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

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, ... finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell ... whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.”
more quiz questions >>
Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index M > Category: Merely

Merely Quotes (43 quotes)

[In refutation of evolution] There is not enough evidence, consistent evidence to make it as fact, and I say that because for theory to become a fact, it needs to consistently have the same results after it goes through a series of tests. The tests that they put—that they use to support evolution do not have consistent results. Now too many people are blindly accepting evolution as fact. But when you get down to the hard evidence, it’s merely a theory.
[In favor of the teaching of creationism alongside evolution in schools.]
From interview by Miles O'Brien on CNN (30 Mar 1996). Reported from transcript, via Nexis, in New York Magazine (15 Sep 2010).
Science quotes on:  |  Acceptance (43)  |  Blind (35)  |  Consistency (21)  |  Evidence (158)  |  Evolution (500)  |  Fact (628)  |  Result (267)  |  Support (67)  |  Test (101)  |  Theory (585)

[Probably not a direct quote] Experimental confirmation of a prediction is merely a measurement. An experiment disproving a prediction is a discovery.
Attributed. Found without source, for example, in Jon, ‎Michael and ‎Deborah Fripp, Speaking of Science: Notable Quotes on Science, Engineering, and the Environment. The quote appears to be a rephrasing of: “There are two possible outcomes: If the result confirms the hypothesis, then you’ve made a measurement. If the result is contrary to the hypothesis, then you’ve made a discovery”, as seen elsewhere on this page. Webmaster has been unable to find an original source for a direct quote either wording.
Science quotes on:  |  Confirmation (16)  |  Discovery (601)  |  Disprove (15)  |  Experiment (548)  |  Experimental (12)  |  Measurement (149)  |  Prediction (67)

Archaeology is the peeping Tom of the sciences. It is the sandbox of men who care not where they are going; they merely want to know where everyone else has been.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Archaeology (43)  |  Care (80)  |  Everyone (27)  |  Know (394)  |  Peep (3)  |  Science (1741)  |  Tom (2)  |  Want (139)

As a graduate student at Columbia University, I remember the a priori derision of my distinguished stratigraphy professor toward a visiting Australian drifter ... Today my own students would dismiss with even more derision anyone who denied the evident truth of continental drift–a prophetic madman is at least amusing; a superannuated fuddy-duddy is merely pitiful.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  A Priori (16)  |  Amusing (2)  |  Anyone (29)  |  Australian (2)  |  Columbia (2)  |  Continental Drift (9)  |  Deny (30)  |  Derision (6)  |  Dismiss (7)  |  Distinguish (35)  |  Evident (16)  |  Graduate Student (3)  |  Least (50)  |  Madman (3)  |  Pitiful (3)  |  Professor (40)  |  Prophetic (3)  |  Remember (60)  |  Stratigraphy (6)  |  Student (140)  |  Today (100)  |  Toward (35)  |  Truth (764)  |  University (54)  |  Visit (23)

As we discern a fine line between crank and genius, so also (and unfortunately) we must acknowledge an equally graded trajectory from crank to demagogue. When people learn no tools of judgment and merely follow their hopes, the seeds of political manipulation are sown.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Acknowledge (13)  |  Crank (7)  |  Discern (7)  |  Equally (22)  |  Fine (26)  |  Follow (79)  |  Genius (194)  |  Grade (10)  |  Hope (146)  |  Judgment (73)  |  Learn (193)  |  Line (57)  |  Manipulation (9)  |  People (316)  |  Political (34)  |  Seed (57)  |  Sow (10)  |  Tool (71)  |  Trajectory (4)  |  Unfortunately (15)

Beyond lonely Pluto, dark and shadowless, lies the glittering realm of interstellar space, the silent ocean that rolls on and on, past stars and galaxies alike, to the ends of the Universe. What do men know of this vast infinity, this shoreless ocean? Is it hostile or friendly–or merely indifferent?
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Alike (13)  |  Beyond (88)  |  Dark (67)  |  End (161)  |  Friendly (3)  |  Galaxy (42)  |  Glitter (8)  |  Hostile (7)  |  Indifferent (11)  |  Infinity (64)  |  Interstellar (6)  |  Know (394)  |  Lie (99)  |  Lonely (14)  |  Ocean (138)  |  Past (127)  |  Pluto (5)  |  Realm (45)  |  Roll (12)  |  Silent (23)  |  Space (214)  |  Star (310)  |  Universe (615)  |  Vast (68)

Conscience is merely our own judgment of the moral rectitude or turpitude of our own actions
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Action (163)  |  Conscience (36)  |  Judgment (73)  |  Moral (104)

