Sunday, April 17, 2005

This is nothing to do with grid! ;) But my other love Physics

One of my friends directed me to this list, I read it once, read again and again. Yet I feel as if all these people are hiding something behind their quotes, have to read again. Just like with Quantum Physics, it is never enough, and it never will be! So I will keep a copy of it handy in my grid Log!!
To qoute a few and to answer how I feel about them, Here are some excerpts
It requires a very unusual mind to undertake the analysis of the obvious.

The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless.
But it proves what I belive, more
One thing only I know, and that is that I know nothing.

Only rights I have on these quotes are to to read them, Copyrights belongs to >>>....!

Quotations in Physics


Learning is ever in the freshness of its youth, even for the old.


All things will be in everything; nor is it possible for them to be apart, but all things have a portion of everything.


We are all inclined to direct our inquiry not by the matter itself, but by the views of our opponents; and, even when interrogating oneself, one pushes the inquiry only to the point at which one can no longer find objections.

St. Augustine:

If you do not ask me what is time, I know it; when you ask me, I cannot tell it.

Francis Bacon

Let every student of nature take this as his rule that whatever the mind seizes upon with particular satisfaction is to be held in suspicion.

John Ball:

The idea that we shall be welcomed as new members into the galactic community is as unlikely as the idea that the oyster will be welcomed as a new member into the human community. We're probably not even edible.

John Berrill:

Everything that you could possibly imagine, you will find that nature has been there before you.

Jean Bodin, 16th Century political philosopher:

No one in his senses, or imbued with the slightest knowledge of physics, will ever think that the earth, heavy and unwieldy from its own weight and mass, staggers up and down around its own center and that of the sun; for at the slightest jar of the earth, we would see cities and fortresses, towns and mountains thrown down.

David Bohm:

The prevailing trend in modern physics is thus much against any sort of view giving primacy to ... undivided wholeness of flowing movement. Indeed, those aspects of relativity theory and quantum theory which do suggest the need for such a view tend to be de-emphasized and in fact hardly noticed by most physicists, because they are regarded largely as features of the mathematical calculus and not as indications of the real nature of things.

There is the immense sea of energy ... a multidimensional implicate order, ... the entire universe of matter as we generally observe it is to be treated as a comparatively small pattern of excitation. This excitation pattern is relatively autonomous and gives rise to approximately recurrent, stable separable projections into a three-dimensional explicate order of manifestation, which is more or less equivalent to that of space as we commonly experience it.

The various particles have to be taken literally as projections of a higher-dimensional reality which cannot be accounted for in terms of any force of interaction between them.

Niels Bohr:

Anyone who has not been shocked by quantum physics has not understood it.

Causality may be considered as a mode of perception by which we reduce our sense impressions to order.

It is wrong to think that the task of physics is to find out how nature is. Physics concerns what we can say about nature.

Every sentence I utter must be understood not as an affirmation, but as a question.

The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.

Max Born:

We have sought for firm ground and found none. The deeper we penetrate, the more restless becomes the universe; all is rushing about and vibrating in a wild dance.

No language which lends itself to visualizability can describe the quantum jumps.

Ray Bradburry:

In our time this search [for extraterrestrial life] will eventually change our laws, our religions, our philosophies, our arts, our recreations, as well as our sciences. Space, the mirror, waits for life to come look for itself there.

Jacob Bronowski:

The most remarkable discovery ever made by scientists was science itself.

Giordano Bruno:

I have declared infinite worlds to exist beside this our earth. It would not be worthy of God to manifest Himself in less than an infinite universe.


In the search for truth there are certain questions that are not important. Of what material is the universe constructed? Is the universe eternal? Are there limits or not to the universe? ... If a man were to postpone his search and practice for Enlightenment until such questions were solved, he would die before he found the path.

Albert Camus:

Understanding the world for a man is reducing it to the human, stamping it with his seal.

I shall tell you a great secret, my friend. Do not wait for the last judgment. It takes place every day.

Alan Chalmers ("What is this thing called Science?"):

We start off confused and end up confused on a higher level.

S. Chandrashekar

The black holes of nature are the most perfect macroscopic objects there are in the universe: the only elements in their construction are our concepts of space and time.

James Christian:

Man has undergone agonizing decentralization. He has waged a steady struggle against decentralization , but at the same time - paradoxically - his accumulated knowledge has gradually forced him to abandon all illusions about his centrality.


