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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index S > Theobald Smith Quotes

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Theobald Smith
(31 Jul 1859 - 10 Dec 1934)

American pathologist and microbiologist.


Science Quotes by Theobald Smith (12 quotes)

Controlled research … endeavors to pick out of the web of nature’s activities some single strand and trace it towards its origin and its terminus and determine its relation to other strands.
— Theobald Smith
In 'The Influence of Research in Bringing into Closer Relationship the Practice of Medicine and Public Health Activities', American Journal of Medical Sciences (Dec 1929), No. 178.
Science quotes on:  |  Activity (210)  |  Controlled (3)  |  Determine (144)  |  End (590)  |  Endeavor (67)  |  Nature (1926)  |  Origin (239)  |  Other (2236)  |  Relation (157)  |  Research (664)  |  Single (353)  |  Strand (9)  |  Trace (103)  |  Web (16)

In general, a fact is worth more than theories in the long run. The theory stimulates, but the fact builds. The former in due time is replaced by one better but the fact remains and becomes fertile.
— Theobald Smith
Letter to Dr. E. B. Krumhaar (11 Oct 1933), in Journal of Bacteriology (Jan 1934), 27, No. 1, 20.
Science quotes on:  |  Become (815)  |  Better (486)  |  Build (204)  |  Building (156)  |  Due (141)  |  Fact (1210)  |  Fertile (29)  |  Fertility (19)  |  Former (137)  |  General (511)  |  Long (790)  |  More (2559)  |  Remain (349)  |  Remaining (45)  |  Replacement (12)  |  Run (174)  |  Stimulation (16)  |  Theory (970)  |  Time (1877)  |  Worth (169)

It is incumbent upon us to keep training and pruning the tree of knowledge without looking to the right or the left.
— Theobald Smith
From United States Bureau of Animal Industry, 'Investigations of Diseases of Domesticated Animals', Annual Report: Fiscal Years 1895 and 1896 (1897), Vol. 12, 150.
Science quotes on:  |  Knowledge (1529)  |  Left (13)  |  Looking (189)  |  Prune (7)  |  Pruning (7)  |  Right (452)  |  Train (114)  |  Training (80)  |  Tree (246)  |  Tree Of Knowledge (8)

It is the care we bestow on apparently trifling, unattractive detail and very troublesome minutiae which determines the result.
— Theobald Smith
As quoted in William Bulloch, Obituary, 'Theobald Smith', Journal of Pathology and Bacteriology (May 1935), 40, No. 3, 621-625.
Science quotes on:  |  Bestow (18)  |  Care (186)  |  Detail (146)  |  Determine (144)  |  Experiment (695)  |  Minutiae (7)  |  Observation (555)  |  Research (664)  |  Result (677)  |  Trifle (15)  |  Troublesome (7)  |  Unattractive (3)

More and more of out colleagues fail to understand our work because of the high specialization of research problems. We must not be discouraged if the products of our labor are not read or even known to exist. The joy of research must be found in doing since every other harvest is uncertain.
— Theobald Smith
Letter to Dr. E. B. Krumhaar (11 Oct 1933), in Journal of Bacteriology (Jan 1934), 27, No. 1, 20.
Science quotes on:  |  Colleague (50)  |  Discouragement (8)  |  Doing (280)  |  Exist (443)  |  Existence (456)  |  Fail (185)  |  Failure (161)  |  Harvest (27)  |  High (362)  |  Joy (107)  |  Known (454)  |  Labor (107)  |  More (2559)  |  Must (1526)  |  Other (2236)  |  Problem (676)  |  Product (160)  |  Read (287)  |  Reading (133)  |  Research (664)  |  Specialization (23)  |  Uncertain (44)  |  Uncertainty (56)  |  Understand (606)  |  Understanding (513)  |  Work (1351)

No research will answer all queries that the future may raise. It is wiser to praise the work for what it has accomplished and then to formulate the problems still to be solved.
— Theobald Smith
Letter to Dr. E. B. Krumhaar (11 Oct 1933), in Journal of Bacteriology (Jan 1934), 27, No. 1, 19.
Science quotes on:  |  Accomplishment (93)  |  All (4108)  |  Answer (366)  |  Formulation (36)  |  Future (429)  |  Praise (26)  |  Problem (676)  |  Query (4)  |  Raise (35)  |  Research (664)  |  Solution (267)  |  Still (613)  |  Will (2355)  |  Wisdom (221)  |  Work (1351)

Research cannot be forced very much. There is always danger of too much foliage and too little fruit.
— Theobald Smith
Letter to Professor Simon H. Gage. Quoted in Paul Franklin Clark, 'Theobald Smith, Student of Disease (1859-1934)', Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences (1959), 14, 492.
Science quotes on:  |  Danger (115)  |  Foliage (5)  |  Force (487)  |  Fruit (102)  |  Little (707)  |  Research (664)

Research has deserted the individual and entered the group. The individual worker find the problem too large, not too difficult. He must learn to work with others.
— Theobald Smith
Letter to Dr. E. B. Krumhaar (11 Oct 1933), in Journal of Bacteriology (Jan 1934), 27, No. 1, 20.
Science quotes on:  |  Desert (56)  |  Difficult (246)  |  Difficulty (196)  |  Enter (141)  |  Find (998)  |  Group (78)  |  Individual (404)  |  Large (394)  |  Learn (629)  |  Learning (274)  |  Must (1526)  |  Other (2236)  |  Problem (676)  |  Research (664)  |  Researcher (33)  |  Work (1351)  |  Worker (31)  |  Working (20)

