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 path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition, we must lead it... That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared.”
more quiz questions >>
Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index W > Category: Worthwhile

Worthwhile Quotes (18 quotes)

A Dr van’t Hoff of the veterinary college at Utrecht, appears to have no taste for exact chemical investigation. He finds it a less arduous task to mount Pegasus (evidently borrowed from the veterinary school) and to proclaim in his La Chemie dans l’espace how, during his bold fight to the top of the chemical Parnassus, the atoms appeared to him to have grouped themselves together throughout universal space. … I should have taken no notice of this matter had not Wislicenus oddly enough written a preface to the pamphlet, and not by way of a joke but in all seriousness recommended it a worthwhile performance.
'Signs of the Times', Journal fur Praktische Chemie, 15, 473. Trans. W. H. Brock.
Science quotes on:  |  All (4108)  |  Atom (355)  |  Biography (240)  |  Bold (22)  |  Borrow (30)  |  Chemical (292)  |  College (66)  |  Enough (340)  |  Evidently (26)  |  Find (998)  |  Investigation (230)  |  Joke (83)  |  Matter (798)  |  Mount (42)  |  Notice (77)  |  Performance (48)  |  Proclaim (30)  |  Recommend (24)  |  School (219)  |  Seriousness (10)  |  Space (500)  |  Task (147)  |  Taste (90)  |  Themselves (433)  |  Throughout (98)  |  Together (387)  |  Top (96)  |  Universal (189)  |  Way (1217)  |  Johannes Wislicenus (4)

Adventure is worthwhile in itself.
As attributed, without source, on 'The Official Amelia Earhart' website (www.ameliaearhart.com). The first three words are also seen attributed to Aesop and to Aristotle, but Webmaster will not believe those until there is an original source seen to back them up.
Science quotes on:  |  Adventure (56)

Aristotle’s opinion … that comets were nothing else than sublunary vapors or airy meteors … prevailed so far amongst the Greeks, that this sublimest part of astronomy lay altogether neglected; since none could think it worthwhile to observe, and to give an account of the wandering and uncertain paths of vapours floating in the Ether.
Attributed.
Science quotes on:  |   (2863)  |  Account (192)  |  Astronomy (229)  |  Comet (54)  |  Ether (35)  |  Greek (107)  |  Meteor (18)  |  Neglect (63)  |  Neglected (23)  |  Nothing (966)  |  Observe (168)  |  Opinion (281)  |  Path (144)  |  Prevail (46)  |  Think (1086)  |  Uncertain (44)  |  Vapor (12)  |  Vapour (16)

Do not enter upon research unless you can not help it. Ask yourself the “why” of every statement that is made and think out your own answer. If through your thoughtful work you get a worthwhile idea, it will get you. The force of the conviction will compel you to forsake all and seek the relief of your mind in research work.
From Cameron Prize Lecture (1928), delivered before the University of Edinburgh. As quoted in J.B. Collip 'Frederick Grant Banting, Discoverer of Insulin', The Scientific Monthly (May 1941), 52, No. 5, 473.
Science quotes on:  |  All (4108)  |  Answer (366)  |  Ask (411)  |  Compel (30)  |  Conviction (97)  |  Do (1908)  |  Enter (141)  |  Force (487)  |  Forsake (4)  |  Help (105)  |  Idea (843)  |  Mind (1338)  |  Relief (30)  |  Research (664)  |  Seek (213)  |  Statement (142)  |  Think (1086)  |  Thoughtful (15)  |  Through (849)  |  Why (491)  |  Will (2355)  |  Work (1351)

Don’t be afraid of hard work. Nothing worthwhile comes easily. Don’t let others discourage you or tell you that you can’t do it. In my day I was told women didn’t go into chemistry. I saw no reason why we couldn’t.
from her lecture notes
Science quotes on:  |  Biography (240)  |  Chemistry (353)  |  Discourage (13)  |  Do (1908)  |  Hard (243)  |  Hard Work (20)  |  Nothing (966)  |  Other (2236)  |  Reason (744)  |  Saw (160)  |  Tell (340)  |  Why (491)  |  Women Scientists (13)  |  Work (1351)

