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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index W > James West Quotes

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James West
(10 Feb 1931 - )

Black-American physicist, acoustical engineer and inventor who developed the electret transducer technology and applied it to invent the foil electret microphone. Because of the benefits of low-cost and a compact form, this type of microphone predominates in most devices.


Science Quotes by James West (11 quotes)

I discovered that Johns Hopkins [University] was a lot like Bell Labs, where the doors were always open and we were free to collaborate with researchers in other disciplines. I like the fact that I won’t be locked into one small niche here.
— James West
Quoted in Johns Hopkins University News Release (9 Jan 2003) after he retired from Bell Labs and joined the faculty in Fall 2002. On jh.edu web site.
Science quotes on:  |  Bell (35)  |  Bell Laboratories (3)  |  Discipline (77)  |  Discover (553)  |  Door (93)  |  Fact (1212)  |  Free (233)  |  Johns Hopkins (7)  |  Lot (151)  |  Niche (9)  |  Open (274)  |  Other (2236)  |  Researcher (33)  |  Small (479)  |  University (121)

I spend a great deal of the hours that I’m awake within myself. You never want to stop doing it, especially when it’s a pleasure. It’s vital to my existence and I couldn’t live if I wasn’t an inventor.
— James West
Quoted in Timothy L. O’Brien, 'Not Invented here: Are U.S. Innovators Losing Their Competitive Edge?', New York Times (13 Nov 2005), B6.
Science quotes on:  |  Awake (19)  |  Deal (188)  |  Doing (280)  |  Existence (460)  |  Great (1575)  |  Hour (186)  |  Inventor (74)  |  Live (629)  |  Myself (212)  |  Never (1087)  |  Pleasure (179)  |  Spend (95)  |  Thinking (415)  |  Vital (85)  |  Want (497)

I think I’ve had more failures than successes, but I don’t see the failures as mistakes because I always learned something from those experiences. I see them as having not achieved the initial goal, nothing more than that.
— James West
Quoted in Timothy L. O’Brien, 'Not Invented here: Are U.S. Innovators Losing Their Competitive Edge?', New York Times (13 Nov 2005), B6.
Science quotes on:  |  Achieve (67)  |  Experience (470)  |  Failure (161)  |  Goal (146)  |  Initial (17)  |  Learn (632)  |  Learned (235)  |  Mistake (170)  |  More (2559)  |  Nothing (969)  |  See (1082)  |  Something (719)  |  Success (303)  |  Think (1086)

If I had a screwdriver and a pair of pliers, anything that could be opened was in danger. I had this need to know what was inside.
— James West
Concerning his curiosity for electrical devices which began as a child. Quoted in Timothy L. O’Brien, 'Not Invented here: Are U.S. Innovators Losing Their Competitive Edge?', New York Times (13 Nov 2005), B6.
Science quotes on:  |  Danger (116)  |  Know (1519)  |  Need (290)  |  Open (274)  |  Screwdriver (2)

If I’m concerned about what an electron does in an amorphous mass then I become an electron. I try to have that picture in my mind and to behave like an electron, looking at the problem in all its dimensions and scales.
— James West
Quoted in Timothy L. O’Brien, 'Not Invented here: Are U.S. Innovators Losing Their Competitive Edge?', New York Times (13 Nov 2005), B6.
Science quotes on:  |  All (4107)  |  Amorphous (5)  |  Become (815)  |  Behave (17)  |  Concern (228)  |  Dimension (62)  |  Electron (95)  |  Looking (189)  |  Mass (157)  |  Mind (1339)  |  Picture (143)  |  Problem (679)  |  Scale (121)  |  Try (283)

In those days in the South, the only professional jobs that seemed to be open to a black man were a teacher, a preacher, a doctor or a lawyer.
— James West
About his youth. Quoted in Johns Hopkins University News Release (9 Jan 2003) on jh.edu web site.
Science quotes on:  |  Black-American (2)  |  Doctor (187)  |  Job (82)  |  Lawyer (27)  |  Man (2249)  |  Open (274)  |  Preacher (13)  |  Profession (102)  |  Professional (70)  |  South (38)  |  Teacher (143)

Inventing is the intellectual bicycle that he rides each day.
— James West
Reported without quotation marks, describing James West, by Timothy L. O’Brien, in 'Not Invented here: Are U.S. Innovators Losing Their Competitive Edge?', New York Times (13 Nov 2005), B6.
Science quotes on:  |  Bicycle (10)  |  Intellectual (255)  |  Invent (51)  |  Ride (21)

My father introduced me to three black men who had earned doctorates in chemistry and physics. The best jobs they could find were at the post office. My father said I was taking the long road toward working at the post office.
— James West
Recalling how his parents were disappointed that he chose to study physics at university instead of medicine to be a doctor. Quoted in Johns Hopkins University News Release (9 Jan 2003) on jh.edu web site.
Science quotes on:  |  Best (459)  |  Black-American (2)  |  Chemistry (355)  |  Father (110)  |  Find (999)  |  Job (82)  |  Long (789)  |  Office (71)  |  Physic (516)  |  Physics (533)  |  Post Office (2)

My hobby is my work. I have the best of both worlds because I love what I do. Do I ever get tired of it? Not so far.
— James West
Quoted in Johns Hopkins University News Release (9 Jan 2003) on jh.edu web site.
Science quotes on:  |  Best (459)  |  Both (494)  |  Do (1908)  |  Hobby (6)  |  Love (309)  |  Tired (13)  |  Work (1351)  |  World (1778)

One thing was clear: I’d had a great life in research. It wasn’t broken, so why fix it? So I set up interviews with 10 universities, and Johns Hopkins came out on top.
— James West
Quoted in Johns Hopkins University News Release (9 Jan 2003) after he retired from Bell Labs in 2001 and joined the faculty in Fall 2002. On jh.edu web site.
Science quotes on:  |  Broken (56)  |  Great (1575)  |  Interview (5)  |  Johns Hopkins (7)  |  Johns Hopkins University (2)  |  Life (1799)  |  Research (677)  |  Set (394)  |  Thing (1915)  |  Top (96)  |  Why (491)

You can’t have a big ego and be a great inventor. You constantly have to be listening and evaluating.
— James West
Quoted in Timothy L. O’Brien, 'Not Invented here: Are U.S. Innovators Losing Their Competitive Edge?', New York Times (13 Nov 2005), B6.
Science quotes on:  |  Constant (144)  |  Ego (17)  |  Evaluate (5)  |  Great (1575)  |  Inventor (74)  |  Listen (73)  |  Listening (25)


See also:
  • 10 Feb - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of West'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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