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

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “Every body perseveres in its state of being at rest or of moving uniformly straight forward, except insofar as it is compelled to change its state by forces impressed.”
more quiz questions >>
Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index H > Category: Hydrogen

Hydrogen Quotes (37 quotes)

A hundred years ago, Auguste Compte, … a great philosopher, said that humans will never be able to visit the stars, that we will never know what stars are made out of, that that's the one thing that science will never ever understand, because they're so far away. And then, just a few years later, scientists took starlight, ran it through a prism, looked at the rainbow coming from the starlight, and said: “Hydrogen!” Just a few years after this very rational, very reasonable, very scientific prediction was made, that we'll never know what stars are made of.
Quoted in Nina L. Diamond, Voices of Truth (2000), 332.
Science quotes on:  |  Auguste Comte (13)  |  Spectroscopy (11)  |  Star (251)

Adam, the first man, didn’t know anything about the nucleus but Dr. George Gamow, visiting professor from George Washington University, pretends he does. He says for example that the nucleus is 0.00000000000003 feet in diameter. Nobody believes it, but that doesn't make any difference to him.
He also says that the nuclear energy contained in a pound of lithium is enough to run the United States Navy for a period of three years. But to get this energy you would have to heat a mixture of lithium and hydrogen up to 50,000,000 degrees Fahrenheit. If one has a little stove of this temperature installed at Stanford, it would burn everything alive within a radius of 10,000 miles and broil all the fish in the Pacific Ocean.
If you could go as fast as nuclear particles generally do, it wouldn’t take you more than one ten-thousandth of a second to go to Miller's where you could meet Gamow and get more details.
'Gamow interviews Gamow' Stanford Daily, 25 Jun 1936. In Helge Kragh, Cosmology and Controversy: The Historica1 Development of Two Theories of the Universe (1996), 90.
Science quotes on:  |  Fusion (9)  |  Lithium (3)  |  Nuclear Power (9)  |  Nucleus (30)

Built up of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, together with traces of a few other elements, yet of a complexity of structure that has hitherto resisted all attempts at complete analysis, protoplasm is at once the most enduring and the most easily destroyed of substances; its molecules are constantly breaking down to furnish the power for the manifestations of vital phenomena, and yet, through its remarkable property of assimilation, a power possessed by nothing else upon earth, it constantly builds up its substance anew from the surrounding medium.
In History of the Human Body (1919), 1.
Science quotes on:  |  Analysis (123)  |  Assimilation (9)  |  Attempt (94)  |  Carbon (48)  |  Complexity (80)  |  Destruction (80)  |  Enduring (5)  |  Furnish (18)  |  Manifestation (30)  |  Medium (12)  |  Molecule (125)  |  Nitrogen (18)  |  Oxygen (49)  |  Phenomenon (218)  |  Power (273)  |  Protoplasm (12)  |  Resistance (23)  |  Structure (191)  |  Substance (73)  |  Vital (32)

But in the heavens we discover by their light, and by their light alone, stars so distant from each other that no material thing can ever have passed from one to another; and yet this light, which is to us the sole evidence of the existence of these distant worlds, tells us also that each of them is built up of molecules of the same kinds as those which we find on earth. A molecule of hydrogen, for example, whether in Sirius or in Arcturus, executes its vibrations in precisely the same time. Each molecule, therefore, throughout the universe, bears impressed on it the stamp of a metric system as distinctly as does the metre of the Archives at Paris, or the double royal cubit of the Temple of Karnac ... the exact quantity of each molecule to all others of same kind gives it, as Sir John Herschel has well said, the essential character of a manufactured article and precludes the idea of its being external and self-existent.
'Molecules', 1873. In W. D. Niven (ed.), The Scientific Papers of James Clerk Maxwell (1890), Vol. 2, 375-6.
Science quotes on:  |  Character (82)  |  Distance (54)  |  Earth (487)  |  Evidence (157)  |  Existence (254)  |  Sir John Herschel (23)  |  Kind (99)  |  Light (246)  |  Metric System (6)  |  Molecule (125)  |  Star (251)  |  Vibration (13)

Each of us has read somewhere that in New Guinea pidgin the word for 'piano' is (I use English spelling) 'this fellow you hit teeth belonging to him he squeal all same pig'. I am inclined to doubt whether this expression is authentic; it looks just like the kind of thing a visitor to the Islands would facetiously invent. But I accept 'cut grass belong head belong me' for 'haircut' as genuine... Such phrases seem very funny to us, and make us feel very superior to the ignorant foreigners who use long winded expressions for simple matters. And then it is our turn to name quite a simple thing, a small uncomplicated molecule consisting of nothing more than a measly 11 carbons, seven hydrogens, one nitrogen and six oxygens. We sharpen our pencils, consult our rule books and at last come up with 3-[(1, 3- dihydro-1, 3-dioxo-2H-isoindol-2-yl) oxy]-3-oxopropanoic acid. A name like that could drive any self-respecting Papuan to piano-playing.
The Chemist's English (1990), 3rd Edition, 57.
Science quotes on:  |  Book (181)  |  Carbon (48)  |  Complication (20)  |  Expression (82)  |  Foreigner (2)  |  Funny (9)  |  Ignorance (190)  |  Invention (283)  |  Matter (270)  |  Molecule (125)  |  Name (118)  |  New Guinea (2)  |  Oxygen (49)  |  Piano (8)  |  Rule (135)  |  Simple (111)

