Celebrating 17 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: Mercury

Mercury Quotes (39 quotes)

On the future of Chemistry:
Chemistry is not the preservation hall of old jazz that it sometimes looks like. We cannot know what may happen tomorrow. Someone may oxidize mercury (II), francium (I), or radium (II). A mineral in Nova Scotia may contain an unsaturated quark per 1020 nucleons. (This is still 6000 per gram.) We may pick up an extraterrestrial edition of Chemical Abstracts. The universe may be a 4-dimensional soap bubble in an 11-dimensional space as some supersymmetry theorists argued in May of 1983. Who knows?
George B. Kaufmann, 'Interview with Jannik Bjerrum and Christian Klixbull Jørgensen', Journal of Chemical Education (1985), 62, 1005.
Science quotes on:  |  Bubble (10)  |  Dimension (19)  |  Francium (2)  |  Quark (6)  |  Radium (18)  |  Universe (421)

A barbarous practice, the inconsistency, folly, and injury of which no words can sufficiently describe.
Condemning the use of mercurial medicines.
Quoted in Wooster Beach, A Treatise on Anatomy, Physiology, and Health (1848), 177.
Science quotes on:  |  Drug (37)  |  Medicine (254)  |  Poison (28)

A most vile face! and yet she spends me forty pound a year in Mercury and Hogs Bones. All her teeth were made in the Black-Fryars, both her Eyebrows i’ the Strand, and her Hair in Silver-street. Every part of Town owns a Piece of her.
A reference to artificial teeth by character Otter, speaking of his wife, in Epicoene: or, The Silent Woman (1609), Act IV, Sc. 2, 64. Also, True-wit makes a specific reference to “false Teeth” in Act I, Sc. 1, 10.
Science quotes on:  |  Bone (51)  |  Dentistry (3)  |  Eyebrow (2)  |  Hair (14)  |  Hog (4)  |  Stand (42)  |  Tooth (19)

A night with Venus, a lifetime with Mercury.
[For centuries mercury was used as a treatment for syphilis.]
Anonymous
Saying. In Michael J. O'Dowd and Elliot Philipp, The History of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (2000), 227.
Science quotes on:  |  Medicine (254)  |  STD (2)  |  Syphilis (4)

About ten years ago I read … that the celebrated Amontons, using a thermometer of his own invention, had discovered that water boils at a fixed degree of heat. I was at once inflamed with a great desire to make for myself a thermometer of the same sort, so that I might with my own eyes perceive this beautiful phenomenon of nature, be convinced of the truth of the experiment. … I gathered that a thermometer might be perhaps constructed with mercury, which would not be so hard to construct, and by the use of which it might be possible to carry out the experiment which I so greatly desired to try. When a thermometer of that sort was made (perhaps imperfect in many ways) the result answered to my prayer; and with great pleasure of mind I observed the truth of the thing.
In 'Experimenta circa gradum caloris liquorum nonnullorum ebullientium instituta', Philosophical Transactions (1 Jan 1724), 33, 1 (1724). As translated in Dagobert David Runes, A Treasury of World Science (1962), 274.
Science quotes on:  |  Boil (7)  |  Experiment (487)  |  Heat (80)  |  Thermometer (6)  |  Truth (636)  |  Water (209)

Albertus [Magnus] ... debased the doctrine of Aristotle with the itch of the chemists flowing with the bloody flux of quicksilver and the stench of sulphur.
De Orta et Causis Subterraneorum Lib. V (1546), 46, trans. John Howes.
Science quotes on:  |  Saint Magnus Albertus (7)  |  Aristotle (130)  |  Chemist (73)  |  Sulphur (13)

