Quotes I like
"Curses don't fall on sticks and stones"
[My granny - Margaret Benson]
``Wie groß ist doch der Unterschied zwischen den Riesenwerken der Industrie und den Werkstätten
Welch imponierende Kolosse sind die Ozeandampfer!
Aber wenn man öfter fährt, wird es klar, daß die Seeoffiziere, die Maschinisten und Matrosen immer den gleichen Dienst tun.
In den Passagierräumen sprechen immer die gleichen Menschen uber die gleichen Dinge, dehnen sich auf den gleichen Sesseln,
werfen auf dem Oberdeck mit denselben Scheiben nach denselben Zielen.
Riesige Massen, aber kein neuer Gedanke!
In der Wissenschaft wurde allerdings auch schon manches durch Massenentwicklung geleistet (wir sahen es an der Licksternwarte);
aber das wahrhaft Große (freilich unser Unterrichtsminister darf das nicht hören), wird immer mit den kleinsten Mitteln hervorgebracht''
[How great the difference between the giant factories of industry and the modest workshops of science!
what imposing colossuses are the ocean steamers!
But when one travels frequently one realises that the navel officers, the machinists and seamen always do the same job.
In the passenger rooms, the same people always talk about the same things,
relax on the same chairs, and throw the same discs at the same targets.
Huge effort, but no new thought!
Certainly, in science some things must be done with massive effort (like the Lick observatory);
but th ereally great achievements (of course, our Secretary of Education shoulkd not hear this) are usually always made with the smallest means.]
[Ludwig Boltzmann, 1905]
``Mein Zahlengedächtnis, sonst erträglich fix, behält die Zahl der Biergläser stets schlecht.''
(My memory for numbers, usually quite reliable, always has difficulty keeping a record of glasses of beer.)
[Ludwig Boltzmann, 1905]
``And so the wheel of fate turns.''
[Hedgley the Hedgehog from Hey Duggee]
``consciousness is an emergent phenomenon.''
``A conscious system must thus strike a balance between too little integration (such
as a liquid with atoms moving fairly independently) and
too much integration (such as a solid), suggesting that
consciousness is maximised near a phase transition between
less- and more-ordered states; indeed, humans lose
consciousness unless key physical parameters of our brain
are kept within a narrow range of values.''
``In Einstein’s theory of general relativity, we model the `observer'
as a fictitious disembodied massless entity having
no effect whatsoever on that which is observed. In contrast,
the textbook interpretation of quantum mechanics
states that the observer does affect the observed.''
``It seems that there is a unity to physics, so that the ability to perceive new principles is not limited to narrow areas.''
``History teaches us that big jumps in human innovation come about mainly as a basic result of pure curiosity. Faraday's experiments on electricity, for example, were driven by curiosity but eventually brought us the electric light. No amount of R&D on the candle could have done that''
, Director General of CERN, 2004–2008]
In general the scientist ``understands what he is doing about as well as a centipede understands how he walks'' [Herbert Dingle]
``One can measure the importance of a scientific work by the number of earlier publications rendered superfluous by it'' [David Hilbert]
``I'm suspicious of people who don't like dogs, but I trust a dog when it doesn't like a person'' [Bill Murray]
``The majority doesn't have the right to do wrong'' [RK]
``I often say that when you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in
numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely, in your thoughts, advanced to the stage of science, whatever the matter may be.
[William Thomson, often referred to simply as Lord Kelvin: Lecture on "Electrical Units of Measurement'' (3 May 1883), published in Popular Lectures Vol. I, p. 73 ]
``The absence of a boson is also a boson'' [Speaker at the International Conference on Computer Simulation in Physics and beyond, September 6-10, 2015, Moscow, Russia]
``If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?''
``Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.''
``Physics, properly understood, is not a subject taught at schools and university departments; it is a certain way of understanding how processes happen in the world. When Aristotle wrote
his Physics in the fourth century B.C., he wasn’t describing an academic discipline, but a mode of philosophy: a way of thinking about nature. You might imagine that’s just an archaic usage, but it’s not. When physicists speak today (as they often do) about the “physics” of the problem, they mean something close to what Aristotle meant: neither a bare mathematical formalism nor a mere narrative, but a way of deriving process from fundamental principles.
This is why there is a physics of biology just as there is a physics of chemistry, geology, and society.''
``And yet it moves.''
[Galileo Galilei (1564–1642)]
``The most needed qualities ... are justice, kindness, imagination and intellectual power.''
[Isiah Berlin (philosopher) about traits to look or in head of college]
``Cunning and guile or exile''
[Sean o'Flynn = Jean La'Lie, artist]
Quotes I like to quote
``While it is never safe to affirm that the future of Physical Science has no marvels
in store even more astonishing than those of the past, it seems probable that most of the
grand underlying principles have been firmly established and that further advances are to be sought
chiefly in the rigorous application of these principles to all the phenomena which come under our notice.
It is here that the science of measurement shows its importance — where quantitative work is more to be
desired than qualitative work. An eminent physicist remarked that the future truths of physical science
are to be looked for in the sixth place of decimals.''
[Albert Michelson, 1894, dedication of Ryerson Physical Laboratory, quoted in Annual Register 1896, p. 159]
``The more important fundamental laws and facts of physical science have all been discovered,
and these are so firmly established that the possibility of their ever being supplanted in
consequence of new discoveries is exceedingly remote. ''
[Albert Michelson, Light Waves and Their Uses, published by The University of Chicago Press, 1903, pp 23-25]
Quotes I dislike
``Research is now top down'' [EG, 2014]
``We are in a managed environment'' [EG, 2014]
``Sorry I don't have time to dig into the details of your model
but its clear just by thinking ... that ...'' [A. E.-W., 23 Sept 2015]
``Were it not for academic freedom, you wouldn't be working on either of those two projects''
[JT, Sept 2009]