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

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “Genius is two percent inspiration, ninety-eight percent perspiration.”
more quiz questions >>
Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index P > Category: Purpose

Purpose Quotes (138 quotes)

Philosophie [ist] der systematische Mißbrauch einer eigens zu diesem Zwecke ersonnenen Terminologie.
Philosophy [is] the systematic abuse of a terminology specially designed for this purpose.
In Die Philosophie der Mathematik in der Gegenwart (1932), 1. English version from Google Translate.
Science quotes on:  |  Abuse (9)  |  Designed (3)  |  Philosophy (213)  |  Specially (2)  |  Systematic (25)  |  Terminology (7)

Socrates: Shall we set down astronomy among the objects of study? Glaucon: I think so, to know something about the seasons, the months and the years is of use for military purposes, as well as for agriculture and for navigation. Socrates: It amuses me to see how afraid you are, lest the common herd of people should accuse you of recommending useless studies.
Socrates
As quoted by Plato. In Richard Garnett, Léon Vallée, Alois Brandl (eds.), The Universal Anthology: A Collection of the Best Literature (1899), Vol. 4, 111.
Science quotes on:  |  Accuse (2)  |  Afraid (15)  |  Agriculture (62)  |  Amuse (2)  |  Astronomy (175)  |  Know (321)  |  Military (24)  |  Month (21)  |  Navigation (12)  |  Recommend (4)  |  Season (24)  |  Study (331)  |  Useless (24)  |  Year (214)

About 6 or 8 years ago My Ingenious friend Mr John Robinson having [contrived] conceived that a fire engine might be made without a Lever—by Inverting the Cylinder & placing it above the mouth of the pit proposed to me to make a model of it which was set about by having never Compleated & I [being] having at that time Ignorant little knoledge of the machine however I always thought the Machine Might be applied to [more] other as valuable purposes [than] as drawing Water.
Entry in notebook (1765). The bracketed words in square brackets were crossed out by Watt. in Eric Robinson and Douglas McKie (eds.), Partners in Science: Letters of James Watt and Joseph Black (1970), 434.
Science quotes on:  |  Application (117)  |  Completed (2)  |  Conceived (3)  |  Cylinder (4)  |  Drawing (18)  |  Fire (117)  |  Friend (63)  |  Ignorance (190)  |  Ingenious (18)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Lever (9)  |  Machine (133)  |  Model (64)  |  Mouth (16)  |  Pit (10)  |  Proposal (10)  |  Steam Engine (41)  |  Thought (374)  |  Value (180)  |  Water (244)

All appearances to the contrary, the only watchmaker in nature is the blind forces of physics, albeit deployed in very special way. A true watchmaker has foresight: he designs his cogs springs, and plans their interconnections, with a future purpose in his mind's eye. Natural selection, the blind, unconscious, automatic process which Darwin discovered, and which we now know is the explanation for the existence and apparently purposeful form of all life, has no purpose in mind. It has no mind and no mind's eye. It does not plan for the future. It has no vision, no foresight, no sight at all. If it can be said to play the role of watchmaker in nature, it is the blind watchmaker.
The Blind Watchmaker (1986), 5.
Science quotes on:  |  Charles Darwin (284)  |  Evolution (482)  |  Natural Selection (79)

Almost every major systematic error which has deluded men for thousands of years relied on practical experience. Horoscopes, incantations, oracles, magic, witchcraft, the cures of witch doctors and of medical practitioners before the advent of modern medicine, were all firmly established through the centuries in the eyes of the public by their supposed practical successes. The scientific method was devised precisely for the purpose of elucidating the nature of things under more carefully controlled conditions and by more rigorous criteria than are present in the situations created by practical problems.
Personal Knowledge (1958), 183.
Science quotes on:  |  Advent (4)  |  Care (73)  |  Century (95)  |  Circumstance (48)  |  Control (93)  |  Criteria (6)  |  Cure (88)  |  Delusion (13)  |  Devising (7)  |  Elucidation (6)  |  Error (230)  |  Establishment (29)  |  Experience (268)  |  Eye (159)  |  Horoscope (2)  |  Incantation (4)  |  Magic (67)  |  Major (24)  |  Medicine (322)  |  Modern (104)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Oracle (4)  |  Practicality (6)  |  Practitioner (12)  |  Precisely (11)  |  Problem (362)  |  Public (82)  |  Reliance (9)  |  Rigor (12)  |  Scientific Method (155)  |  Situation (41)  |  Success (202)  |  Supposition (33)  |  System (141)  |  Thousand (106)  |  Witch Doctor (2)  |  Witchcraft (4)  |  Year (214)

And I believe there are many Species in Nature, which were never yet taken notice of by Man, and consequently of no use to him, which yet we are not to think were created in vain; but it's likely ... to partake of the overflowing Goodness of the Creator, and enjoy their own Beings. But though in this sense it be not true, that all things were made for Man; yet thus far it is, that all the Creatures in the World may be some way or other useful to us, at least to exercise our Wits and Understandings, in considering and contemplating of them, and so afford us Subject of Admiring and Glorifying their and our Maker. Seeing them, we do believe and assert that all things were in some sense made for us, we are thereby obliged to make use of them for those purposes for which they serve us, else we frustrate this End of their Creation.
John Ray
The Wisdom of God Manifested in the Works of the Creation (1691), 169-70.
Science quotes on:  |  Belief (400)  |  Consideration (65)  |  Contemplation (37)  |  Creation (211)  |  Creature (127)  |  Exercise (35)  |  Frustration (9)  |  Maker (10)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Notice (20)  |  Species (181)  |  Understanding (317)  |  Usefulness (70)  |  Vain (26)  |  Wit (27)

And yet in a funny way our lack of success led to our breakthrough; because, since we could not get a cell line off the shelf doing what we wanted, we were forced to construct it. And the original experiment ... developed into a method for the production of hybridomas ... [which] was of more importance than our original purpose.
From Nobel Lecture (8 Dec 1984), collected in Tore Frängsmyr and ‎Jan Lindsten (eds.), Nobel Lectures in Physiology Or Medicine: 1981-1990 (1993), 256-257.
Science quotes on:  |  Breakthrough (13)  |  Cell (125)  |  Construct (25)  |  Development (228)  |  Experiment (543)  |  Force (194)  |  Funny (9)  |  Hybridoma (2)  |  Importance (183)  |  Lack (52)  |  Lead (101)  |  Method (154)  |  Original (36)  |  Production (105)  |  Success (202)  |  Want (120)

Are God and Nature then at strife,
That Nature lends such evil dreams?
So careful of the type she seems,
So careless of the single life; ...
'So careful of the type', but no.
From scarped cliff and quarried stone
She cries, 'A thousand types are gone:
I care for nothing, all shall go' ...
Man, her last work, who seemed so fair,
Such splendid purpose in his eyes,
Who rolled the psalm to wintry skies,
Who built him fanes of fruitless prayer,
Who trusted God was love indeed
And love Creation's final law—
Tho’ Nature red in tooth and claw
With ravine, shrieked against his creed...
In Memoriam A. H. H. (1850), Cantos 56-57. Collected in Alfred Tennyson and William James Rolfe (ed.) The Poetic and Dramatic works of Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1898), 176.
Science quotes on:  |  Care (73)  |  Claw (7)  |  Cliff (6)  |  Creation (211)  |  Creed (10)  |  Cry (13)  |  Dream (92)  |  Evolution (482)  |  Eye (159)  |  Fairness (2)  |  Fruitless (2)  |  God (454)  |  Law (418)  |  Love (164)  |  Man (345)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Nothing (267)  |  Prayer (19)  |  Psalm (3)  |  Quarry (10)  |  Ravine (5)  |  Red (25)  |  Rolling (3)  |  Scarp (2)  |  Sky (68)  |  Splendid (8)  |  Stone (57)  |  Strife (9)  |  Thousand (106)  |  Tooth (23)  |  Trust (40)  |  Type (34)  |  Winter (22)  |  Work (457)

Bohr’s standpoint, that a space-time description is impossible, I reject a limine. Physics does not consist only of atomic research, science does not consist only of physics, and life does not consist only of science. The aim of atomic research is to fit our empirical knowledge concerning it into our other thinking. All of this other thinking, so far as it concerns the outer world, is active in space and time. If it cannot be fitted into space and time, then it fails in its whole aim and one does not know what purpose it really serves.
Letter to Willy Wien (25 Aug 1926). Quoted in Walter Moore, Schrödinger: Life and Thought (1989), 226.
Science quotes on:  |  Aim (58)  |  Atom (251)  |  Niels Bohr (50)  |  Empiricism (16)  |  Failure (118)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Life (917)  |  Physics (301)  |  Research (517)  |  Thinking (222)  |  Time And Space (30)

But I don’t have to know an answer. I don’t feel frightened by not knowing things, by being lost in a mysterious universe within any purpose, which is the way it really is, so far as I can tell. It doesn’t frighten me.
In Richard Feynman and Jeffrey Robbins (ed.), The Pleasure of Finding Things Out: The Best Short Works of Richard Feynman (1999), 25, last sentence of Chap. 1. The chapter, with the same title as the book, is an edited transcript of an interview with Feynman made for the BBC television program Horizon (1981).
Science quotes on:  |  Answer (201)  |  Fright (4)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Loss (62)  |  Mystery (125)  |  Universe (563)

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 (16)  |  Abundance (15)  |  Appearance (77)  |  Change (291)  |  Combination (69)  |  Convincing (9)  |  Development (228)  |  Earth (487)  |  Emphasis (14)  |  Formation (54)  |  Genus (16)  |  Gradual (18)  |  Law (418)  |  Life (917)  |  Mammal (28)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Organic (48)  |  Progression (9)  |  Proof (192)  |  Quadruped (4)  |  Repeat (27)  |  Secondary (11)  |  Structure (191)  |  Subservience (3)  |  Succession (39)  |  Tertiary (3)  |  Unknown (87)

But the Presidence of that mighty Power … its particular Agency and Concern therein: and its Purpose and Design … will more evidently appear, when I shall have proved … That the said Earth, though not indifferently and alike fertil in all parts of it, was yet generally much more fertil than ours is … That its Soil was more luxuriant, and teemed forth its Productions in far greater plenty and abundance than the present Earth does … That when Man was fallen, and had abandoned his primitive Innocence, the Case was much altered: and a far different Scene of Things presented; that generous Vertue, masculine Bravery, and prudent Circumspection which he was before Master of, now deserting him … and a strange imbecility immediately seized and laid hold of him: he became pusillanimous, and was easily ruffled with every little Passion within: supine, and as openly exposed to any Temptation or Assault from without. And now these exuberant Productions of the Earth became a continued Decoy and Snare unto him.
In An Essay Toward A Natural History of the Earth (1695), 84-86.
Science quotes on:  |  Design (92)  |  Fertility (11)  |  Generous (12)  |  Masculine (3)  |  Passion (54)  |  Soil (51)

Cats are intended to teach us that not everything in nature has a purpose.
As quoted in Hy Bender, Essential Software for Writers: A Complete Guide for Everyone Who Write With a PC (1994), 64.
Science quotes on:  |  Cat (31)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Teach (102)

Do we really wish to replace the fateful but impartial workings of chance with the purposeful self-interested workings of human will?
Reported in 1981, expressing concern for the future of gene-splicing.
'Shaping Life in the Lab'. In Time (9 Mar 1981).
Science quotes on:  |  Chance (122)  |  Gene Splicing (5)  |  Human Nature (51)  |  Self-Interest (3)

Doctor, no medicine.—We are machines made to live—organized expressly for that purpose.—Such is our nature.—Do not counteract the living principle.—Leave it at liberty to defend itself, and it will do better than your drugs.
As given in Tryon Edwards (ed.), A Dictionary of Thoughts (1908), 339.
Science quotes on:  |  Better (131)  |  Defense (15)  |  Doctor (100)  |  Drug (40)  |  Liberty (17)  |  Life (917)  |  Machine (133)  |  Medicine (322)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Organization (79)  |  Principle (228)

Don’t confuse hypothesis and theory. The former is a possible explanation; the latter, the correct one. The establishment of theory is the very purpose of science.
Martin H. Fischer, Howard Fabing (ed.) and Ray Marr (ed.), Fischerisms (1944), 7.
Science quotes on:  |  Confusion (34)  |  Correct (53)  |  Establishment (29)  |  Explanation (161)  |  Hypothesis (227)  |  Possibility (96)  |  Purpose Of Science (4)  |  Science (1699)  |  Theory (582)

Even if a scientific model, like a car, has only a few years to run before it is discarded, it serves its purpose for getting from one place to another.
In 'Complex Clocks', Digestive Diseases and Sciences (1983), 28, 1139.
Science quotes on:  |  Car (20)  |  Model (64)  |  Year (214)

Every physical fact, every expression of nature, every feature of the earth, the work of any and all of those agents which make the face of the world what it is, and as we see it, is interesting and instructive. Until we get hold of a group of physical facts, we do not know what practical bearings they may have, though right-minded men know that they contain many precious jewels, which science, or the expert hand of philosophy will not fail top bring out, polished, and bright, and beautifully adapted to man's purposes.
In The Physical Geography of the Sea (1855), 209-210. Maury was in particular referring to the potential use of deep-sea soundings.
Science quotes on:  |  Adapt (18)  |  Agent (27)  |  Beauty (171)  |  Bright (26)  |  Earth (487)  |  Expert (42)  |  Expression (82)  |  Fact (609)  |  Feature (34)  |  Instruction (51)  |  Interesting (38)  |  Jewel (6)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Philosophy (213)  |  Physical (94)  |  Polish (8)  |  Precious (22)  |  Work (457)

Facts are the materials of science, but all Facts involve Ideas. … we must, for the purposes of science, take care that the Ideas are clear and rigorously applied.
Aphorism 4, 'Aphorisms Concerning Science', The Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences (1840), Vol. 1, xxxvii.
Science quotes on:  |  Applied (15)  |  Clear (52)  |  Fact (609)  |  Idea (440)  |  Material (124)  |  Rigorous (10)  |  Science (1699)

For any serious purpose, intelligence is a very minor gift.
In A Mathematician's Apology (1940, 2012), 47.
Science quotes on:  |  Gift (47)  |  Intelligence (138)  |  Minor (7)  |  Serious (37)

For me, the idea of a creation is not conceivable without invoking the necessity of design. One cannot be exposed to the law and order of the universe without concluding that there must be design and purpose behind it all.
In letter to California State board of Education (14 Sep 1972).
Science quotes on:  |  Conceive (22)  |  Conclusion (120)  |  Creation (211)  |  Design (92)  |  Exposure (5)  |  Idea (440)  |  Law And Order (4)  |  Necessity (125)  |  Origin Of The Universe (13)  |  Science And Religion (267)  |  Universe (563)