The celestial order and the beauty of the universe compel me to admit that there is some excellent and eternal Being, who deserves the respect and homage of men.

Arthur Clarke:

If there are any gods whose chief concern is man, they cannot be very important gods.

Perhaps a species that has accumulated ... tons of explosive per capita has already demonstrated its biological unfitness beyond any further question.

The realization that our small planet is only one of many worlds gives mankind the perspective it needs to realize sooner that our own world belongs to all of its creatures, that the Moon landing marks the end of our childhood as a race and the beginning of a newer and better civilization.

Nicolaus Copernicus:

In the center of everything rules the sun; for who in this most beautiful temple could place this luminary at another better place whence it can light up the whole at once? ... In this arrangement we thus find an admirable harmony of the world, and a constant harmonious connection between the motion and the size of the orbits as could not be found otherwise.

Norman Cousins

The message from the Moon which we have flashed to the far corners of this planet is that no problem need any longer be considered insoluble.

Nicholas de Cusa, Bishop of Brixen, 1450:

Whether a man is on the earthy, or the sun, or some other star, it will always seem to him that the position that he occupies is the motionless center, and that all other things are in motion.

Sir Henry Hallett Dalt

And science, we should insist, better than other discipline, can hold up to its students and followers an ideal of patient devotion to the search to objective truth, with vision unclouded by personal or political motive.

Charles Darwin:

There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.

We are not here concerned with hopes and fears, only with the truth as far as our reason allows us to discover it. I have given the evidence to the best of my ability; and we must acknowledge ... that man with all his noble qualities, with sympathy which feels for the most debased, with benevolence which extends not only to other men but to the humblest living creatures, with his godlike intellect which has penetrated into the movements and constitution of the solar system ... Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin.

It must not be forgotten that although a high standard of morality gives a slight or no advantage to each individual man and his children over the other men of the same tribe, yet an advancement in the standard of morality will certainly give an immense advantage to one tribe over another.

How odd it is that anyone should not see that all observations must be for or against some view if it is to be of any service!

Theodosius Dobzansky:

There is no doubt that human survival will continue to depend more and more on human intellect and technology. It is idle to argue whether this is good or bad. The point of no return was passed long ago, before anyone knew it was happening.

Sir Arthur Eddington:

For if those who hold that there must be a physical basis for everything hold that these mystical views are nonsense, we may ask - What then is the physical basis of nonsense? ... In a world of ether and electrons we might perhaps encounter nonsense; we could not encounter damned nonsense.

Looking back over the geological record it would seem that Nature made nearly every possible mistake before she reached her greatest achievement Man - or perhaps some would say her worst mistake of all. ... At last she tried a being of no great size, almost defenseless, defective in at least one of the more important sense organs; one gift she bestowed to save him from threatened extinction - a certain stirring, a restlessness, in the organ called the brain.

We are a bit of stellar matter gone wrong. We are physical machinery - puppets that strut and talk and laugh and die as the hand of time pulls the strings beneath. But there is one elementary inescapable answer. We are that which asks the question.

Albert Einstein:

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

Reality is the real business of physics.

The creative scientist studies nature with the rapt gaze of the lover, and is guided as often by aesthetics as by rational considerations in guessing how nature works.

Here arises a puzzle that has disturbed scientists of all periods. How is it possible that mathematics, a product of human thought that is independent of experience, fits so excellently the objects of physical reality? Can human reason without experience discover by pure thinking properties of real things?

The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.

Whoever has undergone the intense experience of successful advances made [in science] is moved by the profound reverence for the rationality made manifest in science.

That deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God.

The only way to escape the personal corruption of praise is to go on working. One is tempted to stop and listen to it. The only thing is to turn away and go on working. Work. There is nothing else.

One ought to be ashamed to make use of the wonders of science embodied in a radio set, while appreciating them as little as a cow appreciates the botanical marvels in the plant she munches.

We believe in the possibility of a theory which is able to give a complete description of reality, the laws of which establish relations between the things themselves and not merely between their probabilities ... God does not play dice.

Insofar as mathematics is about reality, it is not certain, and insofar as it is certain, it is not about reality.

The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead.

Have holy curiosity.

Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love.

Where the world ceases to be the scene of our personal hopes and wishes, where we face it as free beings admiring, asking and observing, there we enter the realm of Art and Science.