For all these years you were merely
A smear of light through our telescopes
On the clearest, coldest night; a hint
Of a glint, just a few pixels wide
On even your most perfectly-framed portraits.
But now, now we see you!
Swimming out of the dark - a great
Stone shark, your star-tanned skin pitted
And pocked, scarred after eons of drifting
Silently through the endless ocean of space.
Here on Earth our faces lit up as we saw
You clearly for the first time; eyes wide
With wonder we traced the strangely familiar
Grooves raked across your sides,
Wondering if Rosetta had doubled back to Mars
And raced past Phobos by mistake –
Then you were gone, falling back into the black,
Not to be seen by human eyes again for a thousand
Blue Moons or more. But we know you now,
We know you; you’ll never be just a speck of light again.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Across (27)  |  Back (84)  |  Black (39)  |  Blue (52)  |  Clear (60)  |  Clearly (23)  |  Cold (48)  |  Dark (67)  |  Double (13)  |  Drift (9)  |  Earth (582)  |  Endless (23)  |  Eon (9)  |  Eye (190)  |  Face (96)  |  Fall (99)  |  Familiar (27)  |  First Time (9)  |  Great (355)  |  Groove (3)  |  Hint (8)  |  Know (394)  |  Light (301)  |  Mars (30)  |  Mistake (114)  |  Moon (174)  |  Night (104)  |  Ocean (138)  |  Past (127)  |  Pit (13)  |  Pixel (2)  |  Portrait (3)  |  Race (85)  |  Scar (6)  |  See (307)  |  Shark (7)  |  Side (42)  |  Silently (4)  |  Skin (22)  |  Smear (3)  |  Space (214)  |  Speck (14)  |  Stone (65)  |  Strangely (4)  |  Swim (14)  |  Telescope (79)  |  Thousand (123)  |  Trace (43)  |  Wide (21)  |  Wonder (152)  |  Year (240)

I am merely thinking God's thoughts after him.
Attributed. Could be a boiled down version of a longer quote that includes: “God wanted us to … share in his own thoughts.” (Included here; it begins “Those laws [of nature] are…”) This capsulized version is widely seen linked with Kepler’s name, but never with a citation, for example, in Thomas Winthrop Coit, Inaugural Address Delivered in the Chapel of Morrison College (Nov 1835), 32. As far as Webmaster can determine, historians of science have not found any primary source in which Kepler himself expresses this idea in exactly these words. In a 2001 discussion group post, Ted Davis reported: “I know Kepler pretty well and have searched for it. I've also asked Owen Gingerich, who knows Kepler as well as anyone alive, and he can't confirm it either.”
Science quotes on:  |  God (474)  |  Thought (400)

If our intention had been merely to bring back a handful of soil and rocks from the lunar gravel pit and then forget the whole thing, we would certainly be history's biggest fools. But that is not our intention now—it never will be. What we are seeking in tomorrow's [Apollo 11] trip is indeed that key to our future on earth. We are expanding the mind of man. We are extending this God-given brain and these God-given hands to their outermost limits and in so doing all mankind will benefit. All mankind will reap the harvest…. What we will have attained when Neil Armstrong steps down upon the moon is a completely new step in the evolution of man.
Banquet speech on the eve of the Apollo 11 launch, Royal Oaks Country Club, Titusville (15 Jul 1969). In "Of a Fire on the Moon", Life (29 Aug 1969), 67, No. 9, 34.
Science quotes on:  |  Apollo 11 (6)  |  Neil Armstrong (15)  |  Attainment (37)  |  Benefit (58)  |  Brain (184)  |  Bringing (10)  |  Evolution (500)  |  Expansion (25)  |  Fool (75)  |  Forgetting (13)  |  Future (256)  |  Handful (7)  |  Harvest (15)  |  History (314)  |  Human Mind (53)  |  Intention (26)  |  Key (40)  |  Limit (97)  |  Lunar (8)  |  Mankind (217)  |  Reaping (4)  |  Rock (118)  |  Seeking (30)  |  Soil (55)  |  Step (78)  |  Trip (9)

Jupiter is the largest of all the solar system’s planets, more than ten times bigger and three hundred times as massive as Earth. Jupiter is so immense it could swallow all the other planets easily. Its Great Red Spot, a storm that has raged for centuries, is itself wider than Earth. And the Spot is merely one feature visible among the innumerable vortexes and streams of Jupiter’s frenetically racing cloud tops. Yet Jupiter is composed mainly of the lightest elements, hydrogen and helium, more like a star than a planet. All that size and mass, yet Jupiter spins on its axis in less than ten hours, so fast that the planet is clearly not spherical: Its poles are noticeably flattened. Jupiter looks like a big, colorfully striped beach ball that’s squashed down as if some invisible child were sitting on it. Spinning that fast, Jupiter’s deep, deep atmosphere is swirled into bands and ribbons of multihued clouds: pale yellow, saffron orange, white, tawny yellow-brown, dark brown, bluish, pink and red. Titanic winds push the clouds across the face of Jupiter at hundreds of kilometers per hour.
Ben Bova
Jupiter
Science quotes on:  |  Across (27)  |  Atmosphere (69)  |  Axis (9)  |  Ball (26)  |  Band (6)  |  Beach (15)  |  Big (45)  |  Brown (6)  |  Century (103)  |  Child (208)  |  Clearly (23)  |  Cloud (63)  |  Compose (10)  |  Dark (67)  |  Deep (99)  |  Down (73)  |  Earth (582)  |  Easily (20)  |  Element (137)  |  Face (96)  |  Fast (35)  |  Feature (36)  |  Great (355)  |  Helium (9)  |  Hour (54)  |  Hundred (52)  |  Hundreds (6)  |  Hydrogen (39)  |  Immense (34)  |  Innumerable (20)  |  Invisible (33)  |  Jupiter (20)  |  Kilometer (4)  |  Large (96)  |  Less (72)  |  Light (301)  |  Mainly (8)  |  Mass (67)  |  Massive (3)  |  Orange (9)  |  Pale (9)  |  Pink (4)  |  Planet (237)  |  Pole (15)  |  Push (28)  |  Race (85)  |  Rage (7)  |  Red (34)  |  Ribbon (2)  |  Sit (35)  |  Size (56)  |  Solar Systems (3)  |  Sphere (44)  |  Spin (12)  |  Spot (16)  |  Squash (2)  |  Star (310)  |  Storm (24)  |  Stream (34)  |  Stripe (4)  |  Swallow (16)  |  Swirl (9)  |  Tawny (3)  |  Time (491)  |  Titanic (4)  |  Top (30)  |  Visible (24)  |  Vortex (5)  |  White (52)  |  Wide (21)  |  Wind (70)  |  Yellow (17)

