Celebrating 19 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 P > Category: Progression

Progression Quotes (23 quotes)

A man who writes a great deal and says little that is new writes himself into a daily declining reputation. When he wrote less he stood higher in people’s estimation, even though there was nothing in what he wrote. The reason is that then they still expected better things of him in the future, whereas now they can view the whole progression.
Aphorism 43 in Notebook D (1773-1775), as translated by R.J. Hollingdale in Aphorisms (1990). Reprinted as The Waste Books (2000), 50.
Science quotes on:  |   (2863)  |  Better (486)  |  Daily (87)  |  Deal (188)  |  Decline (26)  |  Estimation (7)  |  Expect (200)  |  Expectation (65)  |  Future (429)  |  Great (1574)  |  Himself (461)  |  Little (707)  |  Man (2251)  |  New (1216)  |  Nothing (966)  |  People (1005)  |  Reason (744)  |  Reputation (33)  |  Say (984)  |  Still (613)  |  Thing (1915)  |  View (488)  |  Whole (738)  |  Write (230)  |  Writer (86)

A strict materialist believes that everything depends on the motion of matter. He knows the form of the laws of motion though he does not know all their consequences when applied to systems of unknown complexity.
Now one thing in which the materialist (fortified with dynamical knowledge) believes is that if every motion great & small were accurately reversed, and the world left to itself again, everything would happen backwards the fresh water would collect out of the sea and run up the rivers and finally fly up to the clouds in drops which would extract heat from the air and evaporate and afterwards in condensing would shoot out rays of light to the sun and so on. Of course all living things would regrede from the grave to the cradle and we should have a memory of the future but not of the past.
The reason why we do not expect anything of this kind to take place at any time is our experience of irreversible processes, all of one kind, and this leads to the doctrine of a beginning & an end instead of cyclical progression for ever.
Letter to Mark Pattison (7 Apr 1868). In P. M. Hannan (ed.), The Scientific Letters and Papers of James Clerk Maxwell (1995), Vol. 2, 1862-1873, 360-1.
Science quotes on:  |  Air (347)  |  All (4108)  |  Applied (177)  |  Backwards (17)  |  Beginning (305)  |  Cloud (104)  |  Complexity (111)  |  Consequence (203)  |  Course (409)  |  Cradle (19)  |  Cycle (40)  |  Depend (228)  |  Do (1908)  |  Drop (76)  |  Dynamical (15)  |  End (590)  |  Everything (476)  |  Expect (200)  |  Experience (467)  |  Extract (40)  |  Fly (146)  |  Form (959)  |  Fresh (67)  |  Future (429)  |  Grave (52)  |  Great (1574)  |  Happen (274)  |  Heat (174)  |  Irreversible (12)  |  Kind (557)  |  Know (1518)  |  Knowledge (1529)  |  Law (894)  |  Laws Of Motion (10)  |  Lead (384)  |  Light (607)  |  Living (491)  |  Materialist (4)  |  Matter (798)  |  Memory (134)  |  Motion (310)  |  Past (337)  |  Process (423)  |  Ray (114)  |  Reason (744)  |  Reverse (33)  |  River (119)  |  Run (174)  |  Sea (308)  |  Small (477)  |  Sun (385)  |  System (537)  |  Thing (1915)  |  Time (1877)  |  Unknown (182)  |  Water (481)  |  Why (491)  |  World (1774)

