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

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “Politics is more difficult than physics.”
more quiz questions >>
Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index P > Category: Point

Point Quotes (72 quotes)

Une idée anticipée ou une hypothèse est donc le point de départ nécessaire de tout raisonnement expérimental. Sans cela on ne saurait faire aucune investigation ni s’instruire ; on ne pourrait qu’entasser des observations stériles. Si l’on expérimentait sans idée préconçue, on irait à l’aventure; mais d’un autre côté, ainsi que nous l’avons dit ailleurs, si l’on observait avec des idées préconçues, on ferait de mauvaises observations.
An anticipative idea or an hypothesis is, then, the necessary starting point for all experimental reasoning. Without it, we could not make any investigation at all nor learn anything; we could only pile up sterile observations. If we experimented without a preconceived idea, we should move at random.
[Also seen translated as:] A hypothesis is … the obligatory starting point of all experimental reasoning. Without it no investigation would be possible, and one would learn nothing: one could only pile up barren observations. To experiment without a preconceived idea is to wander aimlessly.
Original work in French, Introduction à l'Étude de la Médecine Expérimentale (1865). English translation by Henry Copley Green in An Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine (1927, 1957), 32. Alternate translation in Peter Medawar, 'Hypothesis and Imagination', collected in The Strange Case of the Spotted Mice and Other Classic Essays on Science (1974), 30.
Science quotes on:  |  Experiment (543)  |  Hypothesis (227)  |  Idea (440)  |  Investigation (123)  |  Learning (174)  |  Necessity (125)  |  Observation (418)  |  Random (21)  |  Reasoning (79)  |  Start (68)  |  Sterile (9)

A game is on, at the other end of this infinite distance, and heads or tails will turn up. What will you wager? According to reason you cannot leave either; according to reason you cannot leave either undone... Yes, but wager you must; there is no option, you have embarked on it. So which will you have. Come. Since you must choose, let us see what concerns you least. You have two things to lose: truth and good, and two things to stake: your reason and your will, your knowledge and your happiness. And your nature has two things to shun: error and misery. Your reason does not suffer by your choosing one more than the other, for you must choose. That is one point cleared. But your happiness? Let us weigh gain and loss in calling heads that God is. Reckon these two chances: if you win, you win all; if you lose, you lose naught. Then do not hesitate, wager that He is.
Pensées (1670), Section I, aphorism 223. In H. F. Stewart (ed.), Pascal's Pensées (1950), 117-119.
Science quotes on:  |  Chance (122)  |  Choice (64)  |  Concern (76)  |  Distance (54)  |  Embarkation (2)  |  Error (230)  |  Gain (48)  |  Game (45)  |  God (454)  |  Good (228)  |  Happiness (82)  |  Head (52)  |  Hesitation (8)  |  Infinity (59)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Loss (62)  |  Misery (19)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Naught (4)  |  Option (5)  |  Reason (330)  |  Reckoning (4)  |  Shun (3)  |  Stake (14)  |  Suffering (26)  |  Tail (13)  |  Truth (750)  |  Win (25)

A line is not made up of points. … In the same way, time is not made up of parts considered as indivisible “nows.”
Part of Aristotle’s reply to Zeno's paradox concerning continuity.
Aristotle
A succinct summary, not a direct quotation of Aristotle's words. From Aristotle's Physics, Book VI. Sections 1 and 9 as given by Florian Cajori in part 2 of an article 'The History of Zeno's Arguments on Motion', in The American Mathematical Monthly (Feb 1915), 22:2, 41.
Science quotes on:  |  Indivisible (7)  |  Line (44)  |  Now (5)  |  Paradox (35)  |  Part (146)  |  Time (439)  |  Zeno (5)

A man with a conviction is a hard man to change. Tell him you disagree and he turns away. Show him facts or figures and he questions your sources. Appeal to logic and he fails to see your point.
First sentences in When Prophecy Fails (1956), 3.
Science quotes on:  |  Appeal (30)  |  Change (291)  |  Conviction (57)  |  Disagree (6)  |  Fact (609)  |  Fail (34)  |  Figure (32)  |  Hard (70)  |  Logic (187)  |  Question (315)  |  Show (55)  |  Source (71)  |  Tell (67)  |  Turn (72)

A mathematical point is the most indivisble and unique thing which art can present.
Letters, 21. 1817. In Robert Édouard Moritz, Memorabilia Mathematica (1914), 295.
Science quotes on:  |  Indivisible (7)  |  Mathematics (587)  |  Unique (24)

A mathematician thinks that two points are enough to define a straight line, while a physicist wants more data.
Anonymous
Science quotes on:  |  Data (100)  |  Define (29)  |  Difference (208)  |  Line (44)  |  Mathematician (177)  |  Physicist (130)  |  Quip (75)  |  Straight (15)

A poet is, after all, a sort of scientist, but engaged in a qualitative science in which nothing is measurable. He lives with data that cannot be numbered, and his experiments can be done only once. The information in a poem is, by definition, not reproducible. ... He becomes an equivalent of scientist, in the act of examining and sorting the things popping in [to his head], finding the marks of remote similarity, points of distant relationship, tiny irregularities that indicate that this one is really the same as that one over there only more important. Gauging the fit, he can meticulously place pieces of the universe together, in geometric configurations that are as beautiful and balanced as crystals.
In The Medusa and the Snail: More Notes of a Biology Watcher (1974, 1995), 107.
Science quotes on:  |  Balance (43)  |  Beauty (171)  |  Configuration (4)  |  Crystal (47)  |  Data (100)  |  Definition (152)  |  Distance (54)  |  Engagement (4)  |  Equivalent (14)  |  Examination (60)  |  Experiment (543)  |  Fit (31)  |  Gauge (2)  |  Geometry (99)  |  Importance (183)  |  Indication (21)  |  Information (102)  |  Irregularity (10)  |  Life (917)  |  Mark (28)  |  Measurement (148)  |  Nothing (267)  |  Number (179)  |  Once (4)  |  Piece (32)  |  Poem (85)  |  Poet (59)  |  Qualitative (12)  |  Relationship (59)  |  Remote (27)  |  Reproducibility (2)  |  Science (1699)  |  Scientist (447)  |  Similarity (17)  |  Sort (32)  |  Thing (37)  |  Thought (374)  |  Tiny (25)  |  Universe (563)

Any fool can know. The point is to understand.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Fool (70)  |  Know (321)  |  Understand (189)

As man advances in civilisation, and small tribes are united into larger communities, the simplest reason would tell each individual that he ought to extend his social instincts and sympathies to all the members of the same nation, though personally unknown to him. This point being once reached, there is only an artificial barrier to prevent his sympathies extending to the men of all nations and races.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Advance (123)  |  Artificial (26)  |  Barrier (19)  |  Civilisation (18)  |  Community (65)  |  Extend (20)  |  Individual (177)  |  Instinct (50)  |  Large (82)  |  Member (27)  |  Nation (111)  |  Personally (4)  |  Prevent (27)  |  Race (76)  |  Reach (68)  |  Reason (330)  |  Same (92)  |  Simple (111)  |  Small (97)  |  Social (93)  |  Sympathy (15)  |  Tell (67)  |  Tribe (10)  |  United (8)  |  Unknown (87)

Astronomy was thus the cradle of the natural sciences and the starting point of geometrical theories. The stars themselves gave rise to the concept of a ‘point’; triangles, quadrangles and other geometrical figures appeared in the constellations; the circle was realized by the disc of the sun and the moon. Thus in an essentially intuitive fashion the elements of geometrical thinking came into existence.
In George Edward Martin, The Foundations of Geometry and the Non-Euclidean Plane (1982), 72.
Science quotes on:  |  Appear (55)  |  Astronomy (175)  |  Circle (28)  |  Concept (102)  |  Constellation (9)  |  Cradle (10)  |  Element (129)  |  Essentially (11)  |  Existence (254)  |  Fashion (24)  |  Figure (32)  |  Geometrical (3)  |  Give (117)  |  Intuitive (7)  |  Moon (132)  |  Natural Sciences (3)  |  Quadrangle (2)  |  Realize (43)  |  Rise (51)  |  Star (251)  |  Starting Point (6)  |  Sun (211)  |  Themselves (45)  |  Theory (582)  |  Think (205)  |  Triangle (7)

