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: Postulate

Postulate Quotes (23 quotes)

[After postulating the existence of the neutrino, a particle with no mass and no electric charge, in order to balance an equation.] I have done a terrible thing: I have postulated a particle that cannot be detected.’
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Balance (43)  |  Charge (29)  |  Detect (9)  |  Electric (11)  |  Equation (69)  |  Existence (254)  |  Mass (61)  |  Neutrino (8)  |  Order (167)  |  Particle (90)  |  Terrible (14)

An amino acid residue (other than glycine) has no symmetry elements. The general operation of conversion of one residue of a single chain into a second residue equivalent to the first is accordingly a rotation about an axis accompanied by translation along the axis. Hence the only configurations for a chain compatible with our postulate of equivalence of the residues are helical configurations.
[Co-author with American chemist, ert B. Corey (1897-1971) and H. R. Branson]
'The Structure of Proteins: Two Hydrogen-bonded Helical Configurations of the Polypeptide Chain', Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (1951), 37, 206.
Science quotes on:  |  Amino Acid (11)  |  Axis (8)  |  Chain (38)  |  Compatibility (4)  |  Configuration (4)  |  Conversion (14)  |  Equivalence (2)  |  Helix (8)  |  Operation (96)  |  Residue (6)  |  Rotation (6)  |  Symmetry (26)  |  Translation (12)

But in the present century, thanks in good part to the influence of Hilbert, we have come to see that the unproved postulates with which we start are purely arbitrary. They must be consistent, they had better lead to something interesting.
In A History of Geometrical Methods (1940, reprint 2003), 423.
Science quotes on:  |  Arbitrary (16)  |  Consistent (10)  |  David Hilbert (35)  |  Influence (110)  |  Interesting (38)  |  Lead (101)  |  Unproven (3)

Detest it as lewd intercourse, it can deprive you of all your leisure, your health, your rest, and the whole happiness of your life.
Having himself spent a lifetime unsuccessfully trying to prove Euclid's postulate that parallel lines do not meet, Farkas discouraged his son János from any further attempt.
Letter (1820), to his son, János Bolyai. Translation as in Dirk Jan Struik, A concise history of mathematics (2nd Ed., 1948), 253.
Science quotes on:  |  Deprive (9)  |  Detest (3)  |  Euclid (28)  |  Happiness (82)  |  Health (136)  |  Leisure (11)  |  Lewd (2)  |  Life (917)  |  Parallel (16)  |  Rest (64)

For God’s sake, please give it up. Fear it no less than the sensual passion, because it, too, may take up all your time and deprive you of your health, peace of mind and happiness in life.
Having himself spent a lifetime unsuccessfully trying to prove Euclid's postulate that parallel lines do not meet, Farkas discouraged his son János from any further attempt.
Letter (1820) to his son, János Bolyai. Translation as in Philip J. Davis and Reuben Hersh, The Mathematical Experience (1981), 220. In Bill Swainson, Encarta Book of Quotations (2000), 124.
Science quotes on:  |  Deprive (9)  |  Discouragement (8)  |  Euclid (28)  |  Fear (113)  |  Happiness (82)  |  Health (136)  |  Mind (544)  |  Parallel (16)  |  Passion (54)  |  Peace (58)  |  Time (439)

Hitherto the principle of causality was universally accepted as an indispensable postulate of scientific research, but now we are told by some physicists that it must be thrown overboard. The fact that such an extraordinary opinion should be expressed in responsible scientific quarters is widely taken to be significant of the all-round unreliability of human knowledge. This indeed is a very serious situation.
In Where is Science Going? (1932), 66.
Science quotes on:  |  Acceptance (41)  |  Causality (7)  |  Expression (82)  |  Extraordinary (32)  |  Indispensability (2)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Opinion (146)  |  Overboard (2)  |  Physicist (130)  |  Principle (228)  |  Research (517)  |  Responsibility (47)  |  Seriousness (9)  |  Significance (60)  |  Situation (41)  |  Telling (23)  |  Throw (31)

