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

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition, we must lead it... That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared.”
more quiz questions >>
Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index M > Category: Mad

Mad Quotes (24 quotes)

Goldsmith: If you put a tub full of blood into a stable, the horses are like to go mad.
Johnson: I doubt that.
Goldsmith: Nay, sir, it is a fact well authenticated.
Thrale: You had better prove it before you put it into your book on natural history. You may do it in my stable if you will.
Johnson: Nay, sir, I would not have him prove it. If he is content to take his information from others, he may get through his book with little trouble, and without much endangering his reputation. But if he makes experiments for so comprehensive a book as his, there would be no end to them; his erroneous assertions would then fall upon himself: and he might be blamed for not having made experiments as to every particular.
In James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D.: Comprehending an Account of His Studies and Numerous Works (1785, 1830), 229-230.
Science quotes on:  |  Assertion (32)  |  Blame (24)  |  Blood (104)  |  Book (257)  |  Comprehensive (16)  |  Content (66)  |  Doubt (159)  |  Endanger (3)  |  Error (275)  |  Experiment (600)  |  Fact (725)  |  Fall (119)  |  Oliver Goldsmith (13)  |  Horse (49)  |  Information (121)  |  Natural History (49)  |  Particular (75)  |  Prove (108)  |  Reputation (28)  |  Stable (17)  |  Trouble (72)

An undevout astronomer is mad.
The Complaint: or, Night-Thoughts on Life, Death, and Immortality (1742, 1750), Night 9, 260.
Science quotes on:  |  Astronomer (68)  |  Undevout (2)

Anyone who believes in indefinite growth in anything physical, on a physically finite planet, is either mad—or an economist.
Expressing concern about ecosystems ruined by the arrival of man. As quoted by Philip Maughan, 'Sixty Years of Attenborough Through the Eyes of the New Statesman', New Statesman (21 Dec 2012), 141, No. 5138, 34. The quote came from Attenborough writing in an April 2013 issue of the same periodical.
Science quotes on:  |  Belief (503)  |  Economist (17)  |  Finite (31)  |  Growth (122)  |  Indefinite (8)  |  Physical (129)  |  Planet (262)

As soon as he ceased to be mad he became merely stupid. There are maladies we must not seek to cure because they alone protect us from others that are more serious.
'Le Côté de Guermantes', À la recherche du temps perdu (1913-27).
Science quotes on:  |  Cure (96)  |  Disease (275)  |  Malady (6)  |  Protect (33)  |  Serious (52)  |  Stupid (18)

For too much learning makes no man mad!
From poem, 'An Essay on Mind' (1826), line 584. In Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Harriet Waters Preston (ed.), 'Appendix: Juvenilia', The Complete Poetical Works of Mrs. Browning (1900), 505.
Science quotes on:  |  Learn (281)  |  Man (373)

How quickly do we grow accustomed to wonders. I am reminded of the Isaac Asimov story “Nightfall,” about the planet where the stars were visible only once in a thousand years. So awesome was the sight that it drove men mad. We who can see the stars every night glance up casually at the cosmos and then quickly down again, searching for a Dairy Queen.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Accustomed (16)  |  Isaac Asimov (264)  |  Awesome (11)  |  Casually (2)  |  Cosmos (52)  |  Dairy (2)  |  Down (86)  |  Drive (55)  |  Glance (19)  |  Grow (98)  |  Night (117)  |  Planet (262)  |  Queen (14)  |  Quickly (18)  |  Remind (13)  |  Search (104)  |  See (369)  |  Sight (47)  |  Star (336)  |  Story (72)  |  Thousand (152)  |  Visible (37)  |  Wonder (169)  |  Year (299)

I always feel like our descendants—they're going to be upset with us for wrecking the planet anyway—but they're really going to be mad that we didn't even bother to take a good picture. [On the importance of thorough research of even a little ant species.]
Quoted from NPR radio interview, also published on NPR web page by Christopher Joyce, Morning Edition (1 Aug 2013).
Science quotes on:  |  Ant (24)  |  Bother (7)  |  Descendant (13)  |  Earth (635)  |  Ecology (69)  |  Good (345)  |  Picture (75)  |  Research (589)  |  Upset (8)  |  Wreck (7)