Watch the stars, and from them learn. To the Master's honor all must turn, each in its track, without a sound, forever tracing Newton's ground.

Things should be made as simple as possible, but not any simpler.

Sometimes one pays most for the things one gets for nothing.

Common sense is a collection of prejudices acquired by age 18.

Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.

If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my dreams in music. I see my life in terms of music... I get most joy in life out of music.

I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science

The release of atomic energy has not created a new problem. It has merely made more urgent the necessity of solving an existing one ... I do not believe that civilization will be wiled out in a war fought with the atomic bomb. Perhaps two thirds of the people of the Earth will be killed.

Perfection of means and confusion of ends seems to characterize our age.

The important thing is not to stop questioning.

The process of scientific discovery is, in effect, a continual flight from wonder.

If my theory of relativity is proven successful, Germany will claim me as a German ... should my theory prove untrue ... Germany will declare that I am a Jew.

It is easier to denature plutonium than to denature the evil spirit of man.

I never think of the future. It comes soon enough.

No amount of experimentation can prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.

The ideals which have always shone before me and filled me with the joy of living are goodness, beauty, and truth. To make a goal of comfort or happiness has never appealed to me.

Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding.

Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.

When the solution is simple, God is answering.

In long intervals I have expressed an opinion on public issues whenever they appeared to be so bad and unfortunate that silence would have made me feel guilty of complicity.

Armament is no protection against the war but leads to war. Striving for peace and preparing for war are incompatible with each other

Study and, in general, the pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all of our lives.

He who finds a thought that lets us even a little deeper into the eternal mystery of nature has been granted great peace.

The big political doings of our time are so disheartening that in our generation one feels quite alone. It is as if people had lost the passion for justice and dignity and no longer treasure what better generations have won by extraordinary sacrifices.

There comes a time when the mind takes a higher plane of knowledge but can never prove how it got there. All great discoveries have involved such a leap. The important thing is not to stop questioning.

My political ideal is democracy. Let every man be respected as an individual and no man idealized.

All that is valuable in human society depends upon the opportunity for development accorded the individual.

Anybody who really wants to abolish war must resolutely declare himself in favor of his own country's committing a portion of its sovereignty in favor of international institutions.

Cosmic religiousness is the strongest and most noble driving force of scientific research.

When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me that my talent for absorbing positive knowledge.

Science can only ascertain what is, but not what should be, and outside of its domain value judgments of all kinds remain necessary.

Ralph Waldo Emerson:

Nothing is rich but the inexhaustible wealth of nature. She shows us only surfaces, but she is a million fathoms deep.

Richard Feynman:

The idea that time may vary from place to place is a difficult one, but it is the idea Einstein used, and it is correct - believe it or not.

There is one simplification at least. Electrons behave in this respect in exactly the same way as photons; they are both screwy, but in exactly the same way.

The "paradox" is only a conflict between reality and your feeling of what reality "ought to be".

I k I can safely say than nobody understands quantum mechanics ... Do not keep saying to yourself ... "But how can it be like that?" because you will get "down the drain," into a blind alley from which nobody has yet escaped. Nobody knows how it can be like that.

Enrico Fermi

It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better that knowledge.

Timothy Ferris:

A human being is part of the whole, called by us "Universe"; a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as some thing separated from the rest - a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely but the striving for such achievement is, in itself, a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security.

We have little more personal stake in cosmic destiny than do sunflowers or butterflies. The transfiguration of the universe lies some 50 to 100 billion years in the future; snap your fingers twice and you will have consumed a greater fraction of your life than all human history is to such a span. ... We Owe our lives to universal processes ... and as invited guests we might do better to learn about them than to complain about them. If the prospect of a dying universe causes us anguish, it does so only because we can forecast it, and we have as yet not the slightest idea why such forecasts are possible for us. ... Why should nature, whether hostile or benign, be in any way intelligible to us? Al the mysteries of science are but palace guards to that mystery.

Buckminster Fuller:

Sometimes I think we're alone. Sometimes I think we're not. In either case, the thought is staggering.

Galileo Galilei:

By denying scientific principles, one may maintain any paradox.

Philosophy [the universe] is written in that great book which ever lies before our eyes ... We cannot understand it if we do not first learn the language and grasp the symbols in which it is written. The book is written in the mathematical language ... without whose help it is humanly impossible to comprehend a single word of it, and without which one wanders in vain through a dark labyrinth.