Four elements, Hydrogen, carbon, oxygen and nitrogen, also provide an example of the astonishing togetherness of our universe. They make up the “organic” molecules that constitute living organisms on a planet, and the nuclei of these same elements interact to generate the light of its star. Then the organisms on the planet come to depend wholly on that starlight, as they must if life is to persist. So it is that all life on the Earth runs on sunlight. [Referring to photosynthesis]
In lecture, 'Life and Mind in the Universe', versions of which George Wald delivered throughout the 1980s. On the website of his son, Elijah Wald, who states it was the last of his father's major lectures.
Science quotes on:  |  Carbon (48)  |  Dependence (32)  |  Element (129)  |  Fusion (9)  |  Interaction (28)  |  Life (917)  |  Molecule (125)  |  Nitrogen (18)  |  Nucleus (30)  |  Organic (48)  |  Organism (126)  |  Oxygen (49)  |  Photosynthesis (15)  |  Planet (199)  |  Star (251)  |  Starlight (3)  |  Sun (211)  |  Sunlight (14)  |  Universe (563)

I notice that, in the lecture … which Prof. Lowry gave recently, in Paris … he brought forward certain freak formulae for tartaric acid, in which hydrogen figures as bigamist … I may say, he but follows the loose example set by certain Uesanians, especially one G. N. Lewis, a Californian thermodynamiter, who has chosen to disregard the fundamental canons of chemistry—for no obvious reason other than that of indulging in premature speculation upon electrons as the cause of valency…
'Bigamist Hydrogen. A Protest', Nature (1926), 117, 553.

I was an impostor, the worthy associate of a brigand, &c., &c., and all this for an atom of chlorine put in the place of an atom of hydrogen, for the simple correction of a chemical formula!
Chemical Method (1855), 203.
Science quotes on:  |  Atom (251)  |  Chlorine (11)  |  Correction (28)  |  Formula (51)  |  Impostor (3)  |  Substitution (6)

If any spiritualistic medium can do stunts, there is no more need for special conditions than there is for a chemist to turn down lights, start operations with a hymn, and ask whether there's any chemical present that has affinity with something named Hydrogen.
Lo! (1932). In The Complete Books of Charles Fort (1975), 575.
Science quotes on:  |  Spiritualism (3)

If God did create the world by a word, the word would have been hydrogen.
Attributed, without source, in Johns S. Rigden, Hydrogen: The Essential Element (2003), 6. If you know the primary source, please contact Webmaster.
Science quotes on:  |  Creation (211)  |  God (454)  |  Word (221)  |  World (667)

If the views we have ventured to advance be correct, we may almost consider {greek words} of the ancients to be realised in hydrogen, an opinion, by the by, not altogether new. If we actually consider the specific gravities of bodies in their gaseous state to represent the number of volumes condensed into one; or in other words, the number of the absolute weight of a single volume of the first matter ({greek words}) which they contain, which is extremely probable, multiples in weight must always indicate multiples in volume, and vice versa; and the specific gravities, or absolute weights of all bodies in a gaseous state, must be multiples of the specific gravity or absolute weight of the first matter, ({Greek words}), because all bodies in the gaseous state which unite with one another unite with reference to their volume.
'Correction of a Mistake in the Essay on the Relation between the Specific Gravities of Bodies in their Gaseous State and the Weights of their Atoms', Annals of Philosophy (1816), 7, 113.
Science quotes on:  |  Advancement (36)  |  Ancient (68)  |  Body (193)  |  Condensation (8)  |  Consideration (65)  |  Correctness (11)  |  Gas (46)  |  Matter (270)  |  Multiple (9)  |  Realization (33)  |  State (96)  |  Venture (12)  |  View (115)  |  Volume (13)  |  Weight (61)