Freud expressed the opinion—not quite in earnest, though, it seeemed to me—that philosophy was the most decent form of sublimation of repressed sexuality, nothing more. In response I put the question, 'What then is science, particularly psychoanalytic psychology?' Whereup on he, visible a bit surprised, answered evasively: 'At least psychology has a social purpose.'
Recollection by Binswanger of conversation during his third visit to Vienna to see Freud (17-18 May 1913), in Gerhard Fichtner (ed.) and Arnold J. Pomerans (trans.), The Sigmund Freud-Ludwig Binswanger Correspondence 1908-1938 (2003), 237.
Science quotes on:  |  Sigmund Freud (66)  |  Opinion (146)  |  Philosophy (213)  |  Psychoanalysis (37)  |  Psychology (125)  |  Science (1699)  |  Sexuality (11)  |  Social (93)

From religion comes a man's purpose; from science, his power to achieve it. Sometimes people ask if religion and science are not opposed to one another. They are: in the sense that the thumb and fingers of my hands are opposed to one another. It is an opposition by means of which anything can be grasped.
In Sir Kerr Grant, The Life and Work of Sir William Bragg (1952), 43.
Science quotes on:  |  Achieve (36)  |  Finger (38)  |  Hand (103)  |  Man (345)  |  Means (109)  |  Opposition (29)  |  Power (273)  |  Religion (210)  |  Science And Religion (267)  |  Sense (240)  |  Thumb (8)

Geology is rapidly taking its place as an introduction to the higher history of man. If the author has sought to exalt a favorite science, it has been with the desire that man—in whom geological history had its consummation, the prophecies of the successive ages their fulfilment—might better comprehend his own nobility and the true purpose of his existence.
Concluding remark in Preface (1 Nov 1862), in Manual of Geology, Treating of the Principles of the Science (1863), ix.
Science quotes on:  |  Comprehension (51)  |  Consummation (4)  |  Existence (254)  |  Fulfilment (3)  |  Geology (187)  |  History (302)  |  Introduction (31)  |  Man (345)  |  Nobility (3)  |  Prophecy (6)

How strange is the lot of us mortals! Each of us is here for a brief sojourn; for what purpose he knows not, though he sometimes thinks he senses it. But without deeper reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people–first of all for those upon whose smiles and well-being our own happiness is wholly dependent, and then for the many, unknown to us, to whose destinies we are bound by the ties of sympathy. A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Base (43)  |  Bind (18)  |  Brief (14)  |  Daily Life (5)  |  Dead (45)  |  Deep (81)  |  Dependent (14)  |  Destiny (26)  |  Exert (9)  |  Exist (89)  |  First (174)  |  Give In (3)  |  Happiness (82)  |  Hundred (46)  |  Inner (27)  |  Know (321)  |  Labor (53)  |  Life (917)  |  Live (186)  |  Lot (23)  |  Measure (70)  |  Mortal (19)  |  Myself (22)  |  Order (167)  |  Outer (7)  |  People (269)  |  Receive (39)  |  Reflection (50)  |  Remind (5)  |  Same (92)  |  Sense (240)  |  Smile (13)  |  Sometimes (27)  |  Strange (61)  |  Sympathy (15)  |  Think (205)  |  Tie (21)  |  Time (439)  |  Unknown (87)  |  Well-Being (4)  |  Wholly (7)

Hyper-selectionism has been with us for a long time in various guises; for it represents the late nineteenth century’s scientific version of the myth of natural harmony–all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds (all structures well designed for a definite purpose in this case). It is, indeed, the vision of foolish Dr. Pangloss, so vividly satirized by Voltaire in Candide–the world is not necessarily good, but it is the best we could possibly have.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Best (129)  |  Case (64)  |  Definite (27)  |  Design (92)  |  Foolish (16)  |  Good (228)  |  Guise (4)  |  Harmony (55)  |  Late (28)  |  Long (95)  |  Myth (43)  |  Natural (128)  |  Necessarily (13)  |  Nineteenth (6)  |  Possible (100)  |  Possibly (9)  |  Represent (27)  |  Scientific (169)  |  Structure (191)  |  Time (439)  |  Various (25)  |  Version (6)  |  Vision (55)  |  Vividly (3)  |  Francois Marie Arouet Voltaire (19)  |  World (667)

I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own–a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body, although feeble souls harbor such thoughts through fear or ridiculous egotisms.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Belief (400)  |  Body (193)  |  Creation (211)  |  Death (270)  |  Fear (113)  |  Feeble (21)  |  God (454)  |  Harbor (4)  |  Human (445)  |  Imagine (40)  |  Individual (177)  |  Object (110)  |  Punish (5)  |  Reflection (50)  |  Reward (38)  |  Ridiculous (9)  |  Short (31)  |  Soul (139)  |  Survive (28)  |  Thought (374)

I do not conceive of any manifestation of culture, of science, of art, as purposes in themselves. I think the purpose of science and culture is man.
In G. Barry Golson (ed.) The Playboy Interview (1981), 254.
Science quotes on:  |  Conception (63)  |  Culture (85)  |  Man (345)  |  Purpose Of Science (4)  |  Science And Art (157)

I find out what the world needs, then I proceed to invent. My main purpose in life is to make money so that I can afford to go on creating more inventions.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Afford (11)  |  Create (98)  |  Find Out (12)  |  Invent (30)  |  Invention (283)  |  Life (917)  |  Main (16)  |  Money (125)  |  Need (211)  |  Proceed (25)  |  World (667)

I have always been very fond of mathematics—for one short period, I even toyed with the possibility of abandoning chemistry in its favour. I enjoyed immensely both its conceptual and formal beauties, and the precision and elegance of its relationships and transformations. Why then did I not succumb to its charms? … because by and large, mathematics lacks the sensuous elements which play so large a role in my attraction to chemistry.I love crystals, the beauty of their forms and formation; liquids, dormant, distilling, sloshing! The fumes, the odors—good or bad, the rainbow of colors; the gleaming vessels of every size, shape and purpose.
In Arthur Clay Cope Address, Chicago (28 Aug 1973). In O. T. Benfey and P. J. T. Morris (eds.), Robert Burns Woodward. Architect and Artist in the World of Molecules (2001), 427.
Science quotes on:  |  Bad (78)  |  Beauty (171)  |  Color (78)  |  Crystal (47)  |  Distillation (9)  |  Dormant (3)  |  Form (210)  |  Formation (54)  |  Fume (5)  |  Gleam (9)  |  Good (228)  |  Liquid (25)  |  Love (164)  |  Odor (7)  |  Rainbow (8)  |  Shape (52)  |  Size (47)  |  Vessel (21)

I have been asked whether I would agree that the tragedy of the scientist is that he is able to bring about great advances in our knowledge, which mankind may then proceed to use for purposes of destruction. My answer is that this is not the tragedy of the scientist; it is the tragedy of mankind.
S. R. Weart and G. W. Sallard (eds.), Leo Szilard: His Version of the Facts (1978), 229.
Science quotes on:  |  Advance (123)  |  Answer (201)  |  Asking (23)  |  Destruction (80)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Mankind (196)  |  Proceeding (13)  |  Question (315)  |  Scientist (447)  |  Tragedy (19)

I look upon statistics as the handmaid of medicine, but on that very account I hold that it befits medicine to treat her handmaid with proper respect, and not to prostitute her services for controversial or personal purposes.
'On the Influence of the Sanatorium Treatment of Tuberculosis', British Medical Journal (1910), 1, 1517.
Science quotes on:  |  Account (45)  |  Controversy (16)  |  Handmaid (4)  |  Husband (10)  |  Medicine (322)  |  Personal (49)  |  Proper (27)  |  Respect (57)  |  Service (54)  |  Statistics (125)  |  Treatment (88)

I now think the answer is very simple: it's true. God did create the universe about 13.7 billion years ago, and of necessity has involved Himself with His creation ever since. The purpose of this universe is something that only God knows for sure, but it is increasingly clear to modern science that the universe was exquisitely fine-tuned to enable human life.
In Letter (May 2005), sent to the Hope College 2005 Alumni Banquet, read in lieu of accepting an award in person, because of declining health from cancer.
Science quotes on:  |  Biography (227)  |  Creation (211)  |  Human Life (25)  |  Science And Religion (267)  |  Universe (563)

I think it would be a very rash presumption to think that nowhere else in the cosmos has nature repeated the strange experiment which she has performed on earth—that the whole purpose of creation has been staked on this one planet alone. It is probable that dotted through the cosmos there are other suns which provide the energy for life to attendant planets. It is apparent, however, that planets with just the right conditions of temperature, oxygen, water and atmosphere necessary for life are found rarely.
But uncommon as a habitable planet may be, non-terrestrial life exists, has existed and will continue to exist. In the absence of information, we can only surmise that the chance that it surpasses our own is as good as that it falls below our level.
As quoted by H. Gordon Garbedian in 'Ten Great Riddles That Call For Solution by Scientists', New York Times (5 Oct 1930), XX4. Garbedian gave no citation to a source for Shapley’s words. However, part of this quote is very similar to that of Sir Arthur Eddington: “It would indeed be rash to assume that nowhere else has Nature repeated the strange experiment which she has performed on the earth,” from 'Man’s Place in the Universe', Harper’s Magazine (Oct 1928), 157 573.
Science quotes on:  |  Absence (16)  |  Atmosphere (63)  |  Chance (122)  |  Condition (119)  |  Cosmos (39)  |  Creation (211)  |  Earth (487)  |  Energy (185)  |  Existence (254)  |  Experiment (543)  |  Extraterrestrial Life (18)  |  Habitable (3)  |  Information (102)  |  Life (917)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Necessity (125)  |  Nowhere (19)  |  Oxygen (49)  |  Performing (2)  |  Planet (199)  |  Presumption (11)  |  Rare (31)  |  Rash (3)  |  Repeat (27)  |  Stake (14)  |  Strange (61)  |  Sun (211)  |  Surmise (2)  |  Surpass (12)  |  Temperature (42)  |  Uncommon (7)  |  Water (244)

I work for perfection, for perfection's sake. I don't care what the external reasons are. And it's much more like a ballerina on opening night. You've done what you've got to do. When you go out, the purpose is to turn a perfect turn. You are not thinking about the future of the company, you are not thinking about your future, you're not thinking about the critics, it is you and the perfect turn.
[Describing his task of repairing the Hubble Space Telescope.]
Interview (22 May 1997). On Academy of Achievement website.
Science quotes on:  |  Company (28)  |  Critic (17)  |  Future (229)  |  Hubble Space Telescope (8)  |  Perfection (71)  |  Turn (72)

In order that the facts obtained by observation and experiment may be capable of being used in furtherance of our exact and solid knowledge, they must be apprehended and analysed according to some Conceptions which, applied for this purpose, give distinct and definite results, such as can be steadily taken hold of and reasoned from.
Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences (1840), Vol. 2, 205.
Science quotes on:  |  Analysis (123)  |  Capability (35)  |  Conception (63)  |  Definite (27)  |  Distinct (29)  |  Exact (38)  |  Experiment (543)  |  Fact (609)  |  Furtherance (2)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Observation (418)  |  Reason (330)  |  Result (250)

In Science the paramount appeal is to the Intellect—its purpose being instruction; in Art, the paramount appeal is to the Emotions—its purpose being pleasure.
In The Principles of Success in Literature (1901), 63.
Science quotes on:  |  Appeal (30)  |  Art (205)  |  Emotion (62)  |  Instruction (51)  |  Intellect (157)  |  Paramount (6)  |  Pleasure (98)  |  Science (1699)

In the temple of science are many mansions, and various indeed are they that dwell therein and the motives that have led them thither. Many take to science out of a joyful sense of superior intellectual power; science is their own special sport to which they look for vivid experience and the satisfaction of ambition; many others are to be found in the temple who have offered the products of their brains on this altar for purely utilitarian purposes. Were an angel of the Lord to come and drive all the people belonging to these two categories out of the temple, the assemblage would be seriously depleted, but there would still be some men, of both present and past times, left inside. Our Planck is one of them, and that is why we love him.
Address at Physical Society, Berlin (1918), for Max Planck’s 60th birthday, 'Principles of Research' in Essays in Science (1934, 2004), 1.
Science quotes on:  |  Altar (6)  |  Ambition (25)  |  Assemblage (6)  |  Brain (181)  |  Depletion (3)  |  Intellect (157)  |  Joy (61)  |  Motive (26)  |  Max Planck (62)  |  Superior (30)  |  Temple Of Science (7)  |  Utility (23)

Inanimate objects are classified scientifically into three categories—those that don't work, those that break down, and those that get lost. The goal of all inanimate objects is to resist man and ultimately to defeat him, and the three major classifications are based on the method each object uses to achieve its purpose
'Observer: The Plot Against People', New York Times (18 Jun 1968), 46.
Science quotes on:  |  Achievement (128)  |  Break (33)  |  Classification (79)  |  Defeat (13)  |  Goal (81)  |  Inanimate (14)  |  Lost (28)  |  Man (345)  |  Object (110)  |  Resist (10)  |  Work (457)

Indeed, not all attacks—especially the bitter and ridiculing kind leveled at Darwin—are offered in good faith, but for practical purposes it is good policy to assume that they are.
From Dream to Discovery: On Being a Scientist (1964), 157
Science quotes on:  |  Assumption (49)  |  Attack (29)  |  Bitter (12)  |  Charles Darwin (284)  |  Faith (131)  |  Policy (23)  |  Practical (93)  |  Ridicule (13)

Indeed, we need not look back half a century to times which many now living remember well, and see the wonderful advances in the sciences and arts which have been made within that period. Some of these have rendered the elements themselves subservient to the purposes of man, have harnessed them to the yoke of his labors and effected the great blessings of moderating his own, of accomplishing what was beyond his feeble force, and extending the comforts of life to a much enlarged circle, to those who had before known its necessaries only.
From paper 'Report of the Commissioners Appointed to Fix the Site of the University of Virginia' (Dec 1818), reprinted in Annual Report of the Board of Visitors of the University of Virginia for the Fiscal Year Ending May 31, 1879 (1879), 10. Collected in Commonwealth of Virginia, Annual Reports of Officers, Boards, and Institutions of the Commonwealth of Virginia, for the Year Ending September 30, 1879 (1879).
Science quotes on:  |  Accomplishment (57)  |  Advance (123)  |  Back (55)  |  Blessing (7)  |  Century (95)  |  Circle (28)  |  Comfort (42)  |  Effect (133)  |  Element (129)  |  Enlarge (15)  |  Feeble (21)  |  Force (194)  |  Harness (15)  |  Labor (53)  |  Life (917)  |  Living (44)  |  Look (46)  |  Man (345)  |  Necessary (89)  |  Period (49)  |  Remember (53)  |  Render (17)  |  Science And Art (157)  |  Subservient (3)  |  Time (439)  |  Wonderful (37)

