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Quotations about Science

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Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science.  ~Edwin Powell Hubble, The Nature of Science, 1954

I think science has enjoyed an extraordinary success because it has such a limited and narrow realm in which to focus its efforts.  Namely, the physical universe.  ~Ken Jenkins

No one should approach the temple of science with the soul of a money changer.  ~Thomas Browne

If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.  ~Henry J. Tillman

A biophysicist talks physics to the biologists and biology to the physicists, but then he meets another biophysicist, they just discuss women.  ~Author Unknown

Nature composes some of her loveliest poems for the microscope and the telescope.  ~Theodore Roszak, Where the Wasteland Ends, 1972

There is something fascinating about science.  One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.  ~Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi, 1883

Science is the great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition.  ~Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, 1776

Science is a cemetery of dead ideas.  ~Miguel de Unamuno, The Tragic Sense of Life, 1913

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds the most discoveries, is not "Eureka!" (I found it!) but "That's funny..."  ~Isaac Asimov

A fact is a simple statement that everyone believes.  It is innocent, unless found guilty.  A hypothesis is a novel suggestion that no one wants to believe.  It is guilty, until found effective.  ~Edward Teller

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing.  ~Wernher Von Braun

Science does not know its debt to imagination.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

The important thing in science is not so much to obtain new facts as to discover new ways of thinking about them.  ~William Lawrence Bragg

Every great advance in science has issued from a new audacity of imagination.  ~John Dewey, The Quest for Certainty, 1929

Science has made us gods even before we are worthy of being men.  ~Jean Rostand

Scientists should always state the opinions upon which their facts are based.  ~Author Unknown

That theory is worthless.  It isn't even wrong!  ~Wolfgang Pauli

Louise:  "How did you get here?"
Johnny:  "Well, basically, there was this little dot, right?  And the dot went bang and the bang expanded.  Energy formed into matter, matter cooled, matter lived, the amoeba to fish, to fish to fowl, to fowl to frog, to frog to mammal, the mammal to monkey, to monkey to man, amo amas amat, quid pro quo, memento mori, ad infinitum, sprinkle on a little bit of grated cheese and leave under the grill till Doomsday."
~From the movie Naked

Science is built up of facts, as a house is built of stones; but an accumulation of facts is no more a science than a heap of stones is a house.  ~Henri Poincaré, Science and Hypothesis, 1905

A science is any discipline in which the fool of this generation can go beyond the point reached by the genius of the last generation.  ~Max Gluckman, Politics, Law and Ritual, 1965

The radical novelty of modern science lies precisely in the rejection of the belief, which is at the heart of all popular religion, that the forces which move the stars and atoms are contingent upon the preferences of the human heart.  ~Walter Lippmann

Men love to wonder, and that is the seed of science.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Whenever science makes a discovery, the devil grabs it while the angels are debating the best way to use it.  ~Alan Valentine

Science is simply common sense at its best.  ~Thomas Huxley

Great scientific discoveries have been made by men seeking to verify quite erroneous theories about the nature of things.  ~Aldous Huxley, "Wordsworth in the Tropics"

Physics is imagination in a straight jacket.  ~John Moffat

If we wish to make a new world we have the material ready.  The first one, too, was made out of chaos.  ~Robert Quillen

Science is a wonderful thing if one does not have to earn one's living at it.  ~Albert Einstein

To know the history of science is to recognize the mortality of any claim to universal truth.  ~Evelyn Fox Keller, Reflections on Gender and Science, 1995

The greatest discoveries of science have always been those that forced us to rethink our beliefs about the universe and our place in it.  ~Robert L. Park, in The New York Times, 7 December 1999

The great men of science are supreme artists.  ~Martin H. Fischer

It is characteristic of science that the full explanations are often seized in their essence by the percipient scientist long in advance of any possible proof.  ~John Desmond Bernal, The Origin of Life, 1967

Science is the topography of ignorance.  ~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., Medical Essays, 1883

Darwin has interested us in the history of nature's technology.  ~Karl Marx, Capital, 1867

Observations always involve theory.  ~Edwin Hubble

The capacity to blunder slightly is the real marvel of DNA.  Without this special attribute, we would still be anaerobic bacteria and there would be no music.  ~Lewis Thomas

The scientist is not a person who gives the right answers, he's one who asks the right questions.  ~Claude Lévi-Strauss, Le Cru et le cuit, 1964

