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 change in motion is proportional to the motive force impressed and takes place along the straight line in which that force is impressed.”
more quiz questions >>
Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index H > Category: Hammer

Hammer Quotes (20 quotes)

Il n'y a qu'un demi-siècle, un orateur chrétien, se défiant des hommes de la science leur disait: 'Arrêtez-vous enfin, et ne creusez pas jusqu'aux enfers.' Aujourd'hui, Messieurs, rassurés sur l'inébranlable constance de notre foi, nous vous disons: creusez, creusez encore; plus vous descendrez, plus vous rapprocherez du grand mystère de l'impuissance de l'homme et de la vérité de la religion. Creusez donc, creusez toujours,mundum tradidit disputationibus eorum; et quand la science aura donné son dernier coup de marteau sur les fondements de la terre, vous pourrez à la lueur du feu qu'il fera jaillir, lire encore l'idée de Dieu et contempler l'empreinte de sa main.
Only a half-century ago, a Christian speaker, mistrustful of men of science told them: 'Stop finally, and do not dig to hell.' Today, gentlemen, reassured about the steadfastness of our unshakeable faith, we say: dig, dig again; the further down you, the closer you come to the great mystery of the impotence of man and truth of religion. So dig, always dig: and when science has stuck its final hammer blow on the bosom of the earth, you will be able to ignite a burst of light, read furthermore the mind of God and contemplate the imprint of His hand.
As Monseigneur Rendu, Bishop of Annecy, Savoy, presiding at the closing session of a meeting of the Geological Society of France at Chambéry, Savoy (27 Aug 1844). In Bulletin de la Société Géologique de France 1843 à 1844, Tome 1, Ser. 2, 857. (1844), li. Google trans., edited by Webmaster.
Science quotes on:  |  Bosom (8)  |  Burst (23)  |  Contemplation (51)  |  Dig (9)  |  Earth (621)  |  Faith (155)  |  God (521)  |  Hell (32)  |  Impotence (7)  |  Imprint (3)  |  Light (341)  |  Men Of Science (130)  |  Mind (726)  |  Mistrust (4)  |  Mystery (149)  |  Read (139)  |  Religion (234)  |  Science And Religion (298)  |  Steadfastness (2)  |  Stop (71)  |  Truth (899)

Natura non facit saltum or, Nature does not make leaps… If you assume continuity, you can open the well-stocked mathematical toolkit of continuous functions and differential equations, the saws and hammers of engineering and physics for the past two centuries (and the foreseeable future).
From Benoit B. Mandelbrot and Richard Hudson, The (Mis)Behaviour of Markets: A Fractal View of Risk, Ruin and Reward (2004,2010), 85-86.
Science quotes on:  |  Assume (35)  |  Century (127)  |  Continuity (29)  |  Continuous (37)  |  Differential (7)  |  Engineering (123)  |  Equation (90)  |  Foreseeable (3)  |  Function (127)  |  Future (280)  |  Leap (33)  |  Mathematics (1124)  |  Natura Non Facit Saltum (2)  |  Nature (1186)  |  Open (66)  |  Physics (337)  |  Saw (3)

Phenomenology is not a philosophy; it is a philosophical method, a tool. It is like an adjustable spanner that can be used for dismantling a refrigerator or a car, or used for hammering in nails, or even for knocking somebody out.
In Introduction to the New Existentialism (1966), 92.
Science quotes on:  |  Car (27)  |  Dismantle (2)  |  Method (225)  |  Nail (5)  |  Phenomenology (3)  |  Philosophy (250)  |  Refrigerator (5)  |  Spanner (2)  |  Tool (82)