I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.

Philosophy is written in that great book which ever lies before our eyes. I mean the universe, but we cannot understand it if we do not first learn the language and grasp the symbols in which it is written. This book is written in the mathematical language, and the symbols are triangles, circles, and other geometrical figures, without whose help it is humanly impossible to comprehend a single word of it.

Murray Gell-Mann:

All of modern physics is governed by that magnificent and thoroughly confusing discipline called quantum mechanics ... It has survived all tests and there is no reason to believe that there is any flaw in it.... We all know how to use it and how to apply it to problems; and so we have learned to live with the fact that nobody can understand it.

Steven Jay Gould:

Science is, and must be, culturally embedded; what else could the product of human passion be?... Culture is not the enemy of objectivity but a matrix that can either aid or retard advancing knowledge.

If we are still here to witness the destruction of our planet some five billion years or more hence ..., then we will have achieved something so unprecedented in the history of life that we should be willing to sing our swan song with joy.

World views are social constructions and they channel the search for facts. But facts are found and knowledge progresses, however fitfully.

People may believe correct things for the damnedest and weirdest of wrong reasons.

Somehow I am not distressed that the human order must veil all our interactions with the universe, for the veil is translucent, however strong its texture.

John Gribbin:

By the act of observation we have selected a "real" history out of the many realities, and once someone has seen a tree in our world it stays there even when nobody is looking at it.

J.B.S. Haldane:

If this [human kind's extinction] happens I venture to hope that we shall not have destroyed the rat, an animal of considerable enterprise which stands as good a chance as any ... of evolving toward intelligence.

[Civilization] is a highly complicated invention which has probably been made only once. If it perished it might never be made again. ... But it is a poor thing. And if it to be improved there is no hope save in science.

Edmund Halley, "Ode to Newton":

Come celebrate with me in song the name Of Newton, to the Muses dear, for the Unlocked the hidden treasures of truth ... Nearer the gods no mortal may approach.

William Halverson:

A vision of the whole of life!. Could any human undertaking be ... more grandiose? This attempt stands without rival as the most audacious enterprise in which the mind of man has ever engaged ... Here is man, surrounded by the vastness of a universe in which he is only a tiny and perhaps insignificant part - and he wants to understand it.

Edward Harrison:

We cannot doubt the existence of an ultimate reality. It is the universe forever masked. We are a part of it, and the masks figured by us are the universe observing and understanding itself from a human point of view.

Stephen Hawking:

We cannot predict what comes out of a singularity ... It is a disaster for science.

I don't think there is one unique real universe. ... Even the laws of physics themselves may be somewhat observer dependent.

Werner Heisenberg:

What we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning.

Atoms are not things.

When Einstein has criticized quantum theory he has done so from the basis of dogmatic realism.

The hope that new experiments will lead us back to objective events in time and space is about as well founded as the hope of discovering the end of the world in the unexplored regions of the Antarctic.

I believe that certain erroneous developments in particle theory ... are caused by a misconception by some physicists that it is possible to avoid philosophical arguments altogether. Starting with poor philosophy, they pose the wrong questions. It is only a slight exaggeration to say that good physics has at times been spoiled by poor philosophy.

Since the measuring device has been constructed by the observer ... we have to remember that what we observe is not nature itself but nature exposed to our method of questioning.

The concepts of "soul" or "life" do not occur in atomic physics, and they could not, even indirectly, be derived as complicated consequences of some natural law. Their existence certainly does not indicate the presence of any fundamental substance other than energy, but it shows only the action of other kinds of forms which we cannot match with the mathematical forms of modern atomic physics ... If we want to describe living or mental processes, we shall have to broaden these structures. It may be that we shall have to introduce yet other concepts.


Nature loves to hide.

Nick Herbert:

If we take quantum theory seriously as a picture of what's really going on, each measurement does more than disturb: it profoundly reshapes the very fabric of reality.

Bell's theorem is easy to understand but hard to believe.

Heinrich Hertz

The most direct, and in a sense the most important, problem which our conscious knowledge of Nature should enable us to solve is the anticipation of future events.

Thomas Henry Huxley

Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abysses nature leads, or you shall be nothing.

Science commits suicide when it adopts a creed.