Bradley is one of the few basketball players who have ever been appreciatively cheered by a disinterested away-from-home crowd while warming up. This curious event occurred last March, just before Princeton eliminated the Virginia Military Institute, the year’s Southern Conference champion, from the NCAA championships. The game was played in Philadelphia and was the last of a tripleheader. The people there were worn out, because most of them were emotionally committed to either Villanova or Temple-two local teams that had just been involved in enervating battles with Providence and Connecticut, respectively, scrambling for a chance at the rest of the country. A group of Princeton players shooting basketballs miscellaneously in preparation for still another game hardly promised to be a high point of the evening, but Bradley, whose routine in the warmup time is a gradual crescendo of activity, is more interesting to watch before a game than most players are in play. In Philadelphia that night, what he did was, for him, anything but unusual. As he does before all games, he began by shooting set shots close to the basket, gradually moving back until he was shooting long sets from 20 feet out, and nearly all of them dropped into the net with an almost mechanical rhythm of accuracy. Then he began a series of expandingly difficult jump shots, and one jumper after another went cleanly through the basket with so few exceptions that the crowd began to murmur. Then he started to perform whirling reverse moves before another cadence of almost steadily accurate jump shots, and the murmur increased. Then he began to sweep hook shots into the air. He moved in a semicircle around the court. First with his right hand, then with his left, he tried seven of these long, graceful shots-the most difficult ones in the orthodoxy of basketball-and ambidextrously made them all. The game had not even begun, but the presumably unimpressible Philadelphians were applauding like an audience at an opera.
A Sense of Where You Are: Bill Bradley at Princeton
Science quotes on:  |  Accuracy (52)  |  Accurate (21)  |  Activity (97)  |  Air (151)  |  Audience (13)  |  Back (55)  |  Basket (5)  |  Basketball (2)  |  Battle (30)  |  Begin (52)  |  Bradley (2)  |  Cadence (2)  |  Champion (3)  |  Championship (2)  |  Chance (122)  |  Cheer (5)  |  Close (40)  |  Commit (17)  |  Conference (8)  |  Country (121)  |  Court (16)  |  Crescendo (3)  |  Crowd (12)  |  Curious (24)  |  Difficult (62)  |  Disinterest (6)  |  Drop (27)  |  Eliminate (15)  |  Emotionally (2)  |  Event (97)  |  Exception (33)  |  First (174)  |  Foot (39)  |  Game (45)  |  Gradual (18)  |  Gradually (13)  |  Group (52)  |  Hand (103)  |  Hardly (12)  |  High (78)  |  Hook (4)  |  Increase (107)  |  Institute (7)  |  Interest (170)  |  Involve (27)  |  Jump (13)  |  Leave (63)  |  Local (15)  |  Long (95)  |  March (15)  |  Mechanical (31)  |  Military (24)  |  Move (58)  |  Murmur (2)  |  Nearly (19)  |  Net (10)  |  Night (73)  |  Occur (26)  |  Opera (3)  |  Orthodoxy (7)  |  People (269)  |  Perform (27)  |  Philadelphia (3)  |  Play (60)  |  Player (5)  |  Preparation (33)  |  Presumably (3)  |  Princeton (3)  |  Promise (27)  |  Providence (6)  |  Respectively (2)  |  Rest (64)  |  Reverse (14)  |  Rhythm (12)  |  Right (144)  |  Routine (11)  |  Series (38)  |  Set (56)  |  Shoot (10)  |  Start (68)  |  Steadily (4)  |  Sweep (11)  |  Team (5)  |  Time (439)  |  Try (103)  |  Unusual (13)  |  Virginia (2)  |  Warm (20)  |  Watch (39)  |  Whirl (2)  |  Worn Out (2)  |  Year (214)

Either one or the other [analysis or synthesis] may be direct or indirect. The direct procedure is when the point of departure is known-direct synthesis in the elements of geometry. By combining at random simple truths with each other, more complicated ones are deduced from them. This is the method of discovery, the special method of inventions, contrary to popular opinion.
Ampère gives this example drawn from geometry to illustrate his meaning for “direct synthesis” when deductions following from more simple, already-known theorems leads to a new discovery. In James R. Hofmann, André-Marie Ampère (1996), 159. Cites Académie des Sciences Ampère Archives, box 261.
Science quotes on:  |  Analysis (123)  |  Combination (69)  |  Complication (20)  |  Contrary (22)  |  Deduction (49)  |  Departure (4)  |  Direct (44)  |  Discovery (591)  |  Element (129)  |  Geometry (99)  |  Indirect (8)  |  Invention (283)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Method (154)  |  Opinion (146)  |  Popular (21)  |  Procedure (16)  |  Random (21)  |  Simple (111)  |  Special (51)  |  Synthesis (38)  |  Truth (750)

Every lecture should state one main point and repeat it over and over, like a theme with variations. An audience is like a herd of cows, moving slowly in the direction they are being driven towards. If we make one point, we have a good chance that the audience will take the right direction; if we make several points, then the cows will scatter all over the field. The audience will lose interest and everyone will go back to the thoughts they interrupted in order to come to our lecture.
In 'Ten Lessons I Wish I Had Been Taught', Indiscrete Thoughts (2008), 196.
Science quotes on:  |  Audience (13)  |  Chance (122)  |  Cow (27)  |  Direction (56)  |  Drive (38)  |  Field (119)  |  Herd (12)  |  Interest (170)  |  Interrupt (4)  |  Lecture (54)  |  Lose (53)  |  Main (16)  |  Move (58)  |  Repeat (27)  |  Right (144)  |  Scatter (5)  |  Slowly (10)  |  State (96)  |  Theme (8)  |  Thought (374)  |  Toward (29)  |  Variation (50)

Every science touches art at some points—every art has its scientific side.
In Armand Trousseau and John Rose Cormack (trans.), Lectures on Clinical Medicine: Delivered at the Hôtel-Dieu, Paris (1869), Vol. 2, 40.
Science quotes on:  |  Art (205)  |  Science (1699)  |  Science And Art (157)  |  Touch (48)

Everything is made of atoms ... Everything that animals do, atoms do. ... There is nothing that living things do that cannot be understood from the point of view that they are made of atoms acting according to the laws of physics.
In The Feynman Lectures (1963), 8.
Science quotes on:  |  According (8)  |  Act (80)  |  Animal (309)  |  Atom (251)  |  Everything (120)  |  Law (418)  |  Living (44)  |  Made (14)  |  Nothing (267)  |  Physics (301)  |  Understood (9)  |  View (115)

Fanatical ethnic or religious or national chauvinisms are a little difficult to maintain when we see our planet as a fragile blue crescent fading to become an inconspicuous point of light against a bastion and citadel of the stars.
Cosmos
Science quotes on:  |  Bastion (2)  |  Become (100)  |  Blue (30)  |  Citadel (4)  |  Crescent (2)  |  Difficult (62)  |  Fade (5)  |  Fanatical (2)  |  Fragile (7)  |  Inconspicuous (3)  |  Light (246)  |  Little (126)  |  Maintain (22)  |  National (20)  |  Planet (199)  |  Religious (44)  |  See (197)  |  Star (251)

