The effort to reconcile science and religion

The effort to reconcile science and religion is almost always made, not by theologians, but by scientists unable to shake off altogether the piety absorbed with their mother’s milk.  ~H.L. Mencken, Minority Report: H.L. Mencken’s Notebook, 1956CD

The radical novelty of modern science lies

The radical novelty of modern science lies precisely in the rejection of the belief, which is at the heart of all popular religion, that the forces which move the stars and atoms are contingent upon the preferences of the human heart.  ~Walter Lippmann

The quantum is that embarrassing little piece

The quantum is that embarrassing little piece of thread that always hangs from the sweater of space-time.  Pull it and the whole thing unravels.  ~Fred Alan Wolfe, Star Wave: Mind Consciousness of Quantum Physics, 1984ECQ

I think science has enjoyed an extraordinary

I think science has enjoyed an extraordinary success because it has such a limited and narrow realm in which to focus its efforts.  Namely, the physical universe.  ~Ken Jenkins

The improver of natural science absolutely refuses

The improver of natural science absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such.  For him, scepticism is the highest of duties:  blind faith the one unpardonable sin.  ~Thomas Henry Huxley, Lay Sermons, Addresses and Reviews, 1871ECQ

If we wish to make a new

If we wish to make a new world we have the material ready.  The first one, too, was made out of chaos.  ~Robert Quillen

Physics is mathematical not because we know

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, quoted by Arthur Koestler, The Sleepwalkers, 1965, ECQ; and in The World within the World by John D. Barrow, 1988, CD

Science is built up of facts as

Science is built up of facts, as a house is built of stones; but an accumulation of facts is no more a science than a heap of stones is a house.  ~Henri Poincaré, Science and Hypothesis, 1905CD

There is no national science just as

There is no national science just as there is no national multiplication table; what is national is no longer science.  ~Anton Chekhov, in Mysli o Nauke by V.P. Ponomarev, 1973, CD; Note-Book of Anton Chekhov, p.18, NA

There are no physicists in the hottest

There are no physicists in the hottest parts of hell, because the existence of a ‘hottest part’ implies a temperature difference, and any marginally competent physicist would immediately use this to run a heat engine and make some other part of hell comfortably cool.  This is obviously impossible.  ~Richard Davisson

The saddest aspect of life right now

The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.  ~Isaac Asimov, Isaac Asimov’s Book of Science and Nature Quotations, 1988

Science like life feeds on its own

Science, like life, feeds on its own decay.  New facts burst old rules; then newly divined conceptions bind old and new together into a reconciling law.  ~William James, The Will to Believe and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy, 1910CD

The way to do research is attack

The way to do research is to attack the facts at the point of greatest astonishment.  ~Celia Green, The Decline and Fall of Science, 1972CD; "Aphorisms," p.1, NA

The important thing in science is not

The important thing in science is not so much to obtain new facts as to discover new ways of thinking about them.  ~William Lawrence Bragg, in Beyond Reductionism by A. Koestler and J.R. Smithies, 1958, CD

To know the history of science is

To know the history of science is to recognize the mortality of any claim to universal truth.  ~Evelyn Fox Keller, Reflections on Gender and Science, 1995ECQ

The most exciting phrase to hear in

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds the most discoveries, is not "Eureka!" (I found it!) but "That’s funny…"  ~Isaac Asimov

Ah gravity thou art a heartless bitch

Ah, gravity: thou art a heartless bitch.  ~Robert Cohen, Chuck Lorre, and Bill Prady, The Big Bang Theory, "The Big Bran Hypothesis," original airdate 1 October 2007

Great scientific discoveries have been made by

Great scientific discoveries have been made by men seeking to verify quite erroneous theories about the nature of things.  ~Aldous Huxley, "Wordsworth in the Tropics", in Fifty Famous Essays, 1964, CD

A new scientific truth does not triumph

A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.  ~Max Planck, A Scientific Autobiography and Other Papers, 1949CD

But in science the credit goes to

But in science the credit goes to the man who convinces the world, not to the man to whom the idea first occurs.  ~Francis DarwinDCMOO

The scientist is not a person who

The scientist is not a person who gives the right answers, he’s one who asks the right questions.  ~Claude Lévi-Strauss, Le Cru et le cuit, 1964WLBUQ