As there are six kinds of metals, so I have also shown with reliable experiments… that there are also six kinds of half-metals. I through my experiments, had the good fortune … to be the discoverer of a new half-metal, namely cobalt regulus, which had formerly been confused with bismuth.
The six metals were gold, silver, copper, iron, lead, tin. The semimetals, in addition to cobalt, were mercury, bismuth, zinc, and the reguluses of antimony and arsenic. Cited as “According to Zenzén, Brandt stated in his diary for 1741,” in Mary Elvira Weeks and Henry M. Leicester (ed.), Discovery of the Elements (6th edition, revised and enlarged 1960). Brandt presented his work to the Royal Academy of Sciences, Upsala, as printed in 'Dissertatio de semimetallis' (Dissertation on semi-metals) in Acta Literaria et Scientiarum Sveciae (Journal of Swedish literature and sciences) (1735), 4 1-10.
Science quotes on:  |  Antimony (4)  |  Arsenic (6)  |  Bismuth (6)  |  Cobalt (4)  |  Copper (17)  |  Experiment (487)  |  Gold (46)  |  Iron (51)  |  Lead (59)  |  Metal (31)  |  New (225)  |  Reliability (10)  |  Silver (23)  |  Tin (11)  |  Zinc (3)

But that which will excite the greatest astonishment by far, and which indeed especially moved me to call the attention of all astronomers and philosophers, is this: namely, that I have observed four planets, neither known nor observed by any one of the astronomers before my time, which have their orbits round a certain bright star [Jupiter], one of those previously known, like Venus or Mercury round the sun, and are sometimes in front of it, sometimes behind it, though they never depart from it beyond certain limits. All of which facts were discovered and observed a few days ago by the help of a telescope devised by me, through God’s grace first enlightening my mind.
In pamphlet, The Sidereal Messenger (1610), reprinted in The Sidereal Messenger of Galileo Galilei: And a Part of the Preface to the Preface to Kepler's Dioptrics Containing the Original Account of Galileo's Astronomical Discoveries (1880), 9.
Science quotes on:  |  Astonishment (17)  |  Astronomer (45)  |  Attention (67)  |  Behind (11)  |  Discover (72)  |  Especially (10)  |  Excite (8)  |  Fact (494)  |  Four (5)  |  Front (5)  |  Great (155)  |  Jupiter (16)  |  Know (114)  |  Mind (417)  |  Observe (19)  |  Orbit (53)  |  Philosopher (109)  |  Planet (138)  |  Previously (2)  |  Star (207)  |  Sun (168)  |  Telescope (67)  |  Time (309)  |  Venus (11)

But what exceeds all wonders, I have discovered four new planets and observed their proper and particular motions, different among themselves and from the motions of all the other stars; and these new planets move about another very large star [Jupiter] like Venus and Mercury, and perchance the other known planets, move about the Sun. As soon as this tract, which I shall send to all the philosophers and mathematicians as an announcement, is finished, I shall send a copy to the Most Serene Grand Duke, together with an excellent spyglass, so that he can verify all these truths.
Letter to the Tuscan Court, 30 Jan 1610. Quoted in Albert van Heiden (ed.), Siderius Nuncius or The Sidereal Messenger (1989), 18.
Science quotes on:  |  Jupiter (16)  |  Orbit (53)  |  Planet (138)  |  Sun (168)  |  Venus (11)

Chemistry works with an enormous number of substances, but cares only for some few of their properties; it is an extensive science. Physics on the other hand works with rather few substances, such as mercury, water, alcohol, glass, air, but analyses the experimental results very thoroughly; it is an intensive science. Physical chemistry is the child of these two sciences; it has inherited the extensive character from chemistry. Upon this depends its all-embracing feature, which has attracted so great admiration. But on the other hand it has its profound quantitative character from the science of physics.
In Theories of Solutions (1912), xix.
Science quotes on:  |  Admiration (30)  |  Air (127)  |  Alcohol (13)  |  Analysis (111)  |  Care (55)  |  Character (65)  |  Chemistry (210)  |  Child (150)  |  Enormous (22)  |  Experiment (487)  |  Extensive (8)  |  Feature (24)  |  Few (9)  |  Glass (33)  |  Inheritance (14)  |  Intensive (5)  |  Number (135)  |  Physical Chemistry (5)  |  Physics (240)  |  Property (78)  |  Quantitative (13)  |  Result (192)  |  Substance (66)  |  Through (3)  |  Water (209)