Research is fundamentally a state of mind involving continual re­examination of doctrines and axioms upon which current thought and action are based. It is, therefore, critical of existing practices.
— Theobald Smith
In 'The Influence of Research in Bringing into Closer Relationship the Practice of Medicine and Public Health Activities', American Journal of Medical Sciences (Dec 1929), No. 178. As cited in Bill Swainson (ed.), The Encarta Book of Quotations (2000), 885.
Science quotes on:  |  Action (327)  |  Axiom (63)  |  Continual (43)  |  Critical (66)  |  Current (118)  |  Doctrine (75)  |  Examination (98)  |  Existing (10)  |  Fundamental (250)  |  Mind (1338)  |  Practice (204)  |  Research (664)  |  State (491)  |  State Of Mind (4)  |  Thought (953)

The universality of parasitism as an offshoot of the predatory habit negatives the position taken by man that it is a pathological phenomenon or a deviation from the normal processes of nature. The pathological manifestations are only incidents in a developing parasitism. As human beings intent on maintaining man's domination over nature we may regard parasitism as pathological insofar as it becomes a drain upon human resources. In our efforts to protect ourselves we may make every kind of sacrifice to limit, reduce, and even eliminate parasitism as a factor in human life. Science attempts to define the terms on which this policy of elimination may or may not succeed. We must first of all thoroughly understand the problem, put ourselves in possession of all the facts in order to estimate the cost. Too often it has been assumed that parasitism was abnormal and that it needed only a slight force to reestablish what was believed to be a normal equilibrium without parasitism. On the contrary, biology teaches us that parasitism is a normal phenomenon and if we accept this view we shall be more ready to pay the price of freedom as a permanent and ever recurring levy of nature for immunity from a condition to which all life is subject. The greatest victory of man over nature in the physical realm would undoubtedly be his own delivery from the heavy encumbrance of parasitism with which all life is burdened.
— Theobald Smith
Parasitism and Disease (1934), 4.
Science quotes on:  |  Abnormality (2)  |  Accept (191)  |  All (4108)  |  Assumption (92)  |  Attempt (251)  |  Become (815)  |  Being (1278)  |  Biology (216)  |  Burden (27)  |  Condition (356)  |  Contrary (141)  |  Cost (86)  |  Development (422)  |  Deviation (17)  |  Domination (12)  |  Drain (11)  |  Effort (227)  |  Elimination (25)  |  Encumbrance (5)  |  Equilibrium (33)  |  Estimate (57)  |  Fact (1210)  |  Facts (553)  |  First (1283)  |  Force (487)  |  Freedom (129)  |  Greatest (328)  |  Habit (168)  |  Human (1468)  |  Human Being (175)  |  Human Beings (117)  |  Immunity (8)  |  Incident (4)  |  Kind (557)  |  Life (1795)  |  Limit (280)  |  Limitation (47)  |  Maintenance (20)  |  Man (2251)  |  Manifestation (58)  |  More (2559)  |  Must (1526)  |  Nature (1926)  |  Negative (63)  |  Order (632)  |  Ourselves (245)  |  Pathological (21)  |  Pathology (18)  |  Permanent (64)  |  Phenomenon (318)  |  Physical (508)  |  Policy (24)  |  Possession (65)  |  Predator (6)  |  Price (51)  |  Problem (676)  |  Process (423)  |  Protect (58)  |  Protection (36)  |  Realm (85)  |  Recurring (12)  |  Reduce (94)  |  Reduction (51)  |  Regard (305)  |  Resource (63)  |  Sacrifice (50)  |  Science (3879)  |  Subject (521)  |  Succeed (109)  |  Term (349)  |  Terms (184)  |  Thoroughly (67)  |  Understand (606)  |  Understanding (513)  |  Universality (22)  |  Victory (39)  |  View (488)

While the nature of Texas fever is by no means made clear as yet, we are able to affirm that ticks can produce it. Whether the disease can be transmitted by any other agency must be decided by future investigations. Meanwhile the evidence accumulated thus far seems to favor very strongly the dictum: No ticks, no Texas fever.
— Theobald Smith
'Investigations of the Infectious Diseases of Animals', in Report of the Bureau of Animal Industry (1889-90), 98.
Science quotes on:  |  Agency (14)  |  Decision (91)  |  Dictum (9)  |  Disease (328)  |  Evidence (248)  |  Favor (63)  |  Fever (29)  |  Future (429)  |  Investigation (230)  |  Mean (809)  |  Means (579)  |  Must (1526)  |  Nature (1926)  |  Other (2236)  |  Production (183)  |  Tick (9)  |  Transmission (34)

[D]iscovery should come as an adventure rather than as the result of a logical process of thought. Sharp, prolonged thinking is necessary that we may keep on the chosen road but it does not itself necessarily lead to discovery. The investigator must be ready and on the spot when the light comes from whatever direction.
— Theobald Smith
Letter to Dr. E. B. Krumhaar (11 Oct 1933), in Journal of Bacteriology (Jan 1934), 27, No. 1, 19.
Science quotes on:  |  Adventure (56)  |  Choice (110)  |  Chosen (48)  |  Direction (175)  |  Discovery (780)  |  Investigator (67)  |  Lead (384)  |  Leading (17)  |  Light (607)  |  Logic (287)  |  Must (1526)  |  Necessarily (135)  |  Necessary (363)  |  Necessity (191)  |  Process (423)  |  Prolong (29)  |  Prolonged (6)  |  Readiness (9)  |  Result (677)  |  Sharp (14)  |  Thinking (414)  |  Thought (953)  |  Whatever (234)


See also:
  • 31 Jul - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Smith's birth.

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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