I have tried to avoid long numerical computations, thereby following Riemann’s postulate that proofs should be given through ideas and not voluminous computations.
In Report on Number Theory (1897). As given in epigraph, without citation, in Eberhard Zeidler and Juergen Quandt (trans.), Nonlinear Functional Analysis and its Applications: IV: Applications to Mathematical Physics (2013), 448.
Science quotes on:  |  Avoid (34)  |  Computation (11)  |  Idea (440)  |  Long (95)  |  Number (179)  |  Proof (192)  |  Bernhard Riemann (2)  |  Try (103)

I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.
Quoted in The Observer (25 Jan 1931). Cited in Joseph H. Fussell, 'Where is Science Going?: Review and Comment', Theosophical Path Magazine, January to December 1933 (2003), 199.
Science quotes on:  |  Consciousness (71)  |  Derivation (12)  |  Existence (254)  |  Fundamental (122)  |  Matter (270)  |  Regard (58)  |  Talk (61)

Thomas Robert Malthus quote Food is necessary to…existence
colorization © todayinsci (Terms of Use) (source)

Please respect the colorization artist’s wishes and do not copy this image for ONLINE use anywhere else.

Thank you.

For offline use, click Terms of Use tab on top menu.

I think I may fairly make two postulata. First, That food is necessary to the existence of man. Secondly, That the passion between the sexes is necessary and will remain nearly in its present state. These two laws ever since we have had any knowledge of mankind, appear to have been fixed laws of our nature; and, as we have not hitherto seen any alteration in them, we have no right to conclude that they will ever cease to be what they are now, without an immediate act of power in that Being who first arranged the system of the universe; and for the advantage of his creatures, still executes, according to fixed laws, all its various operations.
First 'Essay on the Principle of Population' (1798), reprinted in Parallel Chapters from the First and Second editions of An Essay on the Principle of Population (1895), 6.
Science quotes on:  |  Act (80)  |  Advantage (42)  |  Alteration (22)  |  Arranged (3)  |  Being (39)  |  Cease (23)  |  Conclude (9)  |  Creator (40)  |  Creature (127)  |  Existence (254)  |  Fixed (11)  |  Food (139)  |  God (454)  |  Immediate (27)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Law (418)  |  Law Of Nature (52)  |  Man (345)  |  Mankind (196)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Necessary (89)  |  Passion (54)  |  Power (273)  |  Present (103)  |  Remain (77)  |  Right (144)  |  Sex (48)  |  State (96)  |  System (141)  |  Universe (563)

If diphtheria is a disease caused by a microorganism, it is essential that three postulates be fulfilled. The fulfilment of these postulates is necessary in order to demonstrate strictly the parasitic nature of a disease:
1) The organism must be shown to be constantly present in characteristic form and arrangement in the diseased tissue.
2) The organism which, from its behaviour appears to be responsible for the disease, must be isolated and grown in pure culture.
3) The pure culture must be shown to induce the disease experimentally.
An early statement of Koch's postulates.
Mittheilungen aus den Kaiserliche Gesundheitsamt (1884) Vol. 2. Trans. T. D. Brock, Robert Koch: A Life in Medicine and Bacteriology (1988), 180.
Science quotes on:  |  Behaviour (24)  |  Culture (85)  |  Diphtheria (2)  |  Disease (257)  |  Experiment (543)  |  Isolation (26)  |  Microorganism (20)  |  Parasite (28)  |  Tissue (24)

In every science certain things must be accepted as first principles if the subject matter is to be understood; and these first postulates rest upon faith.
As quoted, without citation, in Ronald Keast, Dancing in the Dark: The Waltz in Wonder of Quantum Metaphysics (2009), 104-105. If you know a primary source, please contact Webmaster.
Science quotes on:  |  Faith (131)  |  Principle (228)  |  Subject (129)  |  Understanding (317)

