Science Quotes

"Nature uses only the longest threads to weave her pattern, so that each small piece of her fabric reveals the organization of the entire tapestry" - Feynman

"I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious." - Albert Einstein

"The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing." - Albert Einstein

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

“If I had an hour to solve a problem, I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.” - Albert Einstein

"The only physical theories which we are willing to accept are the beautiful ones." - Albert Einstein


"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself – and you are the easiest person to fool" - Richard Feynman

"The real problem in speech is not precise language. The problem is clear language. The desire is to have the idea clearly communicated to the other person. It is only necessary to be precise when there is some doubt as to the meaning of a phrase, and then the precision should be put in the place where the doubt exists. It is really quite impossible to say anything with absolute precision unless that thing is so abstracted from the real world as to not represent any real thing" - Richard Feynman

"To every man is given the key to the gates of heaven. The same key opens the gates of hell. And so it is with science."  - Richard Feynman

"For the full appreciation of natural phenomena, as we see them, must go beyond physics in the usual sense. We make no apologies for making these excursions into other fields, because the separation of fields, as we have emphasized, is merely a human convenience, and an unnatural thing. Nature is not interested in our separations, and many of the interesting phenomena bridge the gaps between fields."  - Richard Feynman

"I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something"  - Richard Feynman

"I don't like honors.…  I've already got the prize: the prize is the pleasure of finding the thing out, the kick in the discovery, the observation that other people use it. Those are the real things." - Richard Feynman

"I can live with doubt, and uncertainty, and not knowing. I think it's much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong. I have approximate answers, and possible beliefs, and different degrees of certainty about different things, but I'm not absolutely sure of anything. " - Richard Feynman

"Physics is to math what sex is to masturbation"  - Richard Feynman

"If a piece of steel or a piece of salt, consisting of atoms one next to the other, can have such interesting properties; if water - which is nothing but these little blobs, mile upon mile of the same thing over the earth - form waves and foam, and make rushing noises and strange patterns as it runs over cement; if all of this, all the life of a stream of water, can be nothing but a pile of atoms, how much more is possible? If instead of arranging the atoms in some definite pattern, again and again repeated, on and on, or even forming little lumps of complexity like the odor of violets, we make an arrangement which is always different from place to place, with different kinds of atoms arranged in many ways, continually changing, not repeating, how much more marvelously is it possible that this thing might behave? Is it possible that that “thing” walking back and forth in front of you, talking to you, is a great glob of these atoms in a very complex arrangement, such that the sheer complexity of it staggers the imagination as to what it can do? When we say we are a pile of atoms, we do not mean we are merely a pile of atoms, because a pile of atoms which is not repeated from one to the other might well have the possibilities which you see before you in the mirror." - Feynman

"It is important to realize that in physics today, we have no knowledge of what energy is. We do not have a picture that energy comes in little blobs of a definite amount. It is not that way. However, there are formulas for calculating some numerical quantity, and when we add it all together it gives “28” — always the same number. It is an abstract thing in that it does not tell us the mechanism or the reasons for the various formulas." - Feynman

"Is no one inspired by our present picture of the universe? This value of science remains unsung by singers, you are reduced to hearing not a song or poem, but an evening lecture about it. This is not yet a scientific age." Richard Feynman

"Physics is like sex: sure, it may give some practical results, but that's not why we do it." - Richard Feynman

"I think it's much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong." - Richard Feynman

"You keep on learning and learning, and pretty soon you learn something no one has learned before." - Richard Feynman

"We never are definitely right, we can only be sure we are wrong." - Feynman

"I was born not knowing and have only had a little time to change that here and there." - Richard Feynman

"Science is a way to teach how something gets to be known, what is not known, to what extent things are known (for nothing is known absolutely), how to handle doubt and uncertainty, what the rules of evidence are, how to think about things so that judgements can be made, how to distinguish truth from fraud and from show." - Feynman

"You have to be in some framework that you allow something to be true, otherwise you are perpetually asking why" - Feynman

"Scientific creativity is imagination in a straitjacket. Whatever we are allowed to imagine must be consistent with everything else we know." - Feynman

"The fact that I beat a drum has nothing to do with the fact that I do theoretical physics. Theoretical physics is a human endeavor, one of the higher developments of human beings - and this perpetual desire to prove that people who do it are human by showing that they do other things that a few humans do (like playing bongo drums) is insulting to me. I am human enough to tell you to go to hell" - Feynman

"Nature uses only the longest threads to weave her pattern, so that each small piece of her fabric reveals the organization of the entire tapestry" - Feynman

"The odds that your theory will be in fact right, and that the general thing that everybody is working on will be wrong, is low. But the odds that you, will be that guy that figures a thing out is not smaller!" - Feynman

"Scientific knowledge is a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty... some most unsure, some nearly sure, none absolutely certain." - Feyman

"Falling in love with your theory is like falling in love with a woman, it is only possible if you do not know much about her, so you cannot see her faults" - Feynman