For myself, I found that I was fitted for nothing so well as for the study of Truth; as having a mind nimble and versatile enough to catch the resemblances of things (which is the chief point) , and at the same time steady enough to fix and distinguish their subtler differences; as being gifted by nature with desire to seek, patience to doubt, fondness to meditate, slowness to assert, readiness to reconsider, carefulness to dispose and set in order; and as being a man that neither affects what is new nor admires what is old, and that hates every kind of imposture. So I thought my nature had a kind of familiarity and relationship with Truth.
From 'Progress of philosophical speculations. Preface to intended treatise De Interpretatione Naturæ (1603), in Francis Bacon and James Spedding (ed.), Works of Francis Bacon (1868), Vol. 3, 85.
Science quotes on:  |  Admiration (34)  |  Affectation (3)  |  Assertion (23)  |  Being (39)  |  Catch (21)  |  Chief (25)  |  Desire (101)  |  Difference (208)  |  Disposition (14)  |  Distinguishing (14)  |  Doubt (121)  |  Enough (6)  |  Familiarity (12)  |  Fix (10)  |  Fondness (7)  |  Gift (47)  |  Hate (26)  |  Imposture (2)  |  Kind (99)  |  Meditation (10)  |  Mind (544)  |  Nature (1029)  |  New (340)  |  Nimble (2)  |  Nothing (267)  |  Old (104)  |  Order (167)  |  Patience (31)  |  Readiness (5)  |  Reconsideration (2)  |  Relationship (59)  |  Seeking (30)  |  Setting (6)  |  Slowness (4)  |  Steady (12)  |  Study (331)  |  Subtlety (9)  |  Thing (37)  |  Time (439)  |  Truth (750)  |  Versatile (4)

I am quite aware that we have just now lightheartedly expelled in imagination many excellent men who are largely, perhaps chiefly, responsible for the buildings of the temple of science; and in many cases our angel would find it a pretty ticklish job to decide. But of one thing I feel sure: if the types we have just expelled were the only types there were, the temple would never have come to be, any more than a forest can grow which consists of nothing but creepers. For these people any sphere of human activity will do, if it comes to a point; whether they become engineers, officers, tradesmen, or scientists depends on circumstances.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Activity (97)  |  Angel (25)  |  Aware (18)  |  Become (100)  |  Buildings (2)  |  Case (64)  |  Chiefly (7)  |  Circumstance (48)  |  Consist (22)  |  Decide (25)  |  Depend (56)  |  Engineer (72)  |  Excellent (15)  |  Expel (3)  |  Feel (93)  |  Find (248)  |  Forest (88)  |  Grow (66)  |  Human (445)  |  Imagination (209)  |  Job (33)  |  Largely (12)  |  Nothing (267)  |  Officer (6)  |  People (269)  |  Pretty (10)  |  Responsible (11)  |  Scientist (447)  |  Sphere (40)  |  Temple (22)  |  Temple Of Science (7)  |  Type (34)

I am sorry to say that there is too much point to the wisecrack that life is extinct on other planets because their scientists were more advanced than ours.
Anonymous
Attributed to John F. Kennedy in various sources, for example: Speech (1959), In Dale Carlson, Carol Nicklaus, Who Said What?: Philosophy Quotes for Teens (2003). However, webmaster has been unable to verify from a primary source, and is unsure of its authenticity. Please contact webmaster if you know a primary source.
Science quotes on:  |  Advancement (36)  |  Cause (231)  |  Earth (487)  |  Extinction (55)  |  Life (917)  |  Other (25)  |  Planet (199)  |  Scientist (447)  |  Sorry (16)

I have now reached the point where I may indicate briefly what to me constitutes the essence of the crisis of our time. It concerns the relationship of the individual to society. The individual has become more conscious than ever of his dependence upon society. But he does not experience this dependence as a positive asset, as an organic tie, as a protective force, but rather as a threat to his natural rights, or even to his economic existence. Moreover, his position in society is such that the egotistical drives of his make-up are constantly being accentuated, while his social drives, which are by nature weaker, progressively deteriorate. All human beings, whatever their position in society, are suffering from this process of deterioration. Unknowingly prisoners of their own egotism, they feel insecure, lonely, and deprived of the naive, simple, and unsophisticated enjoyment of life. Man can find meaning in life, short and perilous as it is, only through devoting himself to society.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Asset (3)  |  Become (100)  |  Briefly (3)  |  Concern (76)  |  Conscious (25)  |  Constantly (19)  |  Constitute (19)  |  Crisis (13)  |  Dependence (32)  |  Deprive (9)  |  Deteriorate (2)  |  Deterioration (8)  |  Devote (23)  |  Drive (38)  |  Economic (21)  |  Enjoyment (27)  |  Essence (42)  |  Existence (254)  |  Experience (268)  |  Feel (93)  |  Find (248)  |  Force (194)  |  Human Beings (19)  |  Indicate (10)  |  Individual (177)  |  Insecure (3)  |  Life (917)  |  Lonely (7)  |  Mean (63)  |  Moreover (2)  |  Naive (8)  |  Natural (128)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Organic (48)  |  Perilous (3)  |  Position (54)  |  Positive (28)  |  Prisoner (7)  |  Process (201)  |  Progressively (2)  |  Protective (4)  |  Reach (68)  |  Relationship (59)  |  Right (144)  |  Short (31)  |  Simple (111)  |  Social (93)  |  Society (188)  |  Suffer (25)  |  Threat (24)  |  Tie (21)  |  Time (439)  |  Weak (36)

I never could make out what those damn dots meant.
Referring to decimal points.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Damn (11)  |  Decimal (11)  |  Dot (5)  |  Mean (63)  |  Refer (5)

I wanted to be a scientist from my earliest school days. The crystallizing moment came when I first caught on that stars are mighty suns, and how staggeringly far away they must be to appear to us as mere points of light. I’m not sure I even knew the word science then, but I was gripped by the prospect of understanding how things work, of helping to uncover deep mysteries, of exploring new worlds.
In 'With Science on Our Side', Washington Post (9 Jan 1994).
Science quotes on:  |  Appear (55)  |  Biography (227)  |  Deep (81)  |  Earliest (3)  |  Exploration (93)  |  Far (77)  |  Light (246)  |  Mere (41)  |  Mystery (125)  |  New (340)  |  Prospect (19)  |  School (87)  |  Scientist (447)  |  Staggering (2)  |  Star (251)  |  Sun (211)  |  Uncover (6)  |  Understand (189)  |  World (667)

If we can get kids talking about conservation and doing it, they can have a great influence on their parents by lecturing them and pointing the finger.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Conservation (139)  |  Finger (38)  |  Great (300)  |  Influence (110)  |  Kid (12)  |  Lecture (54)  |  Parent (39)  |  Talk (61)

If we knew all the laws of Nature, we should need only one fact or the description of one actual phenomenon to infer all the particular results at that point. Now we know only a few laws, and our result is vitiated, not, of course, by any confusion or irregularity in Nature, but by our ignorance of essential elements in the calculation. Our notions of law and harmony are commonly confined to those instances which we detect, but the harmony which results from a far greater number of seemingly conflicting, but really concurring, laws which we have not detected, is still more wonderful. The particular laws are as our points of view, as to the traveler, a mountain outline varies with every step, and it has an infinite number of profiles, though absolutely but one form. Even when cleft or bored through, it is not comprehended in its entireness.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Absolutely (24)  |  Actual (34)  |  Bored (2)  |  Calculation (67)  |  Commonly (7)  |  Comprehend (19)  |  Concur (2)  |  Confine (9)  |  Conflict (49)  |  Confusion (34)  |  Description (72)  |  Detect (9)  |  Element (129)  |  Essential (87)  |  Fact (609)  |  Far (77)  |  Form (210)  |  Great (300)  |  Harmony (55)  |  Ignorance (190)  |  Infer (10)  |  Infinite (88)  |  Instance (18)  |  Irregularity (10)  |  Know (321)  |  Law (418)  |  Mountain (111)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Need (211)  |  Notion (32)  |  Number (179)  |  Of Course (11)  |  Outline (6)  |  Particular (54)  |  Phenomenon (218)  |  Really (50)  |  Result (250)  |  Seemingly (7)  |  Step (67)  |  Traveler (18)  |  Vary (14)  |  View (115)  |  Wonderful (37)