It hath been an old remark, that Geometry is an excellent Logic. And it must be owned that when the definitions are clear; when the postulata cannot be refused, nor the axioms denied; when from the distinct contemplation and comparison of figures, their properties are derived, by a perpetual well-connected chain of consequences, the objects being still kept in view, and the attention ever fixed upon them; there is acquired a habit of reasoning, close and exact and methodical; which habit strengthens and sharpens the mind, and being transferred to other subjects is of general use in the inquiry after truth.
'The Analyst', in The Works of George Berkeley (1898), Vol. 3, 10.
Science quotes on:  |  Axiom (26)  |  Consequence (76)  |  Definition (152)  |  Deny (29)  |  Exact (38)  |  Excellent (15)  |  Geometry (99)  |  Habit (78)  |  Logic (187)  |  Methodical (2)  |  Mind (544)  |  Reasoning (79)  |  Refuse (14)  |  Sharpen (7)  |  Strengthen (13)  |  Truth (750)  |  Value Of Mathematics (2)

It would be foolish to give credit to Euclid for pangeometrical conceptions; the idea of geometry deifferent from the common-sense one never occurred to his mind. Yet, when he stated the fifth postulate, he stood at the parting of the ways. His subconscious prescience is astounding. There is nothing comperable to it in the whole history of science.
Ancient Science And Modern Civilization (1954, 1959), 28. In George Edward Martin, The Foundations of Geometry and the Non-Euclidean Plane (1982), 130.
Science quotes on:  |  Common Sense (69)  |  Conception (63)  |  Euclid (28)  |  Prescience (2)

Now that we locate them [genes] in the chromosomes are we justified in regarding them as material units; as chemical bodies of a higher order than molecules? Frankly, these are questions with which the working geneticist has not much concern himself, except now and then to speculate as to the nature of the postulated elements. There is no consensus of opinion amongst geneticists as to what the genes are—whether they are real or purely fictitious—because at the level at which the genetic experiments lie, it does not make the slightest difference whether the gene is a hypothetical unit, or whether the gene is a material particle. In either case the unit is associated with a specific chromosome, and can be localized there by purely genetic analysis. Hence, if the gene is a material unit, it is a piece of chromosome; if it is a fictitious unit, it must be referred to a definite location in a chromosome—the same place as on the other hypothesis. Therefore, it makes no difference in the actual work in genetics which point of view is taken. Between the characters that are used by the geneticist and the genes that his theory postulates lies the whole field of embryonic development.
'The Relation of Genetics to Physiology and Medicine', Nobel Lecture (4 Jun 1934). In Nobel Lectures, Physiology or Medicine 1922-1941 (1965), 315.
Science quotes on:  |  Chromosome (17)  |  Consensus (5)  |  Embryo (22)  |  Experiment (543)  |  Gene (68)  |  Geneticist (11)  |  Hypothesis (227)  |  Molecule (125)  |  Opinion (146)  |  Speculation (77)  |  Theory (582)

On principle, there is nothing new in the postulate that in the end exact science should aim at nothing more than the description of what can really be observed. The question is only whether from now on we shall have to refrain from tying description to a clear hypothesis about the real nature of the world. There are many who wish to pronounce such abdication even today. But I believe that this means making things a little too easy for oneself.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Aim (58)  |  Belief (400)  |  Clear (52)  |  Description (72)  |  Easy (56)  |  End (141)  |  Exact Science (4)  |  Hypothesis (227)  |  Little (126)  |  Means (109)  |  Nature (1029)  |  New (340)  |  Nothing (267)  |  Observe (48)  |  Oneself (3)  |  Principle (228)  |  Pronounce (4)  |  Question (315)  |  Real (95)  |  Really (50)  |  Refrain (6)  |  Tie (21)  |  Today (86)  |  Wish (62)  |  World (667)

Rules of Thumb
Thumb’s First Postulate: It is better to use a crude approximation and know the truth, plus or minus 10 percent, than demand an exact solution and know nothing at all.
Thumb’s Second Postulate: An easily understood, workable falsehood is more useful than a complex incomprehensible truth.
Anonymous
In Arthur Bloch, The Complete Murphy's Law: A Definitive Collection (1991), 126.
Science quotes on:  |  Approximation (16)  |  Complexity (80)  |  Crude (14)  |  Demand (52)  |  Ease (29)  |  Exactness (18)  |  Falsehood (19)  |  Incomprehensibility (2)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Nothing (267)  |  Rule Of Thumb (2)  |  Solution (168)  |  Truth (750)  |  Understanding (317)  |  Usefulness (70)

