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Who said: “Nature does nothing in vain when less will serve; for Nature is pleased with simplicity and affects not the pomp of superfluous causes.”
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Termite Quotes (5 quotes)

Any artist or novelist would understand—some of us do not produce their best when directed. We expect the artist, the novelist and the composer to lead solitary lives, often working at home. While a few of these creative individuals exist in institutions or universities, the idea of a majority of established novelists or painters working at the “National Institute for Painting and Fine Art” or a university “Department of Creative Composition” seems mildly amusing. By contrast, alarm greets the idea of a creative scientist working at home. A lone scientist is as unusual as a solitary termite and regarded as irresponsible or worse.
Homage to Gala: The Life of an Independent Scholar (2000), 2.
Science quotes on:  |  Artist (46)  |  Autobiography (55)  |  Creativity (66)  |  Individual (177)  |  Institution (32)  |  Irresponsible (3)  |  Novelist (4)  |  Solitary (13)  |  University (51)

Consider a cow. A cow doesn’t have the problem-solving skill of a chimpanzee, which has discovered how to get termites out of the ground by putting a stick into a hole. Evolution has developed the brain’s ability to solve puzzles, and at the same time has produced in our brain a pleasure of solving problems.
In John Tierney, 'For Decades, Puzzling People With Mathematics', New York Times (20 Oct 2009), D2.
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I can say, if I like, that social insects behave like the working parts of an immense central nervous system: the termite colony is an enormous brain on millions of legs; the individual termite is a mobile neurone.
In Late Night Thoughts on Listening to Mahler's Ninth Symphony(1984), 224. Note: Spelling “neurone&rdwuo; [sic].
Science quotes on:  |  Behavior (49)  |  Brain (181)  |  Central (23)  |  Colony (5)  |  Enormous (33)  |  Immense (28)  |  Individual (177)  |  Insect (57)  |  Leg (13)  |  Million (89)  |  Mobility (5)  |  Nervous System (11)  |  Neuron (9)  |  Part (146)  |  Social (93)  |  Work (457)

Scientists are as gregarious a species as termites. If the lives of scientists are on the whole joyful, it is because our friendships are deep and lasting. Our friendships are lasting because we are engaged in a collective enterprise.
In From Eros to Gaia (1992), 197.
Science quotes on:  |  Collective (16)  |  Deep (81)  |  Engage (11)  |  Enterprise (20)  |  Friendship (8)  |  Gregarious (2)  |  Joy (61)  |  Lasting (7)  |  Live (186)  |  Scientist (447)  |  Species (181)

Some primal termite knocked on wood.
And tasted it, and found it good.
And that is why your Cousin May
Fell through the parlor floor today.
Good Intentions (1942), 261. In Gary William Flake, The Computational Beauty of Nature (2000), 261.
Science quotes on:  |  Evolution (482)  |  Insect (57)  |  Wood (33)


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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Sophie Germain
Gertrude Elion
Ernest Rutherford
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Marcel Proust
William Harvey
Johann Goethe
John Keynes
Carl Gauss
Paul Feyerabend
- 90 -
Antoine Lavoisier
Lise Meitner
Charles Babbage
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Euclid
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Frederick Banting
Andre Ampere
Winston Churchill
- 80 -
John Locke
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Bible
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Bertrand Russell
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- 70 -
Samuel Morse
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Robert Fulton
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Thomas Edison
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Theodore Roosevelt
Carolus Linnaeus
- 60 -
Francis Galton
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Avicenna
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- 50 -
Stephen Hawking
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Nikola Tesla
Rachel Carson
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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
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- 30 -
Andreas Vesalius
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Richard Feynman
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- 20 -
Carl Sagan
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- 10 -
Aristotle
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Isaac Asimov
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