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Who said: “As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.”
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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index W > Sir Robert Alexander Watson-Watt Quotes

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Sir Robert Alexander Watson-Watt
(13 Apr 1892 - 5 Dec 1973)

Scottish physicist.


Science Quotes by Sir Robert Alexander Watson-Watt (5 quotes)

Give me the third best technology. The second best won’t be ready in time. The best will never be ready.
— Sir Robert Alexander Watson-Watt
As quoted in a speech by an unnamed executive of General Electric, excerpted in Richard Dowis, The Lost Art of the Great Speech: How to Write It, How to Deliver It (2000), 150. By
Science quotes on:  |  Best (129)  |  Ready (16)  |  Second (33)  |  Technology (199)  |  Third (11)  |  Time (439)

The three most effective incentives to human action may be … classified as creed, greed and dread. … In examining the scientist it is perhaps worth while to examine how far he is moved by these three incentives. I think that, rather peculiarly and rather exceptionally, he is very little moved by dread. … He is in fact essentially a person who has been taught he must be fearless in his dealing with facts.
— Sir Robert Alexander Watson-Watt
'Scientist and Citizen', Speech to the Empire Club of Canada (29 Jan 1948), The Empire Club of Canada Speeches (29 Jan 1948), 209-221.
Science quotes on:  |  Action (151)  |  Classification (79)  |  Creed (10)  |  Dread (10)  |  Effectiveness (10)  |  Fact (609)  |  Fearless (5)  |  Greed (5)  |  Human (445)  |  Incentive (6)

There are few humanities that could surpass in discipline, in beauty, in emotional and aesthetic satisfaction, those humanities which are called mathematics, and the natural sciences.
— Sir Robert Alexander Watson-Watt
'Scientist and Citizen', Speech to the Empire Club of Canada (29 Jan 1948), The Empire Club of Canada Speeches (29 Jan 1948), 209-221.
Science quotes on:  |  Beauty (171)  |  Discipline (38)  |  Emotion (62)  |  Humanities (14)  |  Mathematics (587)  |  Natural Science (62)  |  Satisfaction (48)  |  Science And Art (157)  |  Surpassing (7)

There is a great deal of emotional satisfaction in the elegant demonstration, in the elegant ordering of facts into theories, and in the still more satisfactory, still more emotionally exciting discovery that the theory is not quite right and has to be worked over again, very much as any other work of art—a painting, a sculpture has to be worked over in the interests of aesthetic perfection. So there is no scientist who is not to some extent worthy of being described as artist or poet.
— Sir Robert Alexander Watson-Watt
'Scientist and Citizen', Speech to the Empire Club of Canada (29 Jan 1948), The Empire Club of Canada Speeches (29 Jan 1948), 209-221.
Science quotes on:  |  Aesthetic (26)  |  Artist (46)  |  Demonstration (51)  |  Discovery (591)  |  Elegance (20)  |  Emotion (62)  |  Excitement (33)  |  Fact (609)  |  Order (167)  |  Painting (24)  |  Perfection (71)  |  Poet (59)  |  Right (144)  |  Satisfaction (48)  |  Science And Art (157)  |  Sculpture (8)  |  Theory (582)  |  Work (457)

[The scientist] believes passionately in facts, in measured facts. He believes there are no bad facts, that all facts are good facts, though they may be facts about bad things, and his intellectual satisfaction can come only from the acquisition of accurately known facts, from their organization into a body of knowledge, in which the inter-relationship of the measured facts is the dominant consideration.
— Sir Robert Alexander Watson-Watt
'Scientist and Citizen', Speech to the Empire Club of Canada (29 Jan 1948), The Empire Club of Canada Speeches (29 Jan 1948), 209-221.
Science quotes on:  |  Accuracy (52)  |  Acquisition (32)  |  Bad (78)  |  Belief (400)  |  Consideration (65)  |  Dominance (5)  |  Fact (609)  |  Good (228)  |  Intellect (157)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Measurement (148)  |  Organization (79)  |  Passion (54)  |  Relationship (59)  |  Satisfaction (48)


See also:
  • 13 Apr - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Watson-Watt's birth.
  • The Radar Man: The Story of Sir Robert Watson-Watt, by John Rowland. - 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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