Concerning the alchemist, Mamugnano, no one harbors doubts any longer about his daily experiments in changing quicksilver into gold. It was realized that his craft did not go beyond one pound of quicksilver… . Thus the belief is now held that his allegations to produce a number of millions have been a great fraud.
Anonymous
'Further Successes by Bragadini. From Vienna on the 26th day of January 1590'. As quoted in George Tennyson Matthews (ed.) News and Rumor in Renaissance Europe: The Fugger Newsletters (1959), 179. A handwritten collection of news reports (1568-1604) by the powerful banking and merchant house of Fugger in Ausburg.
Science quotes on:  |  Alchemist (12)  |  Change (223)  |  Doubt (86)  |  Experiment (487)  |  Fraud (9)  |  Gold (46)  |  Great (155)  |  Mamugnano (2)  |  Million (62)  |  Minerology (4)  |  Produce (29)  |  Quicksilver (3)

Consider the eighth category, which deals with stones. Wilkins divides them into the following classifications: ordinary (flint, gravel, slate); intermediate (marble, amber, coral); precious (pearl, opal); transparent (amethyst, sapphire); and insoluble (coal, clay, and arsenic). The ninth category is almost as alarming as the eighth. It reveals that metals can be imperfect (vermilion, quicksilver); artificial (bronze, brass); recremental (filings, rust); and natural (gold, tin, copper). The whale appears in the sixteenth category: it is a viviparous, oblong fish. These ambiguities, redundances, and deficiencies recall those attributed by Dr. Franz Kuhn to a certain Chinese encyclopedia entitled Celestial Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge. On those remote pages it is written that animals are divided into (a) those that belong to the Emperor, (b) embalmed ones, (c) those that are trained, (d) suckling pigs, (e) mermaids, (f) fabulous ones, (g) stray dogs, (h) those that are included in this classification, (i) those that tremble as if they were mad, (j) innumerable ones, (k) those drawn with a very fine camel's hair brush, (l) others, (m) those that have just broken a flower vase, (n) those that resemble flies from a distance.
Other Inquisitions 1937-1952 (1964), trans. Ruth L. C. Simms, 103.
Science quotes on:  |  Animal (248)  |  Classification (74)  |  Copper (17)  |  Encyclopedia (5)  |  Gold (46)  |  Metal (31)  |  Stone (51)  |  Tin (11)  |  Whale (16)

He, who for an ordinary cause, resigns the fate of his patient to mercury, is a vile enemy to the sick; and, if he is tolerably popular, will, in one successful season, have paved the way for the business of life, for he has enough to do, ever afterward, to stop the mercurial breach of the constitutions of his dilapidated patients. He has thrown himself in fearful proximity to death, and has now to fight him at arm's length as long as the patient maintains a miserable existence.
Quoted by William M. Scribner, 'Treatment of Pneumonia and Croup, Once More, Etc,' in The Medical World (1885), 3, 187.
Science quotes on:  |  Medicine (254)  |  Poison (28)

I had rather be Mercury, the smallest among seven [planets], revolving round the sun, than the first among five [moons] revolving round Saturn.
In James Wood, Dictionary of Quotations from Ancient and Modern, English and Foreign Sources (1893), 166:23.
Science quotes on:  |  Planet (138)  |  Saturn (9)

I therefore concluded, and decided unhesitatingly, that there are three stars in the heavens moving about Jupiter, as Venus and Mercury about the Sun; which at length was established as clear as daylight by numerous other observations.
Referring to his pioneering telescope observations.
The Starry Messenger (Mar 1610). Quoted in Edmund Blair Bolles, Galileo's Commandment (1999), 104.
Science quotes on:  |  Jupiter (16)  |  Observation (378)  |  Telescope (67)  |  Venus (11)