All change is relative. The universe is expanding relatively to our common material standards; our material standards are shrinking relatively to the size of the universe. The theory of the “expanding universe” might also be called the theory of the “shrinking atom”. …
:Let us then take the whole universe as our standard of constancy, and adopt the view of a cosmic being whose body is composed of intergalactic spaces and swells as they swell. Or rather we must now say it keeps the same size, for he will not admit that it is he who has changed. Watching us for a few thousand million years, he sees us shrinking; atoms, animals, planets, even the galaxies, all shrink alike; only the intergalactic spaces remain the same. The earth spirals round the sun in an ever-decreasing orbit. It would be absurd to treat its changing revolution as a constant unit of time. The cosmic being will naturally relate his units of length and time so that the velocity of light remains constant. Our years will then decrease in geometrical progression in the cosmic scale of time. On that scale man’s life is becoming briefer; his threescore years and ten are an ever-decreasing allowance. Owing to the property of geometrical progressions an infinite number of our years will add up to a finite cosmic time; so that what we should call the end of eternity is an ordinary finite date in the cosmic calendar. But on that date the universe has expanded to infinity in our reckoning, and we have shrunk to nothing in the reckoning of the cosmic being.
We walk the stage of life, performers of a drama for the benefit of the cosmic spectator. As the scenes proceed he notices that the actors are growing smaller and the action quicker. When the last act opens the curtain rises on midget actors rushing through their parts at frantic speed. Smaller and smaller. Faster and faster. One last microscopic blurr of intense agitation. And then nothing.
In The Expanding Universe (1933) , 90-92.
Science quotes on:  |   (2863)  |  Absurd (59)  |  Act (272)  |  Action (327)  |  Agitation (9)  |  Alike (60)  |  All (4108)  |  Allowance (6)  |  Animal (617)  |  Atom (355)  |  Becoming (96)  |  Being (1278)  |  Benefit (114)  |  Body (537)  |  Calendar (9)  |  Call (769)  |  Change (593)  |  Common (436)  |  Constancy (12)  |  Constant (144)  |  Cosmic (72)  |  Drama (21)  |  Earth (996)  |  End (590)  |  Eternity (63)  |  Expand (53)  |  Faster (50)  |  Finite (59)  |  Galaxies (29)  |  Growing (98)  |  Infinite (231)  |  Infinity (90)  |  Last (426)  |  Life (1795)  |  Light (607)  |  Man (2251)  |  Material (353)  |  Microscopic (26)  |  Must (1526)  |  Nothing (966)  |  Notice (77)  |  Number (699)  |  Open (274)  |  Orbit (81)  |  Ordinary (160)  |  Owing (39)  |  Planet (356)  |  Proceed (129)  |  Property (168)  |  Reckoning (19)  |  Remain (349)  |  Revolution (129)  |  Rise (166)  |  Say (984)  |  Scale (121)  |  Scene (36)  |  See (1081)  |  Shrink (23)  |  Space (500)  |  Speed (65)  |  Spiral (18)  |  Stage (143)  |  Sun (385)  |  Theory (970)  |  Thousand (331)  |  Through (849)  |  Time (1877)  |  Universe (857)  |  Velocity (48)  |  View (488)  |  Walk (124)  |  Whole (738)  |  Will (2355)  |  Year (933)

Among the multitude of animals which scamper, fly, burrow and swim around us, man is the only one who is not locked into his environment. His imagination, his reason, his emotional subtlety and toughness, make it possible for him not to accept the environment, but to change it. And that series of inventions, by which man from age to age has remade his environment, is a different kind of evolution—not biological, but cultural evolution. I call that brilliant sequence of cultural peaks The Ascent of Man. I use the word ascent with a precise meaning. Man is distinguished from other animals by his imaginative gifts. He makes plans, inventions, new discoveries, by putting different talents together; and his discoveries become more subtle and penetrating, as he learns to combine his talents in more complex and intimate ways. So the great discoveries of different ages and different cultures, in technique, in science, in the arts, express in their progression a richer and more intricate conjunction of human faculties, an ascending trellis of his gifts.
The Ascent of Man (1973), 19-20.
Science quotes on:  |  Accept (191)  |  Age (499)  |  Animal (617)  |  Art (657)  |  Ascent Of Man (6)  |  Become (815)  |  Biological (137)  |  Brilliant (53)  |  Call (769)  |  Change (593)  |  Combine (57)  |  Complex (188)  |  Conjunction (10)  |  Culture (143)  |  Different (577)  |  Distinguish (160)  |  Distinguished (83)  |  Environment (216)  |  Evolution (590)  |  Express (186)  |  Fly (146)  |  Gift (104)  |  Great (1574)  |  Human (1468)  |  Imagination (328)  |  Intricate (29)  |  Invention (369)  |  Kind (557)  |  Learn (629)  |  Man (2251)  |  Meaning (233)  |  More (2559)  |  Multitude (47)  |  New (1216)  |  Other (2236)  |  Plan (117)  |  Possible (552)  |  Precise (68)  |  Reason (744)  |  Science (3879)  |  Sequence (68)  |  Series (149)  |  Subtlety (19)  |  Swim (30)  |  Talent (94)  |  Technique (80)  |  Together (387)  |  Use (766)  |  Way (1217)  |  Word (619)

As science has supplanted its predecessors, so it may hereafter be superseded by some more perfect hypothesis, perhaps by some totally different way of looking at the phenomena—of registering the shadows on the screen—of which we in this generation can form no idea. The advance of knowledge is an infinite progression towards a goal that for ever recedes.
In The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion (1890, 1900), Vol. 3, 460.
Science quotes on:  |  Advance (280)  |  Different (577)  |  Form (959)  |  Generation (242)  |  Goal (145)  |  Hypothesis (296)  |  Idea (843)  |  Infinite (231)  |  Knowledge (1529)  |  Looking (189)  |  More (2559)  |  Perfect (216)  |  Phenomenon (318)  |  Predecessor (29)  |  Recede (11)  |  Register (21)  |  Science (3879)  |  Screen (7)  |  Shadow (72)  |  Supersede (7)  |  Supplant (3)  |  Way (1217)

