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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index S > George (Alfred Léon) Sarton Quotes

George (Alfred Léon) Sarton
(31 Aug 1884 - 22 Mar 1956)

Belgian-American science historian who established the discipline in the U.S. His major work was the several volumes of Introduction to the History of Science (1927-47).

Science Quotes by George (Alfred Léon) Sarton (11 quotes)

Abstract as it is, science is but an outgrowth of life. That is what the teacher must continually keep in mind. … Let him explain … science is not a dead system—the excretion of a monstrous pedantism—but really one of the most vigorous and exuberant phases of human life.
— George (Alfred Léon) Sarton
In 'The Teaching of the History of Science', The Scientific Monthly (Sep 1918), 195-196.
Science quotes on:  |  Abstract (43)  |  Continually (14)  |  Dead (45)  |  Excretion (4)  |  Explain (61)  |  Human (445)  |  Life (917)  |  Monstrous (7)  |  Outgrowth (3)  |  Phase (14)  |  Science (1699)  |  System (141)  |  Teacher (90)  |  Vigorous (11)

Each new scientific development is due to the pressure of some social need. Of course … insatiable curiosity … is still nothing but a response either to an old problem of nature, or to one arising from new social circumstances.
— George (Alfred Léon) Sarton
In 'The Teaching of the History of Science', The Scientific Monthly (Sep 1918), 194.
Science quotes on:  |  Arising (3)  |  Circumstance (48)  |  Curiosity (89)  |  Development (228)  |  Insatiable (4)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Need (211)  |  New (340)  |  Old (104)  |  Pressure (31)  |  Problem (362)  |  Response (24)  |  Scientific (169)  |  Social (93)

It would be foolish to give credit to Euclid for pangeometrical conceptions; the idea of geometry deifferent from the common-sense one never occurred to his mind. Yet, when he stated the fifth postulate, he stood at the parting of the ways. His subconscious prescience is astounding. There is nothing comperable to it in the whole history of science.
— George (Alfred Léon) Sarton
Ancient Science And Modern Civilization (1954, 1959), 28. In George Edward Martin, The Foundations of Geometry and the Non-Euclidean Plane (1982), 130.
Science quotes on:  |  Common Sense (69)  |  Conception (63)  |  Euclid (28)  |  Postulate (23)  |  Prescience (2)

No history of civilization can be tolerably complete which does not give considerable space to the explanation of scientific progress. If we had any doubts about this, it would suffice to ask ourselves what constitutes the essential difference between our and earlier civilizations. Throughout the course of history, in every period, and in almost every country, we find a small number of saints, of great artists, of men of science. The saints of to-day are not necessarily more saintly than those of a thousand years ago; our artists are not necessarily greater than those of early Greece; they are more likely to be inferior; and of course, our men of science are not necessarily more intelligent than those of old; yet one thing is certain, their knowledge is at once more extensive and more accurate. The acquisition and systematization of positive knowledge is the only human activity which is truly cumulative and progressive. Our civilization is essentially different from earlier ones, because our knowledge of the world and of ourselves is deeper, more precise, and more certain, because we have gradually learned to disentangle the forces of nature, and because we have contrived, by strict obedience to their laws, to capture them and to divert them to the gratification of our own needs.
— George (Alfred Léon) Sarton
Introduction to the History of Science (1927), Vol. 1, 3-4.
Science quotes on:  |  Accurate (21)  |  Acquisition (32)  |  Activity (97)  |  Capture (8)  |  Certainty (97)  |  Civilization (155)  |  Completion (15)  |  Country (121)  |  Cumulative (8)  |  Difference (208)  |  Disentangle (3)  |  Doubt (121)  |  Essential (87)  |  Explanation (161)  |  Extensive (10)  |  Gratification (14)  |  Greece (7)  |  History (302)  |  Human (445)  |  Intelligence (138)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Law (418)  |  Men Of Science (97)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Need (211)  |  Obedience (15)  |  Precision (38)  |  Progress (317)  |  Saint (10)  |  Scientific Progress (12)

One of the petty ideas of philosophers is to elaborate a classification, a hierarchy of sciences. They all try it, and they are generally so fond of their favorite scheme that they are prone to attach an absurd importance to it. We must not let ourselves be misled by this. Classifications are always artificial; none more than this, however. There is nothing of value to get out of a classification of science; it dissembles more beauty and order than it can possibly reveal.
— George (Alfred Léon) Sarton
In 'The Teaching of the History of Science', The Scientific Monthly (Sep 1918), 194.
Science quotes on:  |  Absurd (20)  |  Artificial (26)  |  Beauty (171)  |  Classification (79)  |  Elaborate (13)  |  Favorite (18)  |  Fondness (7)  |  Hierarchy (11)  |  Idea (440)  |  Importance (183)  |  Nothing (267)  |  Petty (5)  |  Philosopher (132)  |  Reveal (32)  |  Scheme (20)  |  Science (1699)  |  Value (180)

