Why (491)  |  Year (933)

Obvious facts are apt to be over-rated. System-makers see the gravitation of history, and fail to observe its chemistry, of greater though less evident power.
From chapter 'Jottings from a Note-book', in Canadian Stories (1918), 179.
Science quotes on:  |  Chemistry (353)  |  Evident (91)  |  Fact (1210)  |  Facts (553)  |  Fail (185)  |  Gravity (132)  |  Greater (288)  |  History (673)  |  Less (103)  |  Maker (34)  |  Observe (168)  |  Obvious (126)  |  Power (746)  |  Rat (37)  |  See (1081)  |  System (537)

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:  |  All (4108)  |  Black Hole (17)  |  Bomb (18)  |  Catch (31)  |  Conception (154)  |  Curve (49)  |  Definite (110)  |  Edge (47)  |  Escape (80)  |  Fall (230)  |  Fantastic (20)  |  Field (364)  |  Gargoyle (3)  |  Grip (9)  |  Hold (95)  |  Human (1468)  |  Human Mind (128)  |  Hydrogen (75)  |  Hydrogen Bomb (16)  |  Light (607)  |  Mind (1338)  |  Most (1731)  |  Nothing (966)  |  Space (500)  |  Strong (174)  |  Time (1877)  |  Unicorn (3)  |  Warp (5)

Of course we have no means of staying back for any length of Time, any more than a savage or an animal has of staying six feet above the ground. But a civilized man is better off than the savage in this respect. He can go up against gravitation in a balloon, and why should he not hope that ultimately he may be able to stop or accelerate his drift along the Time-Dimension, or even turn about and travel the other way?
In The Time Machine (1898), 13.
Science quotes on:  |  Accelerate (11)  |  Against (332)  |  Animal (617)  |  Back (390)  |  Balloon (15)  |  Better (486)  |  Civilized (18)  |  Course (409)  |  Dimension (61)  |  Drift (13)  |  Ground (217)  |  Hope (299)  |  Man (2251)  |  Mean (809)  |  Means (579)  |  More (2559)  |  Other (2236)  |  Respect (207)  |  Savage (29)  |  Stay (25)  |  Stop (80)  |  Time (1877)  |  Travel (114)  |  Turn (447)  |  Ultimately (55)  |  Way (1217)  |  Why (491)

Scientific theories need reconstruction every now and then. If they didn't need reconstruction they would be facts, not theories. The more facts we know, the less radical become the changes in our theories. Hence they are becoming more and more constant. But take the theory of gravitation; it has not been changed in four hundred years.
As quoted in 'Electricity Will Keep The World From Freezing Up', New York Times (12 Nov 1911), SM4.
Science quotes on:  |  Become (815)  |  Becoming (96)  |  Change (593)  |  Constant (144)  |  Fact (1210)  |  Facts (553)  |  Hundred (229)  |  Know (1518)  |  More (2559)  |  Radical (25)  |  Reconstruction (14)  |  Scientific (941)  |  Scientific Theory (24)  |  Theory (970)  |  Theory Of Gravitation (6)  |  Year (933)

Some of Feynman’s ideas about cosmology have a modern ring. A good example is his attitude toward the origin of matter. The idea of continuous matter creation in the steady state cosmology does not seriously offend him (and he notes … that the big bang cosmology has a problem just as bad, to explain where all the matter came from in the beginning). … He emphasizes that the total energy of the universe could really be zero, and that matter creation is possible because the rest energy of the matter is actually canceled by its gravitational potential energy. “It is exciting to think that it costs nothing to create a new particle, …”
In John Preskill and Kip S. Thorne, 'Foreword to Feynman Lectures on Gravitation' (15 May 1995). Feynman delivered his lectures in 1962–63.
Science quotes on:  |   (2863)  |  All (4108)  |  Attitude (82)  |  Bad (180)  |  Bang (29)  |  Beginning (305)  |  Big Bang (39)  |  Cancel (3)  |  Continuous (82)  |  Continuous Creation (2)  |  Cosmology (25)  |  Cost (86)  |  Create (235)  |  Creation (327)  |  Emphasize (23)  |  Energy (344)  |  Exciting (47)  |  Explain (322)  |  Explanation (234)  |  Richard P. Feynman (122)  |  Good (889)  |  Idea (843)  |  Matter (798)  |  Modern (385)  |  New (1216)  |  Nothing (966)  |  Offend (7)  |  Origin (239)  |  Particle (194)  |  Possible (552)  |  Potential (69)  |  Potential Energy (5)  |  Problem (676)  |  Rest (280)  |  State (491)  |  Steady (44)  |  Steady State (6)  |  Think (1086)  |  Total (94)  |  Universe (857)  |  Zero (37)

Spacetime tells matter how to move; matter tells spacetime how to curve.
With co-author Kenneth William Ford Geons, Black Holes, and Quantum Foam: A Life in Physics (1998, 2010), 235. Adapted from his earlier book, co-authored with Charles W. Misner and Kip S. Thorne, Gravitation (1970, 1973), 5, in which one of the ideas in Einstein’s geometric theory of gravity was summarized as, “Space acts on matter, telling it how to move. In turn, matter reacts back on space, telling it how to curve”.
Science quotes on:  |  Curve (49)  |  Albert Einstein (605)  |  Geometry (255)  |  Matter (798)  |  Move (216)  |  Spacetime (4)  |  Tell (340)  |  Theory (970)

