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Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “The conservation of natural resources is the fundamental problem. Unless we solve that problem it will avail us little to solve all others.”
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Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index Q > Category: Quip

Quip Quotes (72 quotes)

Parkinson's First Law: Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.
Parkinson's Law or the Pursuit of Progress1 (1958), 4.
Science quotes on:  |  Availability (9)  |  Completion (14)  |  Expansion (21)  |  Law (363)  |  Parkinson’s Law (4)  |  Time (309)  |  Work (323)

A neurotic is a man who builds a castle in the air. A psychotic is the man who lives in it. A psychiatrist is the man who collects the rent.
Collected Papers
Science quotes on:  |  Neurotic (4)  |  Psychiatrist (12)

A psychiatrist is a man who goes to the Folies-Bergère and looks at the audience.
In Robert Andrews, The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations (1993), 747.
Science quotes on:  |  Psychiatrist (12)

All science is either physics or stamp collecting.
Quoted in J. B. Birks, Rutherford at Manchester (1962), 108, without citation. Webmaster has not been able to find any earlier example of the quote in print. If you know a primary print source, or very early reference to this quote, please contact the Webmaster. If—a strong if—truly a Rutherford quote, and such a snappy one, surely it should have been better documented from decades earlier?
Science quotes on:  |  Physics (240)  |  Science (1284)  |  Stamp Collecting (2)

An epidemiologist is a doctor broken down by age and sex.
Anonymous

Any clod can have the facts; having opinions is an art.
McCabe's motto (?) as columnist for San Francisco Chronicle. Margin quote, in Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Computer Group, Computer (1984), 89.
Science quotes on:  |  Art (139)  |  Clod (2)  |  Fact (494)  |  Opinion (123)

Archaeology is the science that proves you can’t keep a good man down.
Anonymous
In Bob Phillips, Phillips' Book of Great Thoughts & Funny Sayings (1993), 24.
Science quotes on:  |  Archaeology (39)

ARCHIMEDES. On hearing his name, shout “Eureka!” Or else: “Give me a fulcrum and I will move the world”. There is also Archimedes’ screw, but you are not expected to know what that is.
The Dictionary of Accepted Ideas (1881), trans. Jaques Barzun (1968), 15.
Science quotes on:  |  Archimedes (20)

Behaviorism is the art of pulling habits out of rats.
Anonymous
In Jon Fripp, Michael Fripp and Deborah Fripp, Speaking of Science (2000), 23.

COLD. Healthier than heat.
The Dictionary of Accepted Ideas (1881), trans. Jaques Barzun (1968), 25.
Science quotes on:  |  Cold (30)  |  Heat (80)

DOCTOR. Always preceded by “The good”. Among men, in familiar conversation, “Oh! balls, doctor!” Is a wizard when he enjoys your confidence, a jack-ass when you're no longer on terms. All are materialists: “you can't probe for faith with a scalpel.”
The Dictionary of Accepted Ideas (1881), trans. Jaques Barzun (1968), 30.
Science quotes on:  |  Doctor (74)

Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?
Anonymous
Thomas F. Shubnell, Greatest Jokes of the Century Book 2 (2008), 90.
Science quotes on:  |  Bell (10)  |  Ivan Petrovich Pavlov (12)

Electricity is really just organized lightning.
In Napalm and Silly Putty (2002), 170.
Science quotes on:  |  Electricity (108)  |  Lightning (24)  |  Organization (68)

Entropy isn't what it used to be.
Anonymous
Thomas F. Shubnell, Greatest Jokes of the Century Book 2 (2008), 90.
Science quotes on:  |  Entropy (38)

Every science thinks it is the science.
Anonymous
In Leonard and Thelma Spinrad, Speaker's Lifetime Library (1979), 220.
Science quotes on:  |  Science (1284)

Exploratory operation: a remunerative reconnaissance.
Anonymous
Science quotes on:  |  Operation (80)

Give 'em 2.5 cm, and they'll take 1.6 km.
Anonymous
Science quotes on:  |  Give (26)  |  Inch (6)  |  Measurement (140)  |  Metric System (5)  |  Mile (17)  |  Take (7)

Great science is an art.
Anonymous
In Leonard and Thelma Spinrad, Speaker's Lifetime Library (1979), 220.
Science quotes on:  |  Science (1284)

Heisenberg may have slept here.
Quip that depends upon the reader appreciating the Uncertainty Principle.
Anonymous
Bumpersticker.
Science quotes on:  |  Uncertainty Principle (7)

I don't quite hear what you say, but I beg to differ entirely with you.