It is sages and grey-haired philosophers who ought to sit up all night reading Alice in Wonderland in order to study that darkest problem of metaphysics, the borderland between reason and unreason, and the nature of the most erratic of spiritual forces, humour, which eternally dances between the two. That we do find a pleasure in certain long and elaborate stories, in certain complicated and curious forms of diction, which have no intelligible meaning whatever, is not a subject for children to play with; it is a subject for psychologists to go mad over.
In 'The Library of the Nursery', in Lunacy and Letters (1958), 26.
Science quotes on:  |  Alice In Wonderland (5)  |  Borderland (4)  |  Lewis Carroll (44)  |  Certain (125)  |  Child (245)  |  Complicated (61)  |  Curious (41)  |  Dance (26)  |  Dark (76)  |  Elaborate (20)  |  Erratic (3)  |  Eternal (67)  |  Force (249)  |  Humour (103)  |  Intelligible (18)  |  Long (172)  |  Meaning (111)  |  Metaphysic (6)  |  Nature (1211)  |  Philosopher (164)  |  Play (110)  |  Pleasure (130)  |  Problem (490)  |  Psychologist (15)  |  Read (144)  |  Reason (454)  |  Sage (15)  |  Spiritual (55)  |  Story (72)  |  Study (461)  |  Subject (235)  |  Unreason (2)

It is the very error of the moon;
She comes more nearer earth than she was wont,
And makes men mad.
In Othello (1622), Act 5, Scene 2, line 109-111.
Science quotes on:  |  Earth (635)  |  Error (275)  |  Moon (199)

Mathematicians go mad, and cashiers; but creative artists very seldom. I am not, as will be seen, in any sense attacking logic: I only say that the danger does lie in logic, not in imagination.
In Orthodoxy (1908), 27.
Science quotes on:  |  Artist (61)  |  Creativity (70)  |  Danger (78)  |  Imagination (268)  |  Logic (247)  |  Mathematician (364)  |  Seldom (28)

Mathematics is a dangerous profession; an appreciable proportion of us go mad.
In A Mathematician’s Miscellany (1953), reissued as Béla Bollobás (ed.), Littlewood’s Miscellany (1986), 104.
Science quotes on:  |  Mathematics (1149)  |  Profession (60)  |  Proportion (70)

Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one.
From Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions (1841), Vol. 1, 3.
Science quotes on:  |  Herd (14)  |  Man (373)  |  Recover (11)  |  See (369)  |  Sense (315)  |  Slow (55)  |  Think (341)

Sooner or later in every talk, [David] Brower describes the creation of the world. He invites his listeners to consider the six days of Genesis as a figure of speech for what has in fact been 4 billion years. On this scale, one day equals something like six hundred and sixty-six million years, and thus, all day Monday and until Tuesday noon, creation was busy getting the world going. Life began Tuesday noon, and the beautiful organic wholeness of it developed over the next four days. At 4 p.m. Saturday, the big reptiles came on. At three minutes before midnight on the last day, man appeared. At one-fourth of a second before midnight Christ arrived. At one-fortieth of a second before midnight, the Industrial Revolution began. We are surrounded with people who think that what we have been doing for that one-fortieth of a second can go on indefinitely. They are considered normal, but they are stark. raving mad.
In Encounters with the Archdruid (1971), 79-80.
Science quotes on:  |  Appear (115)  |  Arrive (35)  |  Beautiful (138)  |  Begin (106)  |  Big (48)  |  Billion (62)  |  Brower (2)  |  Busy (28)  |  Christ (6)  |  Consider (80)  |  Creation (239)  |  David (6)  |  Describe (56)  |  Develop (103)  |  Equal (77)  |  Fact (725)  |  Figure (68)  |  Genesis (17)  |  Hundred (64)  |  Indefinitely (10)  |  Industrial Revolution (10)  |  Invite (9)  |  Late (52)  |  Life (1124)  |  Listener (5)  |  Midnight (11)  |  Million (111)  |  Minute (43)  |  Monday (3)  |  Next (35)  |  Noon (6)  |  Normal (27)  |  Organic (54)  |  P (2)  |  People (388)  |  Reptile (26)  |  Saturday (5)  |  Scale (62)  |  Second (59)  |  Sooner (6)  |  Speech (46)  |  Stark (3)  |  Surround (29)  |  Talk (99)  |  Think (341)  |  Tuesday (3)  |  Wholeness (7)  |  World (892)  |  Year (299)