I wol yow telle, as was me taught also,
The foure spirites and the bodies sevene,
By ordre, as ofte I herde my lord hem nevene.
The firste spirit quiksilver called is,
The second orpiment, the thridde, ywis,
Sal armoniak, and the firthe brimstoon.
The bodies sevene eek, lo! hem heer anoon:
Sol gold is, and Luna silver we threpe,
Mars yron, Mercurie quiksilver we clepe,
Saturnus leed, and Jupiter is tin,
And Venus coper, by my fader kin!
The Canon's Yeoman's Tale, lines 819-29. In Larry D. Benson (ed.), The Riverside Chaucer (1988), 273.
Science quotes on:  |  Copper (17)  |  Gold (46)  |  Iron (51)  |  Jupiter (16)  |  Lead (59)  |  Mars (21)  |  Moon (114)  |  Saturn (9)  |  Silver (23)  |  Sun (168)  |  Tin (11)  |  Venus (11)

If coal plants release mercury—and mercury is a neurotoxin that damages children's brains—then reducing the amount of mercury in emissions doesn’t stop that. It just says, “We’ll tell you at what rate you can dispense death.”
In interview article, 'Designing For The Future', Newsweek (15 May 2005).
Science quotes on:  |  Amount (16)  |  Brain (153)  |  Child (150)  |  Coal (39)  |  Death (237)  |  Dispense (4)  |  Emission (13)  |  Industry (76)  |  Rate (17)  |  Reduction (31)  |  Release (11)  |  Stop (40)

If you could see what I almost daily see in my practice … persons … in the very last stages of wretched existence, emaciated to a skeleton, with both tables of the skull almost completely perforated in many places, half the nose gone, with rotten jaws, ulerated throats, breaths most pestiferous more intolerable than poisonous upas, limbs racked with the pains of the Inquisition, minds as imbecile as the puling babe, a grievous burden to themselves and a disgusting spectacle to others, you would exclaim as I have often done, 'O! the lamentable want of science that dictates the abuse (use) of that noxious drug calomel!'
[Calomel is the mercury compound, Hg2Cl2.]
Quoted in Wooster Beach, A Treatise on Anatomy, Physiology, and Health (1848), 177.
Science quotes on:  |  Drug (37)  |  Medicine (254)  |  Poison (28)

In 1810, the Triumph man-of-war and Phipps schooner received on board several tons of quicksilver, saved from the wreck of a vessel near Cadiz. In consequence of the rolling of the bags the mercury escaped, and the whole of the crews became more or less affected. In the space of three weeks, two hundred men were salivated, two died, and all the animals—cats, dogs, sheep, fowls, a canary bird, nay, even the rats, mice and cockroaches were destroyed.
[The leather bags of mercury had been salvaged and stored without the original wooden cases. Some were stowed in sleeping quarters, and the in same hold as spirit rations.]
The Edinburgh Medical And Surgical Journal, 6. Quoted in Alva Curtis, A Fair Examination and Criticism of All the Medical Systems in Vogue (1855), 38. For more information on the incident, see John Emsley, The Elements of Murder (2006), 38-9.
Science quotes on:  |  Poison (28)

It seeming impossible in any other manner to properly restrict the use of this powerful agent [calomel, a mercury compound, mercurous chloride], it is directed that it be struck from the supply table, and that no further requisitions for this medicine be approved by Medical Directors. ... modern pathology has proved the impropriety of the use of mercury in very many of those diseases in which it was formerly unfailingly administered. ... No doubt can exist that more harm has resulted from the misuse [of this agent], in the treatment of disease, than benefit from their proper administration.
W.A. Hammond, Surgeon General, Washington D.C., 4 May 1863
'Circular No. 6,', in William Grace, The Army Surgeon's Manual (1864), 121.
Science quotes on:  |  Medicine (254)

Learning is like mercury, one of the most powerful and excellent things in the world in skillful hands; in unskillful, the most mischievous.
'Thoughts On Various Subjects', The Works of Alexander Pope (1806), Vol. 6, 406.
Science quotes on:  |  Learning (173)