Scientists and particularly the professional students of evolution are often accused of a bias toward mechanism or materialism, even though believers in vitalism and in finalism are not lacking among them. Such bias as may exist is inherent in the method of science. The most successful scientific investigation has generally involved treating phenomena as if they were purely materialistic, rejecting any metaphysical hypothesis as long as a physical hypothesis seems possible. The method works. The restriction is necessary because science is confined to physical means of investigation and so it would stultify its own efforts to postulate that its subject is not physical and so not susceptible to its methods.
The Meaning of Evolution: A Study of the History of Life and of its Significance for Man (1949), 127.
Science quotes on:  |  Accusation (5)  |  Belief (400)  |  Bias (15)  |  Confinement (3)  |  Effort (94)  |  Evolution (482)  |  Hypothesis (227)  |  Inherent (27)  |  Investigation (123)  |  Lacking (2)  |  Materialism (6)  |  Means (109)  |  Mechanism (41)  |  Metaphysics (30)  |  Method (154)  |  Necessity (125)  |  Phenomenon (218)  |  Physical (94)  |  Professional (27)  |  Rejection (24)  |  Restriction (6)  |  Scientific Method (155)  |  Scientist (447)  |  Student (131)  |  Stultify (4)  |  Subject (129)  |  Success (202)  |  Treatment (88)  |  Vitalism (5)

Since the seventeenth century, physical intuition has served as a vital source for mathematical porblems and methods. Recent trends and fashions have, however, weakened the connection between mathematics and physics; mathematicians, turning away from their roots of mathematics in intuition, have concentrated on refinement and emphasized the postulated side of mathematics, and at other times have overlooked the unity of their science with physics and other fields. In many cases, physicists have ceased to appreciate the attitudes of mathematicians. This rift is unquestionably a serious threat to science as a whole; the broad stream of scientific development may split into smaller and smaller rivulets and dry out. It seems therefore important to direct our efforts towards reuniting divergent trends by classifying the common features and interconnections of many distinct and diverse scientific facts.
As co-author with David Hilbert, in Methods of Mathematical Physics (1937, 1989), Preface, v.
Science quotes on:  |  17th Century (10)  |  Appreciation (19)  |  Attitude (47)  |  Ceasing (2)  |  Classification (79)  |  Common (92)  |  Concentration (14)  |  Connection (86)  |  Directing (5)  |  Distinct (29)  |  Divergence (4)  |  Diverse (6)  |  Effort (94)  |  Emphasis (14)  |  Fact (609)  |  Fashion (24)  |  Feature (34)  |  Importance (183)  |  Interconnection (7)  |  Intuition (39)  |  Mathematician (177)  |  Mathematics (587)  |  Method (154)  |  Overlooking (3)  |  Physicist (130)  |  Physics (301)  |  Problem (362)  |  Recent (23)  |  Refinement (12)  |  Rift (2)  |  Root (48)  |  Science (1699)  |  Serious (37)  |  Serving (4)  |  Source (71)  |  Threat (24)  |  Trend (16)  |  Turning (5)  |  Unity (43)  |  Unquestionably (2)  |  Vital (32)  |  Weakening (2)  |  Whole (122)