In the expressions we adopt to prescribe physical phenomena we necessarily hover between two extremes. We either have to choose a word which implies more than we can prove, or we have to use vague and general terms which hide the essential point, instead of bringing it out. The history of electrical theories furnishes a good example.
Opening Address to the Annual Meeting of the British Association by Prof. Arthur Schuster, in Nature (4 Aug 1892), 46, 325.
Science quotes on:  |  Choice (64)  |  Electricity (121)  |  Essential (87)  |  Example (57)  |  Expression (82)  |  Extreme (36)  |  Furnish (18)  |  Generality (22)  |  Good (228)  |  Hiding (6)  |  History (302)  |  Hover (3)  |  Implication (14)  |  Nomenclature (129)  |  Phenomenon (218)  |  Proof (192)  |  Term (87)  |  Theory (582)  |  Vagueness (8)  |  Word (221)

It has been said that [William Gull] “seldom delivered a lecture which was not remarkable for some phrase full of wise teaching, which from its point and conciseness became almost a proverb amongst his pupils.”
Stated in Sir William Withey Gull and Theodore Dyke Acland (ed.), A Collection of the Published Writings of William Withey Gull (1896), xxiv.
Science quotes on:  |  Concise (4)  |  Sir William Withey Gull (39)  |  Lecture (54)  |  Phrase (21)  |  Proverb (23)  |  Remarkable (34)  |  Teaching (99)  |  Wise (43)

It sometimes strikes me that the whole of science is a piece of impudence; that nature can afford to ignore our impertinent interference. If our monkey mischief should ever reach the point of blowing up the earth by decomposing an atom, and even annihilated the sun himself, I cannot really suppose that the universe would turn a hair.
The Confessions of Aleister Crowley, ch. 14 (1929, rev 1970).
Science quotes on:  |  Afford (11)  |  Annihilate (6)  |  Atom (251)  |  Blow (13)  |  Decompose (5)  |  Earth (487)  |  Hair (19)  |  Ignore (22)  |  Impertinent (2)  |  Interference (12)  |  Mischief (6)  |  Monkey (37)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Piece (32)  |  Reach (68)  |  Really (50)  |  Science (1699)  |  Sometimes (27)  |  Strike (21)  |  Sun (211)  |  Suppose (29)  |  Turn (72)  |  Universe (563)  |  Whole (122)

Magnitude may be compared to the power output in kilowatts of a [radio] broadcasting station; local intensity, on the Mercalli or similar scale, is then comparable to the signal strength noted on a receiver at a given locality. Intensity, like signal strength, will generally fall off with distance from the source; it will also depend on local conditions at the point of observation, and to some extent on the conditions along the path from source to that point.
From interview in the Earthquake Information Bulletin (Jul-Aug 1971), 3, No. 4, as abridged in article on USGS website.
Science quotes on:  |  Comparable (5)  |  Compare (15)  |  Condition (119)  |  Depend (56)  |  Distance (54)  |  Extent (30)  |  Intensity (19)  |  Kilowatt (2)  |  Local (15)  |  Locality (6)  |  Magnitude (21)  |  Observation (418)  |  Output (9)  |  Path (59)  |  Power (273)  |  Radio (27)  |  Receiver (5)  |  Scale (49)  |  Signal (14)  |  Source (71)  |  Station (9)  |  Strength (63)

Man does not live by bread alone, there are other wants to be supplied, and even in a practical point of view, a single thought may be fraught with a thousand useful inventions.
Presidential Address (Aug 1853) to the American Association for the Advancement of Education, in Proceedings of the Third Session of the American Association for the Advancement of Education (1854), 29.
Science quotes on:  |  Alone (61)  |  Bread (19)  |  Invention (283)  |  Live (186)  |  Practical (93)  |  Single (72)  |  Supply (31)  |  Thought (374)  |  Thousand (106)  |  Useful (66)  |  View (115)  |  Want (120)

Mr. Hillaire Belloc has pointed out that science has changed greatly, and for the worse, since it became popular. Some hundred years ago, or more, only very unusual, highly original spirits were attracted to science at all; scientific work was therefore carried out by men of exceptional intelligence. Now, scientists are turned out by mass production in our universities.
In Science is a Sacred Cow (1950), 23-24.
Science quotes on:  |  Change (291)  |  Exceptional (6)  |  Intelligence (138)  |  Mass Production (2)  |  Original (36)  |  Popularity (2)  |  Spirit (113)  |  University (51)  |  Worse (17)

My position is a naturalistic one; I see philosophy not as an a priori propaedeutic or groundwork for science, but as continuous with science. I see philosophy and science as in the same boat—a boat which, to revert to Neurath’s figure as I so often do, we can rebuild only at sea while staying afloat in it. There is no external vantage point, no first philosophy.
Ontological Relativity and Other Essays, pp. 126-127, Columbia University Press (1969).
Science quotes on:  |  A Priori (16)  |  Afloat (2)  |  Boat (13)  |  Continuous (24)  |  External (45)  |  Figure (32)  |  First (174)  |  Groundwork (3)  |  Often (69)  |  Philosophy (213)  |  Position (54)  |  Rebuild (3)  |  Revert (4)  |  Same (92)  |  Science (1699)  |  Sea (143)  |  See (197)  |  Stay (15)

New scientific ideas never spring from a communal body, however organized, but rather from the head of an individually inspired researcher who struggles with his problems in lonely thought and unites all his thought on one single point which is his whole world for the moment.
Address on the 25th anniversary of the Kaiser-Wilhelm Gesellschaft (Jan 1936). Quoted in Surviving the Swastika: Scientific Research in Nazi Germany (1993), 97.
Science quotes on:  |  Community (65)  |  Head (52)  |  Idea (440)  |  Individual (177)  |  Inspiration (50)  |  Lonely (7)  |  Moment (61)  |  Organization (79)  |  Problem (362)  |  Researcher (17)  |  Science (1699)  |  Single (72)  |  Spring (47)  |  Struggle (60)  |  Thought (374)  |  Unite (13)

No gun is perfectly true. So the marksman, that he may hit the bull's-eye, points elsewhere.
From chapter 'Jottings from a Note-Book', in Canadian Stories (1918), 169.
Science quotes on:  |  Elsewhere (7)  |  Gun (7)  |  Hit (14)  |  Marksman (2)  |  Perfectly (8)  |  Research (517)  |  True (120)

Now, it may be stretching an analogy to compare epidemics of cholera—caused by a known agent—with that epidemic of violent crime which is destroying our cities. It is unlikely that our social problems can be traced to a single, clearly defined cause in the sense that a bacterial disease is ‘caused’ by a microbe. But, I daresay, social science is about as advanced in the late twentieth century as bacteriological science was in the mid nineteenth century. Our forerunners knew something about cholera; they sensed that its spread was associated with misdirected sewage, filth, and the influx of alien poor into crowded, urban tenements. And we know something about street crime; nowhere has it been reported that a member of the New York Stock Exchange has robbed a poor, black teenager at the point of a gun. Indeed, I am naively confident that an enlightened social scientist of the next century will be able to point out that we had available to us at least some of the clues to the cause of urban crime.
Cholera at the Harvey,' Woods Hole Cantata: Essays on Science and Society, Dodd, Mead (1985).
Science quotes on:  |  20th Century (25)  |  Advance (123)  |  Agent (27)  |  Alien (25)  |  Analogy (46)  |  Associate (9)  |  Available (18)  |  Bacteria (32)  |  Black (28)  |  Cause (231)  |  Century (95)  |  Cholera (2)  |  City (37)  |  Clearly (17)  |  Clue (14)  |  Compare (15)  |  Confident (7)  |  Crime (20)  |  Crowd (12)  |  Define (29)  |  Destroy (63)  |  Disease (257)  |  Enlightened (4)  |  Epidemic (6)  |  Filth (4)  |  Forerunner (3)  |  Gun (7)  |  Know (321)  |  Late (28)  |  Least (44)  |  Member (27)  |  Microbe (17)  |  Misdirect (2)  |  New York (14)  |  Next (24)  |  Nineteenth (6)  |  Nowhere (19)  |  Point Out (2)  |  Poor (47)  |  Problem (362)  |  Report (31)  |  Rob (3)  |  Science (1699)  |  Sense (240)  |  Sewage (5)  |  Single (72)  |  Social (93)  |  Social Science (19)  |  Social Scientist (3)  |  Spread (19)  |  Stock Exchange (2)  |  Street (17)  |  Stretch (8)  |  Teenager (4)  |  Trace (39)  |  Unlikely (12)  |  Urban (7)  |  Violent (15)