At last gleams of light have come, and I am almost convinced (quite contrary to opinion I started with) that species are not (it is like confessing a murder) immutable. Heaven forfend me from Lamarck nonsense of a “tendency to progression”, “adaptations from the slow willing of animals”, &c! But the conclusions I am led to are not widely different from his; though the means of change are wholly so. I think I have found out (here’s presumption!) the simple way by which species become exquisitely adapted to various ends.
Letter to Sir Joseph Hooker (11 Jan 1844). In Charles Darwin and Francis Darwin (ed.), Charles Darwin: His Life Told in an Autobiographical Chapter, and in a Selected Series of His Published Letters (1892), 173-174.
Science quotes on:  |   (2863)  |  Adapt (66)  |  Adaptation (58)  |  Animal (617)  |  Become (815)  |  Change (593)  |  Conclusion (254)  |  Contrary (141)  |  Different (577)  |  End (590)  |  Heaven (258)  |  Immutable (22)  |  Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (24)  |  Last (426)  |  Light (607)  |  Mean (809)  |  Means (579)  |  Nonsense (48)  |  Opinion (281)  |  Origin Of Species (42)  |  Presumption (15)  |  Simple (406)  |  Slow (101)  |  Species (401)  |  Start (221)  |  Tendency (99)  |  Think (1086)  |  Various (200)  |  Way (1217)  |  Wholly (88)  |  Willing (44)

But I think that in the repeated and almost entire changes of organic types in the successive formations of the earth—in the absence of mammalia in the older, and their very rare appearance (and then in forms entirely. unknown to us) in the newer secondary groups—in the diffusion of warm-blooded quadrupeds (frequently of unknown genera) through the older tertiary systems—in their great abundance (and frequently of known genera) in the upper portions of the same series—and, lastly, in the recent appearance of man on the surface of the earth (now universally admitted—in one word, from all these facts combined, we have a series of proofs the most emphatic and convincing,—that the existing order of nature is not the last of an uninterrupted succession of mere physical events derived from laws now in daily operation: but on the contrary, that the approach to the present system of things has been gradual, and that there has been a progressive development of organic structure subservient to the purposes of life.
'Address to the Geological Society, delivered on the Evening of the 18th of February 1831', Proceedings of the Geological Society (1834), 1, 305-6.
Science quotes on:  |  Absence (18)  |  Abundance (25)  |  All (4108)  |  Appearance (140)  |  Approach (108)  |  Blood (134)  |  Change (593)  |  Combination (144)  |  Contrary (141)  |  Convincing (9)  |  Daily (87)  |  Development (422)  |  Diffusion (13)  |  Earth (996)  |  Emphasis (17)  |  Event (216)  |  Fact (1210)  |  Facts (553)  |  Form (959)  |  Formation (96)  |  Genus (25)  |  Gradual (27)  |  Great (1574)  |  Known (454)  |  Last (426)  |  Law (894)  |  Life (1795)  |  Mammal (37)  |  Man (2251)  |  Most (1731)  |  Nature (1926)  |  Operation (213)  |  Order (632)  |  Organic (158)  |  Physical (508)  |  Portion (84)  |  Present (619)  |  Proof (287)  |  Purpose (317)  |  Quadruped (4)  |  Rare (89)  |  Recent (77)  |  Repeat (42)  |  Secondary (14)  |  Series (149)  |  Structure (344)  |  Subservience (3)  |  Succession (77)  |  Successive (73)  |  Surface (209)  |  Surface Of The Earth (36)  |  System (537)  |  Tertiary (4)  |  Thing (1915)  |  Think (1086)  |  Through (849)  |  Type (167)  |  Uninterrupted (7)  |  Unknown (182)  |  Warm (69)  |  Warm-Blooded (3)  |  Word (619)

For the saving the long progression of the thoughts to remote and first principles in every case, the mind should provide itself several stages; that is to say, intermediate principles, which it might have recourse to in the examining those positions that come in its way. These, though they are not self-evident principles, yet, if they have been made out from them by a wary and unquestionable deduction, may be depended on as certain and infallible truths, and serve as unquestionable truths to prove other points depending upon them, by a nearer and shorter view than remote and general maxims. … And thus mathematicians do, who do not in every new problem run it back to the first axioms through all the whole train of intermediate propositions. Certain theorems that they have settled to themselves upon sure demonstration, serve to resolve to them multitudes of propositions which depend on them, and are as firmly made out from thence as if the mind went afresh over every link of the whole chain that tie them to first self-evident principles.
In The Conduct of the Understanding, Sect. 21.
Science quotes on:  |  Afresh (4)  |  All (4108)  |  Axiom (63)  |  Back (390)  |  Case (99)  |  Certain (550)  |  Chain (50)  |  Deduction (82)  |  Demonstration (113)  |  Depend (228)  |  Do (1908)  |  Evident (91)  |  Examine (78)  |  Firmly (6)  |  First (1283)  |  General (511)  |  Infallible (15)  |  Intermediate (37)  |  Link (43)  |  Long (790)  |  Mathematician (387)  |  Maxim (17)  |  Mind (1338)  |  Multitude (47)  |  Nature Of Mathematics (80)  |  Nearer (45)  |  New (1216)  |  Other (2236)  |  Point (580)  |  Position (77)  |  Principle (507)  |  Problem (676)  |  Proposition (123)  |  Prove (250)  |  Provide (69)  |  Recourse (12)  |  Remote (83)  |  Resolve (40)  |  Run (174)  |  Save (118)  |  Say (984)  |  Self (267)  |  Self-Evident (21)  |  Serve (59)  |  Settle (19)  |  Settled (34)  |  Several (32)  |  Short (197)  |  Stage (143)  |  Themselves (433)  |  Theorem (112)  |  Thought (953)  |  Through (849)  |  Tie (38)  |  Train (114)  |  Truth (1057)  |  Unquestionable (9)  |  View (488)  |  Wary (3)  |  Way (1217)  |  Whole (738)