In a certain sense I made a living for five or six years out of that one star [υ Sagittarii] and it is still a fascinating, not understood, star. It’s the first star in which you could clearly demonstrate an enormous difference in chemical composition from the sun. It had almost no hydrogen. It was made largely of helium, and had much too much nitrogen and neon. It’s still a mystery in many ways … But it was the first star ever analysed that had a different composition, and I started that area of spectroscopy in the late thirties.
Oral History Transcript of interview with Dr. Jesse Greenstein by Paul Wright (31 Jul 1974), on website of American Institute of Physics, about his research on strange shell stars. As quoted in J. B. Hearnshaw, The Analysis of Starlight: One Hundred and Fifty Years of Astronomical Spectroscopy (1986, 1990), 362. Hearnshaw footnoted that Berman earlier analysed the peculiar star R CrB (1935).
Science quotes on:  |  Analysis (123)  |  Chemical (72)  |  Composition (52)  |  Difference (208)  |  Fascinating (17)  |  Helium (7)  |  Living (44)  |  Mystery (125)  |  Neon (4)  |  Nitrogen (18)  |  Spectroscopy (11)  |  Star (251)  |  Sun (211)  |  Understanding (317)

In organic chemistry there exist certain types which are conserved even when, in place of hydrogen, equal volumes of chlorine, of bromine, etc. are introduced.
Comptes Rendus, 1839, 8, 609-22. Trans. J. R. Partington, A History of Chemistry, Vol. 4, 364.
Science quotes on:  |  Bromine (3)  |  Chlorine (11)  |  Inorganic (11)  |  Introduce (27)  |  Organic Chemistry (33)

In size the electron bears the same relation to an atom that a baseball bears to the earth. Or, as Sir Oliver Lodge puts it, if a hydrogen atom were magnified to the size of a church, an electron would be a speck of dust in that church.
Quoted in 'Science Entering New Epoch', New York Times (5 Apr 1908), Sunday Magazine, 3.
Science quotes on:  |  Atom (251)  |  Baseball (3)  |  Church (30)  |  Dust (42)  |  Earth (487)  |  Electron (66)  |  Sir Oliver Joseph Lodge (13)  |  Magnification (8)  |  Speck (8)

In the heavens we discover [stars] by their light, and by their light alone ... the sole evidence of the existence of these distant worlds ... that each of them is built up of molecules of the same kinds we find on earth. A molecule of hydrogen, for example, whether in Sirius or in Arcturus, executes its vibrations in precisely the same time. Each molecule therefore throughout the universe bears impressed upon it the stamp of a metric system as distinctly as does the metre of the Archives at Paris, or the royal cubit of the Temple of Karnac.
[Footnote: Where Maxwell uses the term “molecule” we now use the term “atom.”]
Lecture to the British Association at Bradford (1873), 'Atoms and Molecules'. Quoted by Ernest Rutherford, in 'The Constitution of Matter and the Evolution of the Elements', The Popular Science Monthly (Aug 1915), 112.
Science quotes on:  |  Atom (251)  |  Cubit (2)  |  Evidence (157)  |  Existence (254)  |  Light (246)  |  Measurement (148)  |  Metric System (6)  |  Spectroscopy (11)  |  Star (251)  |  Vibration (13)  |  Wavelength (5)

In the year 1902 (while I was attempting to explain to an elementary class in chemistry some of the ideas involved in the periodic law) becoming interested in the new theory of the electron, and combining this idea with those which are implied in the periodic classification, I formed an idea of the inner structure of the atom which, although it contained certain crudities, I have ever since regarded as representing essentially the arrangement of electrons in the atom ... In accordance with the idea of Mendeleef, that hydrogen is the first member of a full period, I erroneously assumed helium to have a shell of eight electrons. Regarding the disposition in the positive charge which balanced the electrons in the neutral atom, my ideas were very vague; I believed I inclined at that time toward the idea that the positive charge was also made up of discrete particles, the localization of which determined the localization of the electrons.
Valence and the Structure of Atoms and Molecules (1923), 29-30.
Science quotes on:  |  Atomic Structure (3)  |  Charge (29)  |  Electron (66)  |  Helium (7)  |  Period (49)  |  Theory (582)

In this communication I wish first to show in the simplest case of the hydrogen atom (nonrelativistic and undistorted) that the usual rates for quantization can be replaced by another requirement, in which mention of “whole numbers” no longer occurs. Instead the integers occur in the same natural way as the integers specifying the number of nodes in a vibrating string. The new conception can be generalized, and I believe it touches the deepest meaning of the quantum rules.
'Quantisierung als Eigenwertproblem', Annalen der Physik (1926), 79, 361. Trans. Walter Moore, Schrödinger: Life and Thought (1989), 200-2.
Science quotes on:  |  Atom (251)  |  Case (64)  |  Communication (58)  |  Integer (4)  |  Requirement (45)  |  Simplicity (126)  |  String (17)  |  Vibration (13)