Question: What is the reason that the hammers which strike the strings of a pianoforte are made not to strike the middle of the strings? Why are the bass strings loaded with coils of wire?
Answer: Because the tint of the clang would be bad. Because to jockey them heavily.
Genuine student answer* to an Acoustics, Light and Heat paper (1880), Science and Art Department, South Kensington, London, collected by Prof. Oliver Lodge. Quoted in Henry B. Wheatley, Literary Blunders (1893), 176, Question 3. (*From a collection in which Answers are not given verbatim et literatim, and some instances may combine several students' blunders.)
Science quotes on:  |  Answer (241)  |  Bad (95)  |  Coil (3)  |  Examination (65)  |  Heavy (21)  |  Howler (15)  |  Jockey (2)  |  Load (10)  |  Middle (15)  |  Piano (12)  |  Question (397)  |  Reason (446)  |  Strike (37)  |  String (19)  |  Tint (2)  |  Wire (19)

Art, it is said, is not a mirror, but a hammer: it does not reflect, it shapes.
In Literature and Revolution, (1924).
Science quotes on:  |  Art (281)  |  Mirror (29)  |  Reflect (29)  |  Shape (68)

As great Pythagoras of yore,
Standing beside the blacksmith’s door,
And hearing the hammers, as they smote
The anvils with a different note,
Stole from the varying tones, that hung
Vibrant on every iron tongue,
The secret of the sounding wire.
And formed the seven-chorded lyre.
From poem 'Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie' (1847), as collected in The Poetical Works of H.W. Longfellow (1855), 132.
Science quotes on:  |  Anvil (3)  |  Blacksmith (5)  |  Chord (3)  |  Hearing (28)  |  Iron (62)  |  Note (33)  |  Pythagoras (34)  |  Secret (125)  |  Sound (86)  |  Standing (11)  |  Tone (10)  |  Tongue (19)  |  Vibrant (2)  |  Wire (19)

Few intellectual tyrannies can be more recalcitrant than the truths that everybody knows and nearly no one can defend with any decent data (for who needs proof of anything so obvious). And few intellectual activities can be more salutary than attempts to find out whether these rocks of ages might crumble at the slightest tap of an informational hammer.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Activity (126)  |  Age (174)  |  Attempt (117)  |  Crumble (3)  |  Data (119)  |  Decent (5)  |  Defend (28)  |  Everybody (24)  |  Find Out (18)  |  Intellectual (117)  |  Know (519)  |  Nearly (25)  |  Need (270)  |  Obvious (77)  |  Proof (242)  |  Rock (125)  |  Salutary (5)  |  Slight (30)  |  Tap (9)  |  Truth (899)  |  Tyranny (7)

Geology ... offers always some material for observation. ... [When] spring and summer come round, how easily may the hammer be buckled round the waist, and the student emerge from the dust of town into the joyous air of the country, for a few delightful hours among the rocks.
In The Story of a Boulder: or, Gleanings from the Note-book of a Field Geologist (1858), viii.
Science quotes on:  |  Buckle (4)  |  Count (48)  |  Delight (63)  |  Dust (49)  |  Ease (34)  |  Emergence (24)  |  Geology (197)  |  Hour (68)  |  Joy (87)  |  Material (150)  |  Observation (443)  |  Rock (125)  |  Season (26)  |  Spring (67)  |  Student (198)  |  Summer (32)  |  Town (24)  |  Waist (2)  |  Year (292)

Hence dusky Iron sleeps in dark abodes,
And ferny foliage nestles in the nodes;
Till with wide lungs the panting bellows blow,
And waked by fire the glittering torrents flow;
Quick whirls the wheel, the ponderous hammer falls,
Loud anvils ring amid the trembling walls,
Strokes follow strokes, the sparkling ingot shines,
Flows the red slag, the lengthening bar refines;
Cold waves, immersed, the glowing mass congeal,
And turn to adamant the hissing Steel.
Science quotes on:  |  Anvil (3)  |  Bellows (3)  |  Dusky (4)  |  Furnace (11)  |  Iron (62)  |  Mineralogy (20)  |  Steel (17)