Superstition is to religion what astrology is to astronomy; the mad daughter of a wise mother.
'A Treatise in Toleration'. In Voltaire, Tobias George Smollett (ed.) and William F. Fleming (trans.), The Works of Voltaire (1904), Vol. 4, 265.
Science quotes on:  |  Astrology (39)  |  Astronomy (203)  |  Daughter (16)  |  Mother (71)  |  Religion (239)  |  Superstition (56)

The inside of a computer is as dumb as hell but it goes like mad!
Feynman Lectures on Computation (1996), 7.
Science quotes on:  |  Computer (104)  |  Dumb (9)  |  Inside (26)

The last level of metaphor in the Alice books is this: that life, viewed rationally and without illusion, appears to be a nonsense tale told by an idiot mathematician. At the heart of things science finds only a mad, never-ending quadrille of Mock Turtle Waves and Gryphon Particles. For a moment the waves and particles dance in grotesque, inconceivably complex patterns capable of reflecting on their own absurdity.
In 'Introduction', The Annotated Alice (1974), viii.
Science quotes on:  |  Absurdity (21)  |  Appear (115)  |  Capable (49)  |  Complex (94)  |  Dance (26)  |  Grotesque (6)  |  Idiot (17)  |  Illusion (43)  |  Inconceivable (12)  |  Life (1124)  |  Mathematician (364)  |  Metaphor (25)  |  Moment (106)  |  Never-Ending (3)  |  Nonsense (40)  |  Particle (99)  |  Pattern (79)  |  Reflect (31)  |  Tale (15)  |  View (171)  |  Wave (67)

The ‘mad idea’ which will lie at the basis of a future fundamental physical theory will come from a realization that physical meaning has some mathematical form not previously associated with reality. From this point of view the problem of the ‘mad idea’ is the problem of choosing, not of generating, the right idea. One should not understand that too literally. In the 1960s it was said (in a certain connection) that the most important discovery of recent years in physics was the complex numbers. The author [Yuri Manin] has something like that in mind.
Mathematics and Physics (1981), Foreward. Reprinted in Mathematics as Metaphor: Selected Essays of Yuri I. Manin (2007), 90.
Science quotes on:  |  Associate (14)  |  Author (61)  |  Basis (89)  |  Certain (125)  |  Choose (59)  |  Complex Number (3)  |  Connection (107)  |  Discovery (676)  |  Form (308)  |  Fundamental (158)  |  Future (284)  |  Generate (14)  |  Idea (577)  |  Important (202)  |  Lie (115)  |  Literally (8)  |  Mathematics (1149)  |  Mean (101)  |  Mind (743)  |  Physical (129)  |  Physics (346)  |  Point Of View (41)  |  Previously (11)  |  Problem (490)  |  Reality (188)  |  Realization (37)  |  Recent (29)  |  Right (196)  |  Say (228)  |  Theory (690)  |  Understand (326)  |  Year (299)

They thought I was crazy, absolutely mad.
The response (1944) of the National Academy of Sciences, to her (later Nobel prize-winning) theory that proposed that genes could transition—'jumping'—to new locations on a chromosome.
Quoted in Claudia Wallis, 'Honoring a Modern Mendel', Time (24 Oct 1983), 43.
Science quotes on:  |  Chromosome (19)  |  Crazy (17)  |  Gene (72)

