Quotes about science

A collection of quotes on the topic of science.

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Werner Heisenberg photo

„Natural science does not simply describe and explain nature; it is part of the interplay between nature and ourselves; it describes nature as exposed to our nature of questioning.“

—  Werner Heisenberg German theoretical physicist 1901 - 1976

Physics and Philosophy (1958)
Context: [I]n the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum theory we can indeed proceed without mentioning ourselves as individuals, but we cannot disregard the fact that natural science is formed by men. Natural science does not simply describe and explain nature; it is part of the interplay between nature and ourselves; it describes nature as exposed to our nature of questioning. This was a possibility of which Descartes could not have thought, but it makes a sharp separation between the world and the I impossible.
If one follows the great difficulty which even eminent scientists like Einstein had in understanding and accepting the Copenhagen interpretation... one can trace the roots... to the Cartesian partition.... it will take a long time for it [this partition] to be replaced by a really different attitude toward the problem of reality. <!--p. 81

Robert Oppenheimer photo

„There must be no barriers to freedom of inquiry … There is no place for dogma in science. The scientist is free, and must be free to ask any question, to doubt any assertion, to seek for any evidence, to correct any errors.“

—  Robert Oppenheimer American theoretical physicist and professor of physics 1904 - 1967

As quoted in "J. Robert Oppenheimer" by L. Barnett, in Life, Vol. 7, No. 9, International Edition (24 October 1949), p. 58; sometimes a partial version (the final sentence) is misattributed to Marcel Proust.
Context: There must be no barriers to freedom of inquiry … There is no place for dogma in science. The scientist is free, and must be free to ask any question, to doubt any assertion, to seek for any evidence, to correct any errors. Our political life is also predicated on openness. We know that the only way to avoid error is to detect it and that the only way to detect it is to be free to inquire. And we know that 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.

Robert Oppenheimer photo

„Science is not everything, but science is very beautiful.“

—  Robert Oppenheimer American theoretical physicist and professor of physics 1904 - 1967

Last published words With Oppenheimer on an Autumn Day, Look, Vol. 30, No. 26 (19 December 1966)

George Sutherland photo
Mwanandeke Kindembo photo
Mwanandeke Kindembo photo
Jacob Bronowski photo

„Science is nothing else than the search to discover unity in the wild variety of nature — or more exactly, in the variety of our experience.“

—  Jacob Bronowski Polish-born British mathematician 1908 - 1974

As quoted in The God Particle (1993) by Leon Lederman – ISBN 978–0–618–71168–0
Context: The progress of science is the discovery at each step of a new order which gives unity to what had long seemed unlike. Faraday did this when he closed the link between electricity and magnetism. Clerk Maxwell did it when he linked both with light. Einstein linked time with space, mass with energy, and the path of light past the sun with the flight of a bullet; and spent his dying years in trying to add to these likenesses another, which would find a single imaginative order between the equations between Clerk Maxwell and his own geometry of gravitation When Coleridge tried to define beauty, he returned always to one deep thought: beauty he said, is "unity in variety." Science is nothing else than the search to discover unity in the wild variety of nature — or more exactly, in the variety of our experience.

Nicolae Ceaușescu photo

„We want to ensure a multilateral development of society, the thriving of all sides of social life, economy, science and culture, the improvement of management, the moulding of the new man and the promotion of socialist ethics and equity.“

—  Nicolae Ceaușescu General Secretary of the Romanian Communist Party 1918 - 1989

Nicolae Ceaușescu, Builder of Modern Romania and International Statesman (1983)

William Stanley Jevons photo

„but, in reality, there is no such thing as an exact science.“

—  William Stanley Jevons, The Theory of Political Economy

Source: The Theory of Political Economy (1871), Chapter I, Introduction, p. 40.