That mathematics “do not cultivate the power of generalization,”; … will be admitted by no person of competent knowledge, except in a very qualified sense. The generalizations of mathematics, are, no doubt, a different thing from the generalizations of physical science; but in the difficulty of seizing them, and the mental tension they require, they are no contemptible preparation for the most arduous efforts of the scientific mind. Even the fundamental notions of the higher mathematics, from those of the differential calculus upwards are products of a very high abstraction. … To perceive the mathematical laws common to the results of many mathematical operations, even in so simple a case as that of the binomial theorem, involves a vigorous exercise of the same faculty which gave us Kepler’s laws, and rose through those laws to the theory of universal gravitation. Every process of what has been called Universal Geometry—the great creation of Descartes and his successors, in which a single train of reasoning solves whole classes of problems at once, and others common to large groups of them—is a practical lesson in the management of wide generalizations, and abstraction of the points of agreement from those of difference among objects of great and confusing diversity, to which the purely inductive sciences cannot furnish many superior. Even so elementary an operation as that of abstracting from the particular configuration of the triangles or other figures, and the relative situation of the particular lines or points, in the diagram which aids the apprehension of a common geometrical demonstration, is a very useful, and far from being always an easy, exercise of the faculty of generalization so strangely imagined to have no place or part in the processes of mathematics.
In An Examination of Sir William Hamilton’s Philosophy (1878), 612-13.
Science quotes on:  |   (2863)  |  Abstract (124)  |  Abstraction (47)  |  Admit (45)  |  Agreement (53)  |  Aid (97)  |  Apprehension (26)  |  Arduous (3)  |  Being (1278)  |  Binomial (6)  |  Binomial Theorem (5)  |  Calculus (65)  |  Call (769)  |  Case (99)  |  Class (164)  |  Common (436)  |  Competent (20)  |  Configuration (7)  |  Confuse (19)  |  Contemptible (8)  |  Creation (327)  |  Cultivate (19)  |  Demonstration (113)  |  René Descartes (81)  |  Diagram (20)  |  Difference (337)  |  Different (577)  |  Differential Calculus (10)  |  Difficulty (196)  |  Diversity (73)  |  Do (1908)  |  Doubt (304)  |  Easy (204)  |  Effort (227)  |  Elementary (96)  |  Exercise (110)  |  Faculty (72)  |  Far (154)  |  Figure (160)  |  Fundamental (250)  |  Furnish (96)  |  Generalization (57)  |  Geometrical (10)  |  Geometry (255)  |  Give (202)  |  Great (1574)  |  Group (78)  |  High (362)  |  Higher Mathematics (6)  |  Imagine (164)  |  Inductive (20)  |  Involve (90)  |  Johannes Kepler (91)  |  Knowledge (1529)  |  Large (394)  |  Law (894)  |  Lesson (57)  |  Line (91)  |  Management (21)  |  Mathematics (1328)  |  Mental (177)  |  Mind (1338)  |  Most (1731)  |  Nature Of Mathematics (80)  |  Notion (113)  |  Object (422)  |  Operation (213)  |  Operations (107)  |  Other (2236)  |  Part (222)  |  Particular (76)  |  Perceive (40)  |  Person (363)  |  Physical (508)  |  Physical Science (101)  |  Place (177)  |  Point (580)  |  Power (746)  |  Practical (200)  |  Preparation (58)  |  Problem (676)  |  Process (423)  |  Product (160)  |  Purely (109)  |  Qualified (12)  |  Qualify (4)  |  Reason (744)  |  Reasoning (207)  |  Relative (39)  |  Require (219)  |  Result (677)  |  Rise (166)  |  Rose (34)  |  Same (157)  |  Science (3879)  |  Scientific (941)  |  Scientific Mind (13)  |  Seize (15)  |  Sense (770)  |  Simple (406)  |  Single (353)  |  Situation (113)  |  Solve (130)  |  Strangely (5)  |  Successor (14)  |  Superior (81)  |  Tension (24)  |  Theorem (112)  |  Theory (970)  |  Thing (1915)  |  Through (849)  |  Train (114)  |  Triangle (18)  |  Universal (189)  |  Upward (43)  |  Upwards (6)  |  Useful (250)  |  Vigorous (20)  |  Whole (738)  |  Wide (96)  |  Will (2355)

The vortices of Descartes, gave way to the gravitation of Newton... One generation blows bubbles, and the next breaks them.
From Letter (29 Sep 1783) to Rev. William Unwin, collected in William Cowper and William Hayley (ed.), The Life, and Posthumous Writings, of William Cowper (1803), Vol. 3, 196.
Science quotes on:  |  Blow (44)  |  Break (99)  |  Bubble (22)  |  René Descartes (81)  |  Generation (242)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (333)  |  Next (236)  |  Vortex (9)  |  Way (1217)

The cases of action at a distance are becoming, in a physical point of view, daily more and more important. Sound, light, electricity, magnetism, gravitation, present them as a series.
The nature of sound and its dependence on a medium we think we understand, pretty well. The nature of light as dependent on a medium is now very largely accepted. The presence of a medium in the phenomena of electricity and magnetism becomes more and more probable daily. We employ ourselves, and I think rightly, in endeavouring to elucidate the physical exercise of these forces, or their sets of antecedents and consequents, and surely no one can find fault with the labours which eminent men have entered upon in respect of light, or into which they may enter as regards electricity and magnetism. Then what is there about gravitation that should exclude it from consideration also? Newton did not shut out the physical view, but had evidently thought deeply of it; and if he thought of it, why should not we, in these advanced days, do so too?
Letter to E. Jones, 9 Jun 1857. In Michael Faraday, Bence Jones (ed.), The Life and Letters of Faraday (1870), Vol. 2, 387.
Science quotes on:  |  Accept (191)  |  Action (327)  |  Become (815)  |  Becoming (96)  |  Consequent (19)  |  Consideration (139)  |  Daily (87)  |  Dependence (45)  |  Distance (161)  |  Do (1908)  |  Electricity (159)  |  Employ (113)  |  Enter (141)  |  Evidently (26)  |  Exercise (110)  |  Fault (54)  |  Find (998)  |  Force (487)  |  Gravity (132)  |  Labour (98)  |  Light (607)  |  Magnetism (41)  |  More (2559)  |  Nature (1926)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (333)  |  Ourselves (245)  |  Physical (508)  |  Point (580)  |  Point Of View (80)  |  Presence (63)  |  Present (619)  |  Regard (305)  |  Respect (207)  |  Series (149)  |  Set (394)  |  Shut (41)  |  Sound (183)  |  Surely (101)  |  Think (1086)  |  Thought (953)  |  Understand (606)  |  View (488)  |  Why (491)