"By careful analysis of past discoveries, we hope to find a way of separating the effects of good organization from those of pure luck, and enabling us to operate on calculated risks rather than blind chance" - JD Bernal

"Pointers and recursion require a certain ability to reason, to think in abstractions, and, most importantly, to view a problem at several levels of abstraction simultaneously" - Joel

"In science, as well as in other fields of human endeavor, there are two kinds of geniuses: the “ordinary” and the “magicians.” An ordinary genius is a fellow that you and I would be just as good as, if we were only many times better. There is no mystery as to how his mind works. It is different with the magicians, the working of their minds is for all intents and purposes incomprehensible. Even after we understand what they have done, the process by which they have done it is completely dark. They seldom, if ever, have students because they cannot be emulated and it must be terribly frustrating for a brilliant young mind to cope with the mysterious ways in which the magician’s mind works. " - Mark Kac

“Talent hits a target no one else can hit. Genius hits a target no one else can see.” - Arthur Schopenhauer

"If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants." - Isaac Newton

"To explain all of Nature is too difficult a task for any one man or even for a single age. 'Tis much better to do a little with certainty, & leave the rest for others that come after you, than to explain all things by conjecture without making sure of anything." - Isaac Newton

"Correlation does not by itself imply causation" - an axiom

"In the past, it was believed that the stars could determine the future of humanity. But through careful observations, humanity can now tell the future of the stars." - Brian Koberlein

"Science is what we understand well enough to explain to a computer. Art is everything else we do." - Donald Knuth

“All models are wrong, but some are useful” - George Box

"It is no more appropriate to tailor a course to the desires of the student than it is to modify the driving test according to the wishes of learner drivers." - Stephen Senn, On thinking and learning. RSS News, December 2007

"Science tells you what is possible, engineering tells you what is likely to actually happen, and Ethics guides us what we want to happen" - Hamming

"The purpose of computing is insight, not numbers." - Hamming

"The free-electron theory raises doubts as to how much we should trust numerical agreement between theory and experiment as evidence for the correctness of the theory." - Eugene Wigner

"Mass tells space-time how to curve, and space-time tells mass how to move." - John Wheeler

"Spending two days in a lab can easily save you up to one hour reading literature" - Marcus Muller

“The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of a doubt, what is laid before him.” - Leo Tolstoy

“Technical skill is mastery of complexity, while creativity is mastery of simplicity” - Erik Christopher Zeeman

"Better beware of notions like genius and inspiration; they are a sort of magic wand and should be used sparingly by anybody who wants to see things clearly" - José Ortega y Gasset

"Information is the difference that makes a difference." - Gregory Bateson

"On graduating from school a studious young man who would withstand the tedium and monotony of his duties has no choice but to lose himself in some branch of science or literature completely irrelevant to his assignment." - Coulomb

"Whoever in pursuit of science, seeks after immediate practical utility may rest assured that he seeks in vain." - Herman Von Helmholtz

"I don't mind your thinking slowly; I mind your publishing faster than you think."  - Wolfgang Pauli

"The purpose is the complete mastery of mind over the material world, the harnessing of the forces of nature to human needs.....   in the knowledge of being one of that exceptionally privileged class without whom the race would have long ago perished in the bitter struggle against pitiless elements." - Tesla

"Computers are nothing but puns on bits, and languages are nothing but puns on letters. Puns force one to drop from the abstract semantic level to the raw syntactic level of sub-words or characters, and back up again to achieve some semantic twist." - gwern

"When I say that the brain is a machine, it is meant not as an insult to the mind but as an acknowledgement to the potential of a machine." - Daniel Hills

Physics is about getting closer and closer," Isi said. "But you can never be sure."

"Rich collection of symbols that can refer to things across time - Language." - Vsauce

"Quantum mechanics is difussion in imaginary time" - James Gleick

"The aim of science is to make difficult things understandable in a simpler way; the aim of poetry is to state simple things in an incomprehensible way. The two are incompatible." - Dirac

“Who are we?, The answer to this question is not only one of the tasks but the task of science.” - Erwin Schrödinger

"Information inside the computer is represented as groups of bits that are interpreted in different ways, depending on the context." - Randal E. Bryant

"If you are a scientist you believe that it is good to find out how the world works; that it is good to find out what the realities are; that it is good to turn over to mankind at large the greatest possible power to control the world and to deal with it according to its lights and its values." - J. Robert Oppenheimer

“There is a way to escape the inference of superluminal speeds and spooky action at a distance. But it involves absolute determinism in the universe, the complete absence of free will. Suppose the world is super-deterministic, with not just inanimate nature running on behind-the-scenes clockwork, but with our behavior, including our belief that we are free to choose to do one experiment rather than another, absolutely predetermined, including the ‘decision’ by the experimenter to carry out one set of measurements rather than another, the difficulty disappears. There is no need for a faster-than-light signal to tell particle A what measurement has been carried out on particle B, because the universe, including particle A, already ‘knows’ what that measurement, and its outcome, will be." - John Bell

"The bomb had shown the aptness of physics. The scientists had found enough sinew behind their penciled abstractions to change history." - James Gleick