Facts are not science - as the dictionary is not literature.  ~Martin H. Fischer

Men are probably nearer the central truth in their superstitions than in their science.  ~Henry David Thoreau

I am compelled to fear that science will be used to promote the power of dominant groups rather than to make men happy.  ~Bertrand Russell, Icarus, or the Future of Science, 1925

Physics is mathematical not because we know so much about the physical world, but because we know so little; it is only its mathematical properties that we can discover.  ~Bertrand Russell

Science, like life, feeds on its own decay.  New facts burst old rules; then newly divined conceptions bind old and new together into a reconciling law.  ~William James, The Will to Believe and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy, 1910

For every fact there is an infinity of hypotheses.  ~Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, 1974

Most institutions demand unqualified faith; but the institution of science makes skepticism a virtue.  ~Robert K. Merton, Social Theory, 1957

The whole history of physics proves that a new discovery is quite likely lurking at the next decimal place.  ~F.K. Richtmeyer

There are no physicists in the hottest parts of hell, because the existence of a 'hottest part' implies a temperature difference, and any marginally competent physicist would immediately use this to run a heat engine and make some other part of hell comfortably cool.  This is obviously impossible.  ~Richard Davisson

The task of asking nonliving matter to speak and the responsibility for interpreting its reply is that of physics.  ~J.T. Fraser, Time, the Familiar Stronger, 1987

The quantum is that embarrassing little piece of thread that always hangs from the sweater of space-time.  Pull it and the whole thing unravels.  ~Fred Alan Wolfe, Star Wave: Mind Consciousness of Quantum Physics, 1984

The doubter is a true man of science; he doubts only himself and his interpretations, but he believes in science.  ~Claude Bernard

In physics, you don't have to go around making trouble for yourself - nature does it for you.  ~Frank Wilczek

There were two kinds of physicists in Berlin:  on the one hand there was Einstein, and on the other all the rest.  ~Rudolph Ladenburg

Science without conscience is the soul's perdition.  ~François Rabelais, Pantagruel, 1572

Even if the open windows of science at first make us shiver after the cozy indoor warmth of traditional humanizing myths, in the end the fresh air brings vigor, and the great spaces have a splendor of their own.  ~Bertrand Russell, What I Believe, 1925

Science is the record of dead religions.  ~The Oscariana of Oscar Fingall O'Flaherty Will Wilde [1856-1900] for George Bernard Shaw

In a manner which matches the fortuity, if not the consequence, of Archimedes' bath and Newton's apple, the [3.6 million year old] fossil footprints were eventually noticed one evening in September 1976 by the paleontologist Andrew Hill, who fell while avoiding a ball of elephant dung hurled at him by the ecologist David Western.  ~John Reader, Missing Links: The Hunt for Earliest Man

Amoebas at the start
Were not complex;
They tore themselves apart
And started Sex.
~Arthur Guiterman

Physics is geometric proof on steroids.  ~S.A. Sachs

Ethics and Science need to shake hands.  ~Richard Clarke Cabot

Science is all those things which are confirmed to such a degree that it would be unreasonable to withhold one's provisional consent.  ~Stephen Jay Gould

Science is a first-rate piece of furniture for a man's upper chamber, if he has common sense on the ground floor.  ~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., The Poet at the Breakfast-Table, 1872

The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking.  ~Albert Einstein

Research is the process of going up alleys to see if they are blind.  ~Marston Bates

Life preys upon life.  This is biology's most fundamental fact.  ~Martin H. Fischer

But the great tragedy of Science - the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact - which is so constantly being enacted under the eyes of philosophers... ~T.H. Huxley, "Biogenesis and Abiogenesis," The Royal Society President's Address to the Meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science at Liverpool, Critiques and Addresses, 1870, Collected Essays VIII

How index-learning turns no student pale,
Yet holds the eel of science by the tail!
~Alexander Pope, Dunciad

DNA was the first three-dimensional Xerox machine.  ~Kenneth Boulding, "Energy and the Environment," Beasts, Ballads, and Bouldingisms, 1976

If it's green or wriggles, it's biology.
If it stinks, it's chemistry.
If it doesn't work, it's physics.
~Handy Guide to Science

It would be a poor thing to be an atom in a universe without physicists, and physicists are made of atoms.  A physicist is an atom's way of knowing about atoms.  ~George Wald