The functional validity of a working hypothesis is not a priori certain, because often it is initially based on intuition. However, logical deductions from such a hypothesis provide expectations (so-called prognoses) as to the circumstances under which certain phenomena will appear in nature. Such a postulate or working hypothesis can then be substantiated by additional observations ... The author calls such expectations and additional observations the prognosis-diagnosis method of research. Prognosis in science may be termed the prediction of the future finding of corroborative evidence of certain features or phenomena (diagnostic facts). This method of scientific research builds up and extends the relations between the subject and the object by means of a circuit of inductions and deductions.
In 'The Scientific Character of Geology', The Journal of Geology (Jul 1961), 69, No. 4, 454-5.
Science quotes on:  |  A Priori (16)  |  Certainty (97)  |  Circuit (12)  |  Circumstance (48)  |  Corroboration (2)  |  Deduction (49)  |  Diagnosis (61)  |  Evidence (157)  |  Expectation (46)  |  Functional (5)  |  Future (229)  |  Hypothesis (227)  |  Induction (45)  |  Intuition (39)  |  Logic (187)  |  Object (110)  |  Observation (418)  |  Phenomenon (218)  |  Prediction (67)  |  Prognosis (3)  |  Relation (96)  |  Research (517)  |  Scientific Method (155)  |  Subject (129)  |  Substantiate (3)  |  Validity (22)  |  Working (20)

The scientific attitude implies the postulate of objectivity—that is to say, the fundamental postulate that there is no plan; that there is no intention in the universe.
Interview with John C. Hess, 'French Nobel Biologist Says World Based on Chance Leaves Man Free to Choose His Own Ethical Values', New York Times (15 Mar 1971), 6.
Science quotes on:  |  Objectivity (9)

The theory that gravitational attraction is inversely proportional to the square of the distance leads by remorseless logic to the conclusion that the path of a planet should be an ellipse .... It is this logical thinking that is the real meat of the physical sciences. The social scientist keeps the skin and throws away the meat.... His theorems no more follow from his postulates than the hunches of a horse player follow logically from the latest racing news. The result is guesswork clad in long flowing robes of gobbledygook.
In Science is a Sacred Cow (1950), 149-50.
Science quotes on:  |  Conclusion (120)  |  Gambler (4)  |  Gravitation (27)  |  Guesswork (4)  |  Horse (40)  |  Hunch (4)  |  Logic (187)  |  Meat (11)  |  Physical Science (54)  |  Skin (17)  |  Social Science (18)  |  Theorem (46)  |  Theory (582)

The velocity of light is one of the most important of the fundamental constants of Nature. Its measurement by Foucault and Fizeau gave as the result a speed greater in air than in water, thus deciding in favor of the undulatory and against the corpuscular theory. Again, the comparison of the electrostatic and the electromagnetic units gives as an experimental result a value remarkably close to the velocity of light–a result which justified Maxwell in concluding that light is the propagation of an electromagnetic disturbance. Finally, the principle of relativity gives the velocity of light a still greater importance, since one of its fundamental postulates is the constancy of this velocity under all possible conditions.
Studies in Optics (1927), 120.
Science quotes on:  |  Air (151)  |  Conclusion (120)  |  Condition (119)  |  Constancy (4)  |  Constant (40)  |  Corpuscle (8)  |  Electromagnetic (2)  |  Electrostatic (4)  |  Experiment (543)  |  Jean-Bernard-Léon Foucault (3)  |  Fundamental (122)  |  Importance (183)  |  James Clerk Maxwell (75)  |  Measurement (148)  |  Principle (228)  |  Propagation (9)  |  Relativity (50)  |  Result (250)  |  Speed Of Light (11)  |  Theory (582)  |  Unit (25)  |  Water (244)  |  Wave (55)

There is a noble vision of the great Castle of Mathematics, towering somewhere in the Platonic World of Ideas, which we humbly and devotedly discover (rather than invent). The greatest mathematicians manage to grasp outlines of the Grand Design, but even those to whom only a pattern on a small kitchen tile is revealed, can be blissfully happy. … Mathematics is a proto-text whose existence is only postulated but which nevertheless underlies all corrupted and fragmentary copies we are bound to deal with. The identity of the writer of this proto-text (or of the builder of the Castle) is anybody’s guess. …
In 'Mathematical Knowledge: Internal, Social, and Cultural Aspects', Mathematics As Metaphor: Selected Essays (2007), 4.
Science quotes on:  |  Builder (10)  |  Castle (4)  |  Copy (13)  |  Design (92)  |  Devoted (8)  |  Discover (115)  |  Existence (254)  |  Fragmentary (4)  |  Grand (15)  |  Grasp (43)  |  Great (300)  |  Guess (36)  |  Happy (22)  |  Humble (23)  |  Idea (440)  |  Identity (9)  |  Invent (30)  |  Kitchen (8)  |  Mathematician (177)  |  Mathematics (587)  |  Noble (41)  |  Outline (6)  |  Pattern (56)  |  Platonic (2)  |  Text (8)  |  Towering (4)  |  Vision (55)  |  World (667)  |  Writer (35)


Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
Quotations by:Albert EinsteinIsaac NewtonLord KelvinCharles DarwinSrinivasa RamanujanCarl SaganFlorence NightingaleThomas EdisonAristotleMarie CurieBenjamin FranklinWinston ChurchillGalileo GalileiSigmund FreudRobert BunsenLouis PasteurTheodore RooseveltAbraham LincolnRonald ReaganLeonardo DaVinciMichio KakuKarl PopperJohann GoetheRobert OppenheimerCharles Kettering  ... (more people)

Quotations about:Atomic  BombBiologyChemistryDeforestationEngineeringAnatomyAstronomyBacteriaBiochemistryBotanyConservationDinosaurEnvironmentFractalGeneticsGeologyHistory of ScienceInventionJupiterKnowledgeLoveMathematicsMeasurementMedicineNatural ResourceOrganic ChemistryPhysicsPhysicianQuantum TheoryResearchScience and ArtTeacherTechnologyUniverseVolcanoVirusWind PowerWomen ScientistsX-RaysYouthZoology  ... (more topics)
Sitewide search within all Today In Science History pages:
Visit our Science and Scientist Quotations index for more Science Quotes from archaeologists, biologists, chemists, geologists, inventors and inventions, mathematicians, physicists, pioneers in medicine, science events and technology.

Names index: | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |

Categories index: | 1 | 2 | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |

- 100 -
Sophie Germain
Gertrude Elion
Ernest Rutherford
James Chadwick
Marcel Proust
William Harvey
Johann Goethe
John Keynes
Carl Gauss
Paul Feyerabend
- 90 -
Antoine Lavoisier
Lise Meitner
Charles Babbage
Ibn Khaldun
Euclid
Ralph Emerson
Robert Bunsen
Frederick Banting
Andre Ampere
Winston Churchill
- 80 -
John Locke
Bronislaw Malinowski
Bible
Thomas Huxley
Alessandro Volta
Erwin Schrodinger
Wilhelm Roentgen
Louis Pasteur
Bertrand Russell
Jean Lamarck
- 70 -
Samuel Morse
John Wheeler
Nicolaus Copernicus
Robert Fulton
Pierre Laplace
Humphry Davy
Thomas Edison
Lord Kelvin
Theodore Roosevelt
Carolus Linnaeus
- 60 -
Francis Galton
Linus Pauling
Immanuel Kant
Martin Fischer
Robert Boyle
Karl Popper
Paul Dirac
Avicenna
James Watson
William Shakespeare
- 50 -
Stephen Hawking
Niels Bohr
Nikola Tesla
Rachel Carson
Max Planck
Henry Adams
Richard Dawkins
Werner Heisenberg
Alfred Wegener
John Dalton
- 40 -
Pierre Fermat
Edward Wilson
Johannes Kepler
Gustave Eiffel
Giordano Bruno
JJ Thomson
Thomas Kuhn
Leonardo DaVinci
Archimedes
David Hume
- 30 -
Andreas Vesalius
Rudolf Virchow
Richard Feynman
James Hutton
Alexander Fleming
Emile Durkheim
Benjamin Franklin
Robert Oppenheimer
Robert Hooke
Charles Kettering
- 20 -
Carl Sagan
James Maxwell
Marie Curie
Rene Descartes
Francis Crick
Hippocrates
Michael Faraday
Srinivasa Ramanujan
Francis Bacon
Galileo Galilei
- 10 -
Aristotle
John Watson
Rosalind Franklin
Michio Kaku
Isaac Asimov
Charles Darwin
Sigmund Freud
Albert Einstein
Florence Nightingale
Isaac Newton



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