The classical example of a successful research programme is Newton’s gravitational theory: possibly the most successful research programme ever.
In Radio Lecture (30 Jun 1973) broadcast by the Open University, collected in Imre Lakatos, John Worrall (ed.) and Gregory Currie (ed.), 'Introduction: Science and Pseudoscience', The Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes (1978, 1980), Vol. 1, 48.
Science quotes on:  |   (2863)  |  Classical (45)  |  Example (94)  |  Most (1731)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (333)  |  Possibly (111)  |  Program (52)  |  Research (664)  |  Successful (123)  |  Theory (970)

The day will come when, after harnessing space, the winds, the tides, and gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, we shall have discovered fire.
From 'The Evolution of Chastity' (Feb 1934), as translated by René Hague in Toward the Future (1975), 86-87.
Science quotes on:  |  Discover (553)  |  Discovery (780)  |  Energy (344)  |  Fire (189)  |  God (757)  |  Harness (23)  |  History (673)  |  Love (309)  |  Second (62)  |  Space (500)  |  Tide (34)  |  Time (1877)  |  Will (2355)  |  Wind (128)  |  World (1774)

The discovery of the conic sections, attributed to Plato, first threw open the higher species of form to the contemplation of geometers. But for this discovery, which was probably regarded in Plato’s tune and long after him, as the unprofitable amusement of a speculative brain, the whole course of practical philosophy of the present day, of the science of astronomy, of the theory of projectiles, of the art of navigation, might have run in a different channel; and the greatest discovery that has ever been made in the history of the world, the law of universal gravitation, with its innumerable direct and indirect consequences and applications to every department of human research and industry, might never to this hour have been elicited.
In 'A Probationary Lecture on Geometry, Collected Mathematical Papers, Vol. 2 (1908), 7.
Science quotes on:  |   (2863)  |  Amusement (33)  |  Application (242)  |  Art (657)  |  Astronomy (229)  |  Attribute (61)  |  Brain (270)  |  Channel (21)  |  Conic Section (8)  |  Consequence (203)  |  Contemplation (73)  |  Course (409)  |  Department (92)  |  Different (577)  |  Direct (225)  |  Discovery (780)  |  Elicit (2)  |  First (1283)  |  Form (959)  |  Geometer (24)  |  Great (1574)  |  Greatest (328)  |  High (362)  |  History (673)  |  Hour (186)  |  Human (1468)  |  Indirect (18)  |  Industry (137)  |  Innumerable (55)  |  Law (894)  |  Law Of Universal Gravitation (3)  |  Long (790)  |  Navigation (25)  |  Never (1087)  |  Open (274)  |  Philosophy (380)  |  Plato (76)  |  Practical (200)  |  Present (619)  |  Present Day (5)  |  Probably (49)  |  Projectile (3)  |  Regard (305)  |  Research (664)  |  Run (174)  |  Science (3879)  |  Species (401)  |  Speculative (9)  |  Study And Research In Mathematics (61)  |  Theory (970)  |  Throw (43)  |  Tune (19)  |  Universal (189)  |  Unprofitable (4)  |  Whole (738)  |  World (1774)

The evolution of higher and of lower forms of life is as well and as soundly established as the eternal hills. It has long since ceased to be a theory; it is a law of Nature as universal in living things as is the law of gravitation in material things and in the motions of the heavenly spheres.
Evolution and Religion in Education (1926), 118.
Science quotes on:  |  Body (537)  |  Cessation (12)  |  Establishment (47)  |  Eternal (110)  |  Evolution (590)  |  Form (959)  |  Heaven (258)  |  Hill (20)  |  Law (894)  |  Law Of Gravitation (22)  |  Law Of Nature (72)  |  Life (1795)  |  Living (491)  |  Long (790)  |  Material (353)  |  Motion (310)  |  Nature (1926)  |  Sphere (116)  |  Theory (970)  |  Thing (1915)  |  Universal (189)

The generalized theory of relativity has furnished still more remarkable results. This considers not only uniform but also accelerated motion. In particular, it is based on the impossibility of distinguishing an acceleration from the gravitation or other force which produces it. Three consequences of the theory may be mentioned of which two have been confirmed while the third is still on trial: (1) It gives a correct explanation of the residual motion of forty-three seconds of arc per century of the perihelion of Mercury. (2) It predicts the deviation which a ray of light from a star should experience on passing near a large gravitating body, the sun, namely, 1".7. On Newton's corpuscular theory this should be only half as great. As a result of the measurements of the photographs of the eclipse of 1921 the number found was much nearer to the prediction of Einstein, and was inversely proportional to the distance from the center of the sun, in further confirmation of the theory. (3) The theory predicts a displacement of the solar spectral lines, and it seems that this prediction is also verified.
Studies in Optics (1927), 160-1.
Science quotes on:  |   (2863)  |  Acceleration (12)  |  Arc (12)  |  Body (537)  |  Century (310)  |  Confirm (57)  |  Confirmation (22)  |  Consequence (203)  |  Consider (416)  |  Corpuscle (13)  |  Deviation (17)  |  Displacement (9)  |  Distance (161)  |  Eclipse (23)  |  Einstein (101)  |  Experience (467)  |  Explanation (234)  |  Force (487)  |  Furnish (96)  |  Great (1574)  |  Impossibility (61)  |  Inversely Proportional (7)  |  Large (394)  |  Light (607)  |  Measurement (174)  |  Mention (82)  |  Mercury (49)  |  More (2559)  |  Motion (310)  |  Nearer (45)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (333)  |  Number (699)  |  Other (2236)  |  Passing (76)  |  Photograph (19)  |  Predict (79)  |  Prediction (82)  |  Ray (114)  |  Relativity (88)  |  Residual (5)  |  Result (677)  |  Spectral Line (5)  |  Star (427)  |  Still (613)  |  Sun (385)  |  Theory (970)  |  Theory Of Relativity (33)  |  Trial (57)  |  Two (937)