I with my hammer pounding evermore
The rocky coast, smite Andes into dust.
Strewing my bed and, in another age.
Rebuild a continent for better men.
Poem, 'Seashore' (1857), published in The Boatswain’s Whistle (Boston 18 Nov 1864). Collected in Percy H. Boynton (ed.), American poetry (1921), 217. The blank verse of this poem was recast from a prose passage he wrote in his journal (3 Jul 1857), the day after a two-week visit to Cap Ann.
Science quotes on:  |  Age (174)  |  Andes (2)  |  Bed (22)  |  Coast (13)  |  Continent (52)  |  Dust (49)  |  Rock (125)  |  Smite (4)  |  Strewing (2)

If only the Geologists would let me alone, I could do very well, but those dreadful Hammers! I hear the clink of them at the end of every cadence of the Bible verses.
Letter to Henry Acland (24 May 1851).
Science quotes on:  |  Bible (88)  |  Cadence (2)  |  Geologist (47)  |  Verse (8)

If we compare a mathematical problem with an immense rock, whose interior we wish to penetrate, then the work of the Greek mathematicians appears to us like that of a robust stonecutter, who, with indefatigable perseverance, attempts to demolish the rock gradually from the outside by means of hammer and chisel; but the modern mathematician resembles an expert miner, who first constructs a few passages through the rock and then explodes it with a single blast, bringing to light its inner treasures.
In Die Entwickelung der Mathematik in den letzten Jahrhunderten (1869), 9. As translated in Robert Édouard Moritz, Memorabilia Mathematica; Or, The Philomath’s Quotation-book (1914), 114. From the original German, “Vergleichen wir ein mathematisches Problem mit einem gewaltigen Felsen, in dessen Inneres wir eindringen wollen, so erscheint die Arbeit der griechischen Mathematiker uns als die eines rüstigen Steinhauers, der mit Hammer und Meissel in unermüdlicher Ausdauer den Felsen langsam von aussen her zu zerbröckeln beginnt; der moderne Mathematiker aber als ein trefflicher Minirer, der diesen Felsen zunächst mit wenigen Gängen durchzieht, von denen aus er dann den Felsblock mit einem gewaltigem Schlage zersprengt und die Schätze des Inneren zu Tage fördert.”
Science quotes on:  |  Appear (111)  |  Attempt (117)  |  Blast (10)  |  Bring (86)  |  Chisel (2)  |  Compare (37)  |  Construct (40)  |  Demolish (4)  |  Expert (49)  |  Explode (7)  |  First (303)  |  Gradual (26)  |  Greek (68)  |  Immense (40)  |  Inner (39)  |  Interior (19)  |  Light (341)  |  Mathematician (359)  |  Mathematics (1124)  |  Means (166)  |  Miner (9)  |  Modern (155)  |  Modern Mathematics (33)  |  Outside (48)  |  Passage (20)  |  Penetrate (29)  |  Perseverance (20)  |  Problem (475)  |  Resemble (25)  |  Robust (7)  |  Rock (125)  |  Single (117)  |  Treasure (45)  |  Wish (89)  |  Work (609)

It is the anvil that makes the hammer fly back
From the original French, “C’est l’enclume qui repousse le marteau,” in 'Des Confeils', L’Esprit (1758), Discourse 4, Chap. 11, 576. English version from Claude Adrien Helvétius and William Mudford (trans.), 'Of Advice', De l’Esprit or, Essays on the Mind and its Several Faculties (1759), Essay 4, Chap. 11, 295.
Science quotes on:  |  Anvil (3)  |  Repel (2)

Many small strikes of a hammer will finally have as much effect as one very heavy blow.
From the original French, “Plusieurs petits coups de Marteau ne fassent enfin autant d’effet qu’vn fort grand coup,” in letter (11 Mar 1640) to Père Marin Mersenne (AT III 36), collected in Lettres de Mr Descartes (1659), Vol. 2, 211-212. English version by Webmaster using online resources. See context in longer quote that begins, “I have no doubt….” on the René Descartes Quotes page of this website.
Science quotes on:  |  Effect (164)  |  Finally (26)  |  Great (503)  |  Heavy (21)  |  Small (157)  |  Strike (37)

