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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index W > E.B. White Quotes

E.B. White
(11 Jul 1899 - 1 Oct 1985)

American essayist who is remembered in particular for two books for children: Stuart Little (1945) and Charlotte’s Web (1952). He also revised (1959) The Elements of Style, the standard reference work for written grammar and language first published by William Strunk, Jr. (1918).

Science Quotes by E.B. White (23 quotes)

A good farmer is nothing more nor less than a handy man with a sense of humus.
— E.B. White
In 'The Practical Farmer' (Oct 1940), collected in One Man’s Meat (1942), 218.
Science quotes on:  |  Agriculture (68)  |  Farmer (32)  |  Good (889)  |  Humus (2)  |  Man (2251)  |  More (2559)  |  Nothing (966)  |  Sense (770)  |  Soil Science (2)

As for the skies, I quit using the flying machines in 1929 after the pilot of one of them, blinded by snow, handed the chart to me and asked me to find the Cleveland airport.
— E.B. White
Remarks (in absentia) on receiving the National Medal for Literature (2 Dec 1971). In 'The Egg Is All', New York Times (7 Dec 1971).
Science quotes on:  |  Airport (3)  |  Ask (411)  |  Blind (95)  |  Chart (6)  |  Cleveland (2)  |  Find (998)  |  Flying (72)  |  Flying Machine (13)  |  Hand (143)  |  Machine (257)  |  Pilot (13)  |  Quit (10)  |  Sky (161)  |  Snow (37)

Did it ever occur to you that there’s no limit to how complicated things can get, on account of one thing always leading to another?
— E.B. White
In 'Quo Vadimus?, The Adelphi (Jan 1930), collected in Quo Vadimus?: Or, The Case For the Bicycle (1938) 26.
Science quotes on:  |  Account (192)  |  Complicated (115)  |  Lead (384)  |  Limit (280)  |  Occur (150)  |  Thing (1915)

Everybody likes to hear about a man laying down his life for his country, but nobody wants to hear about a country giving her shirt for her planet.
— E.B. White
In 'The Wild Flag', The New Yorker (9 Sep 1944), 35. Quote collected in In the Words of E.B. White: Quotations from America’s Most Companionable of Writers (2011), 150.
Science quotes on:  |  Conservation (168)  |  Country (251)  |  Down (456)  |  Everybody (70)  |  Give (202)  |  Hear (139)  |  Life (1795)  |  Man (2251)  |  Nobody (104)  |  Planet (356)  |  Shirt (3)  |  Want (497)

Genius is more often found in a cracked pot than a whole one.
— E.B. White
In M. P. Singh, Quote Unquote (2007), 148.
Science quotes on:  |  Genius (284)  |  More (2559)  |  Whole (738)

Humor can be dissected, as a frog can, but the thing dies in the process and the innards are discouraging to any but the purely scientific mind.
— E.B. White
In Elwyn Brooks White, Katharine Sergeant Angell White, first paragraph, 'The Preaching Humorist', The Saturday Review (18 Oct 1941), 16. Also collected in the same authors’ book, A Subtreasury of American Humor (1941), xvii. Seen in later books, in a number of variants, for example, “Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested and the frog dies of it”, in Bob Phillips, Phillips’ Treasury of Humorous Quotations (2004), 130.
Science quotes on:  |  Analysis (233)  |  Death (388)  |  Dissection (32)  |  Frog (38)  |  Humour (116)  |  Interest (386)  |  Mind (1338)  |  People (1005)  |  Process (423)  |  Purely (109)  |  Scientific (941)  |  Scientific Mind (13)  |  Thing (1915)

I am always humbled by the infinite ingenuity of the lord, who can make a red barn cast a blue shadow.
— E.B. White
In 'A Winter Diary', (Jan 1941), collected in One Man’s Meat (1942, 1982), 170.
Science quotes on:  |  Barn (5)  |  Blue (56)  |  Cast (66)  |  Humble (50)  |  Infinite (231)  |  Ingenuity (39)  |  Lord (93)  |  Red (35)  |  Shadow (72)

I am pessimistic about the human race because it is too ingenious for its own good. Our approach to nature is to beat it into submission. We would stand a better chance of survival if we accommodated ourselves to this planet and viewed it appreciatively instead of skeptically and dictatorially.
— E.B. White
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Accommodate (15)  |  Appreciatively (2)  |  Approach (108)  |  Beat (41)  |  Better (486)  |  Chance (239)  |  Good (889)  |  Human (1468)  |  Human Race (100)  |  Ingenious (55)  |  Instead (21)  |  Nature (1926)  |  Ourselves (245)  |  Planet (356)  |  Race (268)  |  Skeptical (20)  |  Stand (274)  |  Submission (4)  |  Survival (94)  |  View (488)