Karl Heinrich Ulrichs photo
Mwanandeke Kindembo photo
Werner Heisenberg photo

„The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you.“

—  Werner Heisenberg German theoretical physicist 1901 - 1976

“Der erste Trunk aus dem Becher der Naturwissenschaft macht atheistisch, aber auf dem Grund des Bechers wartet Gott.” in 15 Jahrhunderte Würzburg: e. Stadt u. ihre Geschichte [15 centuries Würzburg. A city and its history] (1979), p. 205, by Heinz Otremba. Otremba does not declare his source, and the quote per se cannot be found in Heisenberg's published works.
The journalist Eike Christian Hirsch PhD, a personal acquaintance of Heisenberg, whom he interviewed for his 1981 book Expedition in die Glaubenswelt, claimed in de.wikiquote.org on 22 June 2015, that the content and style of the quote was completely foreign to Heisenberg's convictions and the way he used to express himself, and that Heisenberg's children, Dr. Maria Hirsch and Prof. Dr. Martin Heisenberg, did not recognize their father in this quote.
Statements similar to the quote were made by Francis Bacon, in "Of Atheism" (1601): "A little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism; but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about to religion", and Alexander Pope, in "An Essay on Criticism" (1709): "A little learning is a dangerous thing; drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring: there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, and drinking largely sobers us again."
There is a passage in a lengthy essay written by Heisenberg in 1942, "Ordnung der Wirklichkeit” ("Reality and Its Order"), published in Collected Works. Section C: Philosophical and Popular Writings. Volume I. Physics and Cognition. 1927-1955 (1984), that parallels the ideas expressed in the quote (albeit in a much expanded form):
"The first thing we could say was simply: 'I believe in God, the Father, the almighty creator of heaven and earth.' The next step — at least for our contemporary consciousness — was doubt. There is no god; there is only an impersonal law that directs the fate of the world according to cause and effect... And yet [today], we may with full confidence place ourselves into the hands of the higher power who, during our lifetime and in the course of the centuries, determines our faith and therewith our world and our fate." (English translation by M.B.Rumscheidt and N. Lukens, available at http://www.heisenbergfamily.org/t-OdW-english.htm)
Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker, a protégé of Heisenberg, did publish a version of the quote itself in Die Geschichte der Natur (The History of Nature) (1948), appearing to consider it an adage:
"Aus dem Denken gibt es keinen ehrlichen Rückweg in einen naiven Glauben. Nach einem alten Satz trennt uns der erste Schluck aus dem Becher der Erkenntnis von Gott, aber auf dem Grunde des Bechers wartet Gott auf den, der ihn sucht. Wenn es so ist, dann gibt es einen Weg des Denkens, der vorwärts zu religiösen Wahrheiten führt, und nur diesen Weg zu suchen ist lohnend. Wenn es nicht so ist, wird unsere Welt auf die Religion ihre Hoffnungen vergeblich setzen." ("From thinking there is no honest way back into a naive belief. According to an old phrase, the first sip from the cup of knowledge separates us from God, but at the bottom of the cup God is waiting for the one who seeks him. If so, then there is a way of thinking that leads to religious truths, and to seek only that way is rewarding. If it is not so, our world will put its hopes to religion in vain.")
Misattributed

Edward O. Wilson photo

„The toxic mix of religion and tribalism has become so dangerous as to justify taking seriously the alternative view, that humanism based on science is the effective antidote, the light and the way at last placed before us.“

—  Edward O. Wilson American biologist 1929

Can biology do better than faith?, NewScientist.com, 2 November 2005, 2010-10-26 http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn8254-can-biology-do-better-than-faith.html,

Alfred Percy Sinnett photo
Emil M. Cioran photo

„Fortunate those who, born before science, were privileged to die of their first disease!“

—  Emil M. Cioran Romanian philosopher and essayist 1911 - 1995

Drawn and Quartered (1983)

Neil deGrasse Tyson photo
Dmitri Mendeleev photo

„In science we must all submit not to what seems to us attractive from one point of view or another, but to what represents an agreement between theory and experiment.“

—  Dmitri Mendeleev Russian chemist and inventor 1834 - 1907

Faraday Lecture, the Royal Institution, London (1889) as quoted by Leon Gray, The Basics of the Periodic Table (2013)

Edmund Husserl photo

„Management is a distinct process consisting of planning, organising, actuating and controlling; utilising in each both science and art, and followed in order to accomplish pre-determined objectives.“

—  George R. Terry 1909 - 1979

As cited in: S.P. Singh (2003), Planning And Management For Rural Development, p. 8
Principles of Management, 1960
Variant: Management is a distinct process consisting of planning, organizing, actuating and controlling, performed to determine and accomplish the objectives by the use of people and resources.