Great inventions are never, and great discoveries are seldom, the work of any one mind. Every great invention is really an aggregation of minor inventions, or the final step of a progression. It is not usually a creation, but a growth, as truly so as is the growth of the trees in the forest.
In 'The Growth of the Steam-Engine', The Popular Science Monthly (Nov 1877), 17.
Science quotes on:  |  Aggregation (6)  |  Creation (327)  |  Discovery (780)  |  Final (118)  |  Forest (150)  |  Great (1574)  |  Greatness (54)  |  Growth (187)  |  Invention (369)  |  Mind (1338)  |  Minor (10)  |  Never (1087)  |  Seldom (65)  |  Step (231)  |  Tree (246)  |  Truly (116)  |  Usually (176)  |  Work (1351)

It is not, indeed, strange that the Greeks and Romans should not have carried ... any ... experimental science, so far as it has been carried in our time; for the experimental sciences are generally in a state of progression. They were better understood in the seventeenth century than in the sixteenth, and in the eighteenth century than in the seventeenth. But this constant improvement, this natural growth of knowledge, will not altogether account for the immense superiority of the modern writers. The difference is a difference not in degree, but of kind. It is not merely that new principles have been discovered, but that new faculties seem to be exerted. It is not that at one time the human intellect should have made but small progress, and at another time have advanced far; but that at one time it should have been stationary, and at another time constantly proceeding. In taste and imagination, in the graces of style, in the arts of persuasion, in the magnificence of public works, the ancients were at least our equals. They reasoned as justly as ourselves on subjects which required pure demonstration.
History (May 1828). In Samuel Austin Allibone, Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay (1880), 36.
Science quotes on:  |  16th Century (3)  |  17th Century (16)  |  18th Century (21)  |  Account (192)  |  Ancient (189)  |  Art (657)  |  Better (486)  |  Century (310)  |  Constant (144)  |  Degree (276)  |  Demonstration (113)  |  Difference (337)  |  Discover (553)  |  Discovery (780)  |  Exert (39)  |  Experimental (192)  |  Faculty (72)  |  Grace (31)  |  Greek (107)  |  Growth (187)  |  History (673)  |  Human (1468)  |  Human Intellect (31)  |  Imagination (328)  |  Immense (86)  |  Improvement (108)  |  Indeed (324)  |  Intellect (233)  |  Kind (557)  |  Knowledge (1529)  |  Magnificence (13)  |  Merely (316)  |  Modern (385)  |  Natural (796)  |  New (1216)  |  Ourselves (245)  |  Persuasion (8)  |  Principle (507)  |  Proceeding (39)  |  Progress (465)  |  Pure (291)  |  Reason (744)  |  Required (108)  |  Roman (36)  |  Science (3879)  |  Science And Art (184)  |  Small (477)  |  State (491)  |  Stationary (10)  |  Strange (157)  |  Subject (521)  |  Superiority (19)  |  Taste (90)  |  Time (1877)  |  Understood (156)  |  Will (2355)  |  Work (1351)  |  Writer (86)