Many errors, of a truth, consist merely in the application of the wrong names of things. For if a man says that the lines which are drawn from the centre of the circle to the circumference are not equal, he understands by the circle, at all events for the time, something else than mathematicians understand by it.
In 'Prop. 47: The human mind possesses an adequate knowledge of the eternal and infinite essence of God', Ethic, translated by William Hale White (1883), 93-94. Collected in The English and Foreign Philosophical Library, Vol. 21.
Science quotes on:  |  Application (119)  |  Center (31)  |  Circle (32)  |  Circumference (13)  |  Consist (25)  |  Definition (154)  |  Drawing (18)  |  Else (4)  |  Equal (56)  |  Error (234)  |  Mathematician (178)  |  Name (124)  |  Nomenclature (132)  |  French Saying (61)  |  Thing (37)  |  Truth (764)  |  Understanding (322)  |  Wrong (119)

Many people are shrinking from the future and from participation in the movement toward a new, expanded reality. And, like homesick travelers abroad, they are focusing their anxieties on home. The reasons are not far to seek. We are at a turning point in human history... We could turn our attention to the problems that going to the moon certainly will not solve ... But I think this would be fatal to our future... A society that no longer moves forward does not merely stagnate; it begins to die.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Abroad (7)  |  Anxiety (17)  |  Attention (85)  |  Begin (70)  |  Certainly (22)  |  Die (59)  |  Expand (20)  |  Far (106)  |  Fatal (11)  |  Focus (26)  |  Forward (30)  |  Future (256)  |  Home (76)  |  Human History (2)  |  Long (125)  |  Moon (174)  |  Move (75)  |  Movement (70)  |  New (380)  |  Participation (8)  |  People (316)  |  Problem (382)  |  Reality (155)  |  Reason (343)  |  Seek (69)  |  Shrink (13)  |  Society (195)  |  Solve (45)  |  Stagnate (2)  |  Think (249)  |  Toward (35)  |  Traveler (22)  |  Turn (93)  |  Turning Point (3)

No scientist is admired for failing in the attempt to solve problems that lie beyond his competence. … Good scientists study the most important problems they think they can solve. It is, after all, their professional business to solve problems, not merely to grapple with them.
The Art of the Soluble: Creativity and Originality in Science (1967), 7.
Science quotes on:  |  Admiration (36)  |  Attempt (95)  |  Business (74)  |  Competence (6)  |  Failure (125)  |  Grappling (2)  |  Importance (186)  |  Problem (382)  |  Professional (29)  |  Scientist (459)  |  Solution (175)  |  Study (349)

Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Desert (33)  |  Enthusiasm (35)  |  Give Up (6)  |  Grow (78)  |  Ideal (57)  |  Live (230)  |  Nobody (40)  |  Number (188)  |  Old (118)  |  Skin (22)  |  Soul (151)  |  Wrinkle (2)  |  Year (240)

One of the most impressive discoveries was the origin of the energy of the stars, that makes them continue to burn. One of the men who discovered this was out with his girl friend the night after he realized that nuclear reactions must be going on in the stars in order to make them shine.
She said “Look at how pretty the stars shine!”
He said, “Yes, and right now I am the only man in the world who knows why they shine.”
She merely laughed at him. She was not impressed with being out with the only man who, at that moment, knew why stars shine. Well, it is sad to be alone, but that is the way it is in this world.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Alone (75)  |  Burn (35)  |  Continue (45)  |  Discover (128)  |  Discovery (601)  |  Energy (200)  |  Friend (75)  |  Girl (18)  |  Impressed (11)  |  Impressive (14)  |  Know (394)  |  Laugh (20)  |  Moment (79)  |  Night (104)  |  Nuclear Reaction (2)  |  Order (173)  |  Origin (78)  |  Pretty (16)  |  Realize (59)  |  Right (158)  |  Sadness (28)  |  Say (160)  |  Shine (40)  |  Star (310)  |  World (746)