One of the principal obstacles to the rapid diffusion of a new idea lies in the difficulty of finding suitable expression to convey its essential point to other minds. Words may have to be strained into a new sense, and scientific controversies constantly resolve themselves into differences about the meaning of words. On the other hand, a happy nomenclature has sometimes been more powerful than rigorous logic in allowing a new train of thought to be quickly and generally accepted.
Opening Address to the Annual Meeting of the British Association by Prof. Arthur Schuster, in Nature (4 Aug 1892), 46, 325.
Science quotes on:  |  Acceptance (41)  |  Controversy (16)  |  Convey (10)  |  Difficulty (113)  |  Diffusion (7)  |  Essential (87)  |  Expression (82)  |  Finding (30)  |  Idea (440)  |  Logic (187)  |  Meaning (87)  |  New (340)  |  Nomenclature (129)  |  Obstacle (21)  |  Power (273)  |  Principal (15)  |  Resolution (16)  |  Rigour (10)  |  Sense (240)  |  Suitability (11)  |  Thought (374)  |  Word (221)

Ploughing deep, your recipe for killing weeds, is also the recipe for almost every good thing in farming. … We now plough horizontally following the curvatures of the hills and hollows, on the dead level, however crooked the lines may be. Every furrow thus acts as a reservoir to receive and retain the waters, all of which go to the benefit of the growing plant, instead of running off into streams … In point of beauty nothing can exceed that of the waving lines and rows winding along the face of the hills and vallies.
In letter (17 Apr 1813) from Jefferson at Monticello to Charles Willson Peale. Collected in The Jefferson Papers: 1770-1826 (1900), 178-180.
Science quotes on:  |  Beauty (171)  |  Benefit (54)  |  Crooked (3)  |  Curvature (3)  |  Deep (81)  |  Erosion (18)  |  Face (69)  |  Farming (7)  |  Following (16)  |  Furrow (3)  |  Good (228)  |  Growing (15)  |  Hill (19)  |  Hollow (3)  |  Horizontal (3)  |  Killing (14)  |  Level (51)  |  Line (44)  |  Plant (173)  |  Plough (8)  |  Ploughing (3)  |  Receive (39)  |  Recipe (7)  |  Reservoir (4)  |  Retain (10)  |  Row (4)  |  Running (8)  |  Stream (27)  |  Valley (16)  |  Water (244)  |  Water Conservation (2)  |  Weed (14)  |  Winding (4)

Religion and science ... constitute deep-rooted and ancient efforts to find richer experience and deeper meaning than are found in the ordinary biological and social satisfactions. As pointed out by Whitehead, religion and science have similar origins and are evolving toward similar goals. Both started from crude observations and fanciful concepts, meaningful only within a narrow range of conditions for the people who formulated them of their limited tribal experience. But progressively, continuously, and almost simultaneously, religious and scientific concepts are ridding themselves of their coarse and local components, reaching higher and higher levels of abstraction and purity. Both the myths of religion and the laws of science, it is now becoming apparent, are not so much descriptions of facts as symbolic expressions of cosmic truths.
'On Being Human,' A God Within, Scribner (1972).
Science quotes on:  |  Abstraction (29)  |  Ancient (68)  |  Apparent (26)  |  Become (100)  |  Biological (21)  |  Both (52)  |  Coarse (2)  |  Component (14)  |  Concept (102)  |  Condition (119)  |  Constitute (19)  |  Continuously (7)  |  Cosmic (34)  |  Crude (14)  |  Deep (81)  |  Description (72)  |  Effort (94)  |  Evolution (482)  |  Experience (268)  |  Expression (82)  |  Fact (609)  |  Fanciful (4)  |  Find (248)  |  Formulate (10)  |  Goal (81)  |  High (78)  |  Law (418)  |  Level (51)  |  Limit (86)  |  Local (15)  |  Mean (63)  |  Meaningful (14)  |  Myth (43)  |  Narrow (33)  |  Observation (418)  |  Ordinary (44)  |  Origin (77)  |  People (269)  |  Progressively (2)  |  Purity (13)  |  Range (38)  |  Reach (68)  |  Religion (210)  |  Religion And Science (6)  |  Religious (44)  |  Rich (48)  |  Rid (10)  |  Satisfaction (48)  |  Science (1699)  |  Scientific (169)  |  Similar (22)  |  Simultaneous (12)  |  Social (93)  |  Start (68)  |  Symbolic (6)  |  Themselves (45)  |  Toward (29)  |  Truth (750)  |  Whitehead (2)

Science has not solved problems, only shifted the points of problems.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Problem (362)  |  Science (1699)  |  Shift (21)  |  Solve (41)

Science moves, but slowly, slowly, creeping on from point to point. ...
Yet I doubt not through the ages one increasing purpose runs,
And the thoughts of men are widened with the process of the suns.…
Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers…
In poem, 'Locksley Hall', collected in Poems by Alfred Tennyson (1842), Vol. 1, 105-106.
Science quotes on:  |  Creep (7)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Move (58)  |  Movement (65)  |  Process (201)  |  Purpose (138)  |  Science (1699)  |  Slowly (10)  |  Sun (211)  |  Thought (374)  |  Wisdom (151)

So numerous are the objects which meet our view in the heavens, that we cannot imagine a point of space where some light would not strike the eye;—innumerable stars, thousands of double and multiple systems, clusters in one blaze with their tens of thousands of stars, and the nebulae amazing us by the strangeness of their forms and the incomprehensibility of their nature, till at last, from the limit of our senses, even these thin and airy phantoms vanish in the distance.
On the Connexion of the Physical Sciences (1858), 420.
Science quotes on:  |  Amazement (9)  |  Blaze (9)  |  Cluster (10)  |  Distance (54)  |  Eye (159)  |  Form (210)  |  Heaven (118)  |  Imagination (209)  |  Incomprehensibility (2)  |  Innumerable (17)  |  Light (246)  |  Limit (86)  |  Multiple (9)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Nebula (15)  |  Numerous (21)  |  Object (110)  |  Phantom (5)  |  Sense (240)  |  Space (154)  |  Star (251)  |  Strangeness (10)  |  System (141)  |  Thin (7)  |  Vanish (10)  |  View (115)

Some may claim that is it unscientific to speak of the operations of nature as “miracles.” But the point of the title lies in the paradox of finding so many wonderful things ... subservient to the rule of law.
In Nature’s Miracles: Familiar Talks on Science (1899), Vol. 1, Introduction, v.
Science quotes on:  |  Claim (52)  |  Find (248)  |  Law (418)  |  Lying (6)  |  Many (2)  |  Miracle (55)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Operation (96)  |  Paradox (35)  |  Rule (135)  |  Speaking (38)  |  Subservient (3)  |  Thing (37)  |  Title (10)  |  Unscientific (7)  |  Wonderful (37)

