Celebrating 19 Years on the Web
TODAY IN SCIENCE HISTORY ®
Find science on or your birthday

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “The Superfund legislation... may prove to be as far-reaching and important as any accomplishment of my administration. The reduction of the threat to America's health and safety from thousands of toxic-waste sites will continue to be an urgent…issue …”
more quiz questions >>
Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index T > Category: Tragic

Tragic Quotes (17 quotes)

Connected by innumerable ties with abstract science, Physiology is yet in the most intimate relation with humanity; and by teaching us that law and order, and a definite scheme of development, regulate even the strangest and wildest manifestations of individual life, she prepares the student to look for a goal even amidst the erratic wanderings of mankind, and to believe that history offers something more than an entertaining chaos—a journal of a toilsome, tragi-comic march nowither.
In 'Educational Value of Natural History Sciences', Lay Sermons, Addresses, and Reviews (1870), 97.
Science quotes on:  |  Abstract (124)  |  Belief (578)  |  Chaos (91)  |  Comic (4)  |  Connect (125)  |  Definite (110)  |  Development (422)  |  Entertaining (9)  |  Erratic (4)  |  Goal (145)  |  History (673)  |  Humanity (169)  |  Individual (404)  |  Innumerable (55)  |  Intimate (15)  |  Journal (30)  |  Law (894)  |  Law And Order (4)  |  Life (1795)  |  Look (582)  |  Manifestation (58)  |  Mankind (339)  |  March (46)  |  More (2559)  |  Most (1731)  |  Offer (141)  |  Order (632)  |  Physiology (95)  |  Prepare (37)  |  Scheme (57)  |  Science (3879)  |  Something (719)  |  Strange (157)  |  Student (300)  |  Teaching (188)  |  Tie (38)  |  Toil (25)  |  Wild (87)

If gold medals and prizes were awarded to institutions instead of individuals, the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital of 30 years ago would have qualified. The ruling board and administrative structure of that hospital did not falter in their support of the quixotic objective of treating end-stage renal disease despite a long list of tragic failures that resulted from these early efforts.
In Tore Frängsmyr and Jan E. Lindsten (eds.), Nobel Lectures: Physiology Or Medicine: 1981-1990 (1993), 558.
Science quotes on:  |  Administrator (11)  |  Award (13)  |  Board (12)  |  Brigham Hospital (2)  |  Disease (328)  |  Early (185)  |  Effort (227)  |  End (590)  |  Failure (161)  |  Gold (97)  |  Gold Medal (2)  |  Hospital (43)  |  Individual (404)  |  Institution (69)  |  Long (790)  |  Nobel Prize (40)  |  Objective (91)  |  Qualified (12)  |  Qualify (4)  |  Renal (4)  |  Result (677)  |  Stage (143)  |  Structure (344)  |  Support (147)  |  Treatment (130)  |  Year (933)

If science fiction is the mythology of modern technology, then its myth is tragic
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Modern (385)  |  Myth (56)  |  Mythology (18)  |  Science (3879)  |  Science Fiction (31)  |  Technology (257)

Imagine a room awash in gasoline, and there are two implacable enemies in that room. One of them has nine thousand matches. The other has seven thousand matches. Each of them is concerned about who's ahead, who's stronger. Well that's the kind of situation we are actually in. The amount of weapons that are available to the United States and the Soviet Union are so bloated, so grossly in excess of what's needed to dissuade the other, that if it weren't so tragic, it would be laughable. What is necessary is to reduce the matches and to clean up the gasoline.
From Sagan's analogy about the nuclear arms race and the need for disarmament, during a panel discussion in ABC News Viewpoint following the TV movie The Day After (20 Nov 1983). Transcribed by Webmaster from a video recording. It is seen misquoted in summary form as “The nuclear arms race is like two sworn enemies standing waist deep in gasoline, one with three matches, the other with five.”
Science quotes on:  |   (2863)  |  Ahead (19)  |  Amount (151)  |  Arms Race (2)  |  Atomic Bomb (111)  |  Available (78)  |  Clean (50)  |  Clean Up (4)  |  Concern (228)  |  Enemy (82)  |  Excess (22)  |  Gasoline (4)  |  Imagine (164)  |  Implacable (4)  |  Kind (557)  |  Laughable (4)  |  Match (29)  |  Necessary (363)  |  Necessity (191)  |  Need (290)  |  Nuclear (107)  |  Other (2236)  |  Reduce (94)  |  Situation (113)  |  Soviet (9)  |  Soviet Union (4)  |  State (491)  |  Stronger (36)  |  Thousand (331)  |  Tragedy (29)  |  Two (937)  |  Union (51)  |  United States (31)  |  Weapon (92)  |  Weapons (58)