I feel sorry for the person who can't get genuinely excited about his work. Not only will he never be satisfied, but he will never achieve anything worthwhile.
Science quotes on:  |  Feel (367)  |  Feel Sorry (4)  |  Never (1087)  |  Person (363)  |  Sorry (30)  |  Will (2355)  |  Work (1351)

I had always looked upon the search for the absolute as the noblest and most worth while task of science.
'A Scientific Autobiography' (1948), in Scientific Autobiography and Other Papers, trans. Frank Gaynor (1950), 46.
Science quotes on:  |  Absolute (145)  |  Look (582)  |  Most (1731)  |  Noble (90)  |  Science (3879)  |  Search (162)  |  Task (147)  |  Worth (169)

It has been said that computing machines can only carry out the processes that they are instructed to do. This is certainly true in the sense that if they do something other than what they were instructed then they have just made some mistake. It is also true that the intention in constructing these machines in the first instance is to treat them as slaves, giving them only jobs which have been thought out in detail, jobs such that the user of the machine fully understands what in principle is going on all the time. Up till the present machines have only been used in this way. But is it necessary that they should always be used in such a manner? Let us suppose we have set up a machine with certain initial instruction tables, so constructed that these tables might on occasion, if good reason arose, modify those tables. One can imagine that after the machine had been operating for some time, the instructions would have altered out of all recognition, but nevertheless still be such that one would have to admit that the machine was still doing very worthwhile calculations. Possibly it might still be getting results of the type desired when the machine was first set up, but in a much more efficient manner. In such a case one would have to admit that the progress of the machine had not been foreseen when its original instructions were put in. It would be like a pupil who had learnt much from his master, but had added much more by his own work. When this happens I feel that one is obliged to regard the machine as showing intelligence.
Lecture to the London Mathematical Society, 20 February 1947. Quoted in B. E. Carpenter and R. W. Doran (eds.), A. M. Turing's Ace Report of 1946 and Other Papers (1986), 122-3.
Science quotes on:  |  All (4108)  |  Alter (62)  |  Altered (32)  |  Calculation (127)  |  Carry (127)  |  Certain (550)  |  Certainly (185)  |  Computer (127)  |  Construct (124)  |  Detail (146)  |  Do (1908)  |  Doing (280)  |  Efficiency (44)  |  Feel (367)  |  First (1283)  |  Good (889)  |  Happen (274)  |  Imagine (164)  |  Instruction (91)  |  Intelligence (211)  |  Intention (46)  |  Job (82)  |  Machine (257)  |  Master (178)  |  Mistake (169)  |  More (2559)  |  Necessary (363)  |  Nevertheless (90)  |  Occasion (85)  |  Other (2236)  |  Possibly (111)  |  Present (619)  |  Principle (507)  |  Progress (465)  |  Pupil (61)  |  Reason (744)  |  Recognition (88)  |  Regard (305)  |  Result (677)  |  Sense (770)  |  Set (394)  |  Slave (37)  |  Something (719)  |  Still (613)  |  Suppose (156)  |  Table (104)  |  Thought (953)  |  Time (1877)  |  Type (167)  |  Understand (606)  |  Way (1217)  |  Work (1351)

Knowledge is necessary too. A child with great intuition could not grow up to become something worthwhile in life without some knowledge. However there comes a point in everyone’s life where only intuition can make the leap ahead, without knowing precisely how.
As recollected from a visit some months earlier, and quoted in William Miller, 'Old Man’s Advice to Youth: “Never Lose a Holy Curiosity”', Life (2 May 1955), 64.
Science quotes on:  |   (2863)  |  Become (815)  |  Child (307)  |  Great (1574)  |  Grow (238)  |  Grow Up (6)  |  Intuition (75)  |  Knowing (137)  |  Knowledge (1529)  |  Leap (53)  |  Life (1795)  |  Necessary (363)  |  Point (580)  |  Precisely (92)  |  Something (719)