Incandescent carbon particles, by the tens of millions, leap free of the log and wave like banners, as flame. Several hundred significantly different chemical reactions are now going on. For example, a carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms, coming out of the breaking cellulose, may lock together and form methane, natural gas. The methane, burning (combining with oxygen), turns into carbon dioxide and water, which also go up the flue. If two carbon atoms happen to come out of the wood with six hydrogen atoms, they are, agglomerately, ethane, which bums to become, also, carbon dioxide and water. Three carbons and eight hydrogens form propane, and propane is there, too, in the fire. Four carbons and ten hydrogens—butane. Five carbons … pentane. Six … hexane. Seven … heptane. Eight carbons and eighteen hydrogens—octane. All these compounds come away in the breaking of the cellulose molecule, and burn, and go up the chimney as carbon dioxide and water. Pentane, hexane, heptane, and octane have a collective name. Logs burning in a fireplace are making and burning gasoline.
Pieces of the Frame
Science quotes on:  |  Atom (251)  |  Banner (4)  |  Become (100)  |  Break (33)  |  Bum (3)  |  Burn (29)  |  Carbon (48)  |  Carbon Dioxide (20)  |  Cellulose (3)  |  Chemical Reactions (2)  |  Chimney (2)  |  Collective (16)  |  Combine (15)  |  Compound (53)  |  Different (110)  |  Example (57)  |  Fire (117)  |  Fireplace (2)  |  Five (14)  |  Flame (23)  |  Form (210)  |  Free (59)  |  Gasoline (4)  |  Happen (63)  |  Hundred (46)  |  Incandescent (3)  |  Leap (23)  |  Lock (9)  |  Log (4)  |  Methane (6)  |  Millions (13)  |  Molecule (125)  |  Name (118)  |  Natural Gas (2)  |  Oxygen (49)  |  Particle (90)  |  Several (14)  |  Together (48)  |  Turn (72)  |  Water (244)  |  Wave (55)  |  Wood (33)

It is the task of science, as a collective human undertaking, to describe from the external side, (on which alone agreement is possible), such statistical regularity as there is in a world “in which every event has a unique aspect, and to indicate where possible the limits of such description. It is not part of its task to make imaginative interpretation of the internal aspect of reality—what it is like, for example, to be a lion, an ant or an ant hill, a liver cell, or a hydrogen ion. The only qualification is in the field of introspective psychology in which each human being is both observer and observed, and regularities may be established by comparing notes. Science is thus a limited venture. It must act as if all phenomena were deterministic at least in the sense of determinable probabilities. It cannot properly explain the behaviour of an amoeba as due partly to surface and other physical forces and partly to what the amoeba wants to do, with out danger of something like 100 per cent duplication. It must stick to the former. It cannot introduce such principles as creative activity into its interpretation of evolution for similar reasons. The point of view indicated by a consideration of the hierarchy of physical and biological organisms, now being bridged by the concept of the gene, is one in which science deliberately accepts a rigorous limitation of its activities to the description of the external aspects of events. In carrying out this program, the scientist should not, however, deceive himself or others into thinking that he is giving an account of all of reality. The unique inner creative aspect of every event necessarily escapes him.
In 'Gene and Organism', American Naturalist, (1953), 87, 17.
Science quotes on:  |  Amoeba (20)  |  Ant (19)  |  Cell (125)  |  Evolution (482)  |  Gene (68)  |  Hierarchy (11)  |  Interpretation (61)  |  Ion (8)  |  Lion (15)  |  Liver (12)  |  Observation (418)  |  Organism (126)  |  Statistics (125)  |  Task (68)

It will be a general expression of the facts that have been detailed, relating to the changes and transitions by electricity, in common philosophical language, to say, that hydrogen, the alkaline substances, the metals, and certain metallic oxides, are all attracted by negatively electrified metallic surfaces; and contrariwise, that oxygen and acid substances are attracted by positively electrified metallic surfaces and rejected by negatively electrified metallic surfaces; and these attractive and repulsive forces are sufficiently energetic to destroy or suspend the usual operation of elective affinity.
Bakerian Lecture, 'On Some Chemical Agencies of Electricity', Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, 1807, 97, 28-29.
Science quotes on:  |  Acid (18)  |  Alkali (6)  |  Charge (29)  |  Electricity (121)  |  Oxygen (49)

Judging from our experience upon this planet, such a history, that begins with elementary particles, leads perhaps inevitably toward a strange and moving end: a creature that knows, a science-making animal, that turns back upon the process that generated him and attempts to understand it. Without his like, the universe could be, but not be known, and this is a poor thing. Surely this is a great part of our dignity as men, that we can know, and that through us matter can know itself; that beginning with protons and electrons, out of the womb of time and the vastnesses of space, we can begin to understand; that organized as in us, the hydrogen, the carbon, the nitrogen, the oxygen, those 16-21 elements, the water, the sunlight—all having become us, can begin to understand what they are, and how they came to be.
In 'The Origins of Life', Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (1964), 52, 609-110.
Science quotes on:  |  Animal (309)  |  Beginning (114)  |  Carbon (48)  |  Creature (127)  |  Dignity (18)  |  Electron (66)  |  Element (129)  |  Elementary (30)  |  Experience (268)  |  Generation (111)  |  History (302)  |  Judge (43)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Lead (101)  |  Moving (11)  |  Nitrogen (18)  |  Organized (9)  |  Oxygen (49)  |  Particle (90)  |  Planet (199)  |  Space (154)  |  Strange (61)  |  Sunlight (14)  |  Time (439)  |  Understanding (317)  |  Universe (563)  |  Vastness (9)  |  Water (244)  |  Womb (13)