Inexact method of observation, as I believe, is one flaw in clinical pathology to-day. Prematurity of conclusion is another, and in part follows from the first; but in chief part an unusual craving and veneration for hypothesis, which besets the minds of most medical men, is responsible. Except in those sciences which deal with the intangible or with events of long past ages, no treatises are to be found in which hypothesis figures as it does in medical writings. The purity of a science is to be judged by the paucity of its recorded hypotheses. Hypothesis has its right place, it forms a working basis; but it is an acknowledged makeshift, and, at the best, of purpose unaccomplished. Hypothesis is the heart which no man with right purpose wears willingly upon his sleeve. He who vaunts his lady love, ere yet she is won, is apt to display himself as frivolous or his lady a wanton.
The Mechanism and Graphic Registration of the Heart Beat (1920), vii.
Science quotes on:  |  Conclusion (120)  |  Craving (5)  |  Event (97)  |  Flaw (8)  |  Frivolous (3)  |  History (302)  |  Hypothesis (227)  |  Intangible (6)  |  Makeshift (2)  |  Medicine (322)  |  Mind (544)  |  Pathology (11)  |  Paucity (3)  |  Physician (232)  |  Premature (17)  |  Purity (13)  |  Record (56)  |  Science (1699)  |  Treatise (19)  |  Wanton (2)

It is of priceless value to the human race to know that the sun will supply the needs of the earth, as to light and heat, for millions of years; that the stars are not lanterns hung out at night, but are suns like our own; and that numbers of them probably have planets revolving around them, perhaps in many cases with inhabitants adapted to the conditions existing there. In a sentence, the main purpose of the science is to learn the truth about the stellar universe; to increase human knowledge concerning our surroundings, and to widen the limits of intellectual life.
In 'The Nature of the Astronomer’s Work', North American Review (Jun 1908), 187, No. 631, 915.
Science quotes on:  |  Condition (119)  |  Earth (487)  |  Hang (13)  |  Heat (90)  |  Human Race (49)  |  Increase (107)  |  Inhabitant (19)  |  Intellectual (79)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Lantern (5)  |  Learn (160)  |  Life (917)  |  Light (246)  |  Limit (86)  |  Million (89)  |  Need (211)  |  Night (73)  |  Planet (199)  |  Priceless (4)  |  Probability (83)  |  Research (517)  |  Revolve (6)  |  Science (1699)  |  Star (251)  |  Stellar (3)  |  Sun (211)  |  Supply (31)  |  Surrounding (11)  |  Truth (750)  |  Universe (563)  |  Value (180)  |  Widen (3)  |  Year (214)

It is often claimed that knowledge multiplies so rapidly that nobody can follow it. I believe this is incorrect. At least in science it is not true. The main purpose of science is simplicity and as we understand more things, everything is becoming simpler. This, of course, goes contrary to what everyone accepts.
Edward Teller, Wendy Teller, Wilson Talley, Conversations on the Dark Secrets of Physics (1991, 2002), 2.
Science quotes on:  |  Acceptance (41)  |  Becoming (13)  |  Belief (400)  |  Claim (52)  |  Contrary (22)  |  Everyone (20)  |  Everything (120)  |  Following (16)  |  Incorrect (6)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Main (16)  |  Multiplication (14)  |  Nobody (38)  |  Purpose Of Science (4)  |  Rapidity (14)  |  Science (1699)  |  Simpler (5)  |  Simplicity (126)  |  Thing (37)  |  Truth (750)  |  Understanding (317)

It is therefore easy to see why the churches have always fought science and persecuted its devotees. On the other hand, I maintain that the cosmic religious feeling is the strongest and noblest motive for scientific research. Only those who realize the immense efforts and, above all, the devotion without which pioneer work in theoretical science cannot be achieved are able to grasp the strength of the emotion out of which alone such work, remote as it is from the immediate realities of life, can issue. What a deep conviction of the rationality of the universe and what a yearning to understand, were it but a feeble reflection of the mind revealed in this world, Kepler and Newton must have had to enable them to spend years of solitary labor in disentangling the principles of celestial mechanics! Those whose acquaintance with scientific research is derived chiefly from its practical results easily develop a completely false notion of the mentality of the men who, surrounded by a skeptical world, have shown the way to kindred spirits scattered wide through the world and through the centuries. Only one who has devoted his life to similar ends can have a vivid realization of what has inspired these men and given them the strength to remain true to their purpose in spite of countless failures. It is cosmic religious feeling that gives a man such strength. A contemporary has said, not unjustly, that in this materialistic age of ours the serious scientific workers are the only profoundly religious people.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Achieve (36)  |  Acquaintance (13)  |  Age (137)  |  Alone (61)  |  Celestial Mechanics (2)  |  Century (95)  |  Chiefly (7)  |  Church (30)  |  Completely (19)  |  Contemporary (22)  |  Conviction (57)  |  Cosmic (34)  |  Countless (13)  |  Deep (81)  |  Derive (18)  |  Develop (55)  |  Devote (23)  |  Devotee (3)  |  Devotion (24)  |  Disentangle (3)  |  Easily (16)  |  Easy (56)  |  Effort (94)  |  Emotion (62)  |  Enable (25)  |  End (141)  |  Failure (118)  |  False (79)  |  Feeble (21)  |  Feel (93)  |  Fight (37)  |  Give (117)  |  Grasp (43)  |  Immediate (27)  |  Immense (28)  |  Inspire (35)  |  Issue (37)  |  Kepler (2)  |  Kindred (3)  |  Labor (53)  |  Life (917)  |  Maintain (22)  |  Materialistic (2)  |  Mentality (5)  |  Mind (544)  |  Motive (26)  |  Newton (9)  |  Nobl (4)  |  Notion (32)  |  On The Other Hand (16)  |  Ours (4)  |  People (269)  |  Persecute (4)  |  Pioneer (23)  |  Practical (93)  |  Principle (228)  |  Profoundly (11)  |  Rationality (11)  |  Reality (140)  |  Realization (33)  |  Realize (43)  |  Reflection (50)  |  Religious (44)  |  Remain (77)  |  Remote (27)  |  Research (517)  |  Result (250)  |  Reveal (32)  |  Say (126)  |  Scatter (5)  |  Science (1699)  |  Scientific (169)  |  See (197)  |  Serious (37)  |  Show (55)  |  Similar (22)  |  Skeptical (6)  |  Solitary (13)  |  Spend (24)  |  Spirit (113)  |  Spite (10)  |  Strength (63)  |  Strong (47)  |  Surround (17)  |  Theoretical Science (2)  |  True (120)  |  Understand (189)  |  Universe (563)  |  Vivid (16)  |  Wide (14)  |  Work (457)  |  Worker (23)  |  World (667)  |  Year (214)  |  Yearn (8)

It is very desirable to have a word to express the Availability for work of the heat in a given magazine; a term for that possession, the waste of which is called Dissipation. Unfortunately the excellent word Entropy, which Clausius has introduced in this connexion, is applied by him to the negative of the idea we most naturally wish to express. It would only confuse the student if we were to endeavour to invent another term for our purpose. But the necessity for some such term will be obvious from the beautiful examples which follow. And we take the liberty of using the term Entropy in this altered sense ... The entropy of the universe tends continually to zero.
Sketch of Thermodynamics (1868), 100-2.
Science quotes on:  |  Alteration (22)  |  Application (117)  |  Availability (10)  |  Beautiful (81)  |  Rudolf Clausius (8)  |  Confusion (34)  |  Connection (86)  |  Continuity (23)  |  Desire (101)  |  Dissipation (2)  |  Endeavour (24)  |  Entropy (40)  |  Example (57)  |  Excellence (28)  |  Expression (82)  |  Follow (66)  |  Heat (90)  |  Idea (440)  |  Introduce (27)  |  Invention (283)  |  Liberty (17)  |  Magazine (19)  |  Necessity (125)  |  Negative (24)  |  Nomenclature (129)  |  Obvious (54)  |  Possession (37)  |  Sense (240)  |  Student (131)  |  Term (87)  |  Unfortunately (14)  |  Universe (563)  |  Waste (57)  |  Word (221)  |  Work (457)  |  Zero (15)

It is we, we alone, who have dreamed up the causes, the one-thing-after-another, the one-thing-reciprocating-another, the relativity, the constraint, the numbers, the laws, the freedom, the ‘reason why,’ the purpose. ... We are creating myths.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Alone (61)  |  Cause (231)  |  Constraint (8)  |  Create (98)  |  Dreamed Up (2)  |  Freedom (76)  |  Law (418)  |  Myth (43)  |  Number (179)  |  Reason (330)  |  Relativity (50)

It often seems to me as if History was like a child’s box of letters, with which we can spell any word we please. We have only to pick out such letters as we want, arrange them as we like, and say nothing about those which do not suit our purpose.
Lecture delivered to the Royal Institution (5 Feb 1864), 'On the Science of History'. Collected in Notices of the Proceedings at the Meetings of the Members of the Royal Institution of Great Britain with Abstracts of the Discourses (1866), Vol. 4, 180.
Science quotes on:  |  Arrange (15)  |  Box (8)  |  Child (189)  |  History (302)  |  Letter (36)  |  Nothing (267)  |  Pick (14)  |  Please (10)  |  Spell (7)  |  Want (120)  |  Word (221)

Know thyself! This is the source of all wisdom, said the great thinkers of the past, and the sentence was written in golden letters on the temple of the gods. To know himself, Linnæus declared to be the essential indisputable distinction of man above all other creatures. I know, indeed, in study nothing more worthy of free and thoughtful man than the study of himself. For if we look for the purpose of our existence, we cannot possibly find it outside ourselves. We are here for our own sake.
As translated and quoted in Ernst Haeckel and E. Ray Lankester (trans.) as epigraph for Chap. 9, The History of Creation (1886), Vol. 1, 244.
Science quotes on:  |  Creature (127)  |  Declare (18)  |  Distinction (37)  |  Essential (87)  |  Existence (254)  |  Find (248)  |  Free (59)  |  God (454)  |  Golden (11)  |  Great (300)  |  Indisputable (6)  |  Know (321)  |  Letter (36)  |  Linnaeus (2)  |  Ourselves (34)  |  Outside (37)  |  Past (109)  |  Sake (17)  |  Sentence (20)  |  Source (71)  |  Study (331)  |  Temple (22)  |  Thinker (15)  |  Thoughtful (10)  |  Wisdom (151)  |  Writing (72)

Knowing the plumbing of the universe, intricate and awe-inspiring though that plumbing might be, is a far cry from discovering its purpose.
The Science of God: The Convergence of Scientific and Biblical Wisdom (1997, 2009), 18.
Science quotes on:  |  Cry (13)  |  Discovery (591)  |  Far (77)  |  Intricacy (6)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Plumbing (3)  |  Universe (563)

Man has risen, not fallen. He can choose to develop his capacities as the highest animal and to try to rise still farther, or he can choose otherwise. The choice is his responsibility, and his alone. There is no automatism that will carry him upward without choice or effort and there is no trend solely in the right direction. Evolution has no purpose; man must supply this for himself. The means to gaining right ends involve both organic evolution and human evolution, but human choice as to what are the right ends must be based on human evolution.
The Meaning of Evolution: A Study of the History of Life and of its Significance for Man (1949), 310.
Science quotes on:  |  Animal (309)  |  Basis (60)  |  Capacity (42)  |  Choice (64)  |  Development (228)  |  Direction (56)  |  Effort (94)  |  End (141)  |  Evolution (482)  |  Fall (89)  |  Highest (16)  |  Human (445)  |  Man (345)  |  Organic (48)  |  Responsibility (47)  |  Right (144)  |  Rise (51)  |  Supply (31)  |  Trend (16)

Mathematics is the science of skillful operations with concepts and rules invented just for this purpose.
In 'The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences,' Communications in Pure and Applied Mathematics (Feb 1960), 13, No. 1 (February 1960). Collected in Eugene Paul Wigner, A.S. Wightman (ed.), Jagdish Mehra (ed.), The Collected Works of Eugene Paul Wigner (1955), Vol. 6, 536.
Science quotes on:  |  Concept (102)  |  Invented (4)  |  Mathematics (587)  |  Operation (96)  |  Rule (135)  |  Skillful (3)

Metals are the great agents by which we can examine the recesses of nature; and their uses are so multiplied, that they have become of the greatest importance in every occupation of life. They are the instruments of all our improvements, of civilization itself, and are even subservient to the progress of the human mind towards perfection. They differ so much from each other, that nature seems to have had in view all the necessities of man, in order that she might suit every possible purpose his ingenuity can invent or his wants require.
From 'Artist and Mechanic', The artist & Tradesman’s Guide: embracing some leading facts & principles of science, and a variety of matter adapted to the wants of the artist, mechanic, manufacturer, and mercantile community (1827), 16.
Science quotes on:  |  Agent (27)  |  Civilization (155)  |  Difference (208)  |  Examine (24)  |  Human Mind (51)  |  Importance (183)  |  Improvement (67)  |  Ingenuity (27)  |  Instrument (73)  |  Invent (30)  |  Life (917)  |  Metal (38)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Necessity (125)  |  Occupation (37)  |  Perfection (71)  |  Progress (317)  |  Recess (5)  |  Require (33)  |  Use (70)  |  Want (120)

Mr. [Granville T.] Woods says that he has been frequently refused work because of the previous condition of his race, but he has had great determination and will and never despaired because of disappointments. He always carried his point by persistent efforts. He says the day is past when colored boys will be refused work only because of race prejudice. There are other causes. First, the boy has not the nerve to apply for work after being refused at two or three places. Second, the boy should have some knowledge of mechanics. The latter could be gained at technical schools, which should be founded for the purpose. And these schools must sooner or later be established, and thereby, we should be enabled to put into the hands of our boys and girls the actual means of livelihood.
From William J. Simmons, Men of Mark: Eminent, Progressive and Rising (1887), 108.
Science quotes on:  |  African American (6)  |  Application (117)  |  Cause (231)  |  Despair (25)  |  Determination (53)  |  Disappointment (11)  |  Effort (94)  |  Establishment (29)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Livelihood (8)  |  Mechanics (44)  |  Nerve (66)  |  Persistence (16)  |  Prejudice (58)  |  Race (76)  |  Refusal (20)  |  Work (457)