Let me suggest to you a simple test one can apply to scientific activities to determine whether or not they can constitute the practice of physics. Is what you are doing beautiful? Many beautiful things are created without the use of physical knowledge, but I know of no really worthwhile physics that isn’t beautiful. Indeed, one of the most distressing symptoms of scientific illiteracy is the impression so often given to school children that science is a mechanistic activity subject to algorithmic description.
In 'Physics and the APS in 1979', Physics Today (Apr 1980), 33, No. 4, 50.
Science quotes on:  |  Activity (210)  |  Algorithm (5)  |  Apply (160)  |  Beautiful (258)  |  Beauty (299)  |  Children (200)  |  Constitute (97)  |  Determine (144)  |  Doing (280)  |  Illiteracy (7)  |  Impression (114)  |  Indeed (324)  |  Know (1518)  |  Knowledge (1529)  |  Most (1731)  |  Physic (517)  |  Physical (508)  |  Physics (533)  |  Practice (204)  |  School (219)  |  Science (3879)  |  Scientific (941)  |  Simple (406)  |  Subject (521)  |  Symptom (34)  |  Test (211)  |  Thing (1915)  |  Use (766)

Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Life (1795)  |  Live (628)  |  Other (2236)

People are not going to care about animal conservation unless they think that animals are worthwhile.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Animal (617)  |  Care (186)  |  Conservation (168)  |  People (1005)  |  Think (1086)

Science can be thought of as a large pool of knowledge, fed by a steady flow from the tap of basic research. Every now and then the water is dipped out and put to use, but one never knows which part of the water will be needed. This confuses the funding situation for basic science, because usually no specific piece of scientific work can be justified in advance; one cannot know which is going to be decisive. Yet history shows that keeping water flowing into the pool is a very worthwhile enterprise.
In 'Technology Development', Science (1983), 220, 576-580. As quoted and cited in H. Charles Romesburg, Best Research Practices (2009), 213.
Science quotes on:  |  Advance (280)  |  Basic (138)  |  Basic Research (14)  |  Confuse (19)  |  Decisive (25)  |  Enterprise (54)  |  Flow (83)  |  Fund (18)  |  Funding (19)  |  History (673)  |  Justify (24)  |  Know (1518)  |  Knowledge (1529)  |  Large (394)  |  Need (290)  |  Never (1087)  |  Piece (38)  |  Research (664)  |  Science (3879)  |  Scientific (941)  |  Show (346)  |  Situation (113)  |  Specific (95)  |  Steady (44)  |  Tap (10)  |  Thought (953)  |  Use (766)  |  Usually (176)  |  Water (481)  |  Will (2355)  |  Work (1351)

Some people have remarked that if the surface of the moon were covered with diamonds, it would hardly be worthwhile bringing them back.
In interview, Rushworth M. Kidder, 'Grounded in Space Science', Christian Science Monitor (22 Dec 1989).
Science quotes on:  |  Back (390)  |  Covered (5)  |  Diamond (21)  |  Moon (237)  |  People (1005)  |  Quip (80)  |  Surface (209)

