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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index U > Harold C. Urey Quotes

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Harold C. Urey
(29 Apr 1893 - 5 Jan 1981)

American chemist who was awarded a Nobel Prize for Chemistry for his discovery of deuterium, the heavy form of hydrogen (1932). He was active in the development of the atomic bomb.


Science Quotes by Harold C. Urey (9 quotes)

Above all, I regret that scientific experiments—some of them mine—should have produced such a terrible weapon as the hydrogen bomb. Regret, with all my soul, but not guilt.
— Harold C. Urey
Quoted in 'Moon-Struck Scientist,' New York Times (27 Apr 1961), 42.
Science quotes on:  |  All (4108)  |  Experiment (695)  |  Guilt (14)  |  Hydrogen (75)  |  Hydrogen Bomb (16)  |  Mine (76)  |  Produced (187)  |  Regret (30)  |  Research (664)  |  Scientific (941)  |  Soul (226)  |  Terrible (38)  |  Weapon (92)

I am very unhappy to conclude that the hydrogen bomb should be developed and built.
— Harold C. Urey
In 'Should America Build the H-Bomb', Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (Mar 1950), 73.
Science quotes on:  |  Build (204)  |  Conclude (65)  |  Develop (268)  |  Hydrogen (75)  |  Hydrogen Bomb (16)  |  Nuclear Weapon (17)  |  Unhappy (16)

I looked for it [heavy hydrogen, deuterium] because I thought it should exist. I didn't know it would have industrial applications or be the basic for the most powerful weapon ever known [the nuclear bomb] … I thought maybe my discovery might have the practical value of, say, neon in neon signs.
[He was awarded the 1931 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for discovering deuterium.]
— Harold C. Urey
Quoted in 'Moon-Struck Scientist,' New York Times (27 Apr 1961), 42.
Science quotes on:  |  Application (242)  |  Award (13)  |  Basic (138)  |  Chemistry (353)  |  Discovery (780)  |  Exist (443)  |  Hydrogen (75)  |  Know (1518)  |  Known (454)  |  Look (582)  |  Most (1731)  |  Neon (4)  |  Nobel Prize (40)  |  Nuclear (107)  |  Nuclear Weapon (17)  |  Powerful (139)  |  Practical (200)  |  Research (664)  |  Say (984)  |  Thought (953)  |  Usefulness (86)  |  Value (365)  |  Weapon (92)

If God didn't create life this way, He certainly missed a good bet.
— Harold C. Urey
Remark he made after experiments simulating electric discharges in the primitive atmosphere of the earth produced amino acids molecules (the first step- toward life). As quoted by Carl Sagan in Henry S.F. Cooper Jr., 'A Resonance with Something Alive', collected in Carl Sagan and Tom Head (ed.), Conversations with Carl Sagan (2006), 30. Reprinted from The Search for Life on Mars (1979).
Science quotes on:  |  Bet (12)  |  Certainly (185)  |  Create (235)  |  God (757)  |  Good (889)  |  Life (1795)  |  Miss (51)  |  Way (1217)

Life is not a miracle. It is a natural phenomenon, and can be expected to appear whenever there is a planet whose conditions duplicate those of the earth.
[Stating his belief that planets supporting life cannot be rare.]
— Harold C. Urey
Lecture at New York Academy of Medicine. Quoted in article, 'Life Begins,' Time (24 Nov 1952).
Science quotes on:  |  Belief (578)  |  Condition (356)  |  Duplicate (8)  |  Earth (996)  |  Expect (200)  |  Extraterrestrial Life (20)  |  Life (1795)  |  Miracle (83)  |  Natural (796)  |  Phenomenon (318)  |  Planet (356)  |  Rare (89)  |  Whenever (81)

Most scientists think wars and national boundaries are a menace to the true creative spirit by which science must live, they hate war and they are terrified of atomic war—because they know its possibilities.
— Harold C. Urey
As quoted in Michael Amrine, 'I’m A Frightened Man', Collier’s (1946), 117, 51.
Science quotes on:  |  Atomic War (2)  |  Boundary (51)  |  Creative (137)  |  Hate (64)  |  Know (1518)  |  Live (628)  |  Menace (5)  |  Most (1731)  |  Must (1526)  |  National (26)  |  Possibility (164)  |  Science (3879)  |  Scientist (820)  |  Spirit (265)  |  Terrified (4)  |  Think (1086)  |  True (212)  |  War (225)

You cannot become a nuclear physicist capable of real work in the field merely by studying alone in a library, any more than you can become a Jesuit without a certain number of years spent in company with Jesuit scholars. This, and the fact that scientists are among the most international-minded of men, may well be the most important factor in our survival.
— Harold C. Urey
As quoted in Michael Amrine, 'I’m A Frightened Man', Collier’s (1946), 117, 51.
Science quotes on:  |  Alone (311)  |  Become (815)  |  Capable (168)  |  Certain (550)  |  Company (59)  |  Fact (1210)  |  Factor (46)  |  Field (364)  |  Important (209)  |  International (37)  |  Jesuit (2)  |  Library (48)  |  Merely (316)  |  Mind (1338)  |  More (2559)  |  Most (1731)  |  Nuclear (107)  |  Nuclear Physicist (5)  |  Number (699)  |  Physicist (259)  |  Real (149)  |  Scholar (48)  |  Scientist (820)  |  Spent (85)  |  Study (653)  |  Studying (70)  |  Survival (94)  |  Work (1351)  |  Year (933)

[My study of the universe] leaves little doubt that life has occurred on other planets. I doubt if the human race is the most intelligent form of life.
— Harold C. Urey
Speech to University of Miami students. Quoted in article, 'Notions in Motion,' Time (24 Nov 1952).
Science quotes on:  |  Doubt (304)  |  Extraterrestrial Life (20)  |  Form (959)  |  Human (1468)  |  Human Race (100)  |  Intelligence (211)  |  Intelligent (100)  |  Life (1795)  |  Little (707)  |  Most (1731)  |  Other (2236)  |  Planet (356)  |  Race (268)  |  Study (653)  |  Universe (857)

[Pure research] is worth every penny it costs.
— Harold C. Urey
Quoted in 'Moon-Struck Scientist,' New York Times (27 Apr 1961), 42.
Science quotes on:  |  Cost (86)  |  Pure (291)  |  Research (664)  |  Worth (169)


See also:
  • 29 Apr - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Urey'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
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)

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