Speaking of libraries: A big open-stack academic or public library is no small pleasure to work in. You’re, say, trying to do a piece on something in Nevada, and you go down to C Floor, deep in the earth, and out to what a miner would call a remote working face. You find 10995.497S just where the card catalog and the online computer thought it would be, but that is only the initial nick. The book you knew about has led you to others you did not know about. To the ceiling the shelves are loaded with books about Nevada. You pull them down, one at a time, and sit on the floor and look them over until you are sitting on a pile five feet high, at which point you are late home for dinner and you get up and walk away. It’s an incomparable boon to research, all that; but it is also a reason why there are almost no large open-stack libraries left in the world.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Academic (12)  |  Big (33)  |  Book (181)  |  Boon (3)  |  C (2)  |  Call (68)  |  Card (3)  |  Catalog (5)  |  Ceiling (3)  |  Computer (84)  |  Deep (81)  |  Dinner (9)  |  Down (44)  |  Earth (487)  |  Face (69)  |  Find (248)  |  Five (14)  |  Floor (16)  |  Foot (39)  |  Get Up (2)  |  High (78)  |  Home (58)  |  Incomparable (7)  |  Initial (13)  |  Know (321)  |  Large (82)  |  Late (28)  |  Lead (101)  |  Leave (63)  |  Library (37)  |  Load (8)  |  Miner (5)  |  Online (2)  |  Piece (32)  |  Pile (8)  |  Pleasure (98)  |  Public (82)  |  Pull (11)  |  Reason (330)  |  Remote (27)  |  Research (517)  |  Say (126)  |  Shelve (2)  |  Sit (24)  |  Small (97)  |  Speak (49)  |  Thought (374)  |  Time (439)  |  Try (103)  |  Walk (56)  |  Work (457)  |  World (667)

That man is an Euclidian point: position without substance.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Position (54)  |  Substance (73)

The equation eπi = -1 has been called the eutectic point of mathematics, for no matter how you boil down and explain this equation, which relates four of the most remarkable numbers of mathematics, it still has a certain mystery about it that cannot be explained away.
Anonymous
Science quotes on:  |  Boil (9)  |  Equation (69)  |  Explain (61)  |  Four (6)  |  Mathematics (587)  |  Matter (270)  |  Mystery (125)  |  Number (179)  |  Relate (5)  |  Remarkable (34)

The essential unity of ecclesiastical and secular institutions was lost during the 19th century, to the point of senseless hostility. Yet there was never any doubt as to the striving for culture. No one doubted the sacredness of the goal. It was the approach that was disputed.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Approach (33)  |  Century (95)  |  Culture (85)  |  Dispute (15)  |  Doubt (121)  |  Ecclesiastical (3)  |  Essential (87)  |  Goal (81)  |  Hostility (10)  |  Institution (32)  |  Lose (53)  |  Nineteenth (6)  |  Secular (8)  |  Senseless (3)  |  Strive (35)  |  Unity (43)

The goal of science is clear—it is nothing short of the complete interpretation of the universe. But the goal is an ideal one—it marks the direction in which we move and strive, but never the point we shall actually reach.
From The Grammar of Science (1892), 17.
Science quotes on:  |  Complete (43)  |  Direction (56)  |  Goal (81)  |  Ideal (52)  |  Interpretation (61)  |  Reach (68)  |  Science (1699)  |  Strive (35)  |  Universe (563)

The ingenious but nevertheless somewhat artificial assumptions of [Bohr’s model of the atom], … are replaced by a much more natural assumption in de Broglie’s wave phenomena. The wave phenomenon forms the real “body” of the atom. It replaces the individual punctiform electrons, which in Bohr’s model swarm around the nucleus.
From 'Our Image of Matter', collected in Werner Heisenberg, Max Born, Erwin Schrödinger, Pierre Auger, On Modern Physics (1961), 50. Webmaster note: “punctiform” means composed of points.
Science quotes on:  |  Artificial (26)  |  Assumption (49)  |  Atom (251)  |  Niels Bohr (50)  |  Electron (66)  |  Ingenious (18)  |  Model (64)  |  Natural (128)  |  Nucleus (30)  |  Phenomenon (218)  |  Swarm (11)  |  Wave (55)

The most disgraceful cause of the scarcity [of remedies] is that even those who know them do not want to point them out, as if they were going to lose what they pass on to others.
Natural History, 25, 16. Trans. R. W. Sharples.
Science quotes on:  |  Cause (231)  |  Disgrace (6)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Loss (62)  |  Remedy (46)  |  Scarcity (2)  |  Selfishness (8)

The most remarkable feature about the magnitude scale was that it worked at all and that it could be extended on a worldwide basis. It was originally envisaged as a rather rough-and-ready procedure by which we could grade earthquakes. We would have been happy if we could have assigned just three categories, large, medium, and small; the point is, we wanted to avoid personal judgments. It actually turned out to be quite a finely tuned scale.
From interview with Henry Spall, as in an abridged version of Earthquake Information Bulletin (Jan-Feb 1980), 12, No. 1, that is on the USGS website.
Science quotes on:  |  Actually (14)  |  Assigned (2)  |  Avoid (34)  |  Basis (60)  |  Earthquake (27)  |  Extended (2)  |  Feature (34)  |  Finely (2)  |  Grade (10)  |  Happy (22)  |  Judgment (72)  |  Large (82)  |  Magnitude (21)  |  Medium (12)  |  Originally (5)  |  Personal (49)  |  Procedure (16)  |  Remarkable (34)  |  Richter Scale (3)  |  Small (97)  |  Three (10)  |  Turned Out (3)  |  Worked (2)  |  Worldwide (6)

The mystery of creation is not within the range of [Nature’s] legitimate territory; [Nature] says nothing, but she points upwards.
In History of the Inductive Sciences (1837), Vol. 3, 588.
Science quotes on:  |  Creation (211)  |  Legitimacy (4)  |  Mystery (125)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Range (38)  |  Territory (14)  |  Upward (7)

The owner of the means of production is in a position to purchase the labor power of the worker. By using the means of production, the worker produces new goods which become the property of the capitalist. The essential point about this process is the relation between what the worker produces and what he is paid, both measured in terms of real value. In so far as the labor contract is free what the worker receives is determined not by the real value of the goods he produces, but by his minimum needs and by the capitalists’ requirements for labor power in relation to the number of workers competing for jobs. It is important to understand that even in theory the payment of the worker is not determined by the value of his product.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Become (100)  |  Both (52)  |  Capitalist (6)  |  Compete (4)  |  Contract (8)  |  Determine (45)  |  Essential (87)  |  Far (77)  |  Free (59)  |  Goods (6)  |  Important (124)  |  Job (33)  |  Labor (53)  |  Means (109)  |  Measure (70)  |  Minimum (10)  |  Need (211)  |  New (340)  |  Number (179)  |  Owner (4)  |  Pay (30)  |  Payment (6)  |  Position (54)  |  Power (273)  |  Process (201)  |  Produce (63)  |  Product (72)  |  Production (105)  |  Property (96)  |  Purchase (5)  |  Real (95)  |  Receive (39)  |  Relation (96)  |  Requirement (45)  |  Term (87)  |  Theory (582)  |  Understand (189)  |  Value (180)  |  Worker (23)

The phenomenon of emergence takes place at critical points of instability that arise from fluctuations in the environment, amplified by feedback loops. Emergence results in the creation of novelty, and this novelty is often qualitatively different from the phenomenon out of which it emerged.
In The Hidden Connections (2002), 116-117.
Science quotes on:  |  Amplification (3)  |  Creation (211)  |  Critical (34)  |  Critical Point (2)  |  Difference (208)  |  Emergence (21)  |  Environment (138)  |  Feedback (8)  |  Fluctuation (7)  |  Instability (3)  |  Loop (4)  |  Novelty (19)  |  Phenomenon (218)  |  Qualitative (12)

