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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index Z > Hans Zinsser Quotes

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Hans Zinsser
(17 Nov 1878 - 4 Sep 1940)

American bacteriologist and immunologist who was an international authority on typhus, a deadly disease. In 1936, he isolated the typhus germ. By 1939 he had perfected a method to produce enough anti-typhus vaccine to protect a nation.


Science Quotes by Hans Zinsser (6 quotes)

... [I]nfectious disease is merely a disagreeable instance of a widely prevalent tendency of all living creatures to save themselves the bother of building, by their own efforts, the things they require. Whenever they find it possible to take advantage of the constructive labors of others, this is the path of least resistance. The plant does the work with its roots and its green leaves. The cow eats the plant. Man eats both of them; and bacteria (or investment bankers) eat the man. ...
— Hans Zinsser
Rats, Lice and History (1935).
Science quotes on:  |  Bacteria (32)  |  Disease (257)

...[T]he natural history of the rat is tragically similar to that of man ... some of the more obvious qualities in which rats resemble men — ferocity, omnivorousness, and adaptability to all climates ... the irresponsible fecundity with which both species breed at all seasons of the year with a heedlessness of consequences, which subjects them to wholesale disaster on the inevitable, occasional failure of the food supply.... [G]radually, these two have spread across the earth, keeping pace with each other and unable to destroy each other, though continually hostile. They have wandered from East to West, driven by their physical needs, and — unlike any other species of living things — have made war upon their own kind. The gradual, relentless, progressive extermination of the black rat by the brown has no parallel in nature so close as that of the similar extermination of one race of man by another...
— Hans Zinsser
Rats, Lice and History(1935)
Science quotes on:  |  Man (345)  |  Rat (19)

But however secure and well-regulated civilized life may become, bacteria, Protozoa, viruses, infected fleas, lice, ticks, mosquitoes, and bedbugs will always lurk in the shadows ready to pounce when neglect, poverty, famine, or war lets down the defenses.
— Hans Zinsser
Rats, Lice and History (1934), 13-4.
Science quotes on:  |  Bacteria (32)  |  Bedbug (2)  |  Civilization (155)  |  Defense (15)  |  Famine (8)  |  Flea (8)  |  Infection (18)  |  Lurk (2)  |  Mosquito (12)  |  Neglect (23)  |  Pounce (3)  |  Poverty (29)  |  Protozoa (3)  |  Secure (13)  |  Shadow (35)  |  Tick (5)  |  Virus (22)  |  War (144)

Infectious disease is one of the few genuine adventures left in the world. The dragons are all dead and the lance grows rusty in the chimney corner. ... About the only sporting proposition that remains unimpaired by the relentless domestication of a once free-living human species is the war against those ferocious little fellow creatures, which lurk in dark corners and stalk us in the bodies of rats, mice and all kinds of domestic animals; which fly and crawl with the insects, and waylay us in our food and drink and even in our love
— Hans Zinsser
Rats, Lice and History (1935)
Science quotes on:  |  Disease (257)  |  Research (517)

Lice, ticks, mosquitoes and bedbugs will always lurk in the shadows when neglect, poverty, famine or war lets down the defenses.
— Hans Zinsser
Rats, Lice and History (1935)
Science quotes on:  |  Disease (257)

We have chosen to write the biography of our disease because we love it platonically — as Amy Lowell loved Keats — and have sought its acquaintance wherever we could find it. And in this growing intimacy we have become increasingly impressed with the influence that this and other infectious diseases, which span — in their protoplasmic continuities — the entire history of mankind, have had upon the fates of men.
— Hans Zinsser
Rats, Lice and History (1935)
Science quotes on:  |  Disease (257)


See also:

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 Einstein • Isaac Newton • Lord Kelvin • Charles Darwin • Srinivasa Ramanujan • Carl Sagan • Florence Nightingale • Thomas Edison • Aristotle • Marie Curie • Benjamin Franklin • Winston Churchill • Galileo Galilei • Sigmund Freud • Robert Bunsen • Louis Pasteur • Theodore Roosevelt • Abraham Lincoln • Ronald Reagan • Leonardo DaVinci • Michio Kaku • Karl Popper • Johann Goethe • Robert Oppenheimer • Charles Kettering  ... (more people)

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