The law of gravitation is indisputably and incomparably the greatest scientific discovery ever made, whether we look at the advance which it involved, the extent of truth disclosed, or the fundamental and satisfactory nature of this truth.
In History of the Inductive Sciences, Bk. 7, chap. 8, sect. 6.
Science quotes on:  |  Advance (280)  |  Disclose (18)  |  Discovery (780)  |  Extent (139)  |  Fundamental (250)  |  Great (1574)  |  Greatest (328)  |  Incomparable (12)  |  Indisputable (8)  |  Involve (90)  |  Involved (90)  |  Law (894)  |  Law Of Gravitation (22)  |  Look (582)  |  Mathematicians and Anecdotes (141)  |  Nature (1926)  |  Satisfactory (17)  |  Scientific (941)  |  Truth (1057)

The man who proportions the several parts of a mill, uses the same scientific principles [mechanics], as if he had the power of constructing an universe; but as he cannot give to matter that invisible agency, by which all the component parts of the immense machine of the universe have influence upon each other, and set in motional unison together without any apparent contact, and to which man has given the name of attraction, gravitation, and repulsion, he supplies the place of that agency by the humble imitation of teeth and cogs. All the parts of man’s microcosm must visibly touch.
In The Age of Reason: Being an Investigation of True and Fabulous Theology (27 Jan O.S. 1794), 42-43.
Science quotes on:  |   (2863)  |  Agency (14)  |  All (4108)  |  Apparent (84)  |  Attraction (56)  |  Cog (7)  |  Component (48)  |  Constructing (3)  |  Contact (65)  |  Humble (50)  |  Imitation (24)  |  Immense (86)  |  Influence (222)  |  Invisible (63)  |  Machine (257)  |  Man (2251)  |  Matter (798)  |  Mechanic (119)  |  Mechanics (131)  |  Microcosm (8)  |  Mill (16)  |  Motion (310)  |  Must (1526)  |  Name (333)  |  Other (2236)  |  Part (222)  |  Power (746)  |  Principle (507)  |  Proportion (136)  |  Repulsion (7)  |  Scientific (941)  |  Set (394)  |  Teeth (43)  |  Together (387)  |  Touch (141)  |  Universe (857)  |  Use (766)

The modern physicist is a quantum theorist on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and a student of gravitational relativity theory on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. On Sunday he is neither, but is praying to his God that someone, preferably himself, will find the reconciliation between the two views.
In I Am a Mathematician, the Later Life of a Prodigy (1956), 109.
Science quotes on:  |  Find (998)  |  God (757)  |  Himself (461)  |  Modern (385)  |  Monday (3)  |  Physicist (259)  |  Pray (16)  |  Quantum (117)  |  Quantum Theory (66)  |  Reconciliation (10)  |  Relativity (88)  |  Saturday (11)  |  Student (300)  |  Sunday (7)  |  Theorist (44)  |  Theory (970)  |  Theory Of Relativity (33)  |  Tuesday (3)  |  Two (937)  |  View (488)  |  Wednesday (2)  |  Will (2355)

The nature of the atoms, and the forces called into play in their chemical union; the interactions between these atoms and the non-differentiated ether as manifested in the phenomena of light and electricity; the structures of the molecules and molecular systems of which the atoms are the units; the explanation of cohesion, elasticity, and gravitation—all these will be marshaled into a single compact and consistent body of scientific knowledge.
In Light Waves and Their Uses? (1902), 163.
Science quotes on:  |  All (4108)  |  Atom (355)  |  Body (537)  |  Call (769)  |  Chemical (292)  |  Cohesion (7)  |  Compact (13)  |  Consistent (48)  |  Elasticity (8)  |  Electricity (159)  |  Ether (35)  |  Explanation (234)  |  Force (487)  |  Interaction (46)  |  Knowledge (1529)  |  Light (607)  |  Manifest (21)  |  Marshal (4)  |  Molecular (7)  |  Molecule (174)  |  Nature (1926)  |  Phenomenon (318)  |  Play (112)  |  Scientific (941)  |  Scientific Knowledge (9)  |  Single (353)  |  Structure (344)  |  System (537)  |  Union (51)  |  Unit (33)  |  Will (2355)

The other book you may have heard of and perhaps read, but it is not one perusal which will enable any man to appreciate it. I have read it through five or six times, each time with increasing admiration. It will live as long as the ‘Principia’ of Newton. It shows that nature is, as I before remarked to you, a study that yields to none in grandeur and immensity. The cycles of astronomy or even the periods of geology will alone enable us to appreciate the vast depths of time we have to contemplate in the endeavour to understand the slow growth of life upon the earth. The most intricate effects of the law of gravitation, the mutual disturbances of all the bodies of the solar system, are simplicity itself compared with the intricate relations and complicated struggle which have determined what forms of life shall exist and in what proportions. Mr. Darwin has given the world a new science, and his name should, in my opinion, stand above that of every philosopher of ancient or modem times. The force of admiration can no further go!!!
Letter to George Silk (1 Sep 1860), in My Life (1905), Vol. I, 372-373.
Science quotes on:  |  Admiration (59)  |  All (4108)  |  Alone (311)  |  Ancient (189)  |  Appreciate (63)  |  Astronomy (229)  |  Book (392)  |  Complicated (115)  |  Cycle (40)  |  Charles Darwin (303)  |  Depth (94)  |  Disturbance (31)  |  Earth (996)  |  Effect (393)  |  Enable (119)  |  Endeavour (63)  |  Exist (443)  |  Force (487)  |  Form (959)  |  Geology (220)  |  Grandeur (31)  |  Growth (187)  |  Immensity (30)  |  Intricate (29)  |  Law (894)  |  Law Of Gravitation (22)  |  Life (1795)  |  Live (628)  |  Long (790)  |  Man (2251)  |  Most (1731)  |  Mutual (52)  |  Name (333)  |  Nature (1926)  |  New (1216)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (333)  |  Opinion (281)  |  Other (2236)  |  Period (198)  |  Perusal (2)  |  Philosopher (258)  |  Principia (13)  |  Proportion (136)  |  Read (287)  |  Science (3879)  |  Show (346)  |  Simplicity (167)  |  Slow (101)  |  Solar (8)  |  Solar System (77)  |  Stand (274)  |  Struggle (105)  |  Study (653)  |  System (537)  |  Through (849)  |  Time (1877)  |  Understand (606)  |  Vast (177)  |  Will (2355)  |  World (1774)  |  Yield (81)