My own emotional feeling is that life has a purpose—ultimately, I’d guess that purpose it has is the purpose that we’ve given it and not a purpose that come out of any cosmic design.
Alan Guth
As quoted in Michio Kaku, Parallel Worlds: A Journey Through Creation, Higher Dimensions, and the Future of the Cosmos (2006), 359.
Science quotes on:  |  Cosmic (34)  |  Design (92)  |  Emotion (62)  |  Feeling (79)  |  Give (117)  |  Guess (36)  |  Life (917)  |  Ultimate (61)

My story [Lord of the Rings] is not an allegory of Atomic power, but of Power (exerted for Domination). Nuclear physics can be used for that purpose. But they need not be. They need not be used at all. If there is any contemporary reference in my story at all it is to what seems to me the most widespread assumption of our time: that if a thing can be done, it must be done. This seems to me wholly false.
From Letter draft to Joanna de Bortadano (Apr 1956). In Humphrey Carpenter (ed.) assisted by Christopher Tolkien, The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien (1995, 2014), 246, Letter No. 186.
Science quotes on:  |  Allegory (6)  |  Assumption (49)  |  Atomic Power (7)  |  Contemporary (22)  |  Domination (12)  |  False (79)  |  Lord Of The Rings (6)  |  Need (211)  |  Nuclear Physics (4)  |  Power (273)  |  Reference (17)  |  Story (58)  |  Widespread (9)

Nature has no reverence towards life. Nature treats life as though it were the most valueless thing in the world. … Nature does not act by purposes.
In Tarner Lecture, at Trinity College, Cambridge (Oct 1956), 'The Arithmetical Paradox: The Oneness of Mind', printed in Mind and Matter (1958), 66. Also collected in What is Life?: With Mind and Matter and Autobiographical Sketches (1992, 2012), 138.
Science quotes on:  |  Act (80)  |  Life (917)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Reverence (24)  |  Treat (17)  |  Valueless (2)  |  World (667)

Nearly all the great inventions which distinguish the present century are the results, immediately or remotely, of the application of scientific principles to practical purposes, and in most cases these applications have been suggested by the student of nature, whose primary object was the discovery of abstract truth.
In 'Report of the Secretary', Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution for 1859 (1860), 15.
Science quotes on:  |  Abstract (43)  |  Application (117)  |  Discovery (591)  |  Invention (283)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Practical (93)  |  Principle (228)  |  Truth (750)

Nothing can so quickly blur and distort the facts as desire—the wish to use the facts for some purpose of your own—and nothing can so surely destroy the truth. As soon as the witness wants to prove something he is no longer impartial and his evidence is no longer to be trusted.
From 'Getting at the Truth', The Saturday Review (19 Sep 1953), 36, No. 38, 12. Excerpted in Meta Riley Emberger and Marian Ross Hall, Scientific Writing (1955), 400.
Science quotes on:  |  Blur (4)  |  Desire (101)  |  Destroy (63)  |  Distort (6)  |  Evidence (157)  |  Fact (609)  |  Impartial (2)  |  Prove (60)  |  Trust (40)  |  Truth (750)  |  Witness (18)

One of the main purposes of scientific inference is to justify beliefs which we entertain already; but as a rule they are justified with a difference. Our pre-scientific general beliefs are hardly ever without exceptions; in science, a law with exceptions can only be tolerated as a makeshift. Scientific laws, when we have reason to think them accurate, are different in form from the common-sense rules which have exceptions: they are always, at least in physics, either differential equations, or statistical averages. It might be thought that a statistical average is not very different from a rule with exceptions, but this would be a mistake. Statistics, ideally, are accurate laws about large groups; they differ from other laws only in being about groups, not about individuals. Statistical laws are inferred by induction from particular statistics, just as other laws are inferred from particular single occurrences.
The Analysis of Matter (1927), 191.
Science quotes on:  |  Accuracy (52)  |  Average (31)  |  Belief (400)  |  Common Sense (69)  |  Difference (208)  |  Differential Equation (9)  |  Entertainment (10)  |  Exception (33)  |  Group (52)  |  Individual (177)  |  Inference (26)  |  Justification (33)  |  Large (82)  |  Law (418)  |  Makeshift (2)  |  Mistake (107)  |  Occurrence (30)  |  Physics (301)  |  Reason (330)  |  Rule (135)  |  Science (1699)  |  Statistics (125)  |  Toleration (5)

One should not understand this compulsion to construct concepts, species, forms, purposes, laws ('a world of identical cases') as if they enabled us to fix the real world; but as a compulsion to arrange a world for ourselves in which our existence is made possible:—we thereby create a world which is calculable, simplified, comprehensible, etc., for us.
The Will to Power (Notes written 1883-1888), book 3, no. 521. Trans. W. Kaufmann and R. J. Hollingdale and ed. W. Kaufmann (1968), 282.
Science quotes on:  |  Calculation (67)  |  Comprehension (51)  |  Compulsion (11)  |  Concept (102)  |  Construct (25)  |  Enable (25)  |  Existence (254)  |  Form (210)  |  Identical (17)  |  Law (418)  |  Real (95)  |  Simplicity (126)  |  Species (181)  |  Understanding (317)

Our contemporary culture, primed by population growth and driven by technology, has created problems of environmental degradation that directly affect all of our senses: noise, odors and toxins which bring physical pain and suffering, and ugliness, barrenness, and homogeneity of experience which bring emotional and psychological suffering and emptiness. In short, we are jeopardizing our human qualities by pursuing technology as an end rather than a means. Too often we have failed to ask two necessary questions: First, what human purpose will a given technology or development serve? Second, what human and environmental effects will it have?
Report of the Subcommittee on Air and Water Pollution (7 Aug 1969). 'Environmental Quality: Summary and Discussion of Major Provisions', U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Legal Compilation, (Jan 1973), Water, Vol. 3, 1365. EPA website.
Science quotes on:  |  Barrenness (2)  |  Contemporary (22)  |  Culture (85)  |  Degradation (12)  |  Development (228)  |  Drive (38)  |  Effect (133)  |  Emotion (62)  |  Environment (138)  |  Experience (268)  |  Noise (24)  |  Odor (7)  |  Pain (82)  |  Population Growth (4)  |  Problem (362)  |  Question (315)  |  Sense (240)  |  Suffering (26)  |  Technology (199)  |  Toxin (6)  |  Ugliness (2)

Proposals for forming a Public Institution for diffusing the knowledge of Mechanical Inventions, and for teaching, by Philosophical Lectures and Experiments, the application of Science to the common purposes of life.
Title of the pamphlet (Apr 1799) in which he proposed what is now the Royal Institution. As named in a notice under 'A Correct List of New Publications', The Monthly Magazine: Part 1 for 1799 from January to June, inclusive (Apr 1799), 7, Part 1, 221.
Science quotes on:  |  Application (117)  |  Experiment (543)  |  Invention (283)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Lecture (54)  |  Life (917)  |  Natural Philosophy (21)  |  Proposal (10)  |  Royal Institution (2)  |  Science (1699)  |  Teaching (99)

Purpose directs energy, and purpose makes energy.
From Sermon, collected in The Pattern in the Mount and Other Sermons (1885), 6.
Science quotes on:  |  Direct (44)  |  Energy (185)  |  Make (23)

Recurrences of like cases in which A is always connected with B, that is, like results under like circumstances, that is again, the essence of the connection of cause and effect, exist but in the abstraction which we perform for the purpose of mentally reproducing the facts. Let a fact become familiar, and we no longer require this putting into relief of its connecting marks, our attention is no longer attracted to the new and surprising, and we cease to speak of cause and effect.
In The Science of Mechanics (1893), 483.
Science quotes on:  |  Abstraction (29)  |  Attention (76)  |  Case (64)  |  Cause And Effect (11)  |  Cease (23)  |  Circumstance (48)  |  Connection (86)  |  Essence (42)  |  Exist (89)  |  Fact (609)  |  Familiar (22)  |  Mental (57)  |  New (340)  |  Perform (27)  |  Recurrence (3)  |  Reproduce (5)  |  Result (250)  |  Surprising (4)

Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose.
Zora Neale Hurston, Robert Hemenway, Dust Tracks on a Road: an Autobiography (1984), 174.
Science quotes on:  |  Curiosity (89)  |  Poke (3)  |  Research (517)

Researchers, with science as their authority, will be able to cut [animals] up, alive, into small pieces, drop them from a great height to see if they are shattered by the fall, or deprive them of sleep for sixteen days and nights continuously for the purposes of an iniquitous monograph... Animal trust, undeserved faith, when at last will you turn away from us? Shall we never tire of deceiving, betraying, tormenting animals before they cease to trust us?
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Alive (38)  |  Animal (309)  |  Authority (50)  |  Betray (7)  |  Cease (23)  |  Continuously (7)  |  Cut (36)  |  Deceive (8)  |  Deprive (9)  |  Drop (27)  |  Faith (131)  |  Fall (89)  |  Great (300)  |  Height (24)  |  Monograph (3)  |  Night (73)  |  Piece (32)  |  Researcher (17)  |  Science (1699)  |  See (197)  |  Shatter (5)  |  Sleep (42)  |  Small (97)  |  Tire (5)  |  Torment (13)  |  Trust (40)  |  Turn (72)  |  Undeserved (2)

Science and art, or by the same token, poetry and prose differ from one another like a journey and an excursion. The purpose of the journey is its goal, the purpose of an excursion is the process.
Notebooks and Diaries (1838). In The Columbia World of Quotations (1996).
Science quotes on:  |  Excursion (5)  |  Goal (81)  |  Journey (19)  |  Poetry (96)  |  Process (201)  |  Prose (6)  |  Science And Art (157)

Science can be the basis of an objective criticism of political power because it claims no power itself. Politics can afford the independence of science because science does not attempt to dictate its purposes.
In The Scientific Estate (1965), 191.
Science quotes on:  |  Afford (11)  |  Attempt (94)  |  Basis (60)  |  Claim (52)  |  Criticism (52)  |  Dictate (9)  |  Independence (32)  |  Objective (49)  |  Politics (77)  |  Power (273)  |  Science (1699)

Science in England, in America, is jealous of theory, hates the name of love and moral purpose. There's revenge for this humanity. What manner of man does science make? The boy is not attracted. He says, I do not wish to be such a kind of man as my professor is.
In essay. 'Beauty', collected in The Conduct of Life (1860), 250.
Science quotes on:  |  America (74)  |  Attract (15)  |  Boy (33)  |  England (31)  |  Hate (26)  |  Humanity (104)  |  Jealous (3)  |  Kind (99)  |  Love (164)  |  Manner (35)  |  Moral (100)  |  Name (118)  |  Professor (39)  |  Revenge (6)  |  Say (126)  |  Science (1699)  |  Theory (582)  |  Wish (62)

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)  |  Point (72)  |  Process (201)  |  Science (1699)  |  Slowly (10)  |  Sun (211)  |  Thought (374)  |  Wisdom (151)

Science, then, is the attentive consideration of common experience; it is common knowledge extended and refined. Its validity is of the same order as that of ordinary perception; memory, and understanding. Its test is found, like theirs, in actual intuition, which sometimes consists in perception and sometimes in intent. The flight of science is merely longer from perception to perception, and its deduction more accurate of meaning from meaning and purpose from purpose. It generates in the mind, for each vulgar observation, a whole brood of suggestions, hypotheses, and inferences. The sciences bestow, as is right and fitting, infinite pains upon that experience which in their absence would drift by unchallenged or misunderstood. They take note, infer, and prophesy. They compare prophesy with event, and altogether they supply—so intent are they on reality—every imaginable background and extension for the present dream.
The Life of Reason, or the Phases of Human Progress (1954), 393.
Science quotes on:  |  Attention (76)  |  Challenge (37)  |  Common (92)  |  Consideration (65)  |  Dream (92)  |  Event (97)  |  Experience (268)  |  Extension (20)  |  Hypothesis (227)  |  Inference (26)  |  Intent (5)  |  Intuition (39)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Memory (81)  |  Mind (544)  |  Observation (418)  |  Perception (53)  |  Prophesy (7)  |  Reality (140)  |  Refinement (12)  |  Suggestion (24)  |  Understanding (317)  |  Validity (22)

Scientific discovery and scientific knowledge have been achieved only by those who have gone in pursuit of them without any practical purpose whatsoever in view.
The New Science (1959), 93.
Science quotes on:  |  Discovery (591)  |  Knowledge (1128)

That atomic energy though harnessed by American scientists and army men for destructive purposes may be utilised by other scientists for humanitarian purposes is undoubtedly within the realm of possibility. … An incendiary uses fire for his destructive and nefarious purpose, a housewife makes daily use of it in preparing nourishing food for mankind.
In The Words of Gandhi (2001), 87.
Science quotes on:  |  American (34)  |  Army (22)  |  Atomic Bomb (101)  |  Atomic Energy (21)  |  Destruction (80)  |  Fire (117)  |  Food (139)  |  Harness (15)  |  Housewife (2)  |  Mankind (196)  |  Nourishing (2)  |  Possibility (96)  |  Preparing (2)  |  Scientist (447)  |  Use (70)  |  Utilize (6)

The chemist works along his own brilliant line of discovery and exposition; the astronomer has his special field to explore; the geologist has a well-defined sphere to occupy. It is manifest, however, that not one of these men can tell the whole tale, and make a complete story of creation. Another man is wanted. A man who, though not necessarily going into formal science, sees the whole idea, and speaks of it in its unity. This man is the theologian. He is not a chemist, an astronomer, a geologist, a botanist——he is more: he speaks of circles, not of segments; of principles, not of facts; of causes and purposes rather than of effects and appearances. Not that the latter are excluded from his study, but that they are so wisely included in it as to be put in their proper places.
In The People's Bible: Discourses Upon Holy Scripture: Vol. 1. Genesis (1885), 120.
Science quotes on:  |  Appearance (77)  |  Astronomer (50)  |  Botanist (16)  |  Brilliant (14)  |  Cause (231)  |  Chemist (79)  |  Circle (28)  |  Complete (43)  |  Creation (211)  |  Discovery (591)  |  Effect (133)  |  Exclusion (11)  |  Exploration (93)  |  Exposition (5)  |  Fact (609)  |  Field (119)  |  Geologist (42)  |  Idea (440)  |  Inclusion (5)  |  Line (44)  |  Necessary (89)  |  Place (111)  |  Principle (228)  |  Proper (27)  |  Segment (3)  |  Speaking (38)  |  Special (51)  |  Sphere (40)  |  Story (58)  |  Study (331)  |  Tale (12)  |  Telling (23)  |  Theologian (14)  |  Unity (43)  |  Want (120)  |  Well-Defined (2)  |  Whole (122)  |  Wisedom (2)  |  Work (457)