Our failure to discern a universal good does not record any lack of insight or ingenuity, but merely demonstrates that nature contains no moral messages framed in human terms. Morality is a subject for philosophers, theologians, students of the humanities, indeed for all thinking people. The answers will not be read passively from nature; they do not, and cannot, arise from the data of science. The factual state of the world does not teach us how we, with our powers for good and evil, should alter or preserve it in the most ethical manner.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Alter (21)  |  Answer (210)  |  Arise (35)  |  Contain (42)  |  Data (103)  |  Demonstrate (28)  |  Discern (7)  |  Ethical (10)  |  Factual (8)  |  Failure (125)  |  Frame (19)  |  Good (255)  |  Good And Evil (2)  |  Human (472)  |  Humanities (15)  |  Ingenuity (27)  |  Insight (60)  |  Lack (56)  |  Manner (36)  |  Message (33)  |  Moral (104)  |  Morality (35)  |  Nature (1081)  |  Passively (3)  |  People (316)  |  Philosopher (134)  |  Power (286)  |  Preserve (43)  |  Read (88)  |  Record (59)  |  Science (1741)  |  State (104)  |  Student (140)  |  Subject (133)  |  Teach (112)  |  Term (89)  |  Theologian (14)  |  Think (249)  |  Universal (77)  |  World (746)

Perhaps randomness is not merely an adequate description for complex causes that we cannot specify. Perhaps the world really works this way, and many events are uncaused in any conventional sense of the word. Perhaps our gut feeling that it cannot be so reflects only our hopes and prejudices, our desperate striving to make sense of a complex and confusing world, and not the ways of nature.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Adequate (19)  |  Cause (242)  |  Complex (81)  |  Confuse (13)  |  Conventional (16)  |  Description (74)  |  Desperate (4)  |  Event (102)  |  Gut Feeling (2)  |  Hope (146)  |  Nature (1081)  |  Prejudice (59)  |  Randomness (3)  |  Really (62)  |  Reflect (20)  |  Sense (258)  |  Sense Of The Word (2)  |  Specify (6)  |  Strive (38)  |  Work (493)  |  World (746)

Presumably, technology has made man increasingly independent of his environment. But, in fact, technology has merely substituted nonrenewable resources for renewables, which is more an increase than a decrease in dependence.
Steady-State Economics (1977).
Science quotes on:  |  Decrease (11)  |  Dependence (33)  |  Environment (152)  |  Fact (628)  |  Increase (116)  |  Increasingly (3)  |  Independent (44)  |  Presumably (3)  |  Renewable (6)  |  Substitute (23)  |  Technology (205)

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Illusion (38)  |  Persistent (5)  |  Reality (155)

Simplification of modes of proof is not merely an indication of advance in our knowledge of a subject, but is also the surest guarantee of readiness for farther progress.
In Lord Kelvin and Peter Guthrie Tait Elements of Natural Philosophy (1873), Preface.
Science quotes on:  |  Advance (128)  |  Father (47)  |  Guarantee (19)  |  Indication (22)  |  Knowledge (1148)  |  Mode (29)  |  Progress (320)  |  Proof (192)  |  Readiness (5)  |  Simplification (12)  |  Subject (133)  |  Surest (5)

Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards.
In Ends and Means: An Inquiry Into the Nature of Ideals and Into Methods (1937), 9.
Science quotes on:  |  Backwards (3)  |  Efficiency (26)  |  Go (6)  |  Means (119)  |  Progress (320)  |  Provision (15)  |  Technology (205)

That one must do some work seriously and must be independent and not merely amuse oneself in life—this our mother [Marie Curie] has told us always, but never that science was the only career worth following.
As quoted by Mary Margaret McBride in A Long Way From Missouri (1959), 123.
Science quotes on:  |  Amusement (20)  |  Career (54)  |  Independence (32)  |  Life (993)  |  Mother (66)  |  Science (1741)  |  Serious (40)  |  Tell (84)  |  Work (493)

The average gambler will say “The player who stakes his whole fortune on a single play is a fool, and the science of mathematics can not prove him to be otherwise.” The reply is obvious: “The science of mathematics never attempts the impossible, it merely shows that other players are greater fools.”
[Concluding remarks to his mathematical proof, with certain assumptions, that a gambler's best strategy would be to always make his largest stake on his first play.]
In 'Gambler's Ruin', Annals of Mathematics (Jul 1909), 2nd Series, 10, No. 4, 189. This is also seen, without primary source, quoted as “It is true that a man who does this is a fool. I have only proved that a man who does anything else is an even bigger fool,” in Harold Eves, Return to Mathematical Circles (1988), 39.
Science quotes on:  |  Attempt (95)  |  Average (32)  |  Fool (75)  |  Fortune (25)  |  Gambler (4)  |  Greater (36)  |  Impossible (75)  |  Mathematics (597)  |  Obvious (59)  |  Other (25)  |  Otherwise (19)  |  Play (74)  |  Player (5)  |  Prove (69)  |  Reply (19)  |  Show (64)  |  Single (88)  |  Stake (16)  |  Strategy (10)  |  Whole (130)