Christian Huygens:

The World is my Country, Science my Religion.

Werner Israel

It is one of the little ironies of our times that while the layman was being indoctrinated with the stereotype image of black holes as the ultimate cookie monsters, the professionals have been swinging round to the almost directly opposing view that black holes, like growing old, are really not so bad when you consider the alternative.

Sir James Jeans:

The essential fact is simply that all the pictures which science now draws of nature ... are mathematical pictures ... It can hardly be disputed that nature and our conscious mathematical minds work according to the same laws.

Put three grains of sand inside a vast cathedral, and the cathedral will be more closely packed with sand than space is with stars.

Horace Freeland Judson:

Science is our century's art.

Immanuel Kant:

Concepts without percepts are empty. Percepts without concepts are blind.

We ourselves introduce that order and regularity in the appearance which we entitle "nature". We could never find them in appearances had we not ourselves, by the nature of our own mind, originally set them there.

Things which we see are not by themselves what we see ... It remains completely unknown to us what the objects may be by themselves and apart from the receptivity of our senses. We know nothing but our manner of perceiving them.

God has put a secret art into the forces of Nature so as to enable it to fashion itself out of chaos into a perfect world system.

Vernon Kellogg:

Some men who call themselves pessimists because they cannot read good into the operations of nature forget that they cannot read evil. In morals the law of competition no more justifies personal, official, or national selfishness or brutality than the law of gravity justifies the shooting of a bird.

Johannes Keppler:

When intersected by a plane, the sphere displays in this section the circle, the genuine image of the created mind, placed in command of the body which it is appointed to rule; and this circle is to the sphere as the human mind is to the Mind Divine.

[The sun] ... which alone we should judge to be worthy of the most high God, if He should be pleased with a material domicile, and choose a place in which to dwell with the blessed angels.

Philip Kitcher:

If the historical development of science has indeed sometimes pricked our vanity, it has not plunged us into an abyss of immorality ... it has liberated us from misconceptions, and thereby aided us in our moral progress.

Morris Kline:

Is there perhaps some magical power in the subject [mathematics] that, although it had fought under the invincible banner of truth, has actually achieved its victories through some inner mysterious strength?

Melvin Konner:

The truth may not be helpful, but the concealment of it cannot be.

Charles A. Lindbergh, Jr.

But I have seen the science I worshipped and the aircraft I loved destroying the civilization I expected them to serve.

Konrad Lorenz

Truth in science can be defined as the working hypothesis best suited to open the way to the next better one.

Henry Margenau:

Unless his mind soars above his daily pursuits, it is different techniques. In the same spirit, the woodsman might claim that there are only trees but no forest.

James Clerk Maxwell

For the sake of persons of ... different types, scientific truth should be presented in different forms, and should be regarded as equally scientific, whether it appears in the robust form and the vivid coloring of a physical illustration, or in the tenuity and paleness of a symbolic expression.

Isaac Newton:

If I have seen farther than others it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.

Absolute, true, and mathematical time, of itself, and from its own nature, flows equably without relation to anything external, and by another name is called duration: relative, apparent, and common time, is some sensible and external ... measure of duration by means of motion, which is used instead of true time; such as an hour, a day, a month, a year.

I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting g myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.

Whoever has undergone the intense experience of successful advances made in [science], is moved by profound reverence for the rationality made manifest in existence.

From this fountain (the free will of God) it is those laws, which we call the laws of nature, have flowed, in which there appear many traces of the most wise contrivance, but not the least shadow of necessity. These therefore we must not seek from uncertain conjectures, but learn them from observations and experimental. He who is presumptuous enough to think that he can find the true principles of physics and the laws of natural things by the force alone of his own mind, and the internal light of his reason, must either suppose the world exists by necessity, and by the same necessity follows the law proposed; or if the order of Nature was established by the will of God, the [man] himself, a miserable reptile, can tell what was fittest to be done.

God [could] vary the laws of Nature, and make worlds of several sorts in several parts of the universe.

Friedrich Nietzsche:

Physics, too, is only an interpretation of the universe, an arrangement of it (to suit us, if I may be so bold), rather than a clarification.

In some remote corner of the universe, poured out and glittering in innumerable solar systems, there once was a star on which clever animals invented knowledge. That was the haughtiest and most mendacious minute of "world history" - yet only a minute. After nature had drawn a few breaths the star grew cold, and the clever animals had to die. ... There have been eternities when [human intellect] did not exist; and when it is done for again, nothing will have happened.