On the 1st of August, 1774, I endeavoured to extract air from mercurius calcinates per se [mercury oxide]; and I presently found that, by means of this lens, air was expelled from it very readily. … I admitted water to it [the extracted air], and found that it was not imbibed by it. But what surprized me more than I can well express, was, that a candle burned in this air with a remarkably vigorous flame… I was utterly at a loss how to account for it.
From Experiments and Observations on Different Kinds of Air (1775) Vol. 2, 34.
Science quotes on:  |  Account (30)  |  Air (127)  |  Candle (16)  |  Extract (9)  |  Flame (19)  |  Imbibed (3)  |  Loss (57)  |  Readily (2)  |  Remarkably (2)  |  Utterly (10)  |  Vigorous (5)  |  Water (209)

Satire is a composition of salt and mercury; and it depends upon the different mixture and preparation of those ingredients, that it comes out a noble medicine, or a rank poison.
In Tryon Edwards (ed.), A Dictionary of Thoughts (1908), 502.
Science quotes on:  |  Composition (47)  |  Dependence (29)  |  Difference (183)  |  Ingredient (8)  |  Medicine (254)  |  Mixture (17)  |  Noble (30)  |  Poison (28)  |  Preparation (30)  |  Rank (16)  |  Salt (22)  |  Satire (2)

The experiment left no doubt that, as far as accuracy of measurement went, the resistance disappeared. At the same time, however, something unexpected occurred. The disappearance did not take place gradually but abruptly. From 1/500 the resistance at 4.2K, it could be established that the resistance had become less than a thousand-millionth part of that at normal temperature. Thus the mercury at 4.2K has entered a new state, which, owing to its particular electrical properties, can be called the state of superconductivity.
'Investigations into the Properties of Substances at low Temperatures, which have led, amongst other Things, to the Preparation of Liquid Helium', Nobel Lecture (11 Dec 1913). In Nobel Lectures in Physics 1901-1921 (1967), 333.
Science quotes on:  |  Electricity (108)  |  Experiment (487)  |  Resistance (21)  |  Temperature (38)

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:  |  Arc (5)  |  Confirmation (12)  |  Consequence (58)  |  Corpuscle (8)  |  Deviation (11)  |  Eclipse (15)  |  Explanation (141)  |  Gravitation (24)  |  Light (200)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (233)  |  Photograph (14)  |  Relativity (42)  |  Result (192)  |  Star (207)  |  Theory (501)

The mercury light doesn't show red. It makes the blood in your skin look blue-black. But see how splendidly it brings out the green in the plants.
From George MacAdam, 'Steinmetz, Electricity's Mastermind, Enters Politics', New York Times (2 Nov 1913), SM3. Answering the reporter’s question about why he lit the cactus collection in his conservatory with the blue light from a mercury lamp, which makes a man look like a corpse.
Science quotes on:  |  Black (19)  |  Blood (81)  |  Blue (20)  |  Bring (21)  |  Green (16)  |  Light (200)  |  Plant (141)  |  Red (21)  |  See (94)  |  Skin (13)

The vacuum-apparatus requires that its manipulators constantly handle considerable amounts of mercury. Mercury is a strong poison, particularly dangerous because of its liquid form and noticeable volatility even at room temperature. Its poisonous character has been rather lost sight of during the present generation. My co-workers and myself found from personal experience-confirmed on many sides when published—that protracted stay in an atmosphere charged with only 1/100 of the amount of mercury required for its saturation, sufficed to induce chronic mercury poisoning. This first reveals itself as an affection of the nerves, causing headaches, numbness, mental lassitude, depression, and loss of memory; such are very disturbing to one engaged in intellectual occupations.
Hydrides of Boron and Silicon (1933), 203.
Science quotes on:  |  Apparatus (25)  |  Character (65)  |  Depression (13)  |  Disturbance (16)  |  Engagement (4)  |  Experience (204)  |  Generation (88)  |  Handling (6)  |  Headache (5)  |  Intellect (146)  |  Liquid (23)  |  Loss (57)  |  Manipulator (3)  |  Memory (68)  |  Mind (417)  |  Nerve (60)  |  Occupation (32)  |  Poison (28)  |  Vacuum (24)  |  Volatility (3)  |  Worker (16)