I think modern science should graft functional wings on a pig, simply so no one can ever use that stupid saying again.
Anonymous
In K. D. Sullivan, A Cure for the Common Word (2007), 134.
Science quotes on:  |  Functional (4)  |  Graft (2)  |  Pig (7)  |  French Saying (61)  |  Stupid (12)  |  Wing (28)

I'd lay down my life for two brothers or eight cousins.
Quipped in a pub conversation. 'Accidental Career', New Scientist, 8 Aug 1974, 325.
Science quotes on:  |  Genetics (90)

If a train station is where the train stops, what is a work station?
Anonymous
In Andrew Davison, Humour the Computer (1995), 36.
Science quotes on:  |  Computer (66)  |  Station (8)  |  Train (16)  |  Work (323)

If medical science continues to prolong human life, some of us may eventually pay off the mortgage.
Anonymous
In Evan Esar, 20,000 Quips & Quotes (1968, 1995), 532.
Science quotes on:  |  Continue (16)  |  Eventually (6)  |  Human (289)  |  Life (698)  |  Medicine (254)  |  Mortgage (2)  |  Pay (19)  |  Prolong (8)  |  Science (1284)

If there is no God, we are just molecules in motion, and we have no sense and no mind; we are just random firings of chemical in the brain. If our minds are composed only of physical matter, then our thoughts are, as Doug Wilson wittily quipped in his debate with atheist Dan Barker, just “brain gas.”
God Does Exist (2005), 45.
Science quotes on:  |  Atheist (10)  |  Brain (153)  |  Chemical (58)  |  Composition (47)  |  Gas (41)  |  God (315)  |  Matter (216)  |  Mind (417)  |  Molecule (104)  |  Motion (107)  |  Random (19)  |  Thought (272)  |  Wit (23)

If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn't be research.
Anonymous
Although seen in various publications attributed but without citation to Albert Einstein, Webmaster is doubtful, and is placing it under Anonymous. But, if you know the primary print source, perhaps in different wording, please contact the Webmaster.
Science quotes on:  |  Knowledge (982)  |  Research (435)

If you ask the fish whether they’d rather have an oil spill or a season of fishing, I wouldn’t be surprised if they’d vote for another blowout.
As quoted by Mark Bittman in 'What's Worse Than an Oil Spill?', New York Times (20 Apr 2011), A23.
Science quotes on:  |  Ask (56)  |  Fish (66)  |  Fishing (11)  |  Oil Spill (5)  |  Pollution (27)  |  Season (16)  |  Surprise (31)  |  Vote (9)

If you've got time to kill, work it to death.
Anonymous
In Bob Phillips, Phillips' Treasury of Humorous Quotations (2004), 253.
Science quotes on:  |  Death (237)  |  Kill (25)  |  Time (309)  |  Work (323)

It is better to stir up a question without deciding it than to decide it without stirring it up.
In Pensées and Letters of Joseph Joubert (1928), 74.
Science quotes on:  |  Debate (13)  |  Decide (9)  |  Question (243)  |  Stir (7)

LITTRÉ. Snicker on hearing his name: “the gentleman who thinks we are descended from the apes.”
The Dictionary of Accepted Ideas (1881), trans. Jaques Barzun (1968), 59.
Science quotes on:  |  Evolution (431)