Ye daring ones! Ye venturers and adventurers, and whoever of you have embarked with cunning sails on unexplored seas! Ye enjoyers of enigmas! Solve unto me the enigma that I then beheld, interpret for me the vision of the loneliest one. ... O my brethren, I heard a laughter which was no human laughter.

It is we, we alone, who have dreamed up the causes, the one-thing-after-another, the one-thing-reciprocating-another, the relativity, the constraint, the numbers, the laws, the freedom, the "reason why," the purpose. ... We are creating myths.

God is dead, ... And we have killed him.

J. Robert Oppenheimer

As long as men are free to ask what they must - free to say what they think - free to think what they will - freedom can never be lost and science can never regress.

Nicholas Oresme, Bishop of Lisieux, 1377:

No experience whatsoever could prove that the heavens rotate daily and not the earth.

Sir William Ostler

No human being is constituted to know the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth; and even the best of men must be content with fragments, with partial glimpses, never the full fruition.

In science the credit goes to the man who convinces the world, not to the man to whom the idea first occurs.

P.D. Ouspenski:

A religion contradicting science and a science contradicting religion are equally false.

Irving Oyle:

First they told us the world was flat. Then they told us it was round. Now they are telling us it isn't even there.

Heintz R. Pagels:

This sense of the unfathomable beautiful ocean of existence drew me into science. I am awed by the universe, puzzled by it and sometimes angry at a natural order that brings such pain and suffering, Yet an emotion or feeling I have toward the cosmos seems to be reciprocated by neither benevolence nor hostility but just by silence. The universe appears to be a perfectly neutral screen unto which I can project any passion or attitude, and it supports them all.

Blaise Pascal:

What a chimera ... is man ! What a novelty, what a monster, what a chaos, what a subject of contradiction, what a prodigy! A judge of all things, feeble worm of the earth, depository of the truth, cloacae of uncertainty and error, the glory and the shame of the universe!

Wolfgang Pauli (After postulating the existence of the neutrino, a particle with no mass and no electric charge, in order to balance an equation.) :

I have done a terrible thing: I have postulated a particle that cannot be detected."

The Phi-Beta-Kappa Manual for New Members:

The quickening not only of the mind, but also of the spirit, is the aim of a liberal arts education. As men and women devoted to intellectual pursuits, we have a happy faith that in the future, as in the past, the liberal arts and sciences will continue to be central to any meaningful understanding of the human condition.

Ronald C. Pine:

Our intelligence has brought us far, but it has also brought us to the brink of total destruction. It cuts both ways, its application sometimes terrifies us, but it also reveals a humbling, sobering perspective of our cosmological home.

Max Planck:

A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar to it.

Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of Nature. And it is because in the last analysis we ourselves are part of the mystery we are trying to solve.

A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents, but rather because its opponents die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.

Max Planck's Teacher (unknown name):

Physics is finished, young man. It's a dead-end street.


Wonder is the feeling of a philosopher, and philosophy begins in wonder.

"Let no one without geometry enter here" (inscription over the entrance to Plato's Academy).

Henry Poincare:

Science is facts. Just as houses are made of stones, so is science made of facts. But a pile of stones is not a house and a collection of facts is not necessarily science.

Alexander Pope:

Nature and nature's laws lay hid in night: God said, let Newton be! and all was light.

Karl Popper:

In a certain sense, science is myth-making just as religion is. ... My thesis is that what we call "science" is differentiated from older myths not by being something distinct from a myth, but by being accompanied by a second-order tradition - that of critically discussing the myth.


Ponder all things, and stablish high thy mind.

Bertrand Russell:

Physics tells us much less about the physical world than we thought it did.

Carl Sagan:

The deflation of some of our more common conceits is one of the practical applications of astronomy.

Somewhere, there is something incredible waiting to be known.

The ideal universe for us is one very much like the universe we inhabit. And I would guess that this is not really much of a coincidence.

regards the first [principle of science], "that nature can be understood" ... the most astonishing thing about it is that it had to be invented, that it was at all necessary to invent it.

The testimony of our common sense is suspect at high velocities.

Our obligation to survive and flourish is owed not just to ourselves, but also to the cosmos, ancient and vast, from which we spring.