The venereal Disease first invaded the Spaniards and Italians, before the Efficacy of Mercury was known. … By the Use of Mercury, given with Discretion, so as to raise a Salivation; after the Use of which the whole Body, in a manner, seems to grow young again.
In Dr. Boerhaave's Academical Lectures on the Theory of Physic (1746), Vol. 6, 266-267.
Science quotes on:  |  Body (158)  |  Grow (35)  |  Italian (2)  |  Knowledge (982)  |  Manner (23)  |  Raise (9)  |  Salivation (2)  |  Seem (24)  |  Spaniard (2)  |  Young (45)

There are reported to be six species of metals, namely, gold, silver, iron, copper, tin, and lead. Actually there are more. Mercury is a metal although we differ on this point with the chemists. Plumbum cinereum (gray lead) which we call bisemutum was unknown to the older Greek writers. On the other hand, Ammonius writes correctly many metals are unknown to us, as well as many plants and animals.
As translated by Mark Chance Bandy and Jean A. Bandy from the first Latin Edition of 1546 in De Natura Fossilium: (Textbook of Mineralogy) (2004), 19. Originally published by Geological Society of America as a Special Paper (1955). There are other translations with different wording.
Science quotes on:  |  Animal (248)  |  Bismuth (6)  |  Chemist (73)  |  Copper (17)  |  Correct (33)  |  Differ (6)  |  Gold (46)  |  Greek (34)  |  Iron (51)  |  Lead (59)  |  Metal (31)  |  Minerology (4)  |  On The Other Hand (6)  |  Plant (141)  |  Silver (23)  |  Tin (11)  |  Unknown (74)  |  Writer (23)

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 (4)  |  Argon (2)  |  Arsenic (6)  |  Barium (3)  |  Beryllium (2)  |  Bismuth (6)  |  Boron (4)  |  Bromine (3)  |  Calcium (3)  |  Carbon (36)  |  Chlorine (11)  |  Chromium (2)  |  Cobalt (4)  |  Copper (17)  |  Element (106)  |  Erbium (2)  |  Fluorine (4)  |  Francium (2)  |  Gold (46)  |  Helium (7)  |  Hydrogen (34)  |  Iodine (7)  |  Iridium (3)  |  Iron (51)  |  Lanthanum (2)  |  Lead (59)  |  Lithium (3)  |  Magnesium (4)  |  Manganese (2)  |  Neon (4)  |  Nickel (2)  |  Nitrogen (17)  |  Osmium (3)  |  Oxygen (44)  |  Palladium (2)  |  Phosphorus (15)  |  Platinum (6)  |  Plutonium (2)  |  Polonium (5)  |  Potassium (11)  |  Radium (18)  |  Rhodium (2)  |  Selenium (2)  |  Silicon (3)  |  Silver (23)  |  Sodium (9)  |  Song (10)  |  Strontium (2)  |  Tantalum (2)  |  Thorium (4)  |  Tin (11)  |  Titanium (2)  |  Tungsten (2)  |  Uranium (16)  |  Xenon (3)  |  Yttrium (3)  |  Zinc (3)  |  Zirconium (2)

We have made many glass vessels... with tubes two cubits long. These were filled with mercury, the open end was closed with the finger, and the tubes were then inverted in a vessel where there was mercury. We saw that an empty space was formed and that nothing happened in the vessel where this space was formed ... I claim that the force which keeps the mercury from falling is external and that the force comes from outside the tube. On the surface of the mercury which is in the bowl rests the weight of a column of fifty miles of air. Is it a surprise that into the vessel, in which the mercury has no inclination and no repugnance, not even the slightest, to being there, it should enter and should rise in a column high enough to make equilibrium with the weight of the external air which forces it up?
Quoted in Archana Srinivasan, Great Inventors (2007), 27-28.
Science quotes on:  |  Atmosphere (52)  |  Barometer (3)  |  Experiment (487)  |  Vacuum (24)