Mathematics may be likened to a large rock whose interior composition we wish to examine. The older mathematicians appear as persevering stone cutters slowly attempting to demolish the rock from the outside with hammer and chisel. The later mathematicians resemble expert miners who seek vulnerable veins, drill into these strategic places, and then blast the rock apart with well placed internal charges.
From In Mathematical Circles (1969), 7.
Science quotes on:  |  Appear (111)  |  Attempt (117)  |  Blast (10)  |  Charge (33)  |  Chisel (2)  |  Composition (54)  |  Cutter (2)  |  Demolish (4)  |  Drill (10)  |  Examine (44)  |  Expert (49)  |  Interior (19)  |  Internal (22)  |  Later (17)  |  Mathematician (359)  |  Mathematics (1124)  |  Miner (9)  |  Older (7)  |  Outside (48)  |  Place (169)  |  Resemble (25)  |  Rock (125)  |  Seek (99)  |  Stone (74)  |  Vein (13)  |  Vulnerable (5)  |  Wish (89)

Old King Coal was a merry old soul:
“I’ll move the world,” quoth he;
“My England’s high, and rich, and great,
But greater she shall be !”
And he call’d for the pick, and he call’d for the spade,
And he call’d for his miners bold;
“ And it’s dig,” he said, “in the deep, deep earth;
You’ll find my treasures better worth
Than mines of Indian gold!”

Old King Coal was a merry old soul,
Yet not content was he;
And he said, “I’ve found what I’ve desired,
Though ’tis but one of three.”
And he call’d for water, he call’d for fire,
For smiths and workmen true:
“Come, build me engines great and strong ;
We’ll have,” quoth he, “a change ere long;
We’ll try what Steam can do.”

Old King Coal was a merry old soul:
“’Tis fairly done,” quoth he,
When he saw the myriad wheels at work
O’er all the land and sea.
They spared the bones and strength of men,
They hammer’d, wove, and spun;
There was nought too great, too mean, or small,
The giant Steam had power for all;—
His task was never done.
From song, 'Old King Coal' (1846), collected in The Poetical Works of Charles Mackay: Now for the First Time Collected Complete in One Volume (1876), 565. To the melody of 'Old King Cole'.
Science quotes on:  |  Blacksmith (5)  |  Change (357)  |  Coal (44)  |  Fire (131)  |  Industrial Revolution (9)  |  Loom (12)  |  Machine (153)  |  Miner (9)  |  Pick (16)  |  Power (352)  |  Railroad (27)  |  Spade (3)  |  Steam (29)  |  Transport (15)  |  Water (281)  |  Wheel (20)  |  Workman (13)

The personal adventures of a geologist would form an amusing narrative. He is trudging along, dusty and weather­beaten, with his wallet at his back, and his hammer on his shoulder, and he is taken for a stone-mason travelling in search of work. In mining-countries, he is supposed to be in quest of mines, and receives many tempting offers of shares in the ‘Wheel Dream’, or the ‘Golden Venture’;—he has been watched as a smuggler; it is well if he has not been committed as a vagrant, or apprehended as a spy, for he has been refused admittance to an inn, or has been ushered into the room appropriated to ostlers and postilions. When his fame has spread among the more enlightened part of the community of a district which he has been exploring, and inquiries are made of the peasantry as to the habits and pursuits of the great philosopher who has been among them, and with whom they have become familiar, it is found that the importance attached by him to shells and stones, and such like trumpery, is looked upon as a species of derangement, but they speak with delight of his affability, sprightliness, and good-humour. They respect the strength of his arm, and the weight of his hammer, as they point to marks which he inflicted on the rocks, and they recount with wonder his pedestrian performances, and the voracious appetite with which, at the close of a long day’s work he would devour the coarsest food that was set before him.
In Practical Geology and Mineralogy: With Instructions for the Qualitative Analysis of Minerals (1841), 31-2.
Science quotes on:  |  Adventure (47)  |  Derangement (2)  |  Dream (161)  |  Exploration (122)  |  Geologist (47)  |  Importance (213)  |  Mine (16)  |  Quest (32)  |  Rock (125)  |  Shell (40)  |  Species (214)  |  Stone (74)  |  Vagrant (4)  |  Venture (18)