I believe television is going to be the test of the modern world, and that in this new opportunity to see beyond the range of our vision we shall discover either a new and unbearable disturbance of the general peace or a saving radiance in the sky. We shall stand or fall by television—of that I am quite sure
— E.B. White
In 'Removal' (Jul 1938), collected in One Man's Meat (1942), 3.
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I have occasionally had the exquisite thrill of putting my finger on a little capsule of truth, and heard it give the faint squeak of mortality under my pressure.
— E.B. White
Letter to Stanley Hart White (Jan 1929), collected in The Letters of E.B. White (1976, 1989), 85.
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I see nothing in space as promising as the view from a Ferris wheel.
— E.B. White
In 'Good-bye to Forty-eighth Street', The New Yorker (1957), 33, 163. After visiting a state fair.
Science quotes on:  |  Nothing (966)  |  Promise (67)  |  See (1081)  |  Space (500)  |  View (488)  |  Wheel (50)

I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority.
— E.B. White
In An E.B. White Reader (1966), 259.
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It seems as though no laws, not even fairly old ones, can safely be regarded as unassailable. The force of gravity, which we have always ascribed to the “pull of the earth,” was reinterpreted the other day by a scientist who says that when we fall it is not earth pulling us, it is heaven pushing us. This blasts the rock on which we sit. If science can do a rightabout-face on a thing as fundamental as gravity, maybe Newton was a sucker not to have just eaten the apple.
— E.B. White
In 'Talk of the Town,', The New Yorker (3 Apr 1937). As cited in Martha White (ed.), In the Words of E.B. White (2011), 175.
Science quotes on:  |  Apple (40)  |  Blast (13)  |  Do (1908)  |  Earth (996)  |  Eat (104)  |  Face (212)  |  Fall (230)  |  Force (487)  |  Fundamental (250)  |  Gravity (132)  |  Heaven (258)  |  Law (894)  |  Law Of Gravity (15)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (333)  |  Old (481)  |  Other (2236)  |  Pull (43)  |  Push (62)  |  Regard (305)  |  Rock (161)  |  Say (984)  |  Science (3879)  |  Scientist (820)  |  Sit (48)  |  Sucker (2)  |  Thing (1915)  |  Unassailable (3)

I’m sorry for cows who have to boast
Of affairs they’ve had by parcel post.
— E.B. White
Referring to artificial insemination with bull semen sent by mail. From 'Song of the Queen Bee', The New Yorker (1932), collected in The Second Tree ffrom the Corner (1954), 207.
Science quotes on:  |  Affair (29)  |  Artificial Insemination (3)  |  Boast (22)  |  Cow (39)  |  Sorry (30)

Joad, the philosopher, said … “science changes our environment faster than we have the ability to adjust ourselves to it.”
— E.B. White
In 'The Talk of the Town', in The New Yorker (18 Aug 1945), 13.
Science quotes on:  |  Ability (152)  |  Adjust (8)  |  Change (593)  |  Environment (216)  |  Faster (50)  |  Ourselves (245)  |  Philosopher (258)  |  Science (3879)

Necessity first mothered invention. Now invention has little ones of her own, and they look just like grandma.
— E.B. White
In 'The Old and the New,' The New Yorker (19 Jun 1937), collected in Writings from The New Yorker, 1925-1976 (1976, 2006), 168.
Science quotes on:  |  First (1283)  |  Invention (369)  |  Little (707)  |  Look (582)  |  Mother (114)  |  Necessity (191)

Nuclear energy and foreign policy cannot coexist on the planet. The more deep the secret, the greater the determination of every nation to discover and exploit it. Nuclear energy insists on global government, on law, on order, and on the willingness of the community to take the responsibility for the acts of the individual. And to what end? Why, for liberty, first of blessings. Soldier, we await you, and if the
— E.B. White
In 'The Talk of the Town', The New Yorker (18 Aug 1945), 13.
Science quotes on:  |  Act (272)  |  Blessing (24)  |  Blessings (16)  |  Coexist (4)  |  Community (104)  |  Deep (233)  |  Determination (78)  |  Discover (553)  |  End (590)  |  Energy (344)  |  Exploit (19)  |  First (1283)  |  Foreign (45)  |  Global (35)  |  Government (110)  |  Greater (288)  |  Individual (404)  |  Insist (20)  |  Law (894)  |  More (2559)  |  Nation (193)  |  Nuclear (107)  |  Nuclear Energy (15)  |  Order (632)  |  Planet (356)  |  Responsibility (66)  |  Secret (194)  |  Soldier (26)  |  Why (491)  |  Willingness (10)

Television will enormously enlarge the eye's range, and, like radio, will advertise the Elsewhere. Together with the tabs, the mags, and the movies, it will insist that we forget the primary and the near in favor of the secondary and the remote.
— E.B. White
In 'Removal' (Jul 1938), collected in One Man's Meat (1942), 3.
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The essayist is … sustained by the childish belief that everything he thinks about, everything that happens to him, is of general interest.
— E.B. White
First line of Foreword in Essays of E.B. White (1977, 2014), vii.
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The only condition more appalling, less practical, than world government is the lack of it in this atomic age. Most of the scientists who produced the bomb admit that. Nationalism and the split atom cannot coexist in the planet.
— E.B. White
In 'Talk of the Town', The New Yorker (1 Jun 1946), 17.
Science quotes on:  |  Admit (45)  |  Age (499)  |  Appalling (10)  |  Atom (355)  |  Atom Bomb (2)  |  Atomic Age (6)  |  Coexist (4)  |  Condition (356)  |  Government (110)  |  Lack (119)  |  More (2559)  |  Most (1731)  |  Nationalism (6)  |  Planet (356)  |  Practical (200)  |  Produce (104)  |  Produced (187)  |  Scientist (820)  |  Split (13)  |  World (1774)