When it is considered that this light, when obtained with mercury gas, has an efficiency at least eight times as great as that obtained by an ordinary incandescent lamp, it will be appreciated that it has its use in places where lack of red is not important, for the economy of operation will much more than compensate for the somewhat unnatural color given to illuminated objects.
'Electric Gas Lamps and Gas Electrical Resistance Phenomena', a paper read at the 150th AIEE meeting 3 Jan 1902. In Transactions of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (1902), 61.
Science quotes on:  |  Electrical Engineering (8)  |  Lamp (10)  |  Spectrum (19)

Yet in this my stars were not Mercury as morning star in the angle of the seventh house, in quartile with Mars, but they were Copernicus, they were Tycho Brahe, without whose books of observations everything which has now been brought by me into the brightest daylight would lie buried in darkness.
Harmonice Mundi, The Harmony of the World (1619), book IV, Epilogue on Sublunary Nature. Trans. E. J. Aiton, A. M. Duncan and J. V. Field (1997), 377.
Science quotes on:  |  Tycho Brahe (23)  |  Nicolaus Copernicus (39)  |  Mars (21)  |  Observation (378)

You see, if the height of the mercury [barometer] column is less on the top of a mountain than at the foot of it (as I have many reasons for believing, although everyone who has so far written about it is of the contrary opinion), it follows that the weight of the air must be the sole cause of the phenomenon, and not that abhorrence of a vacuum, since it is obvious that at the foot of the mountain there is more air to have weight than at the summit, and we cannot possibly say that the air at the foot of the mountain has a greater aversion to empty space than at the top.
In letter to brother-in-law Perier (Nov 1647) as given in Daniel Webster Hering, Physics: the Science of the Forces of Nature (1922), 114. As also stated by Hering, Perier conducted an experiment on 19 Sep 1648 comparing readings on two barometers, one at the foot, and another at the top of 4,000-ft Puy-de-Dôme neighboring mountain.
Science quotes on:  |  Abhorrence (7)  |  Air (127)  |  Aversion (5)  |  Barometer (3)  |  Belief (273)  |  Cause (184)  |  Column (9)  |  Height (19)  |  Mountain (92)  |  Phenomenon (176)  |  Reason (244)  |  Vacuum (24)  |  Weight (54)

Your Grace will no doubt have learnt from the weekly reports of one Marco Antonio Bragadini, called Mamugnano. … He is reported to be able to turn base metal into gold… . He literally throws gold about in shovelfuls. This is his recipe: he takes ten ounces of quicksilver, puts it into the fire, and mixes it with a drop of liquid, which he carries in an ampulla. Thus it promptly turns into good gold. He has no other wish but to be of good use to his country, the Republic. The day before yesterday he presented to the Secret Council of Ten two ampullas with this liquid, which have been tested in his absence. The first test was found to be successful and it is said to have resulted in six million ducats. I doubt not but that this will appear mighty strange to your Grace.
Anonymous
'The Famous Alchemist Bragadini. From Vienna on the 1st day of November 1589'. As quoted in George Tennyson Matthews (ed.) News and Rumor in Renaissance Europe: The Fugger Newsletters (1959), 173. A handwritten collection of news reports (1568-1604) by the powerful banking and merchant house of Fugger in Ausburg.
Science quotes on:  |  Fire (99)  |  Gold (46)  |  Mamugnano (2)  |  Quicksilver (3)  |  Recipe (6)  |  Secret (78)  |  Strange (45)  |  Test (77)