"The scientist does not study nature because it is useful; he studies it because he delights in it, and he delights in it because it is beautiful. If nature were not beautiful, it would not be worth knowing, and if nature were not worth knowing, life would not be worth living. Of course I do not here speak of that beauty that strikes the senses, the beauty of qualities and appearances; not that I undervalue such beauty, far from it, but it has nothing to do with science; I mean that profounder beauty which comes from the harmonious order of the parts, and which a pure intelligence can grasp." - Henri Poincaré

"The universe is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper." - Eden Philpotts

"A science like that, intent on changing the living world without trying to understand it, is a danger to itself.” - Woese

"Faced with a mysterious phenomenon, we humans more readily postulate mysterious inherent substances than complex underlying processes." - Elizer

“Our theory of the origin of life is that there is no origin, but only a constant development and change in form.” - William Sidis

“It is sufficient to admit that life is as old and as eternal as matter itself, and the entire argument about the origin of life loses apparently all sense by this simple admission. And, really, why can we not imagine that organic life is just as much without beginning as is carbon and its combinations, or as is all uncreated and indestructible matter and the forces which are eternally bound up with the movement of matter in universal space.” - Justus Liebig (c. 1850)

“You agree with me that the single atom is not alive. What about two atoms? What about three? Does a bound state of atoms have to have a certain movement to be considered alive? What if we heat a system of four atoms, do they suddenly become alive? What if we subject a system of atoms to both gravitational and electromagnetic forces, does that suddenly make them alive? What if the two forces act to move smaller atoms through the cavities of larger atomic [structures] [molecules] on a cyclical basis, thus activating reactions [metabolism] in the process, does that make them alive? What if the two forces begin to arrange the atoms into hierarchies, and that smaller atoms and bundles of atoms begin to move between the hierarchies, does that make them alive? What if a structure of atoms, begin to turnover their internal atoms, with those of the surrounding space, on a cyclical basis, does that make it alive? It should be very obvious that no matter how many atoms one adds to the argument that an atom or a structure made of two or more atoms cannot be alive. It is my view that one cannot define an atom or two or more atoms structured as a bound state to be alive. The word itself and baggage of theory surrounding the word is meaningless. It is akin to the words: vitalism, élan vital, hylozoism, panpsychism, etc. From the point of view of the molecular evolution table, according to current views, rows 1-10 are considered to be not alive, rows 11-28 are considered to be alive, and rows 30 and above are not alive. Because of our anthropocentric biases, we continue to believe that we are unique among molecular structures, in that those much smaller or much bigger than us are not alive, whereas we are. It is a grave mistake to believe in this fallacy. I am not quite sure what the alternative theory is; but from the point of view of atoms, molecules, and the logic of the chemistry textbook, the theory of the conception an atom, or two or more attached atoms, being alive is absurd. This is my view.” - Libb Thims (2009)

"No apparent limit exists to the success of the scientific method in weighing, measuring, and reducing beneath the sway of law, the phenomena of both matter and mind (mind brain duality). And if mental phenomena be thus capable of treatment by the balance and the micrometer, can we any longer hold that mind is distinct from matter? Must not the same inexorable reign of law, which is apparent in the motions of brute matter, be extended to the most subtle feelings of the human heart (like love)? Are not plants and animals and ultimately man himself, merely crystals, as it were, of a complicated form? If so, our boasted free will becomes a delusion, moral responsibility a fiction, spirit a mere name for the more curious manifestations of material energy. All that happens, whether right or wrong, pleasurable or painful, is but the outcome of the necessary relations of time and space and force, and of the laws of matter emerging from them, which are fixed in the very nature of things." - Stanley Jevons

"The more we learn about the world, and the deeper our learning, the more conscious, specific, and articulate will be our knowledge of what we do not know, our knowledge of our ignorance." - Karl Popper

"Rigor cleans the window through which intuition shines." - Ellis D. Cooper

"A 4 month bird migrating south for the first time presumably does not know why. The next spring, when she lays an egg, sits on it, and defends it from predators, again she doesn't know why. Even humans don't always know the reasons for their behaviours. Yawning and laughter are examples. Intentions are at best a weak form of explanation." - Kalat

"Development of Western science is based on two great achievements: the invention of the formal logical system (in Euclidean geometry) by the Greek philosophers, and the discovery of the possibility to find out causal relationships by systematic experiment (during the Renaissance)." - Einstein

"The market can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent" - John Maynard Keynes A. Gary Shilling

Quotes by Anonymous

"Information is the distinctions that we choose to make significant"

Decentralized consensus has been achieved with a blockchain.

“Should the student feel compelled to build labyrinthine semantic structures, and thereby disguise the relationship between modalities of meaning and the true self”

"A PhD thesis is research done by a professor under particularly trying circumstances."

"Quantum mechanics sits at a level between math and physics that I don't know a good name for. Basically, quantum mechanics is the operating system that other physical theories run on as application software (with the exception of general relativity, which hasn't yet been successfully ported to this particular OS)"