In the case of a Christian clergyman, the tragic-comical is found in this: that the Christian religion demands love from the faithful, even love for the enemy. This demand, because it is indeed superhuman, he is unable to fulfill. Thus intolerance and hatred ring through the oily words of the clergyman. The love, which on the Christian side is the basis for the conciliatory attempt towards Judaism is the same as the love of a child for a cake. That means that it contains the hope that the object of the love will be eaten up.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Attempt (251)  |  Basis (173)  |  Cake (5)  |  Case (99)  |  Child (307)  |  Christian (43)  |  Clergyman (5)  |  Contain (68)  |  Demand (123)  |  Eat (104)  |  Enemy (82)  |  Faithful (10)  |  Find (998)  |  Fulfill (19)  |  Hatred (21)  |  Hope (299)  |  Indeed (324)  |  Intolerance (8)  |  Judaism (2)  |  Love (309)  |  Mean (809)  |  Means (579)  |  Object (422)  |  Religion (361)  |  Ring (16)  |  Same (157)  |  Side (233)  |  Superhuman (5)  |  Through (849)  |  Unable (24)  |  Will (2355)  |  Word (619)

Modern music, headstrong, wayward, tragically confused as to what to say and how to say it, has mounted its horse, as the joke goes, and ridden off in all directions. If we require of an art that it be unified as a whole and expressed in a universal language known to all, if it must be a consistent symbolization of the era, then modern music is a disastrous failure. It has many voices, many symbolizations. It it known to one, unknown to another. But if an art may be as variable and polyvocal as the different individuals and emotional regions from which it comes in this heterogeneous modern world, then the diversity and contradiction of modern music may be acceptable.
In Art Is Action: A Discussion of Nine Arts in a Modern World (1939), 81.
Science quotes on:  |  Acceptable (13)  |  All (4108)  |  Art (657)  |  Confused (12)  |  Consistent (48)  |  Contradiction (68)  |  Different (577)  |  Direction (175)  |  Disastrous (3)  |  Diversity (73)  |  Emotion (100)  |  Era (51)  |  Express (186)  |  Failure (161)  |  Horse (74)  |  Individual (404)  |  Joke (83)  |  Known (454)  |  Language (293)  |  Modern (385)  |  Mount (42)  |  Music (129)  |  Must (1526)  |  Require (219)  |  Say (984)  |  Symbol (93)  |  Unified (10)  |  Universal (189)  |  Unknown (182)  |  Variable (34)  |  Wayward (3)  |  Whole (738)  |  World (1774)

One tragic example of the loss of forests and then water is found in Ethiopia. The amount of its forested land has decreased from 40 to 1 percent in the last four decades. Concurrently, the amount of rainfall has declined to the point where the country is rapidly becoming a wasteland.
Al Gore
Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit (2006), 107.
Science quotes on:  |  Amount (151)  |  Becoming (96)  |  Country (251)  |  Decade (59)  |  Environment (216)  |  Forest (150)  |  Last (426)  |  Loss (110)  |  Point (580)  |  Rapidly (66)  |  Wasteland (2)  |  Water (481)

Samoa culture demonstrates how much the tragic or the easy solution of the Oedipus situation depends upon the inter-relationship between parents and children, and is not created out of whole cloth by the young child’s biological impulses.
Male and Female: A Study of the Sexes in a Changing World (1949), 119.
Science quotes on:  |   (2863)  |  Biological (137)  |  Child (307)  |  Children (200)  |  Culture (143)  |  Demonstrate (76)  |  Demonstration (113)  |  Depend (228)  |  Easy (204)  |  Impulse (48)  |  Inter (11)  |  Inter-Relationship (2)  |  Oedipus (2)  |  Parent (76)  |  Relationship (104)  |  Situation (113)  |  Solution (267)  |  Whole (738)  |  Young (227)