Let me describe briefly how a black hole might be created. Imagine a star with a mass 10 times that of the sun. During most of its lifetime of about a billion years the star will generate heat at its center by converting hydrogen into helium. The energy released will create sufficient pressure to support the star against its own gravity, giving rise to an object with a radius about five times the radius of the sun. The escape velocity from the surface of such a star would be about 1,000 kilometers per second. That is to say, an object fired vertically upward from the surface of the star with a velocity of less than 1,000 kilometers per second would be dragged back by the gravitational field of the star and would return to the surface, whereas an object with a velocity greater than that would escape to infinity.
When the star had exhausted its nuclear fuel, there would be nothing to maintain the outward pressure, and the star would begin to collapse because of its own gravity. As the star shrank, the gravitational field at the surface would become stronger and the escape velocity would increase. By the time the radius had got down to 10 kilometers the escape velocity would have increased to 100,000 kilometers per second, the velocity of light. After that time any light emitted from the star would not be able to escape to infinity but would be dragged back by the gravitational field. According to the special theory of relativity nothing can travel faster than light, so that if light cannot escape, nothing else can either. The result would be a black hole: a region of space-time from which it is not possible to escape to infinity.
'The Quantum Mechanics of Black Holes', Scientific American, 1977, 236, 34-40.
Science quotes on:  |  Black Hole (14)  |  Helium (7)  |  Light (246)  |  Star (251)

New sources of power … will surely be discovered. Nuclear energy is incomparably greater than the molecular energy we use today. The coal a man can get in a day can easily do five hundred times as much work as himself. Nuclear energy is at least one million times more powerful still. If the hydrogen atoms in a pound of water could be prevailed upon to combine and form helium, they would suffice to drive a thousand-horsepower engine for a whole year. If the electrons, those tiny planets of the atomic systems, were induced to combine with the nuclei in hydrogen, the horsepower would be 120 times greater still. There is no question among scientists that this gigantic source of energy exists. What is lacking is the match to set the bonfire alight, or it may be the detonator to cause the dynamite to explode. The scientists are looking for this.
[In his last major speech to the House of Commons on 1 Mar 1955, Churchill quoted from his original printed article, nearly 25 years earlier.]
'Fifty Years Hence'. Strand Magazine (Dec 1931). Reprinted in Popular Mechanics (Mar 1932), 57:3, 395.
Science quotes on:  |  Atom (251)  |  Dynamite (5)  |  Electron (66)  |  Energy (185)  |  Engine (25)  |  Fusion (9)  |  Helium (7)  |  Nuclear Bomb (4)  |  Nucleus (30)  |  Water (244)

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:  |  Black Hole (14)  |  Bomb (17)  |  Catch (21)  |  Conception (63)  |  Curve (16)  |  Definite (27)  |  Edge (16)  |  Escape (34)  |  Fall (89)  |  Fantastic (7)  |  Field (119)  |  Gargoyle (2)  |  Gravitation (27)  |  Grip (8)  |  Hold (56)  |  Human Mind (51)  |  Light (246)  |  Nothing (267)  |  Space (154)  |  Strong (47)  |  Time (439)  |  Unicorn (2)  |  Warp (5)

Our atom of carbon enters the leaf, colliding with other innumerable (but here useless) molecules of nitrogen and oxygen. It adheres to a large and complicated molecule that activates it, and simultaneously receives the decisive message from the sky, in the flashing form of a packet of solar light; in an instant, like an insect caught by a spider, it is separated from its oxygen, combined with hydrogen and (one thinks) phosphous, and finally inserted in a chain, whether long or short does not matter, but it is the chain of life. All this happens swiftly, in silence, at the temperature and pressure of the atmosphere, and gratis: dear colleagues, when we learn to do likewise we will be sicut Deus [like God], and we will have also solved the problem of hunger in the world.
Levi Primo and Raymond Rosenthal (trans.), The Periodic Table (1975, 1984), 227-228. In this final section of his book, Levi imagines the life of a carbon atom. He calls this his first “literary dream”. It came to him at Auschwitz.
Science quotes on:  |  Activation (5)  |  Adherence (2)  |  Atmosphere (63)  |  Atom (251)  |  Carbon (48)  |  Catch (21)  |  Chain (38)  |  Collision (9)  |  Combination (69)  |  Complicated (38)  |  Decisive (9)  |  Flash (25)  |  Form (210)  |  Gratis (2)  |  Happening (32)  |  Hunger (13)  |  Innumerable (17)  |  Insect (57)  |  Insertion (2)  |  Instant (10)  |  Large (82)  |  Leaf (43)  |  Learning (174)  |  Life (917)  |  Light (246)  |  Likewise (2)  |  Long (95)  |  Message (30)  |  Molecule (125)  |  Nitrogen (18)  |  Oxygen (49)  |  Packet (2)  |  Phosphorus (15)  |  Photon (10)  |  Photosynthesis (15)  |  Pressure (31)  |  Problem (362)  |  Receive (39)  |  Separation (32)  |  Short (31)  |  Simultaneity (3)  |  Sky (68)  |  Solar (6)  |  Solution (168)  |  Spider (8)  |  Sun (211)  |  Swiftness (3)  |  Temperature (42)  |  Uselessness (21)  |  World (667)