Many 'hard' scientists regard the term 'social science' as an oxymoron. Science means hypotheses you can test, and prove or disprove. Social science is little more than observation putting on airs.
'A Cuba Policy That's Stuck On Plan A', opinion column, The Washington Post (17 Apr 2009)
Science quotes on:  |  Hypothesis (202)  |  Observation (378)  |  Proof (172)  |  Social Science (18)

Marriage is an ancient institution and most of our knowledge of antiquity is gleaned from shattered pottery.
Anonymous
In Evan Esar, 20,000 Quips & Quotes (1968, 1995), 40.
Science quotes on:  |  Ancient (53)  |  Antiquity (11)  |  Archaeology (39)  |  Institution (20)  |  Knowledge (982)  |  Marriage (27)  |  Pottery (3)

Microbiology Lab - Staph Only
Anonymous
Thomas F. Shubnell, Greatest Jokes of the Century Book 2 (2008), 90.
Science quotes on:  |  Laboratory (106)  |  Microbiology (8)  |  Staff (3)

Newton said, “If I have seen further than others, it is because I've stood on the shoulders of giants.” These days we stand on each other's feet!
'You and Your Research', Bell Communications Research Colloquium Seminar, 7 Mar 1986.
Science quotes on:  |  Sir Isaac Newton (233)

No man of science wants merely to know. He acquires knowledge to appease his passion for discovery. He does not discover in order to know, he knows in order to discover.
The Aims of Education and Other Essays (1967), 48.
Science quotes on:  |  Discovery (522)  |  Knowledge (982)  |  Men Of Science (95)

No sense being pessimistic, it probably wouldn't work anyway.
Anonymous
Thomas F. Shubnell, Greatest Jokes of the Century Book 2 (2008), 90.
Science quotes on:  |  Pessimism (3)  |  Work (323)

Nothing you can't spell will ever work.
In 'Breaking into the Writing Game', The Illiterate Digest (1924). Also in column 'Rogers Interviews Self' (3 Jan 1933), The Spokesman-Review (4 Jan 1933), 1.
Science quotes on:  |  Technology (140)

Psychiatrist: A man who asks you a lot of expensive questions your wife asks you for nothing.
Attributed.
Science quotes on:  |  Psychiatrist (12)

Research serves to make building stones out of stumbling blocks.
Quoted in Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Technology Review (1932), 34, 4.
Science quotes on:  |  Block (8)  |  Building (51)  |  Research (435)  |  Stumbling Block (2)

Science has always been too dignified to invent a good back-scratcher.
In Edward Anthony, O Rare Don Marquis (1962), 354.
Science quotes on:  |  Invention (258)  |  Science (1284)

Science is a first-rate piece of furniture for a man’s upper chamber, if he has common sense on the ground floor. But if a man hasn’t got plenty of good common sense, the more science he has the worse for his patient.
'The Poet at the Breakfast-Table', Chapter 5. The Atlantic Monthly (May 1872), 29, 607.
Science quotes on:  |  Common Sense (56)  |  Science (1284)

Science is forever rewriting itself.
Anonymous
In Leonard and Thelma Spinrad, Speaker's Lifetime Library (1979), 220.
Science quotes on:  |  Science (1284)

Science is like sex: sometimes something useful comes out, but that is not the reason we are doing it.
Anonymous
This, and variations, appear in various places attributed (highly likely incorrectly) to Richard Feynman, but without any primary source citation. For example, see John Lloyd and John Mitchinson, If Ignorance Is Bliss, Why Aren't There More Happy People? : Smart Quotes for Dumb Times (2009), 274. It is also very suspicious that no example, readily found on the internet, is dated earlier than 2000, yet such a salacious remark surely would have seen the light of day long before that! Also seen worded beginning with: "Physics is….” If you know any instance of this quote published before 2000, please contact Webmaster.
Science quotes on:  |  Doing (34)  |  Physics (240)  |  Reason (244)  |  Science (1284)  |  Sex (38)  |  Sometime (2)  |  Useful (50)

Science is the ascertainment of facts and the refusal to regard facts as permanent.
Anonymous
In Leonard and Thelma Spinrad, Speaker's Lifetime Library (1979), 220.
Science quotes on:  |  Fact (494)  |  Science (1284)