The essential character of a species in biology is, that it is a group of living organisms, separated from all other such groups by a set of distinctive characters, having relations to the environment not identical with those of any other group of organisms, and having the power of continuously reproducing its like. Genera are merely assemblages of a number of these species which have a closer resemblance to each other in certain important and often prominent characters than they have to any other species.
In 'The Method of Organic Evolution', Fortnightly Review (1895), 57, 441.
Science quotes on:  |  Assemblage (6)  |  Biology (158)  |  Certain (88)  |  Character (89)  |  Closer (6)  |  Continuously (7)  |  Distinctive (8)  |  Environment (152)  |  Essential (92)  |  Genus (17)  |  Group (55)  |  Identical (17)  |  Important (135)  |  Living (46)  |  Number (188)  |  Often (81)  |  Organism (144)  |  Power (286)  |  Prominent (5)  |  Relation (98)  |  Resemblance (18)  |  Separate (52)  |  Set (72)  |  Species (198)

The facts proved by geology are briefly these: that during an immense, but unknown period, the surface of the earth has undergone successive changes; land has sunk beneath the ocean, while fresh land has risen up from it; mountain chains have been elevated; islands have been formed into continents, and continents submerged till they have become islands; and these changes have taken place, not once merely, but perhaps hundreds, perhaps thousands of times.
In 'On the Law which has regulated the Introduction of New Species', The Annals and Magazine of Natural History (1855), 16, No. 93, 184.
Science quotes on:  |  Become (130)  |  Beneath (14)  |  Chain (43)  |  Change (324)  |  Continent (48)  |  Elevate (7)  |  Fact (628)  |  Form (223)  |  Fresh (24)  |  Geology (190)  |  Hundred (52)  |  Island (24)  |  Land (104)  |  Mountain (132)  |  Ocean (138)  |  Prove (69)  |  Rise (64)  |  Sink (16)  |  Successive (15)  |  Surface Of The Earth (3)  |  Thousand (123)  |  Undergo (12)

The history of acceptance of new theories frequently shows the following steps: At first the new idea is treated as pure nonsense, not worth looking at. Then comes a time when a multitude of contradictory objections are raised, such as: the new theory is too fancy, or merely a new terminology; it is not fruitful, or simply wrong. Finally a state is reached when everyone seems to claim that he had always followed this theory. This usually marks the last state before general acceptance.
In 'Field Theory and the Phase Space', collected in Melvin Herman Marx, Psychological Theory: Contemporary Readings (1951), 299.
Science quotes on:  |  Acceptance (43)  |  Claim (55)  |  Contradictory (4)  |  Fancy (17)  |  Finally (18)  |  First (214)  |  Following (16)  |  Fruitful (31)  |  General (99)  |  History (314)  |  Idea (457)  |  Multitude (15)  |  New (380)  |  Nonsense (33)  |  Objection (16)  |  Pure (63)  |  Raised (3)  |  Reach (89)  |  State (104)  |  Step (78)  |  Terminology (7)  |  Theory (585)  |  Treatment (90)  |  Wrong (119)

The observer is not he who merely sees the thing which is before his eyes, but he who sees what parts the thing is composed of. To do this well is a rare talent. One person, from inattention, or attending only in the wrong place, overlooks half of what he sees; another sets down much more than he sees, confounding it with what he imagines, or with what he infers; another takes note of the kind of all the circumstances, but being inexpert in estimating their degree, leaves the quantity of each vague and uncertain; another sees indeed the whole, but makes such an awkward division of it into parts, throwing into one mass things which require to be separated, and separating others which might more conveniently be considered as one, that the result is much the same, sometimes even worse than if no analysis had been attempted at all.
In A System of Logic Ratiocinative and Inductive (1858), 216.
Science quotes on:  |  Analysis (124)  |  Attempt (95)  |  Attend (9)  |  Awkward (6)  |  Circumstance (54)  |  Composed (3)  |  Confound (9)  |  Consider (52)  |  Convenience (25)  |  Degree (54)  |  Division (27)  |  Estimate (19)  |  Eye (190)  |  Half (42)  |  Imagine (57)  |  Inattention (3)  |  Infer (11)  |  Kind (111)  |  Mass (67)  |  Note (24)  |  Observation (421)  |  Observer (34)  |  Overlook (9)  |  Part (163)  |  Person (126)  |  Place (133)  |  Quantity (36)  |  Rare (34)  |  Require (38)  |  Result (267)  |  See (307)  |  Separate (52)  |  Set Down (2)  |  Talent (52)  |  Uncertain (12)  |  Vague (11)  |  Whole (130)  |  Worse (17)  |  Wrong (119)

The point of mathematics is that in it we have always got rid of the particular instance, and even of any particular sorts of entities. So that for example, no mathematical truths apply merely to fish, or merely to stones, or merely to colours. … Mathematics is thought moving in the sphere of complete abstraction from any particular instance of what it is talking about.
In 'Mathematics', Science and the Modern World (1926, 2011), 27.
Science quotes on:  |  Abstraction (30)  |  Apply (40)  |  Color (88)  |  Complete (49)  |  Entity (25)  |  Fish (87)  |  Instance (19)  |  Mathematics (597)  |  Move (75)  |  Particular (55)  |  Point (88)  |  Rid (10)  |  Sort (34)  |  Sphere (44)  |  Stone (65)  |  Thought (400)  |  Truth (764)