It is now necessary to indicate more definitely the reason why mathematics not only carries conviction in itself, but also transmits conviction to the objects to which it is applied. The reason is found, first of all, in the perfect precision with which the elementary mathematical concepts are determined; in this respect each science must look to its own salvation .... But this is not all. As soon as human thought attempts long chains of conclusions, or difficult matters generally, there arises not only the danger of error but also the suspicion of error, because since all details cannot be surveyed with clearness at the same instant one must in the end be satisfied with a belief that nothing has been overlooked from the beginning. Every one knows how much this is the case even in arithmetic, the most elementary use of mathematics. No one would imagine that the higher parts of mathematics fare better in this respect; on the contrary, in more complicated conclusions the uncertainty and suspicion of hidden errors increases in rapid progression. How does mathematics manage to rid itself of this inconvenience which attaches to it in the highest degree? By making proofs more rigorous? By giving new rules according to which the old rules shall be applied? Not in the least. A very great uncertainty continues to attach to the result of each single computation. But there are checks. In the realm of mathematics each point may be reached by a hundred different ways; and if each of a hundred ways leads to the same point, one may be sure that the right point has been reached. A calculation without a check is as good as none. Just so it is with every isolated proof in any speculative science whatever; the proof may be ever so ingenious, and ever so perfectly true and correct, it will still fail to convince permanently. He will therefore be much deceived, who, in metaphysics, or in psychology which depends on metaphysics, hopes to see his greatest care in the precise determination of the concepts and in the logical conclusions rewarded by conviction, much less by success in transmitting conviction to others. Not only must the conclusions support each other, without coercion or suspicion of subreption, but in all matters originating in experience, or judging concerning experience, the results of speculation must be verified by experience, not only superficially, but in countless special cases.
In Werke [Kehrbach] (1890), Bd. 5, 105. As quoted, cited and translated in Robert Édouard Moritz, Memorabilia Mathematica; Or, The Philomath’s Quotation-Book (1914), 19.
Science quotes on:  |  Accord (36)  |  According (237)  |  All (4108)  |  Applied (177)  |  Apply (160)  |  Arise (158)  |  Arithmetic (136)  |  Attach (56)  |  Attempt (251)  |  Begin (260)  |  Beginning (305)  |  Belief (578)  |  Better (486)  |  Calculation (127)  |  Care (186)  |  Carry (127)  |  Case (99)  |  Chain (50)  |  Check (24)  |  Clearness (11)  |  Coercion (3)  |  Complicated (115)  |  Computation (24)  |  Concept (221)  |  Concern (228)  |  Conclusion (254)  |  Continue (165)  |  Contrary (141)  |  Conviction (97)  |  Convince (41)  |  Correct (86)  |  Countless (36)  |  Danger (115)  |  Deceive (26)  |  Definitely (5)  |  Degree (276)  |  Depend (228)  |  Detail (146)  |  Determination (78)  |  Determine (144)  |  Different (577)  |  Difficult (246)  |  Elementary (96)  |  End (590)  |  Error (321)  |  Experience (467)  |  Fail (185)  |  Fare (5)  |  Find (998)  |  First (1283)  |  Generally (15)  |  Give (202)  |  Good (889)  |  Great (1574)  |  Greatest (328)  |  Hide (69)  |  High (362)  |  Hope (299)  |  Human (1468)  |  Human Thought (7)  |  Hundred (229)  |  Imagine (164)  |  Inconvenience (3)  |  Increase (210)  |  Indicate (61)  |  Ingenious (55)  |  Instant (45)  |  Isolate (22)  |  Judge (108)  |  Know (1518)  |  Lead (384)  |  Least (75)  |  Less (103)  |  Logical (55)  |  Long (790)  |  Look (582)  |  Making (300)  |  Manage (23)  |  Mathematics (1328)  |  Matter (798)  |  Metaphysic (6)  |  Metaphysics (50)  |  More (2559)  |  Most (1731)  |  Must (1526)  |  Nature Of Mathematics (80)  |  Necessary (363)  |  New (1216)  |  Nothing (966)  |  Object (422)  |  Old (481)  |  Originate (36)  |  Other (2236)  |  Overlook (31)  |  Part (222)  |  Perfect (216)  |  Perfectly (10)  |  Permanent (64)  |  Point (580)  |  Precise (68)  |  Precision (68)  |  Proof (287)  |  Psychology (154)  |  Rapid (33)  |  Reach (281)  |  Realm (85)  |  Reason (744)  |  Respect (207)  |  Result (677)  |  Reward (68)  |  Rid (13)  |  Right (452)  |  Rigorous (48)  |  Rule (294)  |  Salvation (11)  |  Same (157)  |  Satisfied (23)  |  Science (3879)  |  See (1081)  |  Single (353)  |  Soon (186)  |  Special (184)  |  Special Case (9)  |  Speculation (126)  |  Speculative (9)  |  Still (613)  |  Success (302)  |  Superficial (12)  |  Support (147)  |  Survey (33)  |  Suspicion (35)  |  Thought (953)  |  Transmit (11)  |  True (212)  |  Uncertainty (56)  |  Use (766)  |  Verify (23)  |  Way (1217)  |  Whatever (234)  |  Why (491)  |  Will (2355)

Laplace would have found it child's-play to fix a ratio of progression in mathematical science between Descartes, Leibnitz, Newton and himself
The Education of Henry Adams: An Autobiography? (1918), 491.
Science quotes on:  |   (2863)  |  Child (307)  |  René Descartes (81)  |  Himself (461)  |  Pierre-Simon Laplace (62)  |  Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (49)  |  Mathematics (1328)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (333)  |  Progress (465)  |  Ratio (39)  |  Science (3879)  |  Series (149)