Time’s arrow of ‘just history’ marks each moment of time with a distinctive brand. But we cannot, in our quest to understand history, be satisfied only with a mark to recognize each moment and a guide to order events in temporal sequence. Uniqueness is the essence of history, but we also crave some underlying generality, some principles of order transcending the distinction of moments–lest we be driven mad by Borges’s vision of a new picture every two thousand pages in a book without end. We also need, in short, the immanence of time’s cycle.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Arrow (13)  |  Book (257)  |  Brand (2)  |  Crave (9)  |  Cycle (27)  |  Distinction (44)  |  Distinctive (14)  |  Drive (55)  |  End (195)  |  Essence (54)  |  Event (115)  |  Generality (34)  |  Guide (62)  |  History (368)  |  Lest (3)  |  Mark (42)  |  Moment (106)  |  Need (283)  |  New (483)  |  Order (239)  |  Page (27)  |  Picture (75)  |  Principle (285)  |  Quest (32)  |  Recognize (66)  |  Satisfied (23)  |  Sequence (41)  |  Short (49)  |  Temporal (4)  |  Thousand (152)  |  Time (594)  |  Transcend (17)  |  Underlying (18)  |  Understand (326)  |  Uniqueness (8)  |  Vision (94)

To understand this for sense it is not required that a man should be a geometrician or a logician, but that he should be mad.
In Thomas Hobbes and William Molesworth (ed.), 'Considerations Upon the Answer of Doctor Wallis to the Three Papers of Mr. Hobbes', Leviathan: Or the Matter, Form and Power of a Commonwealth Ecclesiastical and Civil (1845), Vol. 7, 445. What Hobbes refers to as “this” is described as “that the volume generated by revolving the region under 1/x from 1 to infinity has finite volume,” in In Nicholas J. Rose Mathematical Maxims and Minims (1988).
Science quotes on:  |  Geometry (215)  |  Logician (10)  |  Require (79)  |  Sense (315)  |  Understand (326)

To-day we no longer beg of nature; we command her, because we have discovered certain of her secrets and shall discover others each day. We command her in the name of laws she can not challenge because they are hers; these laws we do not madly ask her to change, we are the first to submit to them. Nature can only be governed by obeying her.
In Henri Poincaré and George Bruce Halsted (trans.), The Value of Science: Essential Writings of Henri Poincare (1907), 85.
Science quotes on:  |  Ask (157)  |  Beg (5)  |  Certain (125)  |  Challenge (61)  |  Change (363)  |  Command (27)  |  Discover (196)  |  First (313)  |  Govern (28)  |  Law Of Nature (64)  |  Name (165)  |  Nature (1211)  |  Obey (16)  |  Secret (130)  |  Submit (18)

We find that whole communities suddenly fix their minds upon one object, and go mad in its pursuit; that millions of people become simultaneously impressed with one delusion, and run after it, till their attention is caught by some new folly more captivating than the first.
From Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions (1841), Vol. 1, 1.
Science quotes on:  |  Attention (115)  |  Become (172)  |  Captivate (3)  |  Catch (30)  |  Community (81)  |  Delusion (22)  |  First (313)  |  Fix (25)  |  Folly (32)  |  Impressed (15)  |  Million (111)  |  Mind (743)  |  New (483)  |  Object (169)  |  People (388)  |  Pursuit (76)  |  Run (57)  |  Simultaneous (17)  |  Sudden (32)

We need not join the mad rush to purchase an earthly fallout shelter. God is our eternal fallout shelter.
Quoted in Kim Lim (ed.), 1,001 Pearls of Spiritual Wisdom: Words to Enrich, Inspire, and Guide Your Life (2014), 144
Science quotes on:  |  Earthly (8)  |  Eternal (67)  |  Fallout (2)  |  God (535)  |  Join (25)  |  Need (283)  |  Purchase (7)  |  Rush (18)  |  Shelter (14)

[Alchemists] enrich the ears of men with vain words, but empty their Pockets of their Money. Whence it appears to be no Art, but a Composition of Trifles, and inventions of mad brains.
In The Vanity of the Arts and Sciences (1530), translation (1676), 313.
Science quotes on:  |  Alchemist (17)  |  Appear (115)  |  Art (284)  |  Brain (209)  |  Composition (56)  |  Ear (25)  |  Empty (40)  |  Enrich (11)  |  Invention (318)  |  Money (142)  |  Pocket (11)  |  Trifle (13)  |  Vain (29)  |  Word (299)


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.