The dodo never had a chance. He seems to have been invented for the sole purpose of becoming extinct and that was all he was good for. … I’m not blaming the Dodo but he was a mess. He had an ugly face with a large hooked beak, a tail in the wrong place, wings too small … and a very prominent stomach.
In 'The Dodo', How to Become Extinct (1941), 163.
Science quotes on:  |  Beak (4)  |  Blame (17)  |  Chance (122)  |  Dodo (5)  |  Extinct (7)  |  Face (69)  |  Hook (4)  |  Invented (4)  |  Mess (10)  |  Place (111)  |  Prominent (5)  |  Small (97)  |  Stomach (18)  |  Tail (13)  |  Ugly (11)  |  Wing (36)  |  Wrong (116)

The experiment serves two purposes, often independent one from the other: it allows the observation of new facts, hitherto either unsuspected, or not yet well defined; and it determines whether a working hypothesis fits the world of observable facts.
In Louis Pasteur, Free Lance of Science (1960), 362.
Science quotes on:  |  Definition (152)  |  Experiment (543)  |  Fact (609)  |  Hypothesis (227)  |  Independent (41)  |  Observable (4)  |  Observation (418)

The Gombe Stream chimpanzees … in their ability to modify a twig or stick to make it suitable for a definite purpose, provide the first examples of free-ranging nonhuman primates actually making very crude tools.
In 'Chimpanzees of the Gombe Stream Reserve', collected in Primate Behavior: Field Studies of Monkeys and Apes (1965), 473.
Science quotes on:  |  Ability (75)  |  Actually (14)  |  Animal Behavior (9)  |  Chimpanzee (11)  |  Crude (14)  |  Example (57)  |  First (174)  |  Gombe (2)  |  Modify (11)  |  Primate (8)  |  Provide (48)  |  Stick (19)  |  Stream (27)  |  Tool (70)  |  Twig (7)

The great purpose of school can be realized better in dark, airless, ugly places … It is to master the physical self, to transcend the beauty of nature. School should develop the power to withdraw from the external world.
As quoted in various 21st century books, each time cited only as from the The Philosophy of Education (1906), with no page number. For example, in John Taylor Gatto, A Different Kind of Teacher: Solving the Crisis of American Schooling (2000), 61. Note: Webmaster is suspicious of the attribution of this quote. The Library of Congress lists no such title by Harris in 1906. The LOC does catalog this title by Harris for 1893, which is a 9-page pamphlet printing the text of a series of five lectures. These lectures do not contain this quote. William Torrey Harris was editor of the International Education Series of books, of which Vol. 1 was the translation by Anna Callender Bracket of The Philosophy of Education by Johann Karl Friedrich Rosenkranz (2nd ed. rev. 1886). The translation was previously published in The Journal of Speculative Philosophy (1872, -73, -74), Vols vi-viii. Webmaster does not find the quote in that book, either. Webmaster has so far been unable to verify this quote, in these words, or even find the quote in any 19th or 20th century publication (which causes more suspicion). If you have access to the primary source for this quote, please contact Webmaster.
Science quotes on:  |  Airless (2)  |  Beauty (171)  |  Dark (49)  |  Development (228)  |  External (45)  |  Master (55)  |  Nature (1029)  |  School (87)  |  Self (39)  |  Transcend (9)  |  Ugly (11)  |  Withdrawal (2)  |  World (667)

The history of science is the history of mankind’s unity, of its sublime purpose, of its gradual redemption.
In Introduction to the History of Science (1927), Vol. 1, 32.
Science quotes on:  |  Gradual (18)  |  History Of Science (53)  |  Mankind (196)  |  Redemption (3)  |  Sublime (18)  |  Unity (43)

The illusion of purpose and design is perhaps the most pervasive illusion about nature that science has to confront on a daily basis. Everywhere we look, it appears that the world was designed so that we could flourish.
In op-ed, 'A Universe Without Purpose', Los Angeles Times (1 Apr 2012).
Science quotes on:  |  Basis (60)  |  Confrontation (6)  |  Daily (19)  |  Design (92)  |  Flourishing (5)  |  Illusion (38)  |  Looking (25)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Pervasive (3)  |  Science (1699)  |  World (667)

The instinct for collecting, which began as in other animals as an adaptive property, could always in man spread beyond reason; it could become a hoarding mania. But in its normal form it provides a means of livelihood at the hunting and collecting stage of human evolution. It is then attached to a variety of rational aptitudes, above all in observing, classifying, and naming plants, animals and minerals, skills diversely displayed by primitive peoples. These skills with an instinctive beginning were the foundation of most of the civilised arts and sciences. Attached to other skills in advanced societies they promote the formation of museums and libraries; detached, they lead to acquisition and classification by eccentric individuals, often without any purpose or value at all.
As quoted in Richard Fifield, 'Cytologist Supreme', New Scientist (16 Apr 1981), 90, No. 1249, 179; citing C.D. Darlington, The Little Universe of Man (1978).
Science quotes on:  |  Adaptation (40)  |  Aptitude (10)  |  Civilization (155)  |  Classification (79)  |  Collection (38)  |  Evolution (482)  |  Human (445)  |  Instinct (50)  |  Library (37)  |  Livelihood (8)  |  Museum (22)  |  Name (118)  |  Observation (418)  |  Science And Art (157)  |  Skill (50)  |  Value (180)

The life and soul of science is its practical application, and just as the great advances in mathematics have been made through the desire of discovering the solution of problems which were of a highly practical kind in mathematical science, so in physical science many of the greatest advances that have been made from the beginning of the world to the present time have been made in the earnest desire to turn the knowledge of the properties of matter to some purpose useful to mankind.
From 'Electrical Units of Measurement', a lecture delivered at the Institution of Civil Engineers, London (3 May 1883), Popular Lectures and Addresses Vol. 1 (1891), 86-87.
Science quotes on:  |  Advance (123)  |  Application (117)  |  Discovery (591)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Life (917)  |  Mankind (196)  |  Mathematics (587)  |  Physical Science (54)  |  Practical (93)  |  Problem (362)  |  Solution (168)  |  Soul (139)

The main purpose of a significance test is to inhibit the natural enthusiasm of the investigator.
Selected Quantitative Techniques (1954), 331-332. Co-author with American physicist turned psychologist and statistician, Robert R. Bush (1920-71). Quoted in Eugene B. Zechmeister and Emil J. Posavac, Data Analysis and Interpretation in the Behavioral Sciences (2003), 390.
Science quotes on:  |  Enthusiasm (28)  |  Investigator (28)  |  Significance (60)  |  Statistics (125)

The man of science dissects the statement, verifies the facts, and demonstrates connection even where he cannot its purpose.
From 'The Great Lawsuit. Man versus Men. Woman versus Women,' in the Boston Dial (Jul 1843), 4, No. 1, 3, which she expanded (padded) to publish as Woman in the Nineteenth Century (1844).
Science quotes on:  |  Connection (86)  |  Demonstration (51)  |  Dissection (26)  |  Fact (609)  |  Man Of Science (27)  |  Statement (56)  |  Verify (9)

The mathematicians have been very much absorbed with finding the general solution of algebraic equations, and several of them have tried to prove the impossibility of it. However, if I am not mistaken, they have not as yet succeeded. I therefore dare hope that the mathematicians will receive this memoir with good will, for its purpose is to fill this gap in the theory of algebraic equations.
Opening of Memoir on Algebraic Equations, Proving the Impossibility of a Solution of the General Equation of the Fifth Degree. The paper was originally published (1824) in French, as a pamphlet, in Oslo. Collected in Œuvres Complètes (1881), Vol. 1, 28. Translation by W.H. Langdon collected in David Eugene Smith, A Source Book in Mathematics (2012), 261. In this work, he showed why—despite two centuries of efforts by mathematicians—solving equations of the fifth degree would remain futile. The insights from this paper led to the modern theory of equations.
Science quotes on:  |  Absorbed (3)  |  Dare (22)  |  Equation (69)  |  Fill (35)  |  Finding (30)  |  Gap (20)  |  General (92)  |  Good (228)  |  Hope (129)  |  Impossibility (50)  |  Mathematician (177)  |  Memoir (5)  |  Mistaken (3)  |  Prove (60)  |  Receive (39)  |  Several (14)  |  Solution (168)  |  Succeeded (2)  |  Theory (582)

The Mathematics, I say, which effectually exercises, not vainly deludes or vexatiously torments studious Minds with obscure Subtilties, perplexed Difficulties, or contentious Disquisitions; which overcomes without Opposition, triumphs without Pomp, compels without Force, and rules absolutely without Loss of Liberty; which does not privately over-reach a weak Faith, but openly assaults an armed Reason, obtains a total Victory, and puts on inevitable Chains; whose Words are so many Oracles, and Works as many Miracles; which blabs out nothing rashly, nor designs anything from the Purpose, but plainly demonstrates and readily performs all Things within its Verge; which obtrudes no false Shadow of Science, but the very Science itself, the Mind firmly adhering to it, as soon as possessed of it, and can never after desert it of its own Accord, or be deprived of it by any Force of others: Lastly the Mathematics, which depends upon Principles clear to the Mind, and agreeable to Experience; which draws certain Conclusions, instructs by profitable Rules, unfolds pleasant Questions; and produces wonderful Effects; which is the fruitful Parent of, I had almost said all, Arts, the unshaken Foundation of Sciences, and the plentiful Fountain of Advantage to human Affairs.
Address to the University of Cambridge upon being elected Lucasian Professor of Mathematics (14 Mar 1664). In Mathematical Lectures (1734), xxviii.
Science quotes on:  |  Advantage (42)  |  Chain (38)  |  Compel (14)  |  Conclusion (120)  |  Delude (2)  |  Difficulty (113)  |  Experience (268)  |  Faith (131)  |  False (79)  |  Foundation (75)  |  Fountain (14)  |  Instruction (51)  |  Liberty (17)  |  Mathematics (587)  |  Mind (544)  |  Miracle (55)  |  Oracle (4)  |  Pomp (2)  |  Principle (228)  |  Question (315)  |  Rashly (2)  |  Reason (330)  |  Rule (135)  |  Science (1699)  |  Science And Art (157)  |  Shadow (35)  |  Torment (13)  |  Victory (24)  |  Word (221)

The news today about ‘Atomic bombs’ is so horrifying one is stunned. The utter folly of these lunatic physicists to consent to do such work for war-purposes: calmly plotting the destruction of the world!
From Letter (No. 102) to Christopher Tolkien (9 Aug 1945). In Humphrey Carpenter (ed.) assisted by Christopher Tolkien, The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien (1995, 2014), 116, Letter No. 102.
Science quotes on:  |  Atomic Bomb (101)  |  Consent (5)  |  Destruction (80)  |  Folly (27)  |  Horrifying (2)  |  Lunatic (4)  |  News (12)  |  Physicist (130)  |  Plot (9)  |  War (144)  |  Work (457)  |  World (667)

The origin of an adaptive structure and the purposes it comes to fulfill are only chance combinations. Purposefulness is a very human conception for usefulness. It is usefulness looked at backwards. Hard as it is to imagine, inconceivably hard it may appear to many, that there is no direct relation between the origin of useful variations and the ends they come to serve, yet the modern zoologist takes his stand as a man of science on this ground. He may admit in secret to his father confessor, the metaphysician, that his poor intellect staggers under such a supposition, but he bravely carries forward his work of investigation along the only lines that he has found fruitful.
'For Darwin', The Popular Science Monthly (1909), 74, 380.
Science quotes on:  |  Adaptation (40)  |  Chance (122)  |  Combination (69)  |  Conception (63)  |  Fruitful (31)  |  Intellect (157)  |  Investigation (123)  |  Metaphysician (4)  |  Origin (77)  |  Relation (96)  |  Structure (191)  |  Supposition (33)  |  Usefulness (70)  |  Variation (50)  |  Zoologist (10)

The pace of science forces the pace of technique. Theoretical physics forces atomic energy on us; the successful production of the fission bomb forces upon us the manufacture of the hydrogen bomb. We do not choose our problems, we do not choose our products; we are pushed, we are forced—by what? By a system which has no purpose and goal transcending it, and which makes man its appendix.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Appendix (4)  |  Atomic Energy (21)  |  Bomb (17)  |  Choose (35)  |  Fission (7)  |  Force (194)  |  Goal (81)  |  Hydrogen Bomb (7)  |  Manufacture (12)  |  Pace (4)  |  Problem (362)  |  Product (72)  |  Production (105)  |  Push (22)  |  Science (1699)  |  Successful (20)  |  System (141)  |  Technique (41)  |  Theoretical Physics (15)  |  Transcend (9)

The ponderous instrument of synthesis, so effective in his [Newton’s] hands, has never since been grasped by one who could use it for such purposes; and we gaze at it with admiring curiosity, as on some gigantic implement of war, which stands idle among the memorials of ancient days, and makes us wonder what manner of man he was who could wield as a weapon what we can hardly lift as a burden.
In History of the Inductive Sciences (1857), Vol. 2, 128.
Science quotes on:  |  Implement (5)  |  Instrument (73)  |  Memorial (3)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (258)  |  Synthesis (38)  |  War (144)  |  Weapon (57)

The pre-Darwinian age had come to be regarded as a Dark Age in which men still believed that the book of Genesis was a standard scientific treatise, and that the only additions to it were Galileo's demonstration of Leonardo da Vinci’s simple remark that the earth is a moon of the sun, Newton’s theory of gravitation, Sir Humphry Davy's invention of the safety-lamp, the discovery of electricity, the application of steam to industrial purposes, and the penny post.
Back to Methuselah: a Metabiological Pentateuch (1921), viii.
Science quotes on:  |  Addition (22)  |  Application (117)  |  Belief (400)  |  Dark Ages (10)  |  Charles Darwin (284)  |  Leonardo da Vinci (34)  |  Sir Humphry Davy (45)  |  Demonstration (51)  |  Discovery (591)  |  Earth (487)  |  Electricity (121)  |  Galileo Galilei (101)  |  Genesis (13)  |  Industry (91)  |  Invention (283)  |  Man (345)  |  Moon (132)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (258)  |  Penny (3)  |  Post (3)  |  Remark (14)  |  Safety Lamp (3)  |  Standard (41)  |  Steam (24)  |  Steam Power (6)  |  Sun (211)  |  Theory Of Gravitation (6)  |  Treatise (19)