The pre-Darwinian age had come to be regarded as a Dark Age in which men still believed that the book of Genesis was a standard scientific treatise, and that the only additions to it were Galileo's demonstration of Leonardo da Vinci’s simple remark that the earth is a moon of the sun, Newton’s theory of gravitation, Sir Humphry Davy's invention of the safety-lamp, the discovery of electricity, the application of steam to industrial purposes, and the penny post.
Back to Methuselah: a Metabiological Pentateuch (1921), viii.
Science quotes on:  |   (2863)  |  Addition (66)  |  Age (499)  |  Application (242)  |  Belief (578)  |  Book (392)  |  Dark (140)  |  Dark Ages (10)  |  Charles Darwin (303)  |  Leonardo da Vinci (87)  |  Sir Humphry Davy (47)  |  Demonstration (113)  |  Discovery (780)  |  Earth (996)  |  Electricity (159)  |  Galileo Galilei (122)  |  Genesis (23)  |  Industry (137)  |  Invention (369)  |  Lamp (36)  |  Man (2251)  |  Moon (237)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (333)  |  Penny (5)  |  Post (6)  |  Purpose (317)  |  Regard (305)  |  Remark (28)  |  Safety (54)  |  Safety Lamp (3)  |  Scientific (941)  |  Simple (406)  |  Standard (57)  |  Steam (80)  |  Steam Power (8)  |  Still (613)  |  Sun (385)  |  Theory (970)  |  Theory Of Gravitation (6)  |  Treatise (44)

The present theory of relativity is based on a division of physical reality into a metric field (gravitation) on the one hand and into an electromagnetic field and matter on the other hand. In reality space will probably be of a uniform character and the present theory will be valid only as a limiting case. For large densities of field and of matter, the field equations and even the field variables which enter into them will have no real significance. One may not therefore assume the validity of the equations for very high density of field and matter, and one may not conclude that the 'beginning of the expansion' must mean a singularity in the mathematical sense. All we have to realise is that the equations may not be continued over such regions.
In O. Nathan and H. Norden (eds.), Einstein on Peace (1960), 640.
Science quotes on:  |  All (4108)  |  Beginning (305)  |  Character (243)  |  Conclude (65)  |  Density (25)  |  Division (65)  |  Enter (141)  |  Equation (132)  |  Expansion (41)  |  Field (364)  |  High (362)  |  Large (394)  |  Matter (798)  |  Mean (809)  |  Must (1526)  |  Other (2236)  |  Physical (508)  |  Present (619)  |  Reality (261)  |  Relativity (88)  |  Sense (770)  |  Significance (113)  |  Singularity (4)  |  Space (500)  |  Theory (970)  |  Theory Of Relativity (33)  |  Validity (47)  |  Variable (34)  |  Will (2355)

The recommendation not to throw yourself out of a second-floor window is a part of the science of mutually gravitating bodies.
In 'The Religion of Humanity', Essays and Addresses by the Right Hon. Arthur J. Balfour (1893), 234.
Science quotes on:  |  Recommendation (12)  |  Science (3879)  |  Throw (43)  |  Window (58)

The second law of thermodynamics is, without a doubt, one of the most perfect laws in physics. Any reproducible violation of it, however small, would bring the discoverer great riches as well as a trip to Stockholm. The world’s energy problems would be solved at one stroke… . Not even Maxwell’s laws of electricity or Newton’s law of gravitation are so sacrosanct, for each has measurable corrections coming from quantum effects or general relativity. The law has caught the attention of poets and philosophers and has been called the greatest scientific achievement of the nineteenth century.
In Thermodynamics (1964). As cited in The Mathematics Devotional: Celebrating the Wisdom and Beauty of Physics (2015), 82.
Science quotes on:  |   (2863)  |  19th Century (33)  |  Achievement (179)  |  Attention (190)  |  Call (769)  |  Century (310)  |  Coming (114)  |  Correction (40)  |  Discoverer (42)  |  Doubt (304)  |  Effect (393)  |  Electricity (159)  |  Energy (344)  |  General (511)  |  General Relativity (10)  |  Great (1574)  |  Greatest (328)  |  Law (894)  |  Law Of Gravitation (22)  |  Maxwell (42)  |  Most (1731)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (333)  |  Perfect (216)  |  Philosopher (258)  |  Physic (517)  |  Physics (533)  |  Poet (83)  |  Problem (676)  |  Quantum (117)  |  Relativity (88)  |  Reproducible (7)  |  Sacrosanct (3)  |  Scientific (941)  |  Second Law Of Thermodynamics (14)  |  Small (477)  |  Stroke (18)  |  Thermodynamics (40)  |  Violation (7)  |  World (1774)

The test of science is not whether you are reasonable—there would not be much of physics if that was the case—the test is whether it works. And the great point about Newton’s theory of gravitation was that it worked, that you could actually say something about the motion of the moon without knowing very much about the constitution of the Earth.
From Assumption and Myth in Physical Theory (1967), 10.
Science quotes on:  |   (2863)  |  Actually (27)  |  Constitution (76)  |  Earth (996)  |  Great (1574)  |  Knowing (137)  |  Moon (237)  |  Motion (310)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (333)  |  Physic (517)  |  Physics (533)  |  Point (580)  |  Reasonable (27)  |  Say (984)  |  Science (3879)  |  Something (719)  |  Test (211)  |  Theory (970)  |  Theory Of Gravitation (6)  |  Work (1351)  |  Worked (2)

The theory that gravitational attraction is inversely proportional to the square of the distance leads by remorseless logic to the conclusion that the path of a planet should be an ellipse, … It is this logical thinking that is the real meat of the physical sciences. The social scientist keeps the skin and throws away the meat. … His theorems no more follow from his postulates than the hunches of a horse player follow logically from the latest racing news. The result is guesswork clad in long flowing robes of gobbledygook.
In Science is a Sacred Cow (1950), 149-150.
Science quotes on:  |  Attraction (56)  |  Conclusion (254)  |  Distance (161)  |  Ellipse (8)  |  Follow (378)  |  Gambler (7)  |  Guesswork (4)  |  Horse (74)  |  Hunch (5)  |  Inversely Proportional (7)  |  Lead (384)  |  Logic (287)  |  Long (790)  |  Meat (16)  |  More (2559)  |  New (1216)  |  News (36)  |  Path (144)  |  Physical (508)  |  Physical Science (101)  |  Planet (356)  |  Postulate (38)  |  Result (677)  |  Science (3879)  |  Scientist (820)  |  Skin (47)  |  Social (252)  |  Social Science (35)  |  Square (70)  |  Theorem (112)  |  Theory (970)  |  Thinking (414)