Life arose as a living molecule or protogene, the progression from this stage to that of the ameba is at least as great as from ameba to man. All the essential problems of living organisms are already solved in the one-celled (or, as many now prefer to say, noncellular) protozoan and these are only elaborated in man or the other multicellular animals. The step from nonlife to life may not have been so complex, after all, and that from cell to multicellular organism is readily comprehensible. The change from protogene to protozoan was probably the most complex that has occurred in evolution, and it may well have taken as long as the change from protozoan to man.
The Meaning of Evolution: A Study of the History of Life and of its Significance for Man (1949), 16
Science quotes on:  |  All (4108)  |  Already (222)  |  Amoeba (20)  |  Animal (617)  |  Cell (138)  |  Change (593)  |  Complex (188)  |  Complexity (111)  |  Comprehension (66)  |  Elaborated (7)  |  Elaboration (11)  |  Essential (199)  |  Evolution (590)  |  Great (1574)  |  Life (1795)  |  Living (491)  |  Long (790)  |  Man (2251)  |  Molecule (174)  |  Most (1731)  |  Multicellular (4)  |  Nonlife (2)  |  Occurrence (53)  |  Organism (220)  |  Other (2236)  |  Problem (676)  |  Protozoan (3)  |  Say (984)  |  Solution (267)  |  Stage (143)  |  Step (231)

Medicine is a science which hath been (as we have said) more professed than laboured, and yet more laboured than advanced: the labour having been, in my judgment, rather in circle than in progression. For I find much iteration, but small addition. It considereth causes of diseases, with the occasions or impulsions; the diseases themselves, with the accidents; and the cures, with the preservation.
The Advancement of Learning (1605) in James Spedding, Robert Ellis and Douglas Heath (eds.), The Works of Francis Bacon (1887-1901), Vol. 3, 373.
Science quotes on:  |  Accident (88)  |  Addition (66)  |  Cause (541)  |  Circle (110)  |  Cure (122)  |  Disease (328)  |  Find (998)  |  Judgment (132)  |  Labour (98)  |  Medicine (378)  |  More (2559)  |  Occasion (85)  |  Profess (20)  |  Science (3879)  |  Small (477)  |  Themselves (433)

Science is the one human activity that is truly progressive. The body of positive knowledge is transmitted from generation to generation.
In The Realm of the Nebulae (1936), 1.
Science quotes on:  |  Activity (210)  |  Body (537)  |  Generation (242)  |  Human (1468)  |  Knowledge (1529)  |  Positive (94)  |  Science (3879)  |  Truly (116)

The Archetypal idea was manifested in the flesh, under divers such modifications, upon this planet, long prior to the existence of those animal species that actually exemplify it. To what natural laws or secondary causes the orderly succession and progression of such organic phaenomena may have been committed we as yet are ignorant. But if, without derogation of the Divine power, we may conceive the existence of such ministers, and personify them by the term 'Nature,' we learn from the past history of our globe that she has advanced with slow and stately steps, guided by the archetypal light, amidst the wreck of worlds, from the first embodiment of the Vertebrate idea under its old Ichthyic vestment, until it became arrayed in the glorious garb of the Human form.
On the Nature of Limbs (1849), 86.
Science quotes on:  |  Advancement (62)  |  Animal (617)  |  Archetype (5)  |  Array (5)  |  Cause (541)  |  Commitment (27)  |  Conceive (98)  |  Conception (154)  |  Divine (112)  |  Embodiment (9)  |  Evolution (590)  |  Example (94)  |  Existence (456)  |  First (1283)  |  Form (959)  |  Garb (6)  |  Globe (47)  |  Glorious (48)  |  Glory (58)  |  History (673)  |  Human (1468)  |  Idea (843)  |  Ignorance (240)  |  Ignorant (90)  |  Law (894)  |  Learn (629)  |  Learning (274)  |  Light (607)  |  Long (790)  |  Manifestation (58)  |  Minister (9)  |  Modification (55)  |  Natural (796)  |  Natural Law (41)  |  Nature (1926)  |  Old (481)  |  Orderly (38)  |  Organic (158)  |  Past (337)  |  Personification (3)  |  Phenomenon (318)  |  Planet (356)  |  Power (746)  |  Secondary (14)  |  Slow (101)  |  Species (401)  |  Stately (12)  |  Step (231)  |  Succession (77)  |  Term (349)  |  Vertebrate (20)  |  Vestment (2)  |  World (1774)  |  Wreck (7)

The powers which tend to preserve, and those which tend to change the condition of the earth's surface, are never in equilibrio; the latter are, in all cases, the most powerful, and, in respect of the former, are like living in comparison of dead forces. Hence the law of decay is one which suffers no exception: The elements of all bodies were once loose and unconnected, and to the same state nature has appointed that they should all return... TIME performs the office of integrating the infinitesimal parts of which this progression is made up; it collects them into one sum, and produces from them an amount greater than any that can be assigned.
Illustrations of the Huttonian Theory of the Earth (1802), 116-7.
Science quotes on:  |   (2863)  |  All (4108)  |  Amount (151)  |  Appointment (12)  |  Assignment (12)  |  Change (593)  |  Collection (64)  |  Comparison (102)  |  Condition (356)  |  Decay (53)  |  Earth (996)  |  Element (310)  |  Equilibrium (33)  |  Exception (73)  |  Force (487)  |  Former (137)  |  Greater (288)  |  Infinitesimal (29)  |  Integration (19)  |  Law (894)  |  Living (491)  |  Loose (14)  |  Most (1731)  |  Nature (1926)  |  Never (1087)  |  Office (71)  |  Perform (121)  |  Performance (48)  |  Power (746)  |  Powerful (139)  |  Preservation (33)  |  Preserve (83)  |  Production (183)  |  Respect (207)  |  Return (124)  |  State (491)  |  Sum (102)  |  Surface (209)  |  Tend (124)  |  Tendency (99)  |  Time (1877)  |  Unconnected (10)