Professor Bethe … is a man who has this characteristic: If there’s a good experimental number you’ve got to figure it out from theory. So, he forced the quantum electrodynamics of the day to give him an answer [for the experimentally measured Lamb-shift of hydrogen], … and thus, made the most important discovery in the history of the theory of quantum electrodynamics. He worked this out on the train from Ithaca, New York to Schenectady.
Bethe calculated, what Lamb had experimentally just measured, for the separation of the 2S½ and 2P½ of hydrogen. Both theory and measurement yielded about one thousand megacycles for the Lamb-shift. Feynman was at the time associated with Bethe at Cornell. In Feynman’s Nobel Prize Lecture (11 Dec 1965), 'The Development of the Space-Time View of Quantum Electrodynamics'. Collected in Stig Lundqvist, Nobel Lectures: Physics, 1963-1970 (1998), 170.
Science quotes on:  |  Answer (201)  |  Hans Albrecht Bethe (5)  |  Calculate (15)  |  Characteristic (66)  |  Discovery (591)  |  Experiment (543)  |  History (302)  |  Quantum Electrodynamics (3)  |  Theory (582)

Should the research worker of the future discover some means of releasing this [atomic] energy in a form which could be employed, the human race will have at its command powers beyond the dream of scientific fiction, but the remotest possibility must always be considered that the energy once liberated will be completely uncontrollable and by its intense violence detonate all neighbouring substances. In this event, the whole of the hydrogen on earth might be transformed at once and the success of the experiment published at large to the universe as a new star.
'Mass Spectra and Isotopes', Nobel Lecture, 12 December 1922. In Nobel Lectures, Chemistry, 1922-1941 (1966), 20.
Science quotes on:  |  Atomic Energy (21)  |  Star (251)

The general disposition of the land [in the Periodic Kingdom] is one of metals in the west, giving way, as you travel eastward, to a varied landscape of nonmetals, which terminates in largely inert elements at the eastern shoreline. To the south of the mainland, there is an offshore island, which we shall call the Southern Island. It consists entirely of metals of subtly modulated personality. North of the mainland, situated rather like Iceland off the northwestern edge of Europe, lies a single, isolated region-hydrogen. This simple but gifted element is an essential outpost of the kingdom, for despite its simplicity it is rich in chemical personality. It is also the most abundant element in the universe and the fuel of the stars.
In The Periodic Kingdom: A Journey Into the Land of the Chemical Elements (1995), 9.
Science quotes on:  |  Abundant (3)  |  Chemical (72)  |  Element (129)  |  Essential (87)  |  Fuel (27)  |  Gifted (5)  |  Inert (9)  |  Island (17)  |  Kingdom (34)  |  Landscape (23)  |  Metal (38)  |  Outpost (2)  |  Periodic Table (13)  |  Personality (40)  |  Rich (48)  |  Simple (111)  |  Star (251)  |  Universe (563)  |  Varied (4)

The key to SETI is to guess the type of communication that an alien society would use. The best guesses so far have been that they would use radio waves, and that they would choose a frequency based on 'universal' knowledge—for instance, the 1420 MHz hydrogen frequency. But these are assumptions formulated by the human brain. Who knows what sort of logic a superadvanced nonhuman life form might use? ... Just 150 years ago, an eyeblink in history, radio waves themselves were inconceivable, and we were thinking of lighting fires to signal the Martians.
Quoted on PBS web page related to Nova TV program episode on 'Origins: Do Aliens Exist in the Milky Way'.
Science quotes on:  |  Alien (25)  |  Brain (181)  |  Communication (58)  |  Extraterrestrial Life (18)  |  Fire (117)  |  Guess (36)  |  History (302)  |  Human (445)  |  Lifeform (2)  |  Logic (187)  |  Mars (26)  |  Radio (27)  |  SETI (3)  |  Signal (14)  |  Society (188)