The progressive development of man is vitally dependent on invention. It is the most important product of his creative brain. Its ultimate purpose is the complete mastery of mind over the material world, the harnessing of the forces of nature to human nee
http://web.archive.org/web/20070109161311/http://www.knowprose.com/node/12961
Science quotes on:  |  Brain (181)  |  Complete (43)  |  Creative (41)  |  Dependent (14)  |  Development (228)  |  Force (194)  |  Harness (15)  |  Human (445)  |  Important (124)  |  Invention (283)  |  Mastery (20)  |  Material World (4)  |  Mind (544)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Product (72)  |  Progressive (13)  |  Ultimate (61)

The purpose of computing is insight, not numbers. … [But] sometimes … the purpose of computing numbers is not yet in sight.
Motto for the book, Numerical Methods for Scientists and Engineers (1962, 1973), 3. The restatement of the motto (merged above as second sentence) is suggested on p.504, footnote.
Science quotes on:  |  Compute (10)  |  Insight (57)  |  Number (179)  |  Sight (25)

The purpose of models is not to fit the data but to sharpen the questions.
Delivered at the Eleventh R. A. Fisher Memorial Lecture, Royal Society (20 April 1983). In Carl C. Gaither and Alma E. Cavazos-Gaither, Statistically Speaking: a Dictionary of Quotations (1996), 140.
Science quotes on:  |  Data (100)  |  Fit (31)  |  Model (64)  |  Question (315)  |  Sharpen (7)

The purpose of science is to develop, without prejudice or preconception of any kind, a knowledge of the facts, the laws, and the processes of nature. The even more important task of religion, on the other hand, is to develop the consciences, the ideals, and the aspirations of mankind.
'A Joint Statement Upon the Relations of Science and Religion' formulated by Millikan (1923), signed by forty-five leaders of religion, science and human affairs. Reproduced in Bulletin of the American Association of University Professors (May 1923), 9, No. 5, 47. Included in Science and Life (1924), 86. (Note the context in time: the contemporary social climate by 1925 led to the Butler Act banning the teaching of evolution in Tennessee schools and the resulting trial of John Scopes.)
Science quotes on:  |  Aspiration (19)  |  Conscience (36)  |  Development (228)  |  Fact (609)  |  Ideal (52)  |  Importance (183)  |  Kind (99)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Law (418)  |  Mankind (196)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Preconception (10)  |  Prejudice (58)  |  Process (201)  |  Purpose Of Science (4)  |  Religion (210)  |  Science (1699)  |  Science And Religion (267)  |  Task (68)

The purpose of the history of science is to establish the genesis and the development of scientific facts and ideas, taking into account all intellectual exchanges and all influences brought into play by the very progress of civilization. It is indeed a history of civilization considered from its highest point of view. The center of interest is the evolution of science, but general history remains always in the background.
In The Monist (1916), 26, 333; as cited in 'The Teaching of the History of Science', The Scientific Monthly (Sep 1918), 194.
Science quotes on:  |  Background (24)  |  Center (30)  |  Civilization (155)  |  Considered (10)  |  Development (228)  |  Establish (30)  |  Evolution (482)  |  Exchange (11)  |  Fact (609)  |  General (92)  |  Genesis (13)  |  Highest (16)  |  History (302)  |  History Of Science (53)  |  Idea (440)  |  Influence (110)  |  Intellect (157)  |  Interest (170)  |  Point Of View (26)  |  Progress (317)  |  Remains (9)  |  Scientific (169)

The purpose of the present course is the deepening and development of difficulties underlying contemporary theory...
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Contemporary (22)  |  Course (57)  |  Deepen (5)  |  Development (228)  |  Difficulty (113)  |  Present (103)  |  Theory (582)  |  Underlying (14)

The real purpose of scientific method is to make sure Nature hasn’t misled you into thinking you know something you don’t actually know. There’s not a mechanic or scientist or technician alive who hasn’t suffered from that one so much that he’s not instinctively on guard. … If you get careless or go romanticizing scientific information, giving it a flourish here and there, Nature will soon make a complete fool out of you.
In Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An inquiry into Values (1974), 100-101.
Science quotes on:  |  Careless (4)  |  Flourish (10)  |  Fool (70)  |  Information (102)  |  Know (321)  |  Mechanic (13)  |  Mislead (3)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Romanticize (2)  |  Scientific Method (155)  |  Scientist (447)  |  Technician (5)  |  Thinking (222)

The scientific world-picture vouchsafes a very complete understanding of all that happens–it makes it just a little too understandable. It allows you to imagine the total display as that of a mechanical clockwork which, for all that science knows, could go on just the same as it does, without there being consciousness, will, endeavor, pain and delight and responsibility connected with it–though they actually are. And the reason for this disconcerting situation is just this: that for the purpose of constructing the picture of the external world, we have used the greatly simplifying device of cutting our own personality out, removing it; hence it is gone, it has evaporated, it is ostensibly not needed.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Actually (14)  |  Allow (24)  |  Clockwork (4)  |  Complete (43)  |  Connect (15)  |  Consciousness (71)  |  Construct (25)  |  Cut (36)  |  Delight (51)  |  Device (24)  |  Disconcerting (2)  |  Display (22)  |  Endeavor (33)  |  Evaporate (3)  |  External (45)  |  Greatly (7)  |  Happen (63)  |  Imagine (40)  |  Know (321)  |  Little (126)  |  Mechanical (31)  |  Need (211)  |  Pain (82)  |  Personality (40)  |  Picture (55)  |  Reason (330)  |  Remove (18)  |  Responsibility (47)  |  Same (92)  |  Science (1699)  |  Scientific (169)  |  Simplify (6)  |  Situation (41)  |  Total (29)  |  Understand (189)  |  Understandable (4)  |  World (667)

The story of scientific discovery has its own epic unity—a unity of purpose and endeavour—the single torch passing from hand to hand through the centuries; and the great moments of science when, after long labour, the pioneers saw their accumulated facts falling into a significant order—sometimes in the form of a law that revolutionised the whole world of thought—have an intense human interest, and belong essentially to the creative imagination of poetry.
In Prefactory Note, Watchers of the Sky (1922), v.
Science quotes on:  |  Accumulated (2)  |  Belonging (12)  |  Century (95)  |  Creative (41)  |  Discovery (591)  |  Endeavor (33)  |  Epic (5)  |  Essential (87)  |  Fact (609)  |  Falling (6)  |  Hand (103)  |  Human (445)  |  Imagination (209)  |  Intense (11)  |  Interest (170)  |  Labour (36)  |  Law (418)  |  Order (167)  |  Passing (5)  |  Pioneer (23)  |  Poetry (96)  |  Significant (26)  |  Story (58)  |  Thought (374)  |  Torch (7)  |  Unity (43)  |  World (667)

The traditional boundaries between various fields of science are rapidly disappearing and what is more important science does not know any national borders. The scientists of the world are forming an invisible network with a very free flow of scientific information - a freedom accepted by the countries of the world irrespective of political systems or religions. ... Great care must be taken that the scientific network is utilized only for scientific purposes - if it gets involved in political questions it loses its special status and utility as a nonpolitical force for development.
Banquet speech accepting Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (10 Dec 1982). In Wilhelm Odelberg (editor) Les Prix Nobel. The Nobel Prizes 1982 (1983)
Science quotes on:  |  Border (5)  |  Boundary (27)  |  Care (73)  |  Country (121)  |  Development (228)  |  Disappear (22)  |  Field (119)  |  Flow (31)  |  Information (102)  |  Invisible (30)  |  Nation (111)  |  Network (10)  |  Politics (77)  |  Scientist (447)  |  Status (18)  |  World (667)

The truth is that other systems of geometry are possible, yet after all, these other systems are not spaces but other methods of space measurements. There is one space only, though we may conceive of many different manifolds, which are contrivances or ideal constructions invented for the purpose of determining space.
In Science (1903), 18, 106. In Robert Édouard Moritz, Memorabilia Mathematica (1914), 352.
Science quotes on:  |  Construction (69)  |  Contrivance (9)  |  Determine (45)  |  Different (110)  |  Geometry (99)  |  Ideal (52)  |  Invention (283)  |  Manifold (7)  |  Measurement (148)  |  Possibility (96)  |  Space (154)  |  System (141)  |  Truth (750)

The university imparts information, but it imparts it imaginatively. At least, this is the function which it should perform for society. A university which fails in this respect has no reason for existence. This atmosphere of excitement, arising from imaginative consideration, transforms knowledge. A fact is no longer a bare fact: it is invested with all its possibilities. It is no longer a bur. den on the memory: it is energising as the poet of our dreams, and as the architect of our purposes.
In The Aims of Education and Other Essays (1929), 93.
Science quotes on:  |  Architect (15)  |  Dream (92)  |  Education (280)  |  Excitement (33)  |  Fact (609)  |  Function (90)  |  Imagination (209)  |  Information (102)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Memory (81)  |  Poet (59)  |  Society (188)  |  Transformation (47)  |  University (51)

The use of thesis-writing is to train the mind, or to prove that the mind has been trained; the former purpose is, I trust, promoted, the evidences of the latter are scanty and occasional.
From Preface to First Edition to Notes on the Composition of Scientific Papers (1904), v.
Science quotes on:  |  Evidence (157)  |  Mind (544)  |  Occasional (10)  |  Promotion (6)  |  Proof (192)  |  Scanty (3)  |  Thesis (10)  |  Training (39)  |  Writing (72)

The way of pure research is opposed to all the copy-book maxims concerning the virtues of industry and a fixed purpose, and the evils of guessing, but it is damned useful when it comes off. It is the diametrical opposite of Edison’s reputed method of trying every conceivable expedient until he hit the right one. It requires, not diligence, but experience, information, and a good nose for the essence of a problem.
Letter to Paul de Kruif (3 Aug 1933), as quoted in Nathan Reingold, Science in America: A Documentary History 1900-1939 (1981), 409.
Science quotes on:  |  Diligence (14)  |  Thomas Edison (74)  |  Evil (67)  |  Expedience (2)  |  Experience (268)  |  Guess (36)  |  Industry (91)  |  Information (102)  |  Maxim (13)  |  Method (154)  |  Nose (9)  |  Opposed (2)  |  Opposite (39)  |  Problem (362)  |  Pure (62)  |  Requirement (45)  |  Research (517)  |  Right (144)  |  Trying (18)  |  Usefulness (70)  |  Virtue (55)

There are those who say that the human kidney was created to keep the blood pure, or more precisely, to keep our internal environment in an ideal balanced state. This I must deny. I grant that the human kidney is a marvelous organ, but I cannot grant that it was purposefully designed to excrete urine or to regulate the composition of the blood or to subserve the physiological welfare of Homo sapiens in any sense. Rather I contend that the human kidney manufactures the kind of urine that it does, and it maintains the blood in the composition which that fluid has, because this kidney has a certain functional architecture; and it owes that architecture not to design or foresight or to any plan, but to the fact that the earth is an unstable sphere with a fragile crust, to the geologic revolutions that for six hundred million years have raised and lowered continents and seas, to the predacious enemies, and heat and cold, and storms and droughts; to the unending succession of vicissitudes that have driven the mutant vertebrates from sea into fresh water, into desiccated swamps, out upon the dry land, from one habitation to another, perpetually in search of the free and independent life, perpetually failing, for one reason or another, to find it.
From Fish to Philosopher (1953), 210-1.
Science quotes on:  |  Architecture (35)  |  Balance (43)  |  Blood (95)  |  Cold (38)  |  Composition (52)  |  Contention (7)  |  Continent (39)  |  Creation (211)  |  Crust (17)  |  Denial (13)  |  Design (92)  |  Drought (9)  |  Dry (12)  |  Earth (487)  |  Enemy (52)  |  Environment (138)  |  Excretion (4)  |  Fact (609)  |  Failure (118)  |  Fluid (18)  |  Foresight (4)  |  Free (59)  |  Fresh (21)  |  Function (90)  |  Geology (187)  |  Grant (21)  |  Habitation (3)  |  Heat (90)  |  Homo Sapiens (19)  |  Human (445)  |  Ideal (52)  |  Independent (41)  |  Internal (18)  |  Keep (47)  |  Kidney (13)  |  Land (83)  |  Life (917)  |  Lowering (4)  |  Maintenance (13)  |  Manufacturing (21)  |  Marvel (24)  |  Organ (60)  |  Perpetual (10)  |  Physiology (66)  |  Plan (69)  |  Predator (5)  |  Purity (13)  |  Raise (20)  |  Reason (330)  |  Regulation (18)  |  Revolution (56)  |  French Saying (61)  |  Sea (143)  |  Search (85)  |  Sense (240)  |  Serve (34)  |  Sphere (40)  |  State (96)  |  Storm (19)  |  Succession (39)  |  Swamp (5)  |  Unstable (8)  |  Vertebrate (13)  |  Vicissitude (4)  |  Water (244)  |  Welfare (16)

There are, I believe, very few maxims in philosophy that have laid firmer hold upon the mind, than that air, meaning atmospherical air (free from various foreign matters, which were always supposed to be dissolved, and intermixed with it) is a simple elementary substance, indestructible, and unalterable, at least as much so as water is supposed to be. In the course of my enquiries, I was, however, soon satisfied that atmospherical air is not an unalterable thing; for that the phlogiston with which it becomes loaded from bodies burning in it, and animals breathing it, and various other chemical processes, so far alters and depraves it, as to render it altogether unfit for inflammation, respiration, and other purposes to which it is subservient; and I had discovered that agitation in water, the process of vegetation, and probably other natural processes, by taking out the superfluous phlogiston, restore it to its original purity.
'On Dephlogisticated Air, and the Constitution of the Atmosphere', in The Discovery of Oxygen, Part I, Experiments by Joseph Priestley 1775 (Alembic Club Reprint, 1894), 6.
Science quotes on:  |  Agitation (6)  |  Air (151)  |  Alteration (22)  |  Atmosphere (63)  |  Depravity (3)  |  Discovery (591)  |  Dissolve (9)  |  Enquiry (75)  |  Inflammation (5)  |  Intermix (2)  |  Maxim (13)  |  Philosophy (213)  |  Phlogiston (9)  |  Process (201)  |  Purity (13)  |  Respiration (12)  |  Restoration (4)  |  Subservience (3)  |  Unfit (9)  |  Vegetation (16)