The presentation of mathematics where you start with definitions, for example, is simply wrong. Definitions aren't the places where things start. Mathematics starts with ideas and general concepts, and then definitions are isolated from concepts. Definitions occur somewhere in the middle of a progression or the development of a mathematical concept. The same thing applies to theorems and other icons of mathematical progress. They occur in the middle of a progression of how we explore the unknown.
Interview for website of the Mathematical Association of America.
Science quotes on:  |  Concept (221)  |  Definition (221)  |  Development (422)  |  Exploration (134)  |  General (511)  |  Icon (2)  |  Idea (843)  |  Isolate (22)  |  Mathematics (1328)  |  Middle (16)  |  Occur (150)  |  Other (2236)  |  Place (177)  |  Presentation (23)  |  Progress (465)  |  Start (221)  |  Theorem (112)  |  Thing (1915)  |  Unknown (182)  |  Wrong (234)

The progression of physical science is much more connected with your prosperity than is usually imagined. You owe to experimental philosophy some of the most important and peculiar of your advantages. It is not by foreign conquests chiefly that you are become great, but by a conquest of nature in your own country.
From an introductory lecture to a course on electro-chemical science in 1809, quoted in 'Extracts' in J. Davy (ed.), The Collected Works of Sir Humphry Davy (1839-40), Vol. 8, 358.
Science quotes on:  |  Advantage (134)  |  Become (815)  |  Chiefly (47)  |  Connect (125)  |  Conquest (28)  |  Country (251)  |  Experiment (695)  |  Experimental (192)  |  Foreign (45)  |  Great (1574)  |  More (2559)  |  Most (1731)  |  Nature (1926)  |  Owe (71)  |  Peculiar (113)  |  Philosophy (380)  |  Physical (508)  |  Physical Science (101)  |  Prosperity (21)  |  Science (3879)  |  Usually (176)

Then if the first argument remains secure (for nobody will produce a neater one, than the length of the periodic time is a measure of the size of the spheres), the order of the orbits follows this sequence, beginning from the highest: The first and highest of all is the sphere of the fixed stars, which contains itself and all things, and is therefore motionless. It is the location of the universe, to which the motion and position of all the remaining stars is referred. For though some consider that it also changes in some respect, we shall assign another cause for its appearing to do so in our deduction of the Earth's motion. There follows Saturn, the first of the wandering stars, which completes its circuit in thirty years. After it comes Jupiter which moves in a twelve-year long revolution. Next is Mars, which goes round biennially. An annual revolution holds the fourth place, in which as we have said is contained the Earth along with the lunar sphere which is like an epicycle. In fifth place Venus returns every nine months. Lastly, Mercury holds the sixth place, making a circuit in the space of eighty days. In the middle of all is the seat of the Sun. For who in this most beautiful of temples would put this lamp in any other or better place than the one from which it can illuminate everything at the same time? Aptly indeed is he named by some the lantern of the universe, by others the mind, by others the ruler. Trismegistus called him the visible God, Sophocles' Electra, the watcher over all things. Thus indeed the Sun as if seated on a royal throne governs his household of Stars as they circle around him. Earth also is by no means cheated of the Moon's attendance, but as Aristotle says in his book On Animals the Moon has the closest affinity with the Earth. Meanwhile the Earth conceives from the Sun, and is made pregnant with annual offspring. We find, then, in this arrangement the marvellous symmetry of the universe, and a sure linking together in harmony of the motion and size of the spheres, such as could be perceived in no other way. For here one may understand, by attentive observation, why Jupiter appears to have a larger progression and retrogression than Saturn, and smaller than Mars, and again why Venus has larger ones than Mercury; why such a doubling back appears more frequently in Saturn than in Jupiter, and still more rarely in Mars and Venus than in Mercury; and furthermore why Saturn, Jupiter and Mars are nearer to the Earth when in opposition than in the region of their occultation by the Sun and re-appearance. Indeed Mars in particular at the time when it is visible throughout the night seems to equal Jupiter in size, though marked out by its reddish colour; yet it is scarcely distinguishable among stars of the second magnitude, though recognized by those who track it with careful attention. All these phenomena proceed from the same course, which lies in the motion of the Earth. But the fact that none of these phenomena appears in the fixed stars shows their immense elevation, which makes even the circle of their annual motion, or apparent motion, vanish from our eyes.
'Book One. Chapter X. The Order of the Heavenly Spheres', in Copernicus: On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres (1543), trans. A. M. Duncan (1976), 49-51.
Science quotes on:  |   (2863)  |  Affinity (27)  |  All (4108)  |  Animal (617)  |  Apparent (84)  |  Appearance (140)  |  Argument (138)  |  Arrangement (91)  |  Attention (190)  |  Attentive (14)  |  Back (390)  |  Beautiful (258)  |  Beginning (305)  |  Better (486)  |  Book (392)  |  Call (769)  |  Cause (541)  |  Change (593)  |  Cheat (13)  |  Circle (110)  |  Circuit (29)  |  Complete (204)  |  Conceive (98)  |  Consider (416)  |  Course (409)  |  Deduction (82)  |  Do (1908)  |  Earth (996)  |  Elevation (13)  |  Everything (476)  |  Eye (419)  |  Fact (1210)  |  Find (998)  |  First (1283)  |  Follow (378)  |  God (757)  |  Govern (64)  |  Harmony (102)  |  Immense (86)  |  Indeed (324)  |  Jupiter (26)  |  Lamp (36)  |  Lantern (8)  |  Lie (364)  |  Linking (8)  |  Location (15)  |  Long (790)  |  Magnitude (83)  |  Making (300)  |  Marked (55)  |  Mars (44)  |  Marvellous (25)  |  Mean (809)  |  Means (579)  |  Measure (232)  |  Mercury (49)  |  Mind (1338)  |  Month (88)  |  Moon (237)  |  More (2559)  |  Most (1731)  |  Motion (310)  |  Move (216)  |  Nearer (45)  |  Next (236)  |  Nobody (104)  |  Observation (555)  |  Offspring (27)  |  Opposition (48)  |  Orbit (81)  |  Order (632)  |  Other (2236)  |  Proceed (129)  |  Remain (349)  |  Remaining (45)  |  Respect (207)  |  Retrogression (6)  |  Return (124)  |  Revolution (129)  |  Royal (57)  |  Ruler (21)  |  Saturn (13)  |  Say (984)  |  Scarcely (74)  |  Sequence (68)  |  Show (346)  |  Solar System (77)  |  Space (500)  |  Sphere (116)  |  Star (427)  |  Stars (304)  |  Still (613)  |  Sun (385)  |  Symmetry (43)  |  Temple (42)  |  Thing (1915)  |  Throughout (98)  |  Time (1877)  |  Together (387)  |  Track (38)  |  Understand (606)  |  Universe (857)  |  Venus (20)  |  Visible (84)  |  Way (1217)  |  Why (491)  |  Will (2355)  |  Year (933)