Science is rooted in the will to truth. With the will to truth it stands or falls. Lower the standard even slightly and science becomes diseased at the core. Not only science, but man. The will to truth, pure and unadulterated, is among the essential conditions of his existence; if the standard is compromised he easily becomes a kind of tragic caricature of himself.
Opening statement in 'On Truth', Social Research (May 1934), 1, No. 2, 135.
Science quotes on:  |  Become (815)  |  Caricature (6)  |  Condition (356)  |  Core (18)  |  Disease (328)  |  Essential (199)  |  Existence (456)  |  Fall (230)  |  Himself (461)  |  Kind (557)  |  Lower (11)  |  Man (2251)  |  Pure (291)  |  Root (120)  |  Science (3879)  |  Stand (274)  |  Standard (57)  |  Truth (1057)  |  Will (2355)

Seldom has there occurred a more pitifully tragic disaster than the sudden fall of the Wright aeroplane, involving the death of that promising young officer Lieut. Thomas Selfridge, and inflicting shocking injuries on the talented inventor, Orville Wright. But although the accident is deplorable, it should not be allowed to discredit the art of aeroplane navigation. If it emphasizes the risks, there is nothing in the mishap to shake our faith in the principles upon which the Wright brothers built their machine, and achieved such brilliant success.
Magazine
In Scientific American (Sep 1908). As cited in '50, 100 & 150 Years Ago', Scientific American (Sep 2008), 299, No. 3, 14.
Science quotes on:  |  Accident (88)  |  Achievement (179)  |  Allowing (2)  |  Art (657)  |  Brilliance (13)  |  Brilliant (53)  |  Brother (43)  |  Building (156)  |  Crash (9)  |  Death (388)  |  Deplorable (4)  |  Disaster (51)  |  Discredit (8)  |  Emphasis (17)  |  Emphasize (23)  |  Faith (203)  |  Fall (230)  |  Inflicting (2)  |  Injury (36)  |  Inventor (71)  |  Machine (257)  |  Mishap (2)  |  More (2559)  |  Navigation (25)  |  Nothing (966)  |  Officer (12)  |  Pitiful (5)  |  Principle (507)  |  Risk (61)  |  Seldom (65)  |  Shake (41)  |  Shocking (3)  |  Success (302)  |  Sudden (67)  |  Talent (94)  |  Tragedy (29)  |  Orville Wright (8)  |  Young (227)

The life of a wild animal always has a tragic end.
In Wild Animals I Have Known (1898), 12
Science quotes on:  |  Animal (617)  |  End (590)  |  Life (1795)  |  Tragedy (29)  |  Wild (87)

The most tragic thing in the world is a sick doctor.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Doctor (187)  |  Medicine (378)  |  Most (1731)  |  Sick (81)  |  Thing (1915)  |  World (1774)

Those who nod sagely and quote the tragedy of the commons in relation to environmental problems from pollution of the atmosphere to poaching of national parks tend to forget that Garrett Hardin revised his conclusions many times…. He recognized, most importantly, that anarchy did not prevail on the common pastures of medieval England in the way he had described…. “A managed commons, though it may have other defects, is not automatically subject to the tragic fate of the unmanaged commons,” wrote Hardin…. At sea, where a common exists in most waters… None of Hardin’s requirements for a successfully managed common is fulfilled by high-seas fishery regimes.
In The End of the Line: How Overfishing is Changing the World and what We Eat (2004), 153-155.
Science quotes on:  |   (2863)  |  Air Pollution (9)  |  Anarchy (6)  |  Atmosphere (103)  |  Automatic (16)  |  Common (436)  |  Conclusion (254)  |  Conservation (168)  |  Defect (31)  |  England (40)  |  Environment (216)  |  Exist (443)  |  Fate (72)  |  Fishery (2)  |  Forget (115)  |  Fulfilled (2)  |  Garrett Hardin (2)  |  High (362)  |  Medieval (10)  |  Most (1731)  |  National Park (4)  |  Ocean Pollution (10)  |  Other (2236)  |  Overfishing (25)  |  Pasture (13)  |  Pollution (48)  |  Prevail (46)  |  Problem (676)  |  Quote (42)  |  Recognized (3)  |  Regime (2)  |  Requirement (63)  |  Sea (308)  |  Subject (521)  |  Successful (123)  |  Tend (124)  |  Time (1877)  |  Tragedy (29)  |  Water (481)  |  Water Pollution (11)  |  Way (1217)  |  Write (230)