The phosphorous smell which is developed when electricity (to speak the profane language) is passing from the points of a conductor into air, or when lightning happens to fall upon some terrestrial object, or when water is electrolysed, has been engaging my attention the last couple of years, and induced me to make many attempts at clearing up that mysterious phenomenon. Though baffled for a long time, at last, I think, I have succeeded so far as to have got the clue which will lead to the discovery of the true cause of the smell in question.
[His first reference to investigating ozone, for which he is remembered.]
Letter to Michael Faraday (4 Apr 1840), The Letters of Faraday and Schoenbein, 1836-1862 (1899), 73. This letter was communicated to the Royal Society on 7 May, and an abstract published in the Philosophical Magazine.
Science quotes on:  |  Attention (76)  |  Baffle (4)  |  Cause (231)  |  Clue (14)  |  Conductor (8)  |  Discovery (591)  |  Electricity (121)  |  Electrolysis (7)  |  Investigate (49)  |  Language (155)  |  Lightning (28)  |  Mystery (125)  |  Ozone (3)  |  Phenomenon (218)  |  Phosphorus (15)  |  Profane (6)  |  Research (517)  |  Smell (16)  |  Success (202)

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. So long as you are dealing with pure mathematics, you are in the realm of complete and absolute abstraction. … Mathematics is thought moving in the sphere of complete abstraction from any particular instance of what it is talking about.
In Science and the Modern World: Lowell Lectures, 1925 (1925), 31.
Science quotes on:  |  Absolute (65)  |  Abstraction (29)  |  Application (117)  |  Color (78)  |  Complete (43)  |  Dealing (9)  |  Entity (23)  |  Fish (85)  |  Instance (18)  |  Mathematics (587)  |  Moving (11)  |  Particular (54)  |  Pure Mathematics (27)  |  Realm (40)  |  Rid (10)  |  Sort (32)  |  Sphere (40)  |  Stone (57)  |  Talking (10)  |  Thought (374)  |  Truth (750)

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 (29)  |  Apply (38)  |  Color (78)  |  Complete (43)  |  Entity (23)  |  Fish (85)  |  Instance (18)  |  Mathematics (587)  |  Merely (35)  |  Move (58)  |  Particular (54)  |  Rid (10)  |  Sort (32)  |  Sphere (40)  |  Stone (57)  |  Thought (374)  |  Truth (750)

The principles of Geology like those of geometry must begin at a point, through two or more of which the Geometrician draws a line and by thus proceeding from point to point, and from line to line, he constructs a map, and so proceeding from local to gen maps, and finally to a map of the world. Geometricians founded the science of Geography, on which is based that of Geology.
Abstract View of Geology, page proofs of unpublished work, Department of Geology, University of Oxford, 1.
Science quotes on:  |  Beginning (114)  |  Construction (69)  |  Drawing (18)  |  Founding (4)  |  Geography (25)  |  Geology (187)  |  Geometrician (2)  |  Geometry (99)  |  Line (44)  |  Map (21)  |  World (667)

The reason I cannot really say that I positively enjoy nature is that I do not quite realize what it is that I enjoy. A work of art, on the other hand, I can grasp. I can — if I may put it this way — find that Archimedian point, and as soon as I have found it, everything is readily clear for me. Then I am able to pursue this one main idea and see how all the details serve to illuminate it.
Søren Kierkegaard, translation by Howard Vincent Hong and Edna Hatlestad Hong Søren Kierkegaard’s Journal and Papers (1834), 50.
Science quotes on:  |  Archimedes (22)  |  Art (205)  |  Clear (52)  |  Detail (65)  |  Enjoy (23)  |  Find (248)  |  Grasp (43)  |  Idea (440)  |  Illuminate (12)  |  Nature (1029)  |  On The Other Hand (16)  |  Positively (2)  |  Pursue (10)  |  Realize (43)  |  Reason (330)  |  Say (126)  |  Serve (34)

The seemingly useless or trivial observation made by one worker leads on to a useful observation by another: and so science advances, “creeping on from point to point.”
Lecture 6, collected in Light Visible and Invisible: A Series of Lectures Delivered at the Royal Institution of Great Britain, at Christmas, 1896 (1897), 276.
Science quotes on:  |  Advance (123)  |  Creeping (4)  |  Lead (101)  |  Observation (418)  |  Science (1699)  |  Trivial (30)  |  Useful (66)  |  Useless (24)

The way to do research is to attack the facts at the point of greatest astonishment.
The Decline and Fall of Science, 1972
Science quotes on:  |  Astonishment (19)  |  Attack (29)  |  Fact (609)  |  Great (300)  |  Research (517)

There is no doubt that human survival will continue to depend more and more on human intellect and technology. It is idle to argue whether this is good or bad. The point of no return was passed long ago, before anyone knew it was happening.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Anyone (26)  |  Argue (17)  |  Bad (78)  |  Continue (38)  |  Depend (56)  |  Doubt (121)  |  Good (228)  |  Happen (63)  |  Human (445)  |  Human Intellect (4)  |  Idle (11)  |  Know (321)  |  Long Ago (4)  |  Pass (60)  |  Return (35)  |  Survival (49)  |  Technology (199)

There was no point in telling your bosses everything; they were busy men, they didn’t want explanations. There was no point in burdening them. What they wanted was little stories that they felt they could understand, and then they’d go away and stop worrying.
In Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen, The Science of Discworld (2014), 17.
Science quotes on:  |  Burden (23)  |  Explanation (161)  |  Story (58)  |  Tell (67)  |  Understand (189)  |  Worry (27)

Thermodynamics is a funny subject. The first time you go through it, you don’t understand it at all The second time you go through it, you think you understand it, except for one or two points. The third time you go through it, you know you don't understand it, but by that time you are so used to the subject, it doesn't bother you anymore.
Quoted, without citation, in Stanley W. Angrist and Loren G. Hepler, Order and Chaos: Laws of Energy and Entropy (1967), 215. The authors identify it as “perhaps apocryphal.” The quote is used as epigraph, dated as 1950 in Anton Z. Capri, Quips, Quotes, and Quanta: An Anecdotal History of Physics (2011), 50. The quote is introduced as “When asked why he did not write on that field he replied somewhat as follows,” by Keith J. Laidler in Physical Chemistry with Biological Applications (1978), 145.
Science quotes on:  |  Bother (6)  |  Funny (9)  |  Know (321)  |  Subject (129)  |  Thermodynamics (27)  |  Think (205)  |  Understand (189)

This spontaneous emergence of order at critical points of instability, which is often referred to simply as “emergence,” is one of the hallmarks of life. It has been recognized as the dynamic origin of development, learning, and evolution. In other words, creativity—the generation of new forms—is a key property of all living systems.
From 'Complexity and Life', in Fritjof Capra, Alicia Juarrero, Pedro Sotolongo (eds.) Reframing Complexity: Perspectives From the North and South (2007), 16.
Science quotes on:  |  Creativity (66)  |  Critical (34)  |  Critical Point (2)  |  Development (228)  |  Dynamic (11)  |  Emergence (21)  |  Evolution (482)  |  Form (210)  |  Generation (111)  |  Hallmark (4)  |  Instability (3)  |  Key (38)  |  Learning (174)  |  Life (917)  |  Origin (77)  |  Property (96)  |  Recognition (62)  |  Spontaneity (4)  |  System (141)

Those who see their lives as spoiled and wasted crave equality and fraternity more than they do freedom. If they clamor for freedom, it is but freedom to establish equality and uniformity. The passion for equality is partly a passion for anonymity: to be one thread of the many which make up a tunic; one thread not distinguishable from the others. No one can then point us out, measure us against others and expose our inferiority.
In The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements (1951), 31-32.
Science quotes on:  |  Clamor (7)  |  Crave (6)  |  Equality (21)  |  Establish (30)  |  Expose (9)  |  Fraternity (4)  |  Freedom (76)  |  Inferiority (7)  |  Live (186)  |  Measure (70)  |  Partly (3)  |  Passion (54)  |  See (197)  |  Spoil (5)  |  Thread (14)  |  Uniformity (17)  |  Waste (57)