In all science, error precedes the truth, and it is better it should go first than last.  ~Hugh Walpole

Scientific principles and laws do not lie on the surface of nature.  They are hidden, and must be wrested from nature by an active and elaborate technique of inquiry.  ~John Dewey, Reconstruction in Philosophy, 1920

The microwave oven is the consolation prize in our struggle to understand physics.  ~Jason Love

I have had my results for a long time:  but I do not yet know how I am to arrive at them.  ~Karl Friedrich Gauss

Science commits suicide when it adopts a creed.  ~Thomas Henry Huxley

The way to do research is to attack the facts at the point of greatest astonishment.  ~Celia Green, The Decline and Fall of Science, 1972

Every science begins as philosophy and ends as art.  ~Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, 1926

Science, in the very act of solving problems, creates more of them.  ~Abraham Flexner, Universities, 1930

Science is always wrong.  It never solves a problem without creating ten more.  ~George Bernard Shaw

Reason, Observation, and Experience - the Holy Trinity of Science.  ~Robert G. Ingersoll

There is no national science just as there is no national multiplication table; what is national is no longer science.  ~Anton Chekhov

Science, at bottom, is really anti-intellectual.  It always distrusts pure reason, and demands the production of objective fact.  ~H.L. Mencken, Minority Report: H.L. Mencken's Notebook, 1956

But in science the credit goes to the man who convinces the world, not to the man to whom the idea first occurs.  ~Francis Darwin

It is the man of science, eager to have his every opinion regenerated, his every idea rationalized, by drinking at the fountain of fact, and devoting all the energies of his life to the cult of truth, not as he understands it, but as he does not yet understand it, that ought properly to be called a philosopher.  ~Charles Peirce

The most remarkable discovery made by scientists is science itself.  ~Gerard Piel

An experiment is a question which science poses to Nature, and a measurement is the recording of Nature's answer.  ~Max Planck, Scientific Autobiography and Other Papers, 1949

Theory helps us bear our ignorance of facts.  ~George Santayana, The Sense of Beauty, 1896

In science it often happens that scientists say, "You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken," and then they 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.  ~Carl Sagan, 1987

Physics isn't a religion.  If it were, we'd have a much easier time raising money.  ~Leon Lederman

The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.  ~Eden Phillpotts, A Shadow Passes

My mother made me a scientist without ever intending to.  Every other Jewish mother in Brooklyn would ask her child after school, "So?  Did you learn anything today?"  But not my mother.  "Izzy," she would say, "did you ask a good question today?"  That difference - asking good questions - made me become a scientist.  ~Isidor Isaac Rabi

The effort to reconcile science and religion is almost always made, not by theologians, but by scientists unable to shake off altogether the piety absorbed with their mother's milk.  ~H.L. Mencken, Minority Report: H.L. Mencken's Notebook, 1956

Scientists, therefore, are responsible for their research, not only intellectually but also morally.  This responsibility has become an important issue in many of today's sciences, but especially so in physics, in which the results of quantum mechanics and relativity theory have opened up two very different paths for physicists to pursue.  They may lead us - to put it in extreme terms - to the Buddha or to the Bomb, and it is up to each of us to decide which path to take.  ~Fritjof Capra, The Turning Point, 1982

Not fact-finding, but attainment to philosophy is the aim of science.  ~Martin H. Fischer

There is no gravity.  The earth sucks.  ~Graffito

The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.  ~Isaac Asimov, Isaac Asimov's Book of Science and Nature Quotations, 1988

In every department of physical science there is only so much science, properly so-called, as there is mathematics.  ~Immanuel Kant

A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.  ~Max Planck, A Scientific Autobiography and Other Papers, 1949

The scientist, by the very nature of his commitment, creates more and more questions, never fewer.  Indeed the measure of our intellectual maturity, one philosopher suggests, is our capacity to feel less and less satisfied with our answers to better problems.  ~G.W. Allport, Becoming, 1955

The improver of natural science absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such.  For him, scepticism is the highest of duties:  blind faith the one unpardonable sin.  ~Thomas Henry Huxley, Lay Sermons, Addresses and Reviews, 1871

It is now quite lawful for a Catholic woman to avoid pregnancy by a resort to mathematics, though she is still forbidden to resort to physics and chemistry.  ~H.L. Mencken, "Minority Report," Notebooks, 1956

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Last modified 2007 Oct 13 Sat 15:08 PDT

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