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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index T > John Tyndall Quotes > Phenomenon

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John Tyndall
(2 Aug 1820 - 4 Dec 1893)

Irish physicist who demonstrated why the sky is blue. He wrote on diverse topics, including crystals, glaciers and radiation. His studies also included spontaneous generation, the germ theory of disease and ozone.


John Tyndall Quotes on Phenomenon (6 quotes)

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A few days ago, a Master of Arts, who is still a young man, and therefore the recipient of a modern education, stated to me that until he had reached the age of twenty he had never been taught anything whatever regarding natural phenomena, or natural law. Twelve years of his life previously had been spent exclusively amongst the ancients. The case, I regret to say, is typical. Now we cannot, without prejudice to humanity, separate the present from the past.
— John Tyndall
'On the Study of Physics', From a Lecture delivered in the Royal Institution of Great Britain in the Spring of 1854. Fragments of Science for Unscientific People: A Series of Detached Essays, Lectures, and Reviews (1892), Vol. 1, 284-5.
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In our day grand generalizations have been reached. The theory of the origin of species is but one of them. Another, of still wider grasp and more radical significance, is the doctrine of the Conservation of Energy, the ultimate philosophical issues of which are as yet but dimly seem-that doctrine which “binds nature fast in fate” to an extent not hitherto recognized, exacting from every antecedent its equivalent consequent, and bringing vital as well as physical phenomena under the dominion of that law of causal connexion which, so far as the human understanding has yet pierced, asserts itself everywhere in nature.
— John Tyndall
'Address Delivered Before The British Association Assembled at Belfast', (19 Aug 1874). Fragments of Science for Unscientific People: A Series of Detached Essays, Lectures, and Reviews (1892), Vol. 2, 1801.
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The law of conservation rigidly excludes both creation and annihilation. Waves may change to ripples, and ripples to waves,—magnitude may be substituted for number, and number for magnitude,—asteroids may aggregate to suns, suns may resolve themselves into florae and faunae, and florae and faunae melt in air,—the flux of power is eternally the same. It rolls in music through the ages, and all terrestrial energy,—the manifestations of life, as well as the display of phenomena, are but the modulations of its rhythm.
— John Tyndall
Conclusion to lecture 12 (10 Apr 1862) at the Royal Institution, collected in Heat Considered as a Mode of Motion: Being a Course of Twelve Lectures (1863), 449.
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The mind of man may be compared to a musical instrument with a certain range of notes, beyond which in both directions we have an infinitude of silence. The phenomena of matter and force lie within our intellectual range, and as far as they reach we will at all hazards push our inquiries. But behind, and above, and around all, the real mystery of this universe [Who made it all?] lies unsolved, and, as far as we are concerned, is incapable of solution.
— John Tyndall
In 'Matter and Force', Fragments of Science for Unscientific People (1871), 93.
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To Nature nothing can be added; from Nature nothing can be taken away; the sum of her energies is constant, and the utmost man can do in the pursuit of physical truth, or in the applications of physical knowledge, is to shift the constituents of the never-varying total. The law of conservation rigidly excludes both creation and annihilation. Waves may change to ripples, and ripples to waves; magnitude may be substituted for number, and number for magnitude; asteroids may aggregate to suns, suns may resolve themselves into florae and faunae, and floras and faunas melt in air: the flux of power is eternally the same. It rolls in music through the ages, and all terrestrial energy—the manifestations of life as well as the display of phenomena—are but the modulations of its rhythm.
— John Tyndall
Conclusion of Heat Considered as a Mode of Motion: Being a Course of Twelve Lectures Delivered at the Royal Institution of Great Britain in the Season of 1862 (1863), 449.
Science quotes on:  |  Add (40)  |  Age (499)  |  Aggregate (23)  |  Air (350)  |  All (4105)  |  Annihilation (14)  |  Application (246)  |  Asteroid (16)  |  Both (494)  |  Change (595)  |  Conservation (175)  |  Conservation Of Energy (29)  |  Constant (144)  |  Constituent (45)  |  Creation (332)  |  Display (56)  |  Do (1908)  |  Energy (346)  |  Eternally (3)  |  Exclude (7)  |  Fauna (13)  |  Flora (9)  |  Flux (21)  |  Knowledge (1548)  |  Law (896)  |  Life (1805)  |  Magnitude (84)  |  Man (2249)  |  Manifestation (58)  |  Melt (16)  |  Modulation (3)  |  Music (132)  |  Nature (1938)  |  Never (1087)  |  Nothing (972)  |  Number (702)  |  Phenomenon (320)  |  Physical (509)  |  Power (751)  |  Pursuit (123)  |  Resolve (41)  |  Rhythm (20)  |  Ripple (10)  |  Roll (40)  |  Same (157)  |  Shift (44)  |  Substitute (46)  |  Sum (102)  |  Sun (389)  |  Take Away (5)  |  Terrestrial (61)  |  Themselves (433)  |  Through (849)  |  Total (94)  |  Truth (1068)  |  Wave (107)

We can trace the development of a nervous system, and correlate with it the parallel phenomena of sensation and thought. We see with undoubting certainty that they go hand in hand. But we try to soar in a vacuum the moment we seek to comprehend the connexion between them … Man the object is separated by an impassable gulf from man the subject.
— John Tyndall
In 'Address Delivered Before The British Association Assembled at Belfast' (19 Aug 1874), in Fragments of Science for Unscientific People: A Series of Detached Essays, Lectures, and Reviews (1892), Vol. 2, 194-195.
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See also:
  • 2 Aug - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Tyndall's birth.
  • John Tyndall - context of quote “Fatal…to blink facts” - Medium image (500 x 250 px)
  • John Tyndall - context of quote “Fatal…to blink facts” - Large image (800 x 400 px)
  • John Tyndall - context of quote “The First Experiment a Child Makes” - Medium image (500 x 250 px)
  • John Tyndall - context of quote “The First Experiment a Child Makes” - Large image (800 x 400 px)
  • On Matter and Force - John Tyndall’s Lecture to general public at Dublin (1867).
  • A Vision of Modern Science: John Tyndall and the Role of the Scientist in Victorian Culture, by Ursula DeYoung. - book suggestion.

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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