Tragically isolated, imprisoned in his own “self,” man has made a desperate effort to “leap beyond his shadow,” to embrace the external world. From this effort was born science….
In Einstein and the Universe; A Popular Exposition of the Famous Theory (1922), 239.
Science quotes on:  |  Beyond (308)  |  Born (33)  |  Desperate (5)  |  Effort (227)  |  Embrace (46)  |  External (57)  |  Imprison (10)  |  Isolated (14)  |  Leap (53)  |  Man (2251)  |  Science (3879)  |  Self (267)  |  Shadow (72)  |  World (1774)

We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature, and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, and greatly err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.
The Outermost House (1928), 25.
Science quotes on:  |  Animal (617)  |  Attain (125)  |  Civilization (204)  |  Complete (204)  |  Complicated (115)  |  Concept (221)  |  Creature (233)  |  Distortion (13)  |  Earth (996)  |  Extension (59)  |  Fate (72)  |  Fellow (88)  |  Finish (59)  |  Form (959)  |  Gift (104)  |  Gifted (23)  |  Glass (92)  |  Hear (139)  |  Image (96)  |  Knowledge (1529)  |  Life (1795)  |  Living (491)  |  Man (2251)  |  More (2559)  |  Move (216)  |  Nation (193)  |  Nature (1926)  |  Never (1087)  |  Observation (555)  |  Other (2236)  |  Ourselves (245)  |  Remote (83)  |  See (1081)  |  Sense (770)  |  Splendour (8)  |  Survey (33)  |  Through (849)  |  Time (1877)  |  Universal (189)  |  Whole (738)  |  World (1774)

We scientists, whose tragic destiny it has been to help make the methods of annihilation ever more gruesome and more effective, must consider it our solemn and transcendent duty to do all in our power to prevent these weapons from being used for the brutal purpose for which they were invented.
In The New York Times, (29 Aug 1948).
Science quotes on:  |  All (4108)  |  Annihilation (14)  |  Being (1278)  |  Consider (416)  |  Destiny (50)  |  Do (1908)  |  Effective (59)  |  Method (505)  |  Methods (204)  |  More (2559)  |  Must (1526)  |  Power (746)  |  Prevent (94)  |  Purpose (317)  |  Scientist (820)  |  Solemn (20)  |  Weapon (92)  |  Weapons (58)

[After science lost] its mystical inspiration … man’s destiny was no longer determined from “above” by a super-human wisdom and will, but from “below” by the sub-human agencies of glands, genes, atoms, or waves of probability. … A puppet of the Gods is a tragic figure, a puppet suspended on his chromosomes is merely grotesque.
In 'Epilogue', The Sleepwalkers: A History of Man’s Changing Vision of the Universe (1959), 539.
Science quotes on:  |   (2863)  |  Above (6)  |  Atom (355)  |  Below (24)  |  Chromosome (23)  |  Chromosomes (17)  |  Destiny (50)  |  Figure (160)  |  Gene (98)  |  Gland (14)  |  God (757)  |  Grotesque (6)  |  Human (1468)  |  Inspiration (75)  |  Man (2251)  |  Merely (316)  |  Mystic (20)  |  Probability (130)  |  Puppet (3)  |  Science (3879)  |  Science And Religion (307)  |  Suspended (5)  |  Wave (107)  |  Will (2355)  |  Wisdom (221)


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

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

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

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

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



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