There is no more convincing proof of the truth of a comprehensive theory than its power of absorbing and finding a place for new facts, and its capability of interpreting phenomena which had been previously looked upon as unaccountable anomalies. It is thus that the law of universal gravitation and the undulatory theory of light have become established and universally accepted by men of science. Fact after fact has been brought forward as being apparently inconsistent with them, and one alter another these very facts have been shown to be the consequences of the laws they were at first supposed to disprove. A false theory will never stand this test. Advancing knowledge brings to light whole groups of facts which it cannot deal with, and its advocates steadily decrease in numbers, notwithstanding the ability and scientific skill with which it may have been supported.
From a review of four books on the subject 'Mimicry, and Other Protective Resemblances Among Animals', in The Westminster Review (Jul 1867), 88, 1. Wallace is identified as the author in the article as reprinted in William Beebe, The Book of Naturalists: An Anthology of the Best Natural History (1988), 108.
Science quotes on:  |  Ability (152)  |  Accept (191)  |  Acceptance (52)  |  Advocate (18)  |  Alter (62)  |  Anomaly (11)  |  Become (815)  |  Being (1278)  |  Capability (41)  |  Comprehensive (29)  |  Consequence (203)  |  Convincing (9)  |  Deal (188)  |  Decrease (15)  |  Disprove (23)  |  Establishment (47)  |  Fact (1210)  |  Facts (553)  |  False (100)  |  First (1283)  |  Forward (102)  |  Inconsistency (4)  |  Interpreting (5)  |  Knowledge (1529)  |  Law (894)  |  Law Of Universal Gravitation (3)  |  Light (607)  |  Look (582)  |  Men Of Science (143)  |  More (2559)  |  Never (1087)  |  New (1216)  |  Notwithstanding (2)  |  Number (699)  |  Phenomenon (318)  |  Power (746)  |  Proof (287)  |  Science (3879)  |  Scientific (941)  |  Scientific Method (175)  |  Skill (109)  |  Stand (274)  |  Support (147)  |  Test (211)  |  Theory (970)  |  Truth (1057)  |  Undulation (4)  |  Universal (189)  |  Whole (738)  |  Will (2355)

Thinking is merely the comparing of ideas, discerning relations of likeness and of difference between ideas, and drawing inferences. It is seizing general truths on the basis of clearly apprehended particulars. It is but generalizing and particularizing. Who will deny that a child can deal profitably with sequences of ideas like: How many marbles are 2 marbles and 3 marbles? 2 pencils and 3 pencils? 2 balls and 3 balls? 2 children and 3 children? 2 inches and 3 inches? 2 feet and 3 feet? 2 and 3? Who has not seen the countenance of some little learner light up at the end of such a series of questions with the exclamation, “Why it’s always that way. Isn’t it?” This is the glow of pleasure that the generalizing step always affords him who takes the step himself. This is the genuine life-giving joy which comes from feeling that one can successfully take this step. The reality of such a discovery is as great, and the lasting effect upon the mind of him that makes it is as sure as was that by which the great Newton hit upon the generalization of the law of gravitation. It is through these thrills of discovery that love to learn and intellectual pleasure are begotten and fostered. Good arithmetic teaching abounds in such opportunities.
In Arithmetic in Public Education (1909), 13. As quoted and cited in Robert Édouard Moritz, Memorabilia Mathematica; Or, The Philomath’s Quotation-book (1914), 68.
Science quotes on:  |   (2863)  |  Abound (17)  |  Afford (17)  |  Apprehend (5)  |  Arithmetic (136)  |  Ball (62)  |  Basis (173)  |  Child (307)  |  Children (200)  |  Clearly (41)  |  Compare (69)  |  Countenance (8)  |  Deal (188)  |  Deny (66)  |  Difference (337)  |  Discern (33)  |  Discerning (16)  |  Discovery (780)  |  Drawing (56)  |  Effect (393)  |  End (590)  |  Exclamation (3)  |  Feel (367)  |  Feeling (250)  |  Foster (12)  |  General (511)  |  Generalization (57)  |  Generalize (19)  |  Genuine (52)  |  Glow (14)  |  Good (889)  |  Great (1574)  |  Himself (461)  |  Hit (20)  |  Idea (843)  |  Inference (45)  |  Intellectual (255)  |  Joy (107)  |  Law (894)  |  Law Of Gravitation (22)  |  Learn (629)  |  Learner (10)  |  Life (1795)  |  Life-Giving (2)  |  Light (607)  |  Likeness (18)  |  Little (707)  |  Love (309)  |  Marble (20)  |  Merely (316)  |  Mind (1338)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (333)  |  Opportunity (87)  |  Particular (76)  |  Pencil (20)  |  Pleasure (178)  |  Question (621)  |  Reality (261)  |  Relation (157)  |  Sequence (68)  |  Series (149)  |  Step (231)  |  Successful (123)  |  Teach (277)  |  Teaching (188)  |  Think (1086)  |  Thinking (414)  |  Thrill (22)  |  Through (849)  |  Truth (1057)  |  Value Of Mathematics (60)  |  Way (1217)  |  Why (491)  |  Will (2355)