[Alchemists] finde out men so covetous of so much happiness, whom they easily perswade that they shall finde greater Riches in Hydargyrie [mercury], than Nature affords in Gold. Such, whom although they have twice or thrice already been deluded, yet they have still a new Device wherewith to deceive um again; there being no greater Madness…. So that the smells of Coles, Sulphur, Dung, Poyson, and Piss, are to them a greater pleasure than the taste of Honey; till their Farms, Goods, and Patrimonies being wasted, and converted into Ashes and Smoak, when they expect the rewards of their Labours, births of Gold, Youth, and Immortality, after all their Time and Expences; at length, old, ragged, famisht, with the continual use of Quicksilver [mercury] paralytick, onely rich in misery, … a laughing-stock to the people: … compell’d to live in the lowest degree of poverty, and … at length compell’d thereto by Penury, they fall to Ill Courses, as Counterfeiting of Money.
In The Vanity of the Arts and Sciences (1530), translation (1676), 313.
Science quotes on:  |  Alchemist (12)  |  Coal (39)  |  Counterfeit (2)  |  Deceive (6)  |  Delude (2)  |  Dung (3)  |  Gold (46)  |  Happiness (66)  |  Honey (5)  |  Madness (25)  |  Misery (15)  |  Money (107)  |  Penury (2)  |  Persuade (5)  |  Pleasure (85)  |  Poison (28)  |  Poverty (25)  |  Quicksilver (3)  |  Smell (11)  |  Smoke (12)  |  Sulphur (13)

[Mercurial medicines] affect the human constitution in a peculiar manner, taking, so to speak, an iron grasp of all its systems, and penetrating even to the bones, by which they not only change the healthy action of its vessels, and general structure, but greatly impair and destroy its energies; so that their abuse is rarely overcome. When the tone of the stomach, intestines, or nervous system generally, has been once injured by this mineral ... it could seldom be restored.
Quoted in Wooster Beach, A Treatise on Anatomy, Physiology, and Health (1848), 177.
Science quotes on:  |  Drug (37)  |  Medicine (254)  |  Poison (28)

[On gold, silver, mercury, platinum, palladium, rhodium, iridium, osmium:] As in their physical properties so in their chemical properties. Their affinities being weaker, (the noble metals) do not present that variety of combinations, belonging to the more common metals, which renders them so extensively useful in the arts; nor are they, in consequence, so necessary and important in the operations of nature. They do not assist in her hands in breaking down rocks and strata into soil, nor do they help man to make that soil productive or to collect for him its products.
From 13th Lecture in 1818, in Bence Jones, The Life and Letters of Faraday (1870), Vol. 1, 254.
Science quotes on:  |  Affinity (10)  |  Breaking (3)  |  Chemical (58)  |  Combination (58)  |  Gold (46)  |  Important (66)  |  Iridium (3)  |  Metal (31)  |  Nature (820)  |  Necessary (56)  |  Noble (30)  |  Osmium (3)  |  Palladium (2)  |  Physical (63)  |  Platinum (6)  |  Product (49)  |  Productivity (11)  |  Property (78)  |  Rhodium (2)  |  Rock (90)  |  Silver (23)  |  Soil (46)  |  Strata (18)  |  Useful (50)

’Tis evident, that as common Air when reduc’d to half Its wonted extent, obtained near about twice as forcible a Spring as it had before; so this thus- comprest Air being further thrust into half this narrow room, obtained thereby a Spring about as strong again as that It last had, and consequently four times as strong as that of the common Air. And there is no cause to doubt, that If we had been here furnisht with a greater quantity of Quicksilver and a very long Tube, we might by a further compression of the included Air have made It counter-balance “the pressure” of a far taller and heavier Cylinder of Mercury. For no man perhaps yet knows how near to an infinite compression the Air may be capable of, If the compressing force be competently increast.
A Defense of the Doctrine Touching the Spring and Weight of the Air (1662), 62.
Science quotes on:  |  Air (127)  |  Pressure (24)


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:
Custom Quotations Search - custom search within only our quotations 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 |

who invites your feedback

- 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

Thank you for sharing.
Today in Science History
Sign up for Newsletter
with quiz, quotes and more.