Try and penetrate with our limited means the secrets of nature and you will find that, behind all the discernible concatenations, there remains something subtle, intangible and inexplicable. Veneration for this force beyond anything that we can comprehend is my religion. To that extent I am, in point of fact, religious.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Behind (25)  |  Beyond (65)  |  Comprehend (19)  |  Discernible (3)  |  Extent (30)  |  Fact (609)  |  Find (248)  |  Force (194)  |  Inexplicable (5)  |  Intangible (6)  |  Limit (86)  |  Means (109)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Penetrate (21)  |  Religion (210)  |  Religious (44)  |  Remain (77)  |  Secret (98)  |  Subtle (26)  |  Try (103)  |  Veneration (2)

We are impressed and even daunted by the immense Universe to be explored. “What we know is a point to what we do not know.”
In Emerson’s Complete Works: Volume 1, Nature, Addresses and Lectures (1855, 1889), 45.
Science quotes on:  |  Exploration (93)  |  Immense (28)  |  Impressed (10)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Universe (563)

We are like the explorers of a great continent, who have penetrated its margins in most points of the compass and have mapped the major mountain chains and rivers. There are still innumerable details to fill in, but the endless horizons no longer exist.
Stating his belief that within a generation or two, scientific progress was likely to halt. In Presidential Address (28 Dec 1970) to the American Association for the Advancement of Science. 'Science: Endless Horizons or Golden Age?', Science (8 Jan 1971), 171, No. 3866, 24. Quoted in obituary by Douglas Martin, New York Times (20 Jan 2005).
Science quotes on:  |  Compass (19)  |  Continent (39)  |  Detail (65)  |  Endless (20)  |  Existence (254)  |  Explorer (15)  |  Fill (35)  |  Halt (6)  |  Horizon (13)  |  Innumerable (17)  |  Map (21)  |  Margin (5)  |  Mountain (111)  |  Penetration (13)  |  River (68)  |  Scientific Progress (12)

What binds us to space-time is our rest mass, which prevents us from flying at the speed of light, when time stops and space loses meaning. In a world of light there are neither points nor moments of time; beings woven from light would live “nowhere” and “nowhen”; only poetry and mathematics are capable of speaking meaningfully about such things.
In 'Mathematics and Physics', collected in Mathematics as Metaphor: Selected Essays of Yuri I. Manin (2007), 130.
Science quotes on:  |  Bind (18)  |  Capability (35)  |  Flying (18)  |  Light (246)  |  Lose (53)  |  Mass (61)  |  Mathematics (587)  |  Meaning (87)  |  Meaningful (14)  |  Moment (61)  |  Nowhere (19)  |  Poetry (96)  |  Prevent (27)  |  Rest (64)  |  Space (154)  |  Space-Time (14)  |  Speaking (38)  |  Speed Of Light (11)  |  Stop (56)  |  Time (439)  |  World (667)

When Benjamin Franklin invented the lightning-rod, the clergy, both in England and America, with the enthusiastic support of George III, condemned it as an impious attempt to defeat the will of God. For, as all right-thinking people were aware, lightning is sent by God to punish impiety or some other grave sin—the virtuous are never struck by lightning. Therefore if God wants to strike any one, Benjamin Franklin [and his lightning-rod] ought not to defeat His design; indeed, to do so is helping criminals to escape. But God was equal to the occasion, if we are to believe the eminent Dr. Price, one of the leading divines of Boston. Lightning having been rendered ineffectual by the “iron points invented by the sagacious Dr. Franklin,” Massachusetts was shaken by earthquakes, which Dr. Price perceived to be due to God’s wrath at the “iron points.” In a sermon on the subject he said,“In Boston are more erected than elsewhere in New England, and Boston seems to be more dreadfully shaken. Oh! there is no getting out of the mighty hand of God.” Apparently, however, Providence gave up all hope of curing Boston of its wickedness, for, though lightning-rods became more and more common, earthquakes in Massachusetts have remained rare.
In An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish (1943), 6-7.
Science quotes on:  |  Boston (2)  |  Earthquake (27)  |  Benjamin Franklin (81)  |  Iron (53)  |  Lightning-Rod (2)  |  Providence (6)  |  Punishment (10)  |  Science And Religion (267)  |  Sin (27)  |  Wickedness (2)

When experimental results are found to be in conflict with those of an earlier investigator, the matter is often taken too easily and disposed of for an instance by pointing out a possible source of error in the experiments of the predessessor, but without enquiring whether the error, if present, would be quantitatively sufficient to explain the discrepancy. I think that disagreement with former results should never be taken easily, but every effort should be made to find a true explanation. This can be done in many more cases than it actually is; and as a result, it can be done more easily by the man “on the spot” who is already familiar with the essential details. But it may require a great deal of imagination, and very often it will require supplementary experiments.
From 'August Krogh' in Festkrift Københavns Universitet 1950 (1950), 18, as cited by E. Snorrason, 'Krogh, Schack August Steenberg', in Charles Coulton Gillispie (ed.), Dictionary of Scientific Biography (1973), Vol 7, 501. The DSB quote is introduced, “All his life Krogh was more interested in physical than in chemiical problems in biology, and he explained his critical attitude thus.”
Science quotes on:  |  Conflict (49)  |  Detail (65)  |  Disagreement (11)  |  Discrepancy (5)  |  Dispose (7)  |  Earlier (8)  |  Ease (29)  |  Enquiry (75)  |  Essential (87)  |  Experiment (543)  |  Explanation (161)  |  Familiarity (12)  |  Imagination (209)  |  Investigator (28)  |  Possible (100)  |  Quantitative (15)  |  Require (33)  |  Result (250)  |  Sufficient (24)  |  Supplementary (2)  |  Truth (750)

Without the slightest doubt there is something through which material and spiritual energy hold togehter and are complementary. In the last analysis, somehow or other, there must be a single energy operating in the world. And the first idea that occurs to us is that the 'soul' must be as it were the focal point of transformation at which, from all the points of nature, the forces of bodies converge, to become interiorised and sublimated in beauty and truth.
In Teilhard de Chardin and Bernard Wall (trans.), The Phenomenon of Man (1959, 2008), 63. Originally published in French as Le Phénomene Humain (1955).
Science quotes on:  |  Analysis (123)  |  Beauty (171)  |  Become (100)  |  Body (193)  |  Complementary (8)  |  Converge (2)  |  Doubt (121)  |  Energy (185)  |  First (174)  |  Force (194)  |  Hold (56)  |  Idea (440)  |  Material (124)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Occur (26)  |  Operating (4)  |  Single (72)  |  Slightest (2)  |  Somehow (3)  |  Soul (139)  |  Spiritual (45)  |  Together (48)  |  Transformation (47)  |  Truth (750)  |  World (667)

“But in the binary system,” Dale points out, handing back the squeezable glass, “the alternative to one isn’t minus one, it’s zero. That’s the beauty of it, mechanically.” “O.K. Gotcha. You’re asking me, What’s this minus one? I’ll tell you. It’s a plus one moving backward in time. This is all in the space-time foam, inside the Planck duration, don’t forget. The dust of points gives birth to time, and time gives birth to the dust of points. Elegant, huh? It has to be. It’s blind chance, plus pure math. They’re proving it, every day. Astronomy, particle physics, it’s all coming together. Relax into it, young fella. It feels great. Space-time foam.”
In Roger's Version: A Novel (1986), 304.
Science quotes on:  |  Alternative (22)  |  Astronomy (175)  |  Backward (6)  |  Beauty (171)  |  Binary (6)  |  Birth (81)  |  Blind (35)  |  Chance (122)  |  Dust (42)  |  Elegance (20)  |  Foam (2)  |  Mechanics (44)  |  Moving (11)  |  Particle Physics (9)  |  Max Planck (62)  |  Proof (192)  |  Pure Mathematics (27)  |  Space-Time (14)  |  Time (439)  |  Zero (15)


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.