This is, in truth, the first charm of chemistry, and the secret of the almost universal interest excited by its discoveries. The serious complacency which is afforded by the sense of truth, utility, permanence, and progression, blends with and ennobles the exhilarating surprise and the pleasurable sting of curiosity, which accompany the propounding and the solving of an Enigma... If in SHAKPEARE [sic] we find Nature idealized into Poetry, through the creative power of a profound yet observant meditation, so through the meditative observation of a DAVY, a WOOLLASTON [sic], or a HATCHETT; we find poetry, as if were, substantiated and realized in nature.
Essays on the Principle of Method, Essay VI (1818). In The Collected Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge: The Friend (1969), Vol. 4, 1, Barbara E. Rooke (ed.), 471.
Science quotes on:  |  Accompany (22)  |  Charm (51)  |  Chemistry (353)  |  Creative (137)  |  Curiosity (128)  |  Sir Humphry Davy (47)  |  Enigma (14)  |  Find (998)  |  First (1283)  |  Interest (386)  |  Meditation (19)  |  Nature (1926)  |  Observation (555)  |  Permanence (24)  |  Poetry (143)  |  Power (746)  |  Profound (104)  |  Secret (194)  |  Sense (770)  |  Serious (91)  |  William Shakespeare (102)  |  Surprise (86)  |  Through (849)  |  Truth (1057)  |  Universal (189)  |  Utility (49)  |  William Hyde Wollaston (3)

Truth is compared in Scripture to a streaming fountain; if her waters flow not in perpetual progression, they sicken into a muddy pool of conformity and tradition.
The Homiletic Review, Vol. 83-84 (1922), Vol. 83, 208.
Science quotes on:  |  Flow (83)  |  Perpetual (57)  |  Progress (465)  |  Research (664)  |  Tradition (69)  |  Truth (1057)  |  Water (481)

[In relation to business:] Invention must be its keynote—a steady progression from one thing to another. As each in turn approaches a saturated market, something new must be produced.
Aphorism listed Frederick Seitz, The Cosmic Inventor: Reginald Aubrey Fessenden (1866-1932) (1999), 55, being Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, Held at Philadelphia For Promoting Useful Knowledge, Vol. 86, Pt. 6.
Science quotes on:  |  Approach (108)  |  Business (149)  |  Invention (369)  |  Keynote (2)  |  Market (20)  |  Must (1526)  |  New (1216)  |  Produced (187)  |  Production (183)  |  Saturation (9)  |  Something (719)  |  Steady (44)  |  Thing (1915)  |  Turn (447)


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.