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My favored scientist quotes

  1. Aug 27, 2014 #1


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    Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
    Albert Einstein

    Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.
    Albert Einstein

    The fear of death is the most unjustified of all fears, for there's no risk of accident for someone who's dead.
    Albert Einstein


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

    In science one tries to tell people, in such a way as to be understood by everyone, something that no one ever knew before. But in poetry, it's the exact opposite.
    Paul Dirac

    If we take in our hand any volume; of divinity or school metaphysics, for instance; let us ask, Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number? No. Does it contain any experimental reasoning, concerning matter of fact and existence? No. Commit it then to flames: for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion.
    David Hume

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

    If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.
    Albert Einstein

    Most of the fundamental ideas of science are essentially simple, and may, as a rule, be expressed in a language comprehensible to everyone.
    Albert Einstein

    Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.
    Albert Einstein

    Imagination is more important than knowledge.
    Albert Einstein

    Truth and clarity are complementary.
    Niels Bohr

    If I could explain it to the average person, I wouldn't have been worth the Nobel Prize.
    Richard P. Feynman

    Scientists are clever, but the problem with them is that sometimes they are too clever to see the obvious.
    Hrvoje Nikolic

    Intellectuals solve problems, geniuses prevent them.
    Albert Einstein

    If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?
    Albert Einstein

    It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer.
    Albert Einstein

    We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.
    Albert Einstein


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

    Politics is for the present, but an equation is for eternity.
    Albert Einstein

    I want to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts; the rest are details.
    Albert Einstein

    Your theory is crazy, but it's not crazy enough to be true.
    Niels Bohr (to Wolfgang Pauli after his presentation of Heisenberg's and Pauli's nonlinear field theory of elementary particles, at Columbia University 1958)

    It's better to do the right calculation in the wrong theory than the wrong calculation in the right theory.
    Juan Maldacena

    It is more important to have beauty in one's equations than to have them fit experiment... It seems that if one is working from the point of view of getting beauty in one's equations, and if one has really a sound insight, one is on a sure line of progress. If there is not complete agreement between the results of one's work and experiment, one should not allow oneself to be too discouraged, because the discrepancy may well be due to minor features that are not properly taken into account and that will get cleared up with further developments of the theory.
    Paul A.M. Dirac

    As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.
    Albert Einstein

    If someone points out to you that your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with Maxwell's equations—then so much the worse for Maxwell's equations. If it is found to be contradicted by observation—well these experimentalists do bungle things sometimes. But if your theory is found to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation.
    Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington


    If quantum mechanics hasn't profoundly shocked you, you haven't understood it yet.
    Niels Bohr

    If you really believe in quantum mechanics, then you can't take it seriously.
    R. M. Wald
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 28, 2014 #2


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    There is nothing so practical as a good theory.
    Kurt Lewin

    If you want to truly understand something, try to change it.
    Kurt Lewin

    On nonrelativistic BM:
    No one can understand this theory until he is willing to think of psi as a real objective field rather than just a 'probability amplitude'.
    John S. Bell

    On relativistic BM:
    No one can understand this theory until he is willing to think of x as a position in a 4-dimensional space, rather than just a collection of two conceptually different entities: 3-space position and 'time'.
    Hrvoje Nikolic

    It is almost impossible for me to read contemporary mathematicians who, instead of saying, ‘Petya washed his hands’, write ‘There is a t1 < 0 such that the image of t1 under the natural mapping t1 -> Petya(t1) belongs to the set of dirty hands, and a t2, t1 < t2≤0, such that the image of t2 under the above-mentioned mappings belongs to the complement of the set defined in the preceding sentence.
    V. I. Arnol’d

    An extreme form of instrumentalism, called positivism (or logical positivism), holds that all statements other than those describing or predicting observations are not only superfluous but meaningless. This doctrine is itself meaningless, according to its own criterion.
    D. Deutsch

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
    Carl Sagan

    Life is an organized disorder.
    Hrvoje Nikolic

    If quantum mechanics hasn't profoundly shocked you, you haven't understood it yet.
    Niels Bohr

    If delayed choice quantum eraser shocked you more than the rest of quantum mechanics, you haven't understood the rest of quantum mechanics yet.
    Hrvoje Nikolic