The release of atomic energy has not created a new problem. It has merely made more urgent the necessity of solving an existing one ... I do not believe that civilization will be wiled out in a war fought with the atomic bomb. Perhaps two thirds of the people of the Earth will be killed.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Atomic Bomb (101)  |  Atomic Energy (21)  |  Belief (421)  |  Civilization (161)  |  Create (114)  |  Earth (582)  |  Exist (105)  |  Fight (40)  |  Kill (41)  |  Necessity (125)  |  New (380)  |  People (316)  |  Problem (382)  |  Release (17)  |  Solve (45)  |  Urgent (9)  |  War (149)

The truly awesome intellectuals in our history have not merely made discoveries; they have woven variegated, but firm, tapestries of comprehensive coverage. The tapestries have various fates: Most burn or unravel in the foot steps of time and the fires of later discovery. But their glory lies in their integrity as unified structures of great complexity and broad implication.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Awesome (11)  |  Broad (20)  |  Burn (35)  |  Complexity (83)  |  Comprehensive (7)  |  Discovery (601)  |  Fate (39)  |  Fire (125)  |  Firm (20)  |  Foot (47)  |  Glory (48)  |  Great (355)  |  History (314)  |  Implication (15)  |  Integrity (12)  |  Intellectual (85)  |  Late (36)  |  Lie (99)  |  Step (78)  |  Structure (193)  |  Tapestry (5)  |  Time (491)  |  Truly (22)  |  Unified (9)  |  Unravel (4)  |  Various (29)  |  Weave (9)

The Truly Healthy environment is not merely safe but stimulating.
Environmental Science and Technology (Feb 1968).
Science quotes on:  |  Environment (152)  |  Health (141)  |  Safety (41)  |  Stimulation (13)

The wonderful structure of the animal system will probably never permit us to look upon it as a merely physical apparatus, yet the demands of science require that the evidently magnified principles of vitality should be reduced to their natural spheres, or if truth requires, wholly subverted in favor of those more cognizable by the human understanding. The spirit of the age will not tolerate in the devotee of science a quiet indifference. ...
In 'An Inquiry, Analogical and Experimental, into the Different Electrical conditions of Arterial and Venous Blood', New Orleans Medical and Surgical Journal (1853-4), 10, 584-602 & 738-757. As cited in George B. Roth, 'Dr. John Gorrie—Inventor of Artificial Ice and Mechanical Refrigeration', The Scientific Monthly (May 1936) 42 No. 5, 464-469.
Science quotes on:  |  Animal (325)  |  Apparatus (30)  |  Human (472)  |  Indifference (12)  |  Physical (100)  |  Spirit (126)  |  Structure (193)  |  System (154)  |  Truth (764)  |  Understanding (322)  |  Vitality (10)  |  Wonderful (41)

The woof and warp of all thought and all research is symbols, and the life of thought and science is the life inherent in symbols; so that it is wrong to say that a good language is important to good thought, merely; for it is the essence of it.
From 'The Ethics of Terminology', in Collected Papers (1931), Vol. 1, 129.
Science quotes on:  |  Essence (43)  |  Good (255)  |  Important (135)  |  Inherent (27)  |  Language (161)  |  Life (993)  |  Research (530)  |  Science (1741)  |  Symbol (37)  |  Thought (400)  |  Warp (5)  |  Woof (2)  |  Wrong (119)

Thinking about the universe has now been handed over to specialists. The rest of us merely read about it.
City Aphorisms, Seventh Selection (1990).
Science quotes on:  |  Hand (116)  |  Read (88)  |  Rest (72)  |  Specialist (20)  |  Think (249)  |  Universe (615)

To be in a world which is a hell, to be of that world and neither to believe in or guess at anything but that world is not merely hell but the only possible damnation: the act of a man damning himself. It may be—I hope it is—redemption to guess and perhaps perceive that the universe, the hell which we see for all its beauty, vastness, majesty, is only part of a whole which is quite unimaginable.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Act (86)  |  Beauty (200)  |  Belief (421)  |  Damn (12)  |  Damnation (4)  |  Guess (39)  |  Hell (30)  |  Hope (146)  |  Majesty (12)  |  Part (163)  |  Perceive (24)  |  Possible (112)  |  Redemption (3)  |  See (307)  |  Unimaginable (5)  |  Universe (615)  |  Vastness (11)  |  Whole (130)  |  World (746)

To really know is science; to merely believe you know is ignorance.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Belief (421)  |  Ignorance (194)  |  Know (394)  |  Really (62)  |  Science (1741)