Science is wonderful: for years uranium cost only a few dollars a ton until scientists discovered you could kill people with it.
Anonymous
In Evan Esar, 20,000 Quips and Quotes, 703.
Science quotes on:  |  Science (1284)  |  Uranium (16)  |  War (111)

Show me an archaeologist, and I'll show you a man who practices skull drugery.
Anonymous
In Bob Phillips, Phillips' Book of Great Thoughts & Funny Sayings (1993), 24.
Science quotes on:  |  Archaeology (39)

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
Attributed.

Statistician: A man who believes figures don't lie but admits that, under analysis some of them won't stand up either.
Evan Esar
The Dictionary of Humorous Quotations (1949). In Robert Harris Shutler, Mathematics 436 - Finely Explained (2004), 3.
Science quotes on:  |  Analysis (111)  |  Definition (125)  |  Lie (36)  |  Number (135)  |  Statistician (9)

Statistics: The only science that enables different experts using the same figures to draw different conclusions.
Evan Esar
The Dictionary of Humorous Quotations (1949). In Robert Harris Shutler, Mathematics 436 - Finely Explained (2004), 3.
Science quotes on:  |  Conclusion (102)  |  Definition (125)  |  Different (51)  |  Expert (33)  |  Number (135)  |  Statistics (114)

Supposing is good, but finding out is better.
Mark Twain in Eruption: hitherto unpublished pages about men and events (1940), 324. In Caroline Thomas Harnsberger, Mark Twain at Your Fingertips (1948), 232.
Science quotes on:  |  Research (435)  |  Suppose (17)

Television is chewing gum for the eyes.
In Geoff Tibballs, The Mammoth Book of Humor (2000), 365.
Science quotes on:  |  Television (20)

The banker asks, 'how much?' The scientist asks, 'how come?'
Anonymous
In Leonard and Thelma Spinrad, Speaker's Lifetime Library (1979), 220.
Science quotes on:  |  Science (1284)

The brain is a wonderful organ. It starts working the moment you get up in the morning and does not stop until you get into the office.
Attributed. In Peter McDonald Slop, Oxford Dictionary of Medical Quotations (2004), 37.
Science quotes on:  |  Brain (153)

The brain is an island in an osmotically homogeneous sea.
From a lecture. Quoted in 'The Best Hope of All', Time (3 May 1963)
Science quotes on:  |  Brain (153)

The scientific theory I like best is that the rings of Saturn are composed entirely of lost airline luggage
In Eileen Mason, Great Book of Funny Quotes: Witty Words for Every Day of the Year (1993). Quoted in Lilly Walters, What to Say When … You're Dying on the Platform (1995), 173.
Science quotes on:  |  Saturn (9)

The space scientist is a most remarkable man: he has his feet on the ground and his head in the clouds.
Anonymous
In Evan Esar, 20,000 Quips and Quotes, 703.

The spine is a series of bones running down your back. You sit on one end of it and your head sits on the other.
Anonymous
Science quotes on:  |  Bone (51)  |  Spine (5)

The ways of science are unpredicatable: it can get men up to the moon, but it cannot get pigeons down from public buildings.
Anonymous
In Evan Esar, 20,000 Quips and Quotes, 703.
Science quotes on:  |  Pidgeon (2)  |  Science (1284)

There are two kinds of sleep. The sleep of the just and the sleep of the just after.
Anonymous
Science quotes on:  |  Sleep (32)

This afternoon, I've arranged for this ceremony to be illuminated by solar power. [While outdoors, in daylight, dedicating solar panels on the White House roof.]
Speech, at dedication of solar panels on the White House roof, 'Solar Energy Remarks Announcing Administration Proposals' (20 Jun 1979).
Science quotes on:  |  Ceremony (4)  |  Daylight (7)  |  Illumination (12)  |  Solar Power (8)