There cannot be design without a designer; contrivance without a contriver; order without choice; arrangement, without any thing capable of arranging; subserviency and relation to a purpose; means suitable to an end, and executing their office in accomplishing that end, without the end ever having been contemplated, or the means accommodated to it. Arrangement, disposition of parts, subserviency of means to an end, relation of instruments to use, imply the preference of intelligence and mind.
Natural Theology: or, Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of The Deity, Collected from the Appearances of Nature (1802), 12.
Science quotes on:  |  Accomplishment (57)  |  Arrangement (45)  |  Choice (64)  |  Contrivance (9)  |  Contriver (2)  |  Design (92)  |  Designer (6)  |  Disposition (14)  |  End (141)  |  Execution (9)  |  Implication (14)  |  Instrument (73)  |  Intelligence (138)  |  Means (109)  |  Mind (544)  |  Office (14)  |  Order (167)  |  Part (146)  |  Preference (18)  |  Relation (96)  |  Subservience (3)  |  Suitability (11)

There is, it appears, a conspiracy of scientists afoot. Their purpose is to break down religion, propagate immorality, and so reduce mankind to the level of brutes. They are the sworn and sinister agents of Beelzebub, who yearns to conquer the world, and has his eye especially upon Tennessee.
[Report on the Scopes Monkey Trial.]
Baltimore Evening Sun (11 Jul 1925). In H.L. Mencken, S. T. Joshi (Ed.), H.L. Mencken on Religion (2002), 178.
Science quotes on:  |  Agent (27)  |  Beelzebub (2)  |  Break (33)  |  Brute (12)  |  Conquer (12)  |  Conspiracy (4)  |  Eye (159)  |  Immorality (4)  |  Level (51)  |  Mankind (196)  |  Propagation (9)  |  Reduction (35)  |  Religion (210)  |  Scientist (447)  |  Scopes Monkey Trial (6)  |  Sinister (8)  |  Swear (3)  |  Tennessee (3)  |  World (667)  |  Yearn (8)

This is the goal: To make available for life every place where life is possible. To make inhabitable all worlds as yet uninhabitable, and all life purposeful.
In G.P.H. Freville (trans.), Man Into Space: New Projects for Rocket and Space Travel (1957), 167. Quoted, for example, in Charles H. Holbrow, 'Suburbs in Space', The Rotarian (Jun 1978), 19.
Science quotes on:  |  Available (18)  |  Goal (81)  |  Life (917)  |  Possible (100)  |  World (667)

Those who know physicists and mountaineers know the traits they have in common: a “dream-and-drive” spirit, a bulldog tenacity of purpose, and an openness to try any route to the summit.
In obituary 'Albert Einstein', National Academy of Sciences, Biographical Memoirs, Vol. 51, (1980), 98-99.
Science quotes on:  |  Common (92)  |  Dream (92)  |  Drive (38)  |  Know (321)  |  Mountaineer (2)  |  Openness (5)  |  Physicist (130)  |  Route (11)  |  Spirit (113)  |  Summit (7)  |  Tenacity (4)  |  Trait (19)  |  Try (103)

Though human ingenuity may make various inventions which, by the help of various machines answering the same end, it will never devise any inventions more beautiful, nor more simple, nor more to the purpose than Nature does; because in her inventions nothing is wanting, and nothing is superfluous, and she needs no counterpoise when she makes limbs proper for motion in the bodies of animals.
W. An. IV. 184a (7). Translated by Jean Paul Richter, in 'Physiology', The Literary Works of Leonardo da Vinci: Compiled and Edited from the Original Manuscripts (1883), Vol. 2, 126, selection 837.
Science quotes on:  |  Animal (309)  |  Beauty (171)  |  Body (193)  |  Devising (7)  |  Help (68)  |  Human (445)  |  Ingenuity (27)  |  Invention (283)  |  Limb (5)  |  Machine (133)  |  Making (26)  |  Motion (127)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Need (211)  |  Nothing (267)  |  Proper (27)  |  Simple (111)  |  Superfluous (8)  |  Want (120)

To the north [of Armenia] lies Zorzania [Georgia], near the confines of which there is a fountain of oil which discharges so great a quantity as to furnish loading for many camels. The use made of it is not for the purpose of food, but as an unguent for the cure of cutaneous distempers in men and cattle, as well as other complaints, and it is also good for burning. In the surrounding country no other [oil] is used in their lamps, and people come from distant parts to procure it.
[An early Western report of petroleum seepage. He visited the city of Baku, Azerbaijan in 1264.]
In The Travels of Marco Polo (c.1300, trans. reprint 2007), 21-22. Eastern records of petroleum use date back many centuries earlier.
Science quotes on:  |  Burning (17)  |  Camel (9)  |  Cattle (13)  |  Discharge (7)  |  Food (139)  |  Fountain (14)  |  Fuel (27)  |  Georgia (2)  |  Lamp (12)  |  Oil (37)  |  Petroleum (7)  |  Trade (24)

To understand God's thoughts, one must study statistics, for these are the measure of His purpose.
Nightingale held this belief, here expressed in the words written by Karl Pearson in The Life, Letters and Labours of Francis Galton (1924), Vol 2, 415.
Science quotes on:  |  God (454)  |  Measurement (148)  |  Statistics (125)  |  Study (331)  |  Thought (374)  |  Understanding (317)

Unfortunately, the study of organic remains is beset with two evils, which, though of an opposite character, do not neutralize each other so much as at first sight might be anticipated: the one consisting of a strong desire to find similar organic remains in supposed equivalent deposits, even at great distances; the other being an equally strong inclination to discover new species, often as it would seem for the sole purpose of appending the apparently magical word nobis.
In Geological Manual (1832), Preface, iii.
Science quotes on:  |  Apparently (11)  |  Character (82)  |  Consisting (5)  |  Deposit (9)  |  Desire (101)  |  Discover (115)  |  Distance (54)  |  Equally (18)  |  Equivalent (14)  |  Evil (67)  |  Find (248)  |  First Sight (3)  |  Inclination (20)  |  Magic (67)  |  New (340)  |  Opposite (39)  |  Organic (48)  |  Remains (9)  |  Seem (89)  |  Similar (22)  |  Sole (9)  |  Species (181)  |  Strong (47)  |  Study (331)  |  Supposed (3)  |  Unfortunately (14)  |  Word (221)

We are machines built by DNA whose purpose is to make more copies of the same DNA. ... This is exactly what we are for. We are machines for propagating DNA, and the propagation of DNA is a self-sustaining process. It is every living object's sole reason for living.
Royal Institution Christmas Lecture, 'The Ultraviolet Garden', (No. 4, 1991). Quoted in Vinoth Ramachandra, Subverting Global Myths: Theology and the Public Issues Shaping our World (2008), 187.
Science quotes on:  |  Copy (13)  |  DNA (67)  |  Life (917)  |  Machine (133)  |  Process (201)  |  Propagation (9)  |  Reason (330)  |  Reproduction (57)  |  Self-Sustaining (2)

We do not ask for what useful purpose the birds do sing, for song is their pleasure since they were created for singing. Similarly, we ought not to ask why the human mind troubles to fathom the secrets of the heavens ... The diversity of the phenomena of Nature is so great, and the treasures hidden in the heavens so rich, precisely in order that the human mind shall never be lacking in fresh nourishment.
From Mysterium Cosmographicum. Quote as translated in Carl Sagan, Cosmos (1980, 1985), 32.
Science quotes on:  |  Asking (23)  |  Bird (96)  |  Creation (211)  |  Diversity (46)  |  Fathom (5)  |  Fresh (21)  |  Great (300)  |  Heaven (118)  |  Hidden (34)  |  Human Mind (51)  |  Lacking (2)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Nourishment (16)  |  Phenomenon (218)  |  Pleasure (98)  |  Precision (38)  |  Richness (14)  |  Secret (98)  |  Singing (6)  |  Song (18)  |  Treasure (35)  |  Trouble (55)  |  Usefulness (70)  |  Why (6)

We do not inhabit a perfected world where natural selection ruthlessly scrutinizes all organic structures and then molds them for optimal utility. Organisms inherit a body form and a style of embryonic development; these impose constraint s upon future change and adaptation. In many cases, evolutionary pathways reflect inherited patterns more than current environmental demands. These inheritances constrain, but they also provide opportunity. A potentially minor genetic change ... entails a host of complex, nonadaptive consequences ... What ‘play’ would evolution have if each structure were built for a restricted purpose and could be used for nothing else? How could humans learn to write if our brain had not evolved for hunting, social cohesion, or whatever, and could not transcend the adaptive boundaries of its original purpose?
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Adaptation (40)  |  Adaptive (2)  |  Body (193)  |  Boundary (27)  |  Brain (181)  |  Build (80)  |  Case (64)  |  Change (291)  |  Cohesion (5)  |  Complex (78)  |  Consequence (76)  |  Constrain (6)  |  Constraint (8)  |  Current (43)  |  Demand (52)  |  Development (228)  |  Embryonic (6)  |  Entail (4)  |  Environmental (8)  |  Evolution (482)  |  Evolutionary (16)  |  Form (210)  |  Future (229)  |  Genetic (11)  |  Host (9)  |  Human (445)  |  Hunt (12)  |  Impose (17)  |  Inhabit (13)  |  Inherit (13)  |  Inheritance (19)  |  Learn (160)  |  Minor (7)  |  Mold (26)  |  Natural Selection (79)  |  Nothing (267)  |  Opportunity (43)  |  Optimal (4)  |  Organic (48)  |  Organism (126)  |  Original (36)  |  Pathway (11)  |  Pattern (56)  |  Perfect (46)  |  Play (60)  |  Provide (48)  |  Reflect (17)  |  Restrict (8)  |  Scrutinize (3)  |  Social (93)  |  Structure (191)  |  Style (15)  |  Transcend (9)  |  Utility (23)  |  World (667)  |  Write (87)

We've been fighting from the beginning for organic architecture. That is, architecture where the whole is to the part as the part is to the whole, and where the nature of materials, the nature of the purpose, the nature of the entire performance becomes a necessity—architecture of democracy.
Quoted in Aline B. Louchheim, 'Wright Analyzes Architect's Need', New York Times (26 May 1953), 23. Wright was interviewed at age 83 for the opening of a small exhibition of his work at the gallery of the National Institute and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York.
Science quotes on:  |  Architecture (35)  |  Democracy (21)  |  Fight (37)  |  Material (124)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Necessity (125)  |  Organic (48)  |  Part (146)  |  Performance (27)  |  Whole (122)

What is the purpose of the giant sequoia tree? The purpose of the giant sequoia tree is to provide shade for the tiny titmouse.
In 'Philosophy, Religion, and So Forth', A Voice Crying in the Wilderness (1989), 12.
Science quotes on:  |  Giant (28)  |  Provide (48)  |  Sequoia (4)  |  Shade (12)  |  Tiny (25)  |  Tree (143)

What purpose is effected by a catalogue of undistinguished kings and queens? Tom, Dick, or Harry, they are all dead. General resurrections are failures, and are better postponed.
In The Aims of Education and Other Essays (1929), 20.
Science quotes on:  |  Catalog (5)  |  Death (270)  |  Education (280)  |  Failure (118)  |  King (23)  |  Postpone (2)  |  Queen (9)  |  Resurrection (3)  |  Undistinguished (3)

What, then, shall we say about the receipts of alchemy, and about the diversity of its vessels and instruments? These are furnaces, glasses, jars, waters, oils, limes, sulphurs, salts, saltpeters, alums, vitriols, chrysocollae, copper greens, atraments, auripigments, fel vitri, ceruse, red earth, thucia, wax, lutum sapientiae, pounded glass, verdigris, soot, crocus of Mars, soap, crystal, arsenic, antimony, minium, elixir, lazarium, gold leaf salt niter, sal ammoniac, calamine stone, magnesia, bolus armenus, and many other things. Then, again, concerning herbs, roots, seeds, woods, stones, animals, worms, bone dust, snail shells, other shells, and pitch. These and the like, whereof there are some very farfetched in alchemy, are mere incumbrances of work; since even if Sol and Luna [gold and silver] could be made by them they rather hinder and delay than further one’s purpose.
In Paracelsus and ‎Arthur Edward Waite (ed.), The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus (1894), Vol. 1, 13.
Science quotes on:  |  Alchemy (28)  |  Animal (309)  |  Antimony (5)  |  Apparatus (30)  |  Arsenic (8)  |  Bone (57)  |  Copper (18)  |  Crystal (47)  |  Delay (8)  |  Diversity (46)  |  Dust (42)  |  Earth (487)  |  Elixir (2)  |  Encumbrance (3)  |  Furnace (10)  |  Glass (35)  |  Gold (55)  |  Green (23)  |  Herb (4)  |  Hinder (4)  |  Instrument (73)  |  Jar (9)  |  Lime (3)  |  Oil (37)  |  Pitch (7)  |  Red (25)  |  Root (48)  |  Salt (23)  |  Seed (52)  |  Shell (35)  |  Silver (26)  |  Snail (6)  |  Soap (11)  |  Soot (7)  |  Stone (57)  |  Sulphur (15)  |  Vessel (21)  |  Wax (8)  |  Wood (33)  |  Work (457)  |  Worm (25)

When Da Vinci wanted an effect, he willed, he planned the means to make it happen: that was the purpose of his machines. But the machines of Newton … are means not for doing but for observing. He saw an effect, and he looked for its cause.
From The Common Sense of Science (1951), 25.
Science quotes on:  |  Cause (231)  |  Leonardo da Vinci (34)  |  Doing (36)  |  Effect (133)  |  Happen (63)  |  Look (46)  |  Machine (133)  |  Means (109)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (258)  |  Observation (418)  |  Plan (69)  |  Seeing (48)  |  Want (120)  |  Will (29)

When I was a boy, I read with great interest but skepticism about as magic lamp which was used with success by a certain Aladdin. Today I have no skepticism whatsoever about the magic of the xenon flash lamp which we use so effectively for many purposes.
In Electronic Flash, Strobe (1970), v.
Science quotes on:  |  Boy (33)  |  Effective (20)  |  Flash (25)  |  Interest (170)  |  Lamp (12)  |  Magic (67)  |  Read (83)  |  Skepticism (18)  |  Today (86)  |  Xenon (5)