The so-called science of poll-taking is not a science at all but mere necromancy. People are unpredictable by nature, and although you can take a nation's pulse, you can't be sure that the nation hasn't just run up a flight of stairs, and although you can take a nation's blood pressure, you can’t be sure that if you came back in twenty minutes you’d get the same reading. This is a damn fine thing. .
— E.B. White
In 'Polling' (13 Nov 1948), collected in Writings from The New Yorker, 1925-1976 (1976, 2006), 60.
Science quotes on:  |  All (4108)  |  Back (390)  |  Blood (134)  |  Call (769)  |  Error (321)  |  Flight (98)  |  Mere (84)  |  Minute (125)  |  Nation (193)  |  Nature (1926)  |  Necromancy (2)  |  People (1005)  |  Pressure (63)  |  Pulse (20)  |  Reading (133)  |  Run (174)  |  Same (157)  |  Science (3879)  |  So-Called (71)  |  Stairs (2)  |  Statistics (155)  |  Thing (1915)  |  Unpredictable (17)

The terror of the atom age is not the violence of the new power but the speed of man’s adjustment to it—the speed of his acceptance.
— E.B. White
In 'The Age of Dust', collected in Second Tree From the Corner (1954), 115.
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Yesterday, a small white keel feather escaped from my goose and lodged in the bank boughs near the kitchen porch, where I spied it as I came home in the cold twilight. The minute I saw the feather, I was projected into May, knowing a barn swallow would be along to claim the prize and use it to decorate the front edge of its nest. Immediately, the December air seemed full of wings of swallows and the warmth of barns.
— E.B. White
In 'Home-Coming' (10 Dec 1955), collected in Essays of E.B. White (1977), 12.
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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)

Quotations about:Atomic  BombBiologyChemistryDeforestationEngineeringAnatomyAstronomyBacteriaBiochemistryBotanyConservationDinosaurEnvironmentFractalGeneticsGeologyHistory of ScienceInventionJupiterKnowledgeLoveMathematicsMeasurementMedicineNatural ResourceOrganic ChemistryPhysicsPhysicianQuantum TheoryResearchScience and ArtTeacherTechnologyUniverseVolcanoVirusWind PowerWomen ScientistsX-RaysYouthZoology  ... (more topics)
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- 100 -
Sophie Germain
Gertrude Elion
Ernest Rutherford
James Chadwick
Marcel Proust
William Harvey
Johann Goethe
John Keynes
Carl Gauss
Paul Feyerabend
- 90 -
Antoine Lavoisier
Lise Meitner
Charles Babbage
Ibn Khaldun
Euclid
Ralph Emerson
Robert Bunsen
Frederick Banting
Andre Ampere
Winston Churchill
- 80 -
John Locke
Bronislaw Malinowski
Bible
Thomas Huxley
Alessandro Volta
Erwin Schrodinger
Wilhelm Roentgen
Louis Pasteur
Bertrand Russell
Jean Lamarck
- 70 -
Samuel Morse
John Wheeler
Nicolaus Copernicus
Robert Fulton
Pierre Laplace
Humphry Davy
Thomas Edison
Lord Kelvin
Theodore Roosevelt
Carolus Linnaeus
- 60 -
Francis Galton
Linus Pauling
Immanuel Kant
Martin Fischer
Robert Boyle
Karl Popper
Paul Dirac
Avicenna
James Watson
William Shakespeare
- 50 -
Stephen Hawking
Niels Bohr
Nikola Tesla
Rachel Carson
Max Planck
Henry Adams
Richard Dawkins
Werner Heisenberg
Alfred Wegener
John Dalton
- 40 -
Pierre Fermat
Edward Wilson
Johannes Kepler
Gustave Eiffel
Giordano Bruno
JJ Thomson
Thomas Kuhn
Leonardo DaVinci
Archimedes
David Hume
- 30 -
Andreas Vesalius
Rudolf Virchow
Richard Feynman
James Hutton
Alexander Fleming
Emile Durkheim
Benjamin Franklin
Robert Oppenheimer
Robert Hooke
Charles Kettering
- 20 -
Carl Sagan
James Maxwell
Marie Curie
Rene Descartes
Francis Crick
Hippocrates
Michael Faraday
Srinivasa Ramanujan
Francis Bacon
Galileo Galilei
- 10 -
Aristotle
John Watson
Rosalind Franklin
Michio Kaku
Isaac Asimov
Charles Darwin
Sigmund Freud
Albert Einstein
Florence Nightingale
Isaac Newton



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