The chief requisite for the making of a good chicken pie is chicken; nay, no amount of culinary legerdemain can make up for the lack of chicken. In the same way, the chief requisite for the history of science is intimate scientific knowledge; no amount of philosophic legerdemain can make up for its absence.
— George (Alfred Léon) Sarton
In 'The Teaching of the History of Science', The Scientific Monthly (Sep 1918), 194.
Science quotes on:  |  Absence (16)  |  Chicken (6)  |  History Of Science (53)  |  Intimate (11)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Lack (52)  |  Legerdemain (2)  |  Philosophic (3)  |  Pie (3)  |  Requisite (6)  |  Scientific (169)

The development of mathematics is largely a natural, not a purely logical one: mathematicians are continually answering questions suggested by astronomers or physicists; many essential mathematical theories are but the reflex outgrowth from physical puzzles.
— George (Alfred Léon) Sarton
In 'The Teaching of the History of Science', The Scientific Monthly (Sep 1918), 194.
Science quotes on:  |  Answer (201)  |  Astronomer (50)  |  Continually (14)  |  Development (228)  |  Essential (87)  |  Logical (20)  |  Mathematician (177)  |  Mathematics (587)  |  Natural (128)  |  Outgrowth (3)  |  Physical (94)  |  Physicist (130)  |  Puzzle (30)  |  Question (315)  |  Reflex (9)  |  Theory (582)

The history of science is the history of mankind’s unity, of its sublime purpose, of its gradual redemption.
— George (Alfred Léon) Sarton
In Introduction to the History of Science (1927), Vol. 1, 32.
Science quotes on:  |  Gradual (18)  |  History Of Science (53)  |  Mankind (196)  |  Purpose (138)  |  Redemption (3)  |  Sublime (18)  |  Unity (43)

The most ominous conflict of our time is the difference of opinion, of outlook, between men of letters, historians, philosophers, the so-called humanists, on the one side and scientists on the other. The gap cannot but increase because of the intolerance of both and the fact that science is growing by leaps and bounds.
— George (Alfred Léon) Sarton
The History of Science and the New Humanism (1931), 69.Omnious;Conflict;Difference;Opinion;Outlook;Men OfLetters;Historian;Philosopher;Humanist;So-Called;Scientist;Gap;Intolerance;Fact;Growth;Leap;Bound
Science quotes on:  |  Bound (12)  |  Conflict (49)  |  Difference (208)  |  Fact (609)  |  Gap (20)  |  Growth (111)  |  Historian (30)  |  Humanist (4)  |  Increase (107)  |  Intolerance (7)  |  Leap (23)  |  Man Of Letters (2)  |  Ominous (3)  |  Opinion (146)  |  Outlook (12)  |  Philosopher (132)  |  Scientist (447)  |  Side (36)  |  So-Called (18)

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.
— George (Alfred Léon) Sarton
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)  |  Purpose (138)  |  Remains (9)  |  Scientific (169)

There are but few saints among scientists, as among other men, but truth itself is a goal comparable to sanctity. As the Pythagoreans had already understood it more than twenty-four centuries ago, there is sanctity in pure knowledge, as there is in pure beauty, and the disinterested quest of truth is perhaps the greatest purification.
— George (Alfred Léon) Sarton
In The History of Science and the New Humanism (1987), 46-47.
Science quotes on:  |  Beauty (171)  |  Goal (81)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Purification (6)  |  Quest (24)  |  Saint (10)  |  Scientist (447)  |  Truth (750)


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 Einstein • Isaac Newton • Lord Kelvin • Charles Darwin • Srinivasa Ramanujan • Carl Sagan • Florence Nightingale • Thomas Edison • Aristotle • Marie Curie • Benjamin Franklin • Winston Churchill • Galileo Galilei • Sigmund Freud • Robert Bunsen • Louis Pasteur • Theodore Roosevelt • Abraham Lincoln • Ronald Reagan • Leonardo DaVinci • Michio Kaku • Karl Popper • Johann Goethe • Robert Oppenheimer • Charles Kettering  ... (more people)

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- 100 -
Sophie Germain
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- 90 -
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- 80 -
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Bible
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- 70 -
Samuel Morse
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- 60 -
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Avicenna
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- 50 -
Stephen Hawking
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Nikola Tesla
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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
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Richard Feynman
James Hutton
Alexander Fleming
Emile Durkheim
Benjamin Franklin
Robert Oppenheimer
Robert Hooke
Charles Kettering
- 20 -
Carl Sagan
James Maxwell
Marie Curie
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Francis Bacon
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- 10 -
Aristotle
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Isaac Asimov
Charles Darwin
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