Very few people, including authors willing to commit to paper, ever really read primary sources–certainly not in necessary depth and contemplation, and often not at all ... When writers close themselves off to the documents of scholarship, and then rely only on seeing or asking, they become conduits and sieves rather than thinkers. When, on the other hand, you study the great works of predecessors engaged in the same struggle, you enter a dialogue with human history and the rich variety of our own intellectual traditions. You insert yourself, and your own organizing powers, into this history–and you become an active agent, not merely a ‘reporter.’
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Active (18)  |  Agent (28)  |  Ask (117)  |  Author (39)  |  Become (130)  |  Certainly (22)  |  Close (56)  |  Commit (17)  |  Conduit (2)  |  Contemplation (37)  |  Depth (37)  |  Dialogue (7)  |  Document (7)  |  Engage (13)  |  Enter (26)  |  Great (355)  |  History (314)  |  Human (472)  |  Include (31)  |  Insert (2)  |  Intellectual (85)  |  Necessary (92)  |  Often (81)  |  On The Other Hand (17)  |  Organize (16)  |  Paper (55)  |  People (316)  |  Power (286)  |  Predecessor (18)  |  Primary (32)  |  Read (88)  |  Really (62)  |  Rely (7)  |  Reporter (3)  |  Rich (52)  |  Same (107)  |  Scholarship (13)  |  See (307)  |  Sieve (3)  |  Source (75)  |  Struggle (66)  |  Study (349)  |  Themselves (44)  |  Thinker (15)  |  Tradition (43)  |  Variety (59)  |  Work (493)  |  Writer (35)

We all know, from what we experience with and within ourselves, that our conscious acts spring from our desires and our fears. Intuition tells us that that is true also of our fellows and of the higher animals. We all try to escape pain and death, while we seek what is pleasant. We are all ruled in what we do by impulses; and these impulses are so organized that our actions in general serve for our self preservation and that of the race. Hunger, love, pain, fear are some of those inner forces which rule the individual’s instinct for self preservation. At the same time, as social beings, we are moved in the relations with our fellow beings by such feelings as sympathy, pride, hate, need for power, pity, and so on. All these primary impulses, not easily described in words, are the springs of man’s actions. All such action would cease if those powerful elemental forces were to cease stirring within us. Though our conduct seems so very different from that of the higher animals, the primary instincts are much alike in them and in us. The most evident difference springs from the important part which is played in man by a relatively strong power of imagination and by the capacity to think, aided as it is by language and other symbolical devices. Thought is the organizing factor in man, intersected between the causal primary instincts and the resulting actions. In that way imagination and intelligence enter into our existence in the part of servants of the primary instincts. But their intervention makes our acts to serve ever less merely the immediate claims of our instincts.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Act (86)  |  Action (163)  |  Aid (24)  |  Alike (13)  |  Animal (325)  |  Capacity (51)  |  Causal (7)  |  Cease (27)  |  Claim (55)  |  Conduct (26)  |  Conscious (27)  |  Death (277)  |  Describe (40)  |  Desire (114)  |  Device (25)  |  Difference (214)  |  Different (132)  |  Easily (20)  |  Elemental (3)  |  Enter (26)  |  Escape (37)  |  Evident (16)  |  Existence (265)  |  Experience (288)  |  Factor (35)  |  Fear (124)  |  Feelings (13)  |  Fellow (32)  |  Force (208)  |  General (99)  |  Hate (31)  |  High (99)  |  Hunger (14)  |  Imagination (222)  |  Immediate (31)  |  Important (135)  |  Impulse (29)  |  Individual (185)  |  Inner (29)  |  Instinct (54)  |  Intelligence (144)  |  Intersect (3)  |  Intervention (11)  |  Intuition (41)  |  Know (394)  |  Language (161)  |  Less (72)  |  Love (193)  |  Move (75)  |  Need (226)  |  Organize (16)  |  Ourselves (45)  |  Pain (90)  |  Part (163)  |  Pity (11)  |  Play (74)  |  Pleasant (18)  |  Power (286)  |  Powerful (54)  |  Preservation (29)  |  Pride (50)  |  Primary (32)  |  Race (85)  |  Relation (98)  |  Relatively (5)  |  Result (267)  |  Rule (140)  |  Same (107)  |  Seek (69)  |  Seem (109)  |  Self (40)  |  Servant (13)  |  Serve (38)  |  Social (95)  |  Spring (52)  |  Stir (13)  |  Strong (56)  |  Symbolic (8)  |  Sympathy (17)  |  Tell (84)  |  Think (249)  |  Thought (400)  |  Time (491)  |  True (139)  |  Try (118)  |  Word (235)

We believe in the possibility of a theory which is able to give a complete description of reality, the laws of which establish relations between the things themselves and not merely between their probabilities ... God does not play dice.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Belief (421)  |  Complete (49)  |  Description (74)  |  Dice (14)  |  Establish (31)  |  Give (145)  |  God (474)  |  Law (425)  |  Play (74)  |  Possibility (101)  |  Probability (86)  |  Reality (155)  |  Relation (98)  |  Themselves (44)  |  Theory (585)

