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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index T > Sir D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson Quotes

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Sir D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson
(2 May 1860 - 21 Jun 1948)

Scottish zoologist.


Science Quotes by Sir D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson (4 quotes)

Cell and tissue, shell and bone, leaf and flower, are so many portions of matter, and it is in obedience to the laws of physics that their particles have been moved, moulded and confirmed. They are no exception to the rule that God always geometrizes. Their problems of form are in the first instance mathematical problems, their problems of growth are essentially physical problems, and the morphologist is, ipso facto, a student of physical science.
— Sir D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson
On Growth and Form (1917), 7-8.
Science quotes on:  |  Bone (96)  |  Confirm (57)  |  Exception (73)  |  First (1284)  |  Flower (106)  |  Form (960)  |  God (758)  |  Growth (188)  |  Law (895)  |  Leaf (66)  |  Matter (801)  |  Obedience (19)  |  Particle (196)  |  Physic (516)  |  Physical (508)  |  Physical Science (101)  |  Physics (533)  |  Portion (84)  |  Problem (679)  |  Rule (295)  |  Science (3880)  |  Shell (64)  |  Student (301)  |  Tissue (45)

For the harmony of the world is made manifest in Form and Number, and the heart and soul and all the poetry of Natural Philosophy are embodied in the concept of mathematical beauty.
— Sir D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson
On Growth and Form (1917), Epilogue, 778-9.
Science quotes on:  |  All (4107)  |  Beauty (300)  |  Concept (221)  |  Form (960)  |  Harmony (102)  |  Heart (230)  |  Natural (796)  |  Natural Philosophy (52)  |  Number (701)  |  Philosophy (382)  |  Poetry (144)  |  Soul (227)  |  World (1778)

It behooves us always to remember that in physics it has taken great men to discover simple things. They are very great names indeed which we couple with the explanation of the path of a stone, the droop of a chain, the tints of a bubble, the shadows of a cup.
— Sir D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson
In On Growth and Form (1917).
Science quotes on:  |  Behoove (6)  |  Bubble (22)  |  Discover (553)  |  Explanation (234)  |  Great (1575)  |  Indeed (323)  |  Name (333)  |  Path (145)  |  Physic (516)  |  Physics (533)  |  Remember (179)  |  Shadow (72)  |  Simple (406)  |  Stone (162)  |  Thing (1915)

While we keep an open mind on this question of vitalism, or while we lean, as so many of us now do, or even cling with a great yearning, to the belief that something other than the physical forces animates the dust of which we are made, it is rather the business of the philosopher than of the biologist, or of the biologist only when he has served his humble and severe apprenticeship to philosophy, to deal with the ultimate problem. It is the plain bounden duty of the biologist to pursue his course unprejudiced by vitalistic hypotheses, along the road of observation and experiment, according to the accepted discipline of the natural and physical sciences. … It is an elementary scientific duty, it is a rule that Kant himself laid down, that we should explain, just as far as we possibly can, all that is capable of such explanation, in the light of the properties of matter and of the forms of energy with which we are already acquainted.
— Sir D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson
From Presidential Address to Zoological Section of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. As quoted in H.V. Neal, 'The Basis of Individuality in Organisms: A Defense of Vitalism', Science (21 Jul 1916), 44 N.S., No. 1125, 82.
Science quotes on:  |  Accept (192)  |  According (237)  |  All (4107)  |  Already (222)  |  Apprenticeship (4)  |  Belief (578)  |  Biologist (69)  |  Business (149)  |  Capable (168)  |  Course (408)  |  Deal (188)  |  Discipline (77)  |  Do (1908)  |  Down (455)  |  Dust (65)  |  Duty (68)  |  Elementary (96)  |  Energy (346)  |  Experiment (696)  |  Explain (322)  |  Explanation (234)  |  Force (488)  |  Form (960)  |  Great (1575)  |  Himself (461)  |  Humble (51)  |  Hypothesis (296)  |  Immanuel Kant (50)  |  Light (609)  |  Matter (801)  |  Mind (1339)  |  Natural (796)  |  Observation (560)  |  Open (274)  |  Other (2236)  |  Philosopher (259)  |  Philosophy (382)  |  Physical (508)  |  Physical Science (101)  |  Possibly (111)  |  Problem (679)  |  Properties Of Matter (7)  |  Property (169)  |  Pursue (58)  |  Question (622)  |  Rule (295)  |  Science (3880)  |  Scientific (940)  |  Scientific Method (176)  |  Something (719)  |  Ultimate (146)  |  Vitalism (5)  |  Yearning (12)


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  • 2 May - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Thompson'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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