We have one of his [Newton’s] college memorandum-books, which is highly interesting. The following are some of the entries: “Drills, gravers, a hone, a hammer, and a mandril, 5s.;” “a magnet, 16s.;” “compasses, 2s.;” “glass bubbles, 4s.;” “at the tavern several other times, £1;” “spent on my cousin, 12s.;” “on other acquaintances, 10s.;” “Philosophical Intelligences, 9s. 6d.;” “lost at cards twice, 15s.;” “at the tavern twice, 3s. 6d.;” “to three prisms, £3;” “four ounces of putty, 1s. 4d.;” “Bacon’s Miscellanies, 1s. 6d.;” “a bible binding, 3s.;” “for oranges to my sister, 4s. 2d.;” “for aquafortis, sublimate, oyle pink, fine silver, antimony, vinegar, spirit of wine, white lead, salt of tartar, £2;” “Theatrum chemicum, £1 8s.”
In 'Sir Isaac Newton', People’s Book of Biography: Or, Short Lives of the Most Interesting Persons of All Ages and Countries (1868), 255.
Science quotes on:  |  Acquaintance (21)  |  Antimony (6)  |  Bacon (4)  |  Bible (88)  |  Binding (9)  |  Book (250)  |  Bubble (15)  |  Card (4)  |  College (35)  |  Compass (24)  |  Cousin (4)  |  Drill (10)  |  Glass (43)  |  Hone (3)  |  Intelligence (163)  |  Interesting (48)  |  Lead (157)  |  Lose (90)  |  Magnet (10)  |  Mathematicians and Anecdotes (120)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (326)  |  Orange (11)  |  Ounce (7)  |  Philosophical (23)  |  Pound (10)  |  Prism (6)  |  Putty (2)  |  Salt (26)  |  Silver (33)  |  Sister (6)  |  Spend (41)  |  Spirit (150)  |  Sublimate (4)  |  Vinegar (6)  |  Wine (28)

When autumn returns with its long anticipated holidays, and preparations are made for a scamper in some distant locality, hammer and notebook will not occupy much room in the portmanteau, and will certainly be found most entertaining company.
In The Story of a Boulder: or, Gleanings from the Note-book of a Field Geologist (1858), viii.
Science quotes on:  |  Anticipation (14)  |  Autumn (7)  |  Company (30)  |  Distance (75)  |  Entertainment (12)  |  Geology (197)  |  Locality (6)  |  Notebook (4)  |  Preparation (41)  |  Return (54)

When the uncultured man sees a stone in the road it tells him no story other than the fact that he sees a stone ... The scientist looking at the same stone perhaps will stop, and with a hammer break it open, when the newly exposed faces of the rock will have written upon them a history that is as real to him as the printed page.
In Nature's Miracles: Familiar Talks on Science (1899), Vol. 1, 2.
Science quotes on:  |  Break (51)  |  Culture (100)  |  Expose (16)  |  Face (107)  |  Fact (704)  |  History (364)  |  Look (50)  |  Man (369)  |  Open (66)  |  Page (27)  |  Print (15)  |  Reality (184)  |  Road (61)  |  Rock (125)  |  Scientist (505)  |  Stone (74)  |  Stop (71)  |  Story (70)  |  Telling (23)  |  Writing (76)


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.