What is the meaning of human life, or of organic life altogether? To answer this question at all implies a religion. Is there any sense then, you ask, in putting it? I answer, the man who regards his own life and that of his fellow creatures as meaningless is not merely unfortunate but almost disqualified for life.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Altogether (6)  |  Answer (210)  |  Ask (117)  |  Creature (142)  |  Fellow (32)  |  Human Life (27)  |  Imply (12)  |  Life (993)  |  Mean (76)  |  Meaningless (15)  |  Organic Life (2)  |  Question (327)  |  Regard (60)  |  Religion (214)  |  Sense (258)  |  Unfortunate (10)

While the method of the natural sciences is... analytic, the method of the social sciences is better described as compositive or synthetic. It is the so-called wholes, the groups of elements which are structurally connected, which we learn to single out from the totality of observed phenomena... Insofar as we analyze individual thought in the social sciences the purpose is not to explain that thought, but merely to distinguish the possible types of elements with which we shall have to reckon in the construction of different patterns of social relationships. It is a mistake... to believe that their aim is to explain conscious action ... The problems which they try to answer arise only insofar as the conscious action of many men produce undesigned results... If social phenomena showed no order except insofar as they were consciously designed, there would indeed be no room for theoretical sciences of society and there would be, as is often argued, only problems of psychology. It is only insofar as some sort of order arises as a result of individual action but without being designed by any individual that a problem is raised which demands a theoretical explanation... people dominated by the scientistic prejudice are often inclined to deny the existence of any such order... it can be shown briefly and without any technical apparatus how the independent actions of individuals will produce an order which is no part of their intentions... The way in which footpaths are formed in a wild broken country is such an instance. At first everyone will seek for himself what seems to him the best path. But the fact that such a path has been used once is likely to make it easier to traverse and therefore more likely to be used again; and thus gradually more and more clearly defined tracks arise and come to be used to the exclusion of other possible ways. Human movements through the region come to conform to a definite pattern which, although the result of deliberate decision of many people, has yet not be consciously designed by anyone.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Action (163)  |  Aim (60)  |  Analytic (4)  |  Analyze (3)  |  Answer (210)  |  Anyone (29)  |  Apparatus (30)  |  Argue (17)  |  Arise (35)  |  Belief (421)  |  Best (143)  |  Better (146)  |  Break (41)  |  Briefly (5)  |  Clearly (23)  |  Conform (6)  |  Connect (17)  |  Conscious (27)  |  Consciously (5)  |  Construction (70)  |  Country (128)  |  Decision (60)  |  Define (31)  |  Definite (28)  |  Deliberate (10)  |  Demand (55)  |  Deny (30)  |  Describe (40)  |  Design (99)  |  Different (132)  |  Distinguish (35)  |  Dominate (15)  |  Easy (69)  |  Element (137)  |  Everyone (27)  |  Exclusion (11)  |  Existence (265)  |  Explain (71)  |  Explanation (165)  |  Fact (628)  |  First (214)  |  Form (223)  |  Gradually (16)  |  Group (55)  |  Human (472)  |  Inclined (8)  |  Independent (44)  |  Individual (185)  |  Instance (19)  |  Intention (26)  |  Learn (193)  |  Likely (26)  |  Method (159)  |  Mistake (114)  |  Movement (70)  |  Natural Sciences (3)  |  Observe (51)  |  Often (81)  |  Order (173)  |  Part (163)  |  Path (66)  |  Pattern (63)  |  People (316)  |  Phenomenon (223)  |  Possible (112)  |  Prejudice (59)  |  Problem (382)  |  Produce (70)  |  Psychology (128)  |  Purpose (145)  |  Raise (23)  |  Reckon (7)  |  Region (26)  |  Relationship (62)  |  Result (267)  |  Room (32)  |  Seek (69)  |  Seem (109)  |  Show (64)  |  Single (88)  |  So-Called (18)  |  Social (95)  |  Social Sciences (4)  |  Society (195)  |  Sort (34)  |  Structurally (2)  |  Synthetic (12)  |  Technical (29)  |  Theoretical (10)  |  Thought (400)  |  Totality (9)  |  Track (11)  |  Traverse (4)  |  Try (118)  |  Type (38)  |  Whole (130)  |  Wild (44)

[This] may prove to be the beginning of some embracing generalization, which will throw light, not only on radioactive processes, but on elements in general and the Periodic Law.... Chemical homogeneity is no longer a guarantee that any supposed element is not a mixture of several of different atomic weights, or that any atomic weight is not merely a mean number.
From Chemical Society's Annual Reports (1910), Vol. 7, 285. As quoted in Francis Aston in Lecture (1936) on 'Forty Years of Atomic Theory', collected in Needham and Pagel (eds.) in Background to Modern Science: Ten Lectures at Cambridge Arranged by the History of Science Committee, (1938), 100. Cited in Alfred Walter Stewart, Recent Advances in Physical and Inorganic Chemistry (1920), 198.
Science quotes on:  |  Atomic Weight (6)  |  Chemical (73)  |  Different (132)  |  Discovery (601)  |  Element (137)  |  Guarantee (19)  |  Homogeneity (4)  |  Isotope (4)  |  Mean (76)  |  Mixture (22)  |  Number (188)  |  Periodic Table (14)  |  Process (210)  |  Radioactive (8)  |  Several (19)  |  Supposed (3)


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.