Those people who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.
Anonymous
Sometimes seen on the web attributed to Isaac Asimov, but without citation. Webmaster has not yet found a reliable source. Meanwhile, consider it uncertain. Please contact Webmaster if you know a primary print source.
Science quotes on:  |  Everything (64)  |  Knowledge (982)  |  People (105)

Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand.
In Juanita Rose Violini, Almanac of the Infamous, the Incredible, and the Ignored (2009), 56. If you know a primary source, please contact Webmaster, who has not yet found a primary source for this quote, although occasionally seen attributed to Vonnegut. Juanita Rose Violini
Science quotes on:  |  Belief (273)  |  Hand (65)  |  Raising (4)

Tis better than riches
To scratch when it itches
Anonymous
Science quotes on:  |  Itch (4)

To many of us, the first law of dietetics seems to be: if it tastes good, it’s bad for you.
Epigraph in Isaac Asimov’s Book of Science and Nature Quotations (1988), 57.
Science quotes on:  |  Bad (45)  |  First (104)  |  Good (148)  |  Law (363)  |  Seem (24)  |  Taste (29)

Want to make your computer go really fast? Throw it out a window.
Anonymous
In L. R. Parenti, Durata Del Dramma: Life Of Drama (2005), 32.
Science quotes on:  |  Computer (66)  |  Fall (59)  |  Fast (15)  |  Throw (21)  |  Window (18)

When a man sits with a pretty girl for an hour, it seems like a minute. But let him sit on a hot stove for a minute—and it’s longer than any hour. That’s relativity.
Explanation given to his secretary, Helen Dukas, to relay to reporters and laypersons.
James B. Simpson, Best Quotes of '54, '55, '56 (1957), as cited in Fred R. Shapiro and Joseph Epstein, The Yale Book of Quotations (2006), 230. Also reprinted in Simpson's Contemporary Quotations (1988), 208, annotated merely as “recalled on his death 18 Apr 1955.” Compare with the News Chronicle (14 Mar 1949) as “When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder a second seems like an hour. That’s relativity.”
Science quotes on:  |  Relativity (42)

When science finally locates the center of the universe, some people will be surprised to learn they're not it.
Anonymous
Source uncertain. Often identified as Anonymous. Sometimes attributed to Bernard Bailey, for example, in a chapter heading quote (without citation) in juvenile fiction by P.G. Kain, The Social Experiments of Dorie Dilts: Dumped by Popular Demand (2007), 126. Sometimes found on the web attributed to Bernard Bailey, but just as often it is Anonymous. If you can identify Bernard Bailey or know an original print source, please contact Webmaster.
Science quotes on:  |  Centre (17)  |  Learn (75)  |  Universe (421)

When someone abuses me I can defend myself, but against praise I am defenceless.
Attributed.
Science quotes on:  |  Praise (12)

Yesterday's dreams are today's science
Anonymous
In Leonard and Thelma Spinrad, Speaker's Lifetime Library (1979), 220.
Science quotes on:  |  Science (1284)

Zenophobia: the irrational fear of converging sequences.
Pun on the name of the Greek philosopher, Zeno, famous for his challenging paradoxes concerning converging sequences.
Anonymous
In Wieslaw Krawcewicz, Bindhyachal Rai, Calculus with Maple Labs (2003), 407.
Science quotes on:  |  Converge (2)  |  Fear (80)  |  Sequence (22)  |  Zeno (5)

[Like people] if you torture statistics long enough, they'll tell you anything you want to hear.
Anonymous
In Erica Beecher-Monas, Evaluating Scientific Evidence (2007), 63.
Science quotes on:  |  Hear (14)  |  Statistics (114)  |  Tell (30)  |  Torture (10)

[Student:} I only use my math book on special equations.
From movie Rock 'n' Roll High School (1979). Writers, Richard Whitley, Russ Dvonch and Joseph McBride. In Larry Langman and Paul Gold, Comedy Quotes from the Movies (2001), 359.
Science quotes on:  |  Book (144)  |  Equation (64)  |  Mathematics (523)  |  Special (39)


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
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