    We use mathematics in physics so that we won’t have to think.
    Bryce DeWitt

    Science may be described as the art of systematic over-simplification.
    Karl Popper

    On science and philosophy:
    When you systematically collect empirical data on nature and compare them with testable theoretical predictions, that's science. When you SAY that this is what science is, that's philosophy.
    Hrvoje Nikolic

    Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world. Unreasonable people attempt to adapt the world to themselves. All progress, therefore, depends on unreasonable people.
    George Bernard Shaw

    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

    Whenever you measure something in quantum mechanics, you really measure something else.
    Hrvoje Nikolic

    An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field.
    Niels Bohr

    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    Arthur C. Clarke

    The scientist is not a person who gives the right answers, he's one who asks the right questions.
    Claude Lévi-Strauss

    Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge.
    Carl Sagan

    Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life.
    Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason

    Think before you speak. Read before you think.
    Frances Ann Lebowitz

    Any fool can know. The point is to understand.
    Albert Einstein

    A huge number of quotes (not only by scientists) can also be found here:
  4. Sep 8, 2014 #3


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    Learning without thinking is useless. Thinking without learning is dangerous.
  5. Sep 26, 2014 #4


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    Some like to understand what they believe in. Others like to believe in what they understand.
    Stanislaw Lec
  6. Sep 26, 2014 #5


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    Shouldn't you be posting those in the "Favourite Quotes" thread (link here)?
  7. Oct 16, 2014 #6
    “The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.”
    ― Isaac Asimov
  8. Oct 17, 2014 #7

    Doug Huffman

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    "Stuff without side-effects generally has no effect at all." (Un-named MD around a campfire)

    Quotations without context are quite pointless, particularly those misattributed to notable personages with a large œuvre. An assertion of non-existence cannot be sustained without examination of the entire universe of discourse.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2014
  9. Oct 20, 2014 #8
    Wait... are you quoting YOURSELF?
  10. Mar 4, 2015 #9


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    Why not? :biggrin:

    If it happens occasionally that you say something in a concise form which you don't want to forget, it is a good place to put it.
    Besides, someone else might like it too.
  11. Mar 4, 2015 #10
    Nothing wrong with quoting yourself. Quotes aren't good because of who said them, despite what people may think. The message is the same regardless if Albert Einstein said it or Justin Bieber.
  12. Mar 4, 2015 #11


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    This quote may or may not be true. It's definitely a second-hand quote, at best.

    Frederick Perls said Einstein said the above quote to him in a personal meeting, but over the course of his life gave three different versions of the quote. Probably all three versions are a paraphrasing of whatever Einstein actually said to Perls.

    My preferred quote:
    If it's an Einstein quote, he probably didn't say it.

    Okay, my actual preferred scientific quote:

    It's supposed to be hard. The hard is what makes it great. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. And then you'd only get paid minimum wage for doing it. "
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2015
  13. Mar 4, 2015 #12
    "Sometimes you have to put your nose to the wind and sniff what is coming at you"
    -Anonymous Dog
  14. Mar 4, 2015 #13


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    Don't listen to what I say; listen to what I mean.
  15. Mar 4, 2015 #14


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    Perfectly logical. I've seen it said better, though.

  16. Mar 7, 2015 #15
    For those who look for the easy path:

    “Treat a man as he is, he will remain so. Treat a man the way he can be and ought to be, and he will become as he can be and should be."

    Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  17. Mar 7, 2015 #16
    Yes this is true. :oldsmile:
  18. Mar 11, 2015 #17
    An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.

    --Benjamin Franklin

    (courtesy of diogenesNY)
  19. Mar 19, 2015 #18
    Read his books. They are relly super-great) Recomend)
  20. Mar 19, 2015 #19
    (On women) "Just talk to them."

    “Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible.”

    “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.”

    "The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane."

    Benjamin Franklin:
    "Money has never made man happy, nor will it, there is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more of it one has the more one wants."

    "Anger is never without a reason, but seldom with a good one."

    "Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain - and most fools do."
  21. Mar 19, 2015 #20


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    Staff: Mentor

    One of my favorites

    Thomas Henry Huxley
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