This law [of gravitation] has been called “the greatest generalization achieved by the human mind”. … I am interested not so much in the human mind as in the marvel of a nature which can obey such an elegant and simple law as this law of gravitation. Therefore our main concentration will not be on how clever we are to have found it all out, but on how clever nature is to pay attention to it.
In The Character of Physical Law (1965), 14.
Science quotes on:  |  Achieve (66)  |  All (4108)  |  Attention (190)  |  Call (769)  |  Clever (38)  |  Concentration (29)  |  Elegant (36)  |  Generalization (57)  |  Greatest (328)  |  Human (1468)  |  Human Mind (128)  |  Interest (386)  |  Law (894)  |  Law Of Gravitation (22)  |  Marvel (35)  |  Mind (1338)  |  Nature (1926)  |  Obey (40)  |  Simple (406)  |  Will (2355)

Time ends. That is the lesson of the “big bang”. It is also the lesson of the black hole, closer at hand and more immediate object of study. The black hole is a completely collapsed object. It is mass without matter. The Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland faded away leaving behind only its grin. A star that falls into an already existing black hole, or that collapses to make a new black hole, fades away. Of the star, of its matter and of its sunspots and solar prominences, all trace disappears. There remains behind only gravitational attraction, the attraction of disembodied mass.
In 'The Lesson of the Black Hole', Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society (1981), 125, 25.
Science quotes on:  |  Alice In Wonderland (6)  |  All (4108)  |  Already (222)  |  Attraction (56)  |  Bang (29)  |  Behind (137)  |  Big Bang (39)  |  Black Hole (17)  |  Cat (47)  |  Cheshire Cat (3)  |  Closer (43)  |  Completely (135)  |  Disappear (82)  |  Disappearance (28)  |  Disembodied (6)  |  End (590)  |  Fad (10)  |  Fall (230)  |  Grin (4)  |  Immediate (95)  |  Lesson (57)  |  Mass (157)  |  Matter (798)  |  More (2559)  |  New (1216)  |  Object (422)  |  Prominence (5)  |  Remain (349)  |  Star (427)  |  Study (653)  |  Sun (385)  |  Sunspot (5)  |  Time (1877)  |  Trace (103)

Vous avez trouve par de long ennuis
Ce que Newton trouva sans sortir de chez lui.
In Letter to La Condamine, whose surveying expedition (after Newton’s death) had measured the arc at the equator. As Newton had calculated, the Earth was a flattened sphere, due to the effects of rotation and gravitational pull. Roughly translates as, “You have found by prolonged difficulty / What Newton found without leaving home.” In The Royal Society Newton Tercentenary Celebrations: 15-19 July 1946 (1946), 15. [Newton was born in 1642; the tercentenary celebration was delayed by WW II —Webmaster.]
Science quotes on:  |  Arc (12)  |  Calculation (127)  |  Difficulty (196)  |  Earth (996)  |  Equator (6)  |  Home (170)  |  Long (790)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (333)  |  Survey (33)  |  Theory (970)

We can see that, the constant in the law of gravitation being fixed, there may be some upper limit to the amount of matter possible; as more and more matter is added in the distant parts, space curves round and ultimately closes; the process of adding more matter must stop, because there is no more space, and we can only return to the region already dealt with. But there seems nothing to prevent a defect of matter, leaving space unclosed. Some mechanism seems to be needed, whereby either gravitation creates matter, or all the matter in the universe conspires to define a law of gravitation.
In Space, Time and Gravitation: An Outline of the General Relativity Theory (1920, 1921), 163.
Science quotes on:  |  All (4108)  |  Already (222)  |  Amount (151)  |  Being (1278)  |  Constant (144)  |  Create (235)  |  Curve (49)  |  Defect (31)  |  Law (894)  |  Law Of Gravitation (22)  |  Limit (280)  |  Matter (798)  |  Mechanism (96)  |  More (2559)  |  Must (1526)  |  Nothing (966)  |  Possible (552)  |  Prevent (94)  |  Process (423)  |  Return (124)  |  See (1081)  |  Space (500)  |  Ultimately (55)  |  Universe (857)

Well, evolution is a theory. It is also a fact. And facts and theories are different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty. Facts are the world’s data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts. Facts do not go away while scientists debate rival theories for explaining them. Einstein’s theory of gravitation replaced Newton’s, but apples did not suspend themselves in mid-air pending the outcome. And human beings evolved from apelike ancestors whether they did so by Darwin’s proposed mechanism or by some other, yet to be discovered … Evolutionists make no claim for perpetual truth, though creationists often do (and then attack us for a style of argument that they themselves favor).
'Evolution as Fact and Theory', in Hen’s Teeth and Horse’s Toes: Further Reflections in Natural History (1983), 254-255.
Science quotes on:  |   (2863)  |  Air (347)  |  Ancestor (60)  |  Apple (40)  |  Argument (138)  |  Attack (84)  |  Being (1278)  |  Certainty (174)  |  Claim (146)  |  Creationist (16)  |  Data (156)  |  Debate (38)  |  Different (577)  |  Discover (553)  |  Do (1908)  |  Einstein (101)  |  Albert Einstein (605)  |  Evolution (590)  |  Explain (322)  |  Fact (1210)  |  Facts (553)  |  Favor (63)  |  Hierarchy (17)  |  Human (1468)  |  Human Being (175)  |  Human Beings (117)  |  Idea (843)  |  Mechanism (96)  |  Mid-Air (3)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (333)  |  Other (2236)  |  Pending (2)  |  Perpetual (57)  |  Rival (19)  |  Scientist (820)  |  Structure (344)  |  Suspend (9)  |  Themselves (433)  |  Theory (970)  |  Theory Of Gravitation (6)  |  Thing (1915)  |  Truth (1057)  |  World (1774)

When Newton saw an apple fall, he found
In that slight startle from his contemplation—
'Tis said (for I'll not answer above ground
For any sage's creed or calculation)—
A mode of proving that the earth turn'd round
In a most natural whirl, called 'gravitation';
And this is the sole mortal who could grapple,
Since Adam, with a fall, or with an apple.
Don Juan (1821), Canto 10, Verse I. In Jerome J. McGann (ed.), Lord Byron: The Complete Poetical Works (1986), Vol. 5, 437.
Science quotes on:  |   (2863)  |  Answer (366)  |  Apple (40)  |  Calculation (127)  |  Call (769)  |  Contemplation (73)  |  Creed (27)  |  Earth (996)  |  Fall (230)  |  Grapple (10)  |  Gravity (132)  |  Ground (217)  |  Mortal (54)  |  Most (1731)  |  Natural (796)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (333)  |  Sage (23)  |  Saw (160)  |  Sole (49)  |  Turn (447)  |  Whirl (8)