The hybridoma technology was a by-product of basic research. Its success in practical applications is to a large extent the result of unexpected and unpredictable properties of the method. It thus represents another clear-cut example of the enormous practical impact of an investment in research which might not have been considered commercially worthwhile, or of immediate medical relevance. It resulted from esoteric speculations, for curiosity’s sake, only motivated by a desire to understand nature.
From Nobel Lecture (8 Dec 1984), collected in Tore Frängsmyr and Jan Lindsten (eds.), Nobel Lectures in Physiology Or Medicine: 1981-1990 (1993), 267-268.
Science quotes on:  |   (2863)  |  Application (242)  |  Basic (138)  |  Basic Research (14)  |  By-Product (7)  |  Clear-Cut (10)  |  Commercial (26)  |  Consider (416)  |  Curiosity (128)  |  Cut (114)  |  Desire (204)  |  Enormous (41)  |  Esoteric (3)  |  Example (94)  |  Extent (139)  |  Hybridoma (2)  |  Immediate (95)  |  Impact (42)  |  Investment (13)  |  Large (394)  |  Medical (26)  |  Method (505)  |  Motivated (14)  |  Motivation (27)  |  Nature (1926)  |  Practical (200)  |  Product (160)  |  Property (168)  |  Relevance (16)  |  Represent (155)  |  Research (664)  |  Result (677)  |  Sake (58)  |  Speculation (126)  |  Success (302)  |  Technology (257)  |  Understand (606)  |  Understanding (513)  |  Unexpected (52)  |  Unpredictable (17)

The more experiences and experiments accumulate in the exploration of nature, the more precarious the theories become. But it is not always good to discard them immediately on this account. For every hypothesis which once was sound was useful for thinking of previous phenomena in the proper interrelations and for keeping them in context. We ought to set down contradictory experiences separately, until enough have accumulated to make building a new structure worthwhile.
Lichtenberg: Aphorisms & Letters (1969), 61.
Science quotes on:  |  Account (192)  |  Accumulation (50)  |  Become (815)  |  Building (156)  |  Context (29)  |  Contradiction (68)  |  Discard (29)  |  Down (456)  |  Enough (340)  |  Experience (467)  |  Experiment (695)  |  Exploration (134)  |  Good (889)  |  Hypothesis (296)  |  Immediately (114)  |  Interrelation (8)  |  More (2559)  |  Nature (1926)  |  New (1216)  |  Phenomenon (318)  |  Precarious (5)  |  Proper (144)  |  Set (394)  |  Sound (183)  |  Structure (344)  |  Theory (970)  |  Thinking (414)  |  Useful (250)  |  Usefulness (86)

Unfortunately what is little recognized is that the most worthwhile scientific books are those in which the author clearly indicates what he does not know; for an author most hurts his readers by concealing difficulties.
As quoted in Nicholas J. Rose, Mathematical Maxims and Minims (1988). Also used as an epigraph without citation in Morris Kline, Mathematical Thought From Ancient to Modern Times (1990), Vol. 2, 752. If you know the primary source, perhaps in French, please contact Webmaster.
Science quotes on:  |  Author (167)  |  Book (392)  |  Concealment (10)  |  Difficulty (196)  |  Hurt (12)  |  Indicate (61)  |  Know (1518)  |  Knowledge (1529)  |  Little (707)  |  Most (1731)  |  Reader (40)  |  Recognition (88)  |  Scientific (941)  |  Unfortunately (38)

[Misquotation? Probably not by Einstein.] We owe a lot to the Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made.
Webmaster doubts that this is a true Albert Einstein quote, having been unable to find it in any major collection of quotations (although it is seen widely quoted) and has been unable to find any source or citation elsewhere. The quote seems of the notable kind that, were it valid, it would have surely have been included in a major collection of Einstein quotes. Nor has it been found attributed to someone else. So, since it is impossible to prove a negative, Webmaster can only caution anyone using this quote that it seems to be an orphan. To provide this warning is the reason it is included here. Neither can it be found attributed to someone else. Otherwise, remember the words of Studs Terkel: “I like quoting Einstein. Know why? Because nobody dares contradict you.” in ‘Voice of America’, The Guardian (1 Mar 2002). If you have knowledge of a primary source, please contact the Webmaster.
Science quotes on:  |  Count (105)  |  Discovery (780)  |  Einstein (101)  |  India (16)  |  Indian (27)  |  Lot (151)  |  Misattributed (19)  |  Misquotation (4)  |  Owe (71)  |  Scientific (941)


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.