Erwin Schrodinger:

The great thing [about Kant's philosophy] was to form the idea that this one thing - mind or world - may well be capable of other forms of appearance that we cannot grasp and that do not imply the notions of space and time. This means an imposing liberation from our inveterate prejudice.

Einstein has not ... given the lie to Kant's deep thoughts on the idealization of space and time; he has, on the contrary, made a large step towards its accomplishment.

Would it (the world) otherwise (without consciousness) have remained a play before empty benches, not existing for anybody, thus quite properly not existing?

The observer is never entirely replaced by instruments; for if he were, he could obviously obtain no knowledge whatsoever ... They must be read! The observer's senses have to step in eventuality. The most careful record, when not inspected, tells us nothing.

A mathematical truth is timeless, it does not come into being when we discover it. Yet its discovery is a very real event, it may be an emotion like a great gift from a fairy.

Arthur Schopenhauer:

Every man takes the limits of his own vision for the limits of the world.

Michael Scriven:

An extremely healthy dose of skepticism about the reliability of science is an absolutely inevitable consequence of any scientific study of its track record.

Reason is the only ability that makes it possible for humans to rule the Earth and to ruin it.

John Selden (1689)

'Tis as if they should make the standard for the measure we call foot, a Chancellor's foot; what an uncertain measure would that be? One Chancellor has a long foot, another a short foot, a third an indifferent foot.

William Shakespeare

What doth gravity out of his bed at midnight?

Sir Charles Sherrington:

scientist is a ... learned child. Others must outgrow it. Scientists can stay that way all their life.

A scientist lives with all of reality. There is nothing better. To know reality is to accept it and eventually to love it.


I would not be confident in everything I say about the argument: but one thing I would fight for to the end, both in word and in deed if I were able - that if we believe we should try to find out what is not known, we should be better and braver and less idle than if we believed that what we do not know is impossible to find out and that we need not even try.

One thing only I know, and that is that I know nothing.

Dietrick E. Thomsen:

In a sense [for the Copenhagen Interpretation], the observer picks what happens. One of the unsolved questions is whether the observer's mind or will somehow determines the choice, or whether it is simply a case of sticking in a thumb and pulling out a plum at random.

Lao Tsu:

In the universe great acts are made up of small deeds.

George Wald:

Given so much time, the "impossible" becomes possible, the possible probable, and the probable virtually certain. One has only to wait: time itself performs miracles.

Lyall Watson:

The sun rises. In that short phrase, in a single fact, is enough information to keep biology, physics, and philosophy busy for the rest of time.

Everything around us is filled with mystery and magic. I find this no cause for despair, no reason to turn for solace to esoteric formulae or chariots of gods. On the contrary, our inability to find easy answers fills me with a fierce pride in our ambivalent biology ... with a constant sense of wonder and delight that we should be part of anything so profound.

Hermann Weil:

There is inherent in nature a hidden harmony that reflects itself in our minds under the image of simple mathematical laws. That then is the reason why events in nature are predictable by a combination of observation and mathematical analysis. Again and again in the history of physics this conviction, or should I say this dream, of harmony in nature has found fulfillments beyond our expectations.

Steven Weinberg:

I do not think it is possible really to understand the successes of science without understanding how hard it is - how easy it is to be led astray, how difficult it is to know at any time what is the next thing to be done.

Men and women are not content to comfort themselves with tales of gods and giants, or to confine their thoughts to the daily affairs of life; they also build telescopes and satellites and accelerators, and sit at desks for endless hours working out the meaning of the data they gather.

The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless.

Quantum mechanics and relativity, taken together, are extraordinarily restrictive, and they therefore provide us with a great logical machine. We can explore with our minds any number of possible universes consisting of all kinds of mythical particles and interactions, but all except a very few can be rejected on a priori grounds because they are not simultaneously consistent with special relativity and quantum mechanics. Hopefully in the end we will find that only one theory is consistent with both and that theory will determine the nature of our particular universe.

Alfred North Whitehead:

It requires a very unusual mind to undertake the analysis of the obvious.

Walt Whitman:

O amazement of things - even the least particle!

It is the business of the future to be dangerous; and it is among the merits of science that it equips the future for its duties.

Robert C. Wood

Scientific and humanist approaches are not competitive but supportive, and both are ultimately necessary

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