You tell me of an invisible planetary system in which electrons gravitate around a nucleus. You explain this world to me with an image. I realize that you have been reduced to poetry. … So that science that was to teach me everything ends up in a hypothesis, that lucidity founders in metaphor, that uncertainty is resolved in a work of art.
In Albert Camus and Justin O’Brien (trans.), 'An Absurd Reasoning', The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays (1955), 15.
Science quotes on:  |  Art (657)  |  Electron (93)  |  End (590)  |  Everything (476)  |  Explain (322)  |  Explanation (234)  |  Founder (26)  |  Foundering (2)  |  Hypothesis (296)  |  Image (96)  |  Invisible (63)  |  Lucidity (7)  |  Metaphor (33)  |  Nucleus (49)  |  Planet (356)  |  Planetary (29)  |  Poetry (143)  |  Realize (147)  |  Resolution (23)  |  Science (3879)  |  Science And Art (184)  |  System (537)  |  Teach (277)  |  Teaching (188)  |  Tell (340)  |  Uncertainty (56)  |  Work (1351)  |  World (1774)

[Davy's] March of Glory, which he has run for the last six weeks—within which time by the aid and application of his own great discovery, of the identity of electricity and chemical attractions, he has placed all the elements and all their inanimate combinations in the power of man; having decomposed both the Alkalies, and three of the Earths, discovered as the base of the Alkalies a new metal... Davy supposes there is only one power in the world of the senses; which in particles acts as chemical attractions, in specific masses as electricity, & on matter in general, as planetary Gravitation... when this has been proved, it will then only remain to resolve this into some Law of vital Intellect—and all human knowledge will be Science and Metaphysics the only Science.
In November 1807 Davy gave his famous Second Bakerian Lecture at the Royal Society, in which he used Voltaic batteries to “decompose, isolate and name” several new chemical elements, notably sodium and potassium.
Letter to Dorothy Wordsworth, 24 November 1807. In Earl Leslie Griggs (ed.), The Collected Letters of Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1956), Vol. 3, 38.
Science quotes on:  |   (2863)  |  Act (272)  |  Aid (97)  |  All (4108)  |  Application (242)  |  Attraction (56)  |  Base (117)  |  Both (493)  |  Chemical (292)  |  Combination (144)  |  Sir Humphry Davy (47)  |  Decompose (9)  |  Discover (553)  |  Discovery (780)  |  Earth (996)  |  Electricity (159)  |  Element (310)  |  General (511)  |  Great (1574)  |  Human (1468)  |  Identity (19)  |  Intellect (233)  |  Knowledge (1529)  |  Last (426)  |  Law (894)  |  Lecture (105)  |  Man (2251)  |  March (46)  |  Matter (798)  |  Metal (84)  |  Metaphysics (50)  |  Name (333)  |  New (1216)  |  Particle (194)  |  Planetary (29)  |  Potassium (11)  |  Power (746)  |  Remain (349)  |  Resolve (40)  |  Royal (57)  |  Royal Society (16)  |  Run (174)  |  Science (3879)  |  Sense (770)  |  Society (326)  |  Sodium (14)  |  Specific (95)  |  Suppose (156)  |  Time (1877)  |  Vital (85)  |  Voltaic (9)  |  Week (70)  |  Will (2355)  |  World (1774)

[Henry Cavendish] fixed the weight of the earth; he established the proportions of the constituents of the air; he occupied himself with the quantitative study of the laws of heat; and lastly, he demonstrated the nature of water and determined its volumetric composition. Earth, air, fire, and water—each and all came within the range of his observations.
Essays in Historical Chemistry (1894), 86.
Science quotes on:  |  Air (347)  |  All (4108)  |  Henry Cavendish (7)  |  Composition (84)  |  Constituent (45)  |  Density (25)  |  Earth (996)  |  Fire (189)  |  Heat (174)  |  Himself (461)  |  Law (894)  |  Nature (1926)  |  Observation (555)  |  Occupied (45)  |  Proportion (136)  |  Quantitative (29)  |  Range (99)  |  Study (653)  |  Water (481)  |  Weight (134)

[Herbert Spencer] has discovered a great law of evolution in nature, which underlies all phenomena, & which is as important & more comprehensive than Newton’s law of gravitation.
In letter to his mother, after reading (Jul 1861) Herbert Spencer, The Principles of Psychology (1855). Fiske called the book, “the profoundest work I ever read”. It ignited his enthusiasm for Spencer’s philosophy of evolution. As quoted in Milton Berman, John Fiske: The Evolution of a Popularizer (1961), 36-37.
Science quotes on:  |   (2863)  |  All (4108)  |  Comprehensive (29)  |  Discover (553)  |  Evolution (590)  |  Great (1574)  |  Important (209)  |  Law (894)  |  Law Of Gravitation (22)  |  More (2559)  |  Nature (1926)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (333)  |  Phenomenon (318)  |  Herbert Spencer (37)  |  Underlie (18)  |  Underly (2)

… for it is very probable, that the motion of gravity worketh weakly, both far from the earth, and also within the earth: the former because the appetite of union of dense bodies with the earth, in respect of the distance, is more dull: the latter, because the body hath in part attained its nature when it is some depth in the earth.
[Foreshadowing Newton's Universal Law of Gravitation (1687)]
Sylva Sylvarum; or a Natural History in Ten Centuries (1627), Century 1, Experiment 33. Collected in The Works of Francis Bacon (1826), Vol 1, 255.
Science quotes on:  |   (2863)  |  Appetite (17)  |  Attain (125)  |  Body (537)  |  Both (493)  |  Depth (94)  |  Distance (161)  |  Dull (54)  |  Earth (996)  |  Former (137)  |  Gravity (132)  |  Law (894)  |  Law Of Gravitation (22)  |  More (2559)  |  Motion (310)  |  Nature (1926)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (333)  |  Respect (207)  |  Union (51)  |  Universal (189)


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.