The novel feature of the structure is the manner in which the two chains are held together by the purine and pyrimidine bases. The planes of the bases are perpendicular to the fibre axis. They are joined together in pairs, a single base from one chain being hydrogen-bonded to a single base from the other chain, so that the two lie side by side with identical z-co-ordinates. One of the pair must be 11 purine and the other a pyrimidine for bonding to occur. The hydrogen bonds are made as follows: purine position I to pyrimidine position I; purine position 6 to pyrimidine position 6.
[Co-author with Francis Crick]
In 'Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids', Nature (1953), 171, 737.
Science quotes on:  |  Axis (8)  |  Base (43)  |  Bond (19)  |  Chain (38)  |  Fiber (10)  |  Hold (56)  |  Hydrogen Bond (3)  |  Join (15)  |  Novel (16)  |  Pair (10)  |  Perpendicular (2)  |  Plane (15)  |  Position (54)  |  Structure (191)

The sun is a mass of incandescent gas, a gigantic nuclear furnace,
Where hydrogen is built into helium at a temperature of millions of degrees.
Yo ho, it's hot, the sun is not a place where we could live.
But here on earth there'd be no life without the light it gives.
We need its light, we need its heat, we need its energy.
Without the sun, without a doubt, there'd be no you and me.
Hy Zaret
From song 'Why Does the Sun Shine? (The Sun Is A Mass Of Incandescent Gas)' on LP record album Space Songs (1961), in the series Ballads for the Age of Science. Music by Louis Singer, and sung by Tom Glazer, and also recorded by the group They Might Be Giants (1998). The group followed up with 'Why Does The Sun Really Shine? (The Sun is a Miasma of Incandescent Plasma)' on CD album Here Comes Acience (2009), which corrects several scientific inaccuracies in the lyrics
Science quotes on:  |  Built (7)  |  Degree (48)  |  Earth (487)  |  Energy (185)  |  Furnace (10)  |  Gas (46)  |  Gigantic (16)  |  Heat (90)  |  Helium (7)  |  Hot (17)  |  Incandescent (3)  |  Life (917)  |  Light (246)  |  Live (186)  |  Mass (61)  |  Million (89)  |  Need (211)  |  Nuclear (24)  |  Sun (211)  |  Temperature (42)

The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and human stupidity.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Common (92)  |  Human (445)  |  Stupidity (27)  |  Universe (563)

The worst primary school scolding I ever received was for ridiculing a classmate who asked, ‘What’s an atom?’ To my third grader’s mind, the question betrayed a level of ignorance more befitting a preschooler, but the teacher disagreed and banned me from recess for a week. I had forgotten the incident until a few years ago, while sitting in on a quantum mechanics class taught by a Nobel Prizewinning physicist. Midway through a brutally abstract lecture on the hydrogen atom, a plucky sophomore raised his hand and asked the very same question. To the astonishment of all, our speaker fell silent. He stared out the window for what seemed like an eternity before answering, ‘I don’t know.’
'The Secret Life of Atoms'. Discover (Jun 2007), 28:6, 52.
Science quotes on:  |  Abstract (43)  |  Answer (201)  |  Ask (99)  |  Astonishment (19)  |  Atom (251)  |  Bad (78)  |  Ban (9)  |  Betray (7)  |  Class (64)  |  Disagree (6)  |  Eternity (44)  |  Fall (89)  |  Forget (40)  |  Hand (103)  |  Ignorance (190)  |  Incident (3)  |  Know (321)  |  Lecture (54)  |  Level (51)  |  Midway (3)  |  Mind (544)  |  Physicist (130)  |  Primary (29)  |  Quantum Mechanics (31)  |  Question (315)  |  Raise (20)  |  Receive (39)  |  Recess (5)  |  Ridicule (13)  |  Same (92)  |  School (87)  |  Scold (5)  |  Seem (89)  |  Silent (18)  |  Sit (24)  |  Speaker (5)  |  Stare (3)  |  Teach (102)  |  Teacher (90)  |  Third (11)  |  Week (8)  |  Window (25)  |  Year (214)