When men are engaged in war and conquest, the tools of science become as dangerous as a razor in the hands of a child of three. We must not condemn man because his inventiveness and patient conquest of the forces of nature are being exploited for false and destructive purposes. Rather, we should remember that the fate of mankind hinges entirely upon man’s moral development.
In 'I Am an American' (22 Jun 1940), Einstein Archives 29-092. Excerpted in David E. Rowe and Robert J. Schulmann, Einstein on Politics: His Private Thoughts and Public Stands on Nationalism, Zionism, War, Peace, and the Bomb (2007), 470. The British Library Sound Archive holds a recording of this statement by Einstein. It was during a radio broadcast for the Immigration and Naturalization Service, interviewed by a State Department Official. Einstein spoke following an examination on his application for American citizenship in Trenton, New Jersey. The attack on Pearl Harbor and America’s declaration of war on Japan was still over a year in the future.
Science quotes on:  |  Child (189)  |  Condemnation (13)  |  Conquest (13)  |  Dangerous (45)  |  Destruction (80)  |  Development (228)  |  Exploitation (8)  |  False (79)  |  Fate (38)  |  Force Of Nature (4)  |  Hand (103)  |  Hinge (2)  |  Inventiveness (5)  |  Mankind (196)  |  Moral (100)  |  Patience (31)  |  Razor (2)  |  Science (1699)  |  Tool (70)  |  War (144)

When the earth came alive it began constructing its own membrane, for the general purpose of editing the sun.
In The Lives of a Cell (1974), 171.
Science quotes on:  |  Alive (38)  |  Atmosphere (63)  |  Begin (52)  |  Construct (25)  |  Earth (487)  |  Edit (2)  |  Membrane (11)  |  Sun (211)

When... the biologist is confronted with the fact that in the organism the parts are so adapted to each other as to give rise to a harmonious whole; and that the organisms are endowed with structures and instincts calculated to prolong their life and perpetuate their race, doubts as to the adequacy of a purely physiochemical viewpoint in biology may arise. The difficulties besetting the biologist in this problem have been rather increased than diminished by the discovery of Mendelian heredity, according to which each character is transmitted independently of any other character. Since the number of Mendelian characters in each organism is large, the possibility must be faced that the organism is merely a mosaic of independent hereditary characters. If this be the case the question arises: What moulds these independent characters into a harmonious whole? The vitalist settles this question by assuming the existence of a pre-established design for each organism and of a guiding 'force' or 'principle' which directs the working out of this design. Such assumptions remove the problem of accounting for the harmonious character of the organism from the field of physics or chemistry. The theory of natural selection invokes neither design nor purpose, but it is incomplete since it disregards the physiochemical constitution of living matter about which little was known until recently.
The Organism as a Whole: From a Physiochemical Viewpoint (1916), v-vi.
Science quotes on:  |  Design (92)  |  Heredity (51)  |  Gregor Mendel (20)  |  Natural Selection (79)  |  Organism (126)  |  Structure (191)

Where should I start? Start from the statement of the problem. ... What can I do? Visualize the problem as a whole as clearly and as vividly as you can. ... What can I gain by doing so? You should understand the problem, familiarize yourself with it, impress its purpose on your mind.
How to Solve It: a New Aspect of Mathematical Method (1957), 33.
Science quotes on:  |  Clearly (17)  |  Design (92)  |  Do (22)  |  Experiment (543)  |  Familiarize (3)  |  Gain (48)  |  Impress (9)  |  Mind (544)  |  Problem (362)  |  Start (68)  |  Statement (56)  |  Understanding (317)  |  Visualize (5)  |  Vividly (3)

While the method of the natural sciences is... analytic, the method of the social sciences is better described as compositive or synthetic. It is the so-called wholes, the groups of elements which are structurally connected, which we learn to single out from the totality of observed phenomena... Insofar as we analyze individual thought in the social sciences the purpose is not to explain that thought, but merely to distinguish the possible types of elements with which we shall have to reckon in the construction of different patterns of social relationships. It is a mistake... to believe that their aim is to explain conscious action ... The problems which they try to answer arise only insofar as the conscious action of many men produce undesigned results... If social phenomena showed no order except insofar as they were consciously designed, there would indeed be no room for theoretical sciences of society and there would be, as is often argued, only problems of psychology. It is only insofar as some sort of order arises as a result of individual action but without being designed by any individual that a problem is raised which demands a theoretical explanation... people dominated by the scientistic prejudice are often inclined to deny the existence of any such order... it can be shown briefly and without any technical apparatus how the independent actions of individuals will produce an order which is no part of their intentions... The way in which footpaths are formed in a wild broken country is such an instance. At first everyone will seek for himself what seems to him the best path. But the fact that such a path has been used once is likely to make it easier to traverse and therefore more likely to be used again; and thus gradually more and more clearly defined tracks arise and come to be used to the exclusion of other possible ways. Human movements through the region come to conform to a definite pattern which, although the result of deliberate decision of many people, has yet not be consciously designed by anyone.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Action (151)  |  Aim (58)  |  Analytic (4)  |  Analyze (3)  |  Answer (201)  |  Anyone (26)  |  Apparatus (30)  |  Argue (17)  |  Arise (32)  |  Belief (400)  |  Best (129)  |  Better (131)  |  Break (33)  |  Briefly (3)  |  Clearly (17)  |  Conform (5)  |  Connect (15)  |  Conscious (25)  |  Consciously (4)  |  Construction (69)  |  Country (121)  |  Decision (58)  |  Define (29)  |  Definite (27)  |  Deliberate (10)  |  Demand (52)  |  Deny (29)  |  Describe (38)  |  Design (92)  |  Different (110)  |  Distinguish (32)  |  Dominate (13)  |  Easy (56)  |  Element (129)  |  Everyone (20)  |  Exclusion (11)  |  Existence (254)  |  Explain (61)  |  Explanation (161)  |  Fact (609)  |  First (174)  |  Form (210)  |  Gradually (13)  |  Group (52)  |  Human (445)  |  Inclined (7)  |  Independent (41)  |  Individual (177)  |  Instance (18)  |  Intention (25)  |  Learn (160)  |  Likely (23)  |  Merely (35)  |  Method (154)  |  Mistake (107)  |  Movement (65)  |  Natural Sciences (3)  |  Observe (48)  |  Often (69)  |  Order (167)  |  Part (146)  |  Path (59)  |  Pattern (56)  |  People (269)  |  Phenomenon (218)  |  Possible (100)  |  Prejudice (58)  |  Problem (362)  |  Produce (63)  |  Psychology (125)  |  Raise (20)  |  Reckon (6)  |  Region (26)  |  Relationship (59)  |  Result (250)  |  Room (29)  |  Seek (57)  |  Seem (89)  |  Show (55)  |  Single (72)  |  So-Called (18)  |  Social (93)  |  Social Sciences (4)  |  Society (188)  |  Sort (32)  |  Structurally (2)  |  Synthetic (12)  |  Technical (26)  |  Theoretical (10)  |  Thought (374)  |  Totality (9)  |  Track (9)  |  Traverse (4)  |  Try (103)  |  Type (34)  |  Whole (122)  |  Wild (39)

Why then be concerned about the conservation of wildlife when for all practical purposes we would be much better off if humans and their domestic animals and pets were the only living creatures on the face of the earth? There is no obvious and demolishing answer to this rather doubtful logic although in practice the destruction of all wild animals would certainly bring devastating changes to our existence on this planet as we know it today...The trouble is that everything in nature is completely interdependent. Tinker with one part of it and the repercussions ripple out in all directions...Wildlife - and that includes everything from microbes to blue whales and from a fungus to a redwood tree - has been so much part of life on the earth that we are inclined to take its continued existence for granted...Yet the wildlife of the world is disappearing, not because of a malicious and deliberate policy of slaughter and extermination, but simply because of a general and widespread ignorance and neglect.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Animal (309)  |  Answer (201)  |  Better (131)  |  Bring (53)  |  Certainly (18)  |  Change (291)  |  Completely (19)  |  Concern (76)  |  Conservation (139)  |  Continue (38)  |  Creature (127)  |  Deliberate (10)  |  Demolish (2)  |  Destruction (80)  |  Devastating (4)  |  Direction (56)  |  Disappear (22)  |  Domestic (12)  |  Doubtful (5)  |  Earth (487)  |  Everything (120)  |  Existence (254)  |  Extermination (10)  |  Face Of The Earth (3)  |  Fungus (4)  |  General (92)  |  Grant (21)  |  Human (445)  |  Ignorance (190)  |  Inclined (7)  |  Include (27)  |  Interdependent (2)  |  Know (321)  |  Life (917)  |  Live (186)  |  Logic (187)  |  Malicious (2)  |  Microbe (17)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Neglect (23)  |  Obvious (54)  |  Part (146)  |  Pet (7)  |  Planet (199)  |  Policy (23)  |  Practical (93)  |  Practice (67)  |  Redwood (8)  |  Repercussion (4)  |  Ripple (3)  |  Simply (34)  |  Slaughter (6)  |  Tinker (5)  |  Today (86)  |  Tree (143)  |  Trouble (55)  |  Widespread (9)  |  Wild (39)  |  Wildlife (11)  |  World (667)

You and your purpose in life are the same thing. Your purpose is to be you.
Quoted in Kim Lim (ed.), 1,001 Pearls of Spiritual Wisdom: Words to Enrich, Inspire, and Guide Your Life (2014), 250
Science quotes on:  |  Life (917)  |  Same (92)

You can be a thorough-going Neo-Darwinian without imagination, metaphysics, poetry, conscience, or decency. For “Natural Selection” has no moral significance: it deals with that part of evolution which has no purpose, no intelligence, and might more appropriately be called accidental selection, or better still, Unnatural Selection, since nothing is more unnatural than an accident. If it could be proved that the whole universe had been produced by such Selection, only fools and rascals could bear to live.
Back to Methuselah: A Metabiological Pentateuch (1921), lxi-lxii.
Science quotes on:  |  Accident (54)  |  Appropriateness (5)  |  Conscience (36)  |  Charles Darwin (284)  |  Decency (3)  |  Evolution (482)  |  Fool (70)  |  Imagination (209)  |  Intelligence (138)  |  Life (917)  |  Metaphysics (30)  |  Moral (100)  |  Natural Selection (79)  |  Poetry (96)  |  Production (105)  |  Proof (192)  |  Rascal (3)  |  Selection (27)  |  Significance (60)  |  Universe (563)  |  Unnatural (10)

You can be sure you are acting in accordance with the designs of nature if what you do is calculated to promote nature's great final purpose: grow and make grow. I am firmly convinced of the universality of this law.
Aphorism 44 in Notebook D (1773-1775), as translated by R.J. Hollingdale in Aphorisms (1990). Reprinted as The Waste Books (2000), 50.
Science quotes on:  |  Act (80)  |  Design (92)  |  Growth (111)  |  Law (418)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Universality (11)

You may perceive something of the distinction which I think necessary to keep in view between art and science, between the artist and the man of knowledge, or the philosopher. The man of knowledge, the philosopher, is he who studies and acquires knowledge in order to improve his own mind; and with a desire of extending the department of knowledge to which he turns his attention, or to render it useful to the world, by discoveries, or by inventions, which may be the foundation of new arts, or of improvements in those already established. Excited by one or more of these motives, the philosopher employs himself in acquiring knowledge and in communicating it. The artist only executes and practises what the philosopher or man of invention has discovered or contrived, while the business of the trader is to retail the productions of the artist, exchange some of them for others, and transport them to distant places for that purpose.
From the first of a series of lectures on chemistry, collected in John Robison (ed.), Lectures on the Elements of Chemistry: Delivered in the University of Edinburgh (1807), Vol. 1, 3.
Science quotes on:  |  Acquire (19)  |  Artist (46)  |  Attention (76)  |  Business (71)  |  Communicate (10)  |  Contrive (4)  |  Definition (152)  |  Department (33)  |  Desire (101)  |  Discovery (591)  |  Distant (16)  |  Distinction (37)  |  Employ (14)  |  Establish (30)  |  Exchange (11)  |  Excite (12)  |  Execute (3)  |  Extend (20)  |  Foundation (75)  |  Improve (39)  |  Improvement (67)  |  Invention (283)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Mind (544)  |  Motive (26)  |  New (340)  |  Philosopher (132)  |  Place (111)  |  Practise (4)  |  Production (105)  |  Render (17)  |  Science And Art (157)  |  Study (331)  |  Transport (10)  |  Useful (66)  |  World (667)

[Allowing embryonic stem cell research] … is also likely to lead to human cloning and the harvesting of body parts from babies conceived for this purpose.
An example of extreme prolife religious conservative opposition confusing public opinion.
Statement released 15 Jun 2004 from Focus on the Family organisation which he founded. Quoted in Eve Herold, George Daley, Stem Cell Wars (2007), 39.
Science quotes on:  |  Allow (24)  |  Baby (18)  |  Body (193)  |  Clon (3)  |  Conceive (22)  |  Confuse (13)  |  Conservative (7)  |  Embryonic (6)  |  Example (57)  |  Extreme (36)  |  Harvest (14)  |  Human (445)  |  Lead (101)  |  Likely (23)  |  Opinion (146)  |  Opposition (29)  |  Part (146)  |  Prolife (2)  |  Public (82)  |  Religious (44)  |  Research (517)  |  Stem Cell (11)

[Very doubtful attribution.] The purpose of anthropology is to make the world safe for human differences.
This likely misquote is included here to caution: do NOT blindly accept it. Webmaster has so far been unable to find any primary source for this viral alleged quote. It is often seen, but never with a citation. Or worse, with a citation to another source which fails to give a citation at all. ApostateAbe, 'Stop this Ruth Benedict misquote', Reddit (c.Dec 2017) directly challenges the quote: “Ruth Benedict never said it, not in any of her published writings. It seems to be merely myth. It is never specifically cited, nor does it make historical sense.” So, if you know an authentic primary source, please contact Webmaster.
Science quotes on:  |  Anthropology (51)  |  Difference (208)  |  Human (445)  |  Safe (15)  |  World (667)

[Young] was afterwards accustomed to say, that at no period of his life was he particularly fond of repeating experiments, or even of very frequently attempting to originate new ones; considering that, however necessary to the advancement of science, they demanded a great sacrifice of time, and that when the fact was once established, that time was better employed in considering the purposes to which it might be applied, or the principles which it might tend to elucidate.
Hudson Gurney, Memoir of the Life of Thomas Young, M.D. F.R.S. (1831), 12-3.
Science quotes on:  |  Advancement (36)  |  Application (117)  |  Attempt (94)  |  Consideration (65)  |  Demand (52)  |  Elucidation (6)  |  Establishment (29)  |  Experiment (543)  |  Fact (609)  |  Fond (9)  |  Frequently (13)  |  Life (917)  |  Necessary (89)  |  New (340)  |  Origination (7)  |  Particular (54)  |  Period (49)  |  Principle (228)  |  Repeat (27)  |  Sacrifice (24)  |  Tendency (40)  |  Time (439)  |  Thomas Young (13)


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.