There's antimony, arsenic, aluminium, selenium,
And hydrogen and oxygen and
nitrogen and rhenium,
And nickel, neodymium, neptunium, germanium,
And iron, americium, ruthenium, uranium,
Europium, zirconium, lutetium, vanadium,
And lanthanum and osmium and astatine and radium,
And gold and protactinium and indium and gallium,
And iodine and thorium and thulium and thallium.
There's yttrium, ytterbium, actinium, rubidium,
And boron, gadolinium, niobium, iridium,
And strontium and silicon and silver and samarium,
And bismuth, bromine, lithium, beryllium and barium.
There's holmium and helium and hafnium and erbium,
And phosphorus and francium and fluorine and terbium,
And manganese and mercury, molybdenum, magnesium,
Dysprosium and scandium and cerium and cesium,
And lead, praseodymium and platinum, plutonium,
Palladium, promethium, potassium, polonium,
And tantalum, technetium, titanium, tellurium,
And cadmium and calcium and chromium and curium.
There's sulfur, californium and fermium, berkelium,
And also mendelevium, einsteinium, nobelium,
And argon, krypton, neon, radon, xenon, zinc and rhodium,
And chlorine, cobalt, carbon, copper, tungsten, tin and sodium.
These are the only ones of which the news has come to Harvard,
And there may be many others, but they haven't been discarvard.
[To the tune of I am the Very Model of a Modern Major General.]
Song, 'The Elements' (1959). In Tom Lehrer,Too Many Songs by Tom Lehrer: With Not Enough Drawings by Ronald Searle (1981), 151.
Science quotes on:  |  Aluminium (3)  |  Antimony (5)  |  Argon (2)  |  Arsenic (8)  |  Barium (3)  |  Beryllium (2)  |  Bismuth (6)  |  Boron (4)  |  Bromine (3)  |  Calcium (4)  |  Carbon (48)  |  Chlorine (11)  |  Chromium (2)  |  Cobalt (4)  |  Copper (18)  |  Element (129)  |  Erbium (2)  |  Fluorine (4)  |  Francium (2)  |  Gold (55)  |  Helium (7)  |  Iodine (7)  |  Iridium (3)  |  Iron (53)  |  Lanthanum (2)  |  Lead (101)  |  Lithium (3)  |  Magnesium (4)  |  Manganese (2)  |  Mercury (39)  |  Neon (4)  |  Nickel (2)  |  Nitrogen (18)  |  Osmium (3)  |  Oxygen (49)  |  Palladium (2)  |  Phosphorus (15)  |  Platinum (6)  |  Plutonium (3)  |  Polonium (5)  |  Potassium (11)  |  Radium (19)  |  Rhodium (2)  |  Selenium (2)  |  Silicon (3)  |  Silver (26)  |  Sodium (9)  |  Song (18)  |  Strontium (2)  |  Tantalum (2)  |  Thorium (4)  |  Tin (11)  |  Titanium (2)  |  Tungsten (2)  |  Uranium (16)  |  Xenon (5)  |  Yttrium (3)  |  Zinc (3)  |  Zirconium (2)

To understand hydrogen is to understand all of physics.
Anonymous
This quote has been (apparently incorrectly) attributed to Victor Weisskopf, for example in Oxford Dictionary of Science Quotations citing John S. Rigden, The Essential Element (2002), 253. However, Daniel Kleppner in 'The Ying and Yang of Hydrogen', Physics Today (Apr 1999), 11 states he had asked Weisskopf, “but he denied having coined it. Then after a pause, he added, ‘But I wish I had.’” As given; also online. If you know the authentic source of this quote, please contact Webmaster.
Science quotes on:  |  Physics (301)  |  Understanding (317)

When carbon (C), Oxygen (o) and hydrogen (H) atoms bond in a certain way to form sugar, the resulting compound has a sweet taste. The sweetness resides neither in the C, nor in the O, nor in the H; it resides in the pattern that emerges from their interaction. It is an emergent property. Moreover, strictly speaking, is not a property of the chemical bonds. It is a sensory experience that arises when the sugar molecules interact with the chemistry of our taste buds, which in turns causes a set of neurons to fire in a certain way. The experience of sweetness emerges from that neural activity.
In The Hidden Connections (2002), 116-117.
Science quotes on:  |  Activity (97)  |  Carbon (48)  |  Chemical Bond (5)  |  Chemistry (239)  |  Compound (53)  |  Emergence (21)  |  Experience (268)  |  Interaction (28)  |  Molecule (125)  |  Neuron (9)  |  Oxygen (49)  |  Pattern (56)  |  Reside (8)  |  Result (250)  |  Sense (240)  |  Sugar (13)  |  Sweetness (8)  |  Taste (35)

[When combustion occurs,] one body, at least, is oxygenated, and another restored, at the same time, to its combustible state... This view of combustion may serve to show how nature is always the same, and maintains her equilibrium by preserving the same quantities of air and water on the surface of our globe: for as fast as these are consumed in the various processes of combustion, equal quantities are formed, and rise regenerated like the Phoenix from her ashes.
Fulhame believed 'that water was the only source of oxygen, which oxygenates combustible bodies' and that 'the hydrogen of water is the only substance that restores bodies to their combustible state.'
An Essay on Combustion with a View to a New Art of Dyeing and Painting (1794), 179-180. In Marilyn Bailey Ogilvie and Joy Dorothy Harvey, The Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science (2000), 478.
Science quotes on:  |  Combustion (10)  |  Conservation Of Matter (7)  |  Equilibrium (16)  |  Oxidation (6)  |  Oxygen (49)  |